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making faces :: pick a colour

following up on the sci/art series i've been doing, looking at harmonising colours we wear [in the form
of clothing, makeup or accessories, as well as those that we place around us], i thought it might be fun to revisit the twelve seasonal groups in a very basic way: by picking a colour central to each palette and wearing it with all other elements being equal to see what differences i could observe.

this is a very basic imitation of what a colour analyst does, expect that they have very carefully selected and dyed materials grouped in a certain way to help pinpoint someone's seasonal palette with some accuracies. i have a large pile of clothing and a surprisingly broad selection of lipsticks.

the results are kind of surprising. i'll start off by apologising for the quality of the photos. one of the reasons that i haven't been posting a lot of looks lately is because my camera has developed some focus issues, ever since dom and i went a little nuts with the extreme eye close-ups. that said, i don't think that the soft focus hurts a lot, because you can really see some of the changes. observe how the iris looks much sharper in some shots than others, or how certain colours in my skin are emphasised. i showed them to dom and even he was surprised at exactly how pronounced the differences were.

in all photos, i'm wearing the exact same minimal makeup- foundation that is well-matched to my skin, concealer, a couple of light neutral inglot shadows- one with a cooler tone and the other with a warmer tone, blended to come out balanced, a thin line of dark brown eye liner and brown/ black mascara. on my cheeks, i put a little of becca's beach tint in "fig" a perfectly neutral beige-pink that adds just a hint of colour. the idea was to have a blank canvas. i also elected- in the lipstick shots- to wear a neutral grey sweater. all these photos were taken in early afternoon on a predominantly cloudy day. i did have to do some minor colour correction, for which i used either my sweater or the "drape" i was wearing as my balancing point- once i had the colour of that right, i felt safe assuming that everything else was as it should be. and honestly, the adjustments were pretty small.

i also left my eyebrows natural, rather than filling them in a little with a dark shadow to make them match my hair. i figure that it might help make things more clear. other than filling them in and plucking a few strays, i do very little to my brows on a regular basis. what you see is pretty much their natural shape. i don't trim or tint them ever.

i would rather have done this in sunlight, but it feels like i could die waiting for a sunny weekend day in montreal, so this is the end result.

i'm not an expert in this area, just an interested and ambitious amateur.

so here we go...


bright spring :: this was my favourite of my original three spring makeup looks and i like the effect on both my skin and eyes of the coral i chose for this season. the lipstick [mac "fusion pink"] is obviously incredibly bright, but i find that somehow my eyes look adequately prominent, as if they know they have to balance things out. i find that the warm tones in the lipstick are enough to bring out warm tones in my skin, although neither the drape nor the lipstick causes the whites of my eyes to appear yellow.

true spring :: nothing prepared me for that bright yellow drape [it's one of dom's devo t-shirts]. the one colour i've always known i couldn't wear was yellow. what the hell? how does a yellow that bright not make my skin look jaundiced? or my eyes? more to the point, how does it end up bringing out the slight rosiness in my cheeks? the lipstick [mac cb-96, a coral orange with gold shimmer] is a little more what i expected, but at the same time, it's still better on my skin than i'd anticipated. the orange lip shade and the blue tones [such as they are] in my eyes are nice counterpoints. something i notice in both of these photos is that you can see my freckles. that's not the case in other images, so it's clearly something that's "pulled" by the yellows i'm adding.

light spring :: here's one that met my expectations. both the soft pink drape [inside of a skirt] and the lipstick [rouge dior in "spring pink"] are nice enough, but the end effect is sort of washed out. weirdest to me, though, is looking at the size of my nose. has it grown suddenly? no, but in the lipstick shot in particular, it looks like it has. my bone structure and natural colour are overwhelming what's around them.

light summer :: that pale baby blue is turning me yellow. for the lipstick [guerlain "fuchsia delice"], i still find that the colour is being overwhelmed [although at least my nose is looking a little more normal]. in fact, i find that everything about me looks kind of faded in both instances. the up side of that is that my face looks leaner than it did in the spring shots and my bone structure doesn't seem inflated.

true summer :: isn't that grey-purple drape a little dark for summer? actually no. summer colouring can handle fairly dark, just not as dark as the winter blends. and the deeper rose lipstick [mac "blood red"] is perfectly consistent with a summer palette, in that it's purely cool, even though it's not light. in both of these cases, i'd say that my skin is cleared up compared to the light summer shade that preceded it. everything looks more even and healthier, especially when you compare the drape shots.

soft summer :: these are exactly what i would have expected after the disaster that was the soft summer makeup look i did. neither works on me- in fact i find that they're among the worst of the whole lot, which is amusing because i was quietly convinced that this was the palette i fit into for many years. dom commented on how "tanned" i looked in the drape shot. it's true. the cool blue-grey is staining me. the lipstick [mac "mehr"] is showing the exact same problems as the makeup look, most notably that the circles under my eyes are emphasised [when compared to the other shades]. also, i feel like my features are simultaneously receding.

soft autumn :: although i like this better than the soft summer variant [interesting, since i've always assumed i was cooler rather than warmer toned], i find that i still look washed out. my eyes look fatigued compared to earlier shots and my lips, already lacking pigment, are almost invisible in the drape shot. i do like the effect on my skin that the drape has and the lipstick [nars "mayflower"] is a favourite of mine to offset a dramatic eye, but both shots look to me like they sat too long in the sun.

true autumn :: one of the little inequalities in my face is that my right eye doesn't ever open quite as wide as my left. it's not incredibly obvious, at least most of the time, but i find that it's never been more obvious than in the lipstick shot [mac "bronzilla"] here. somehow, that colour is making my face lopsided. or at least exaggerating the extent to which i'm out of alignment. the drape shot is interesting chiefly because it looks like i gained five pounds in the five minutes following the previous photo. in both cases, my jaw looks a lot heavier and believe me, it does not need the help.

dark autumn :: that jaw thing is still hanging around. rather than just looking heavy, though, i find that the shift to darker colours makes it look more squared. you can see some warm tones again, less "dirty" [like the true autumn shots] and more "golden". the lipstick [ellis faas e202] seems especially good at pulling these. but do you notice anything strange? my nose is shrinking. seriously. go back and look at the light spring shots. now look here. i did not change noses. also, my eyes got a little smaller and are trying to run away from each other. they appear more widely spaced than before. that said, i kinda like both of these, especially the lipstick shot, which gives me some kick-ass cheekbones.

dark winter :: thank god. my nose is coming back a little. also, my face got more oval again, although just a touch. there's still a hint of squaring around the jaw, it's just a wee bit softer. also, my eyes apparently resolved their differences and got back together. although it's a little overly pale, my complexion does look nice and even in both these shots. despite the fact that this is a season associated with darker skin tone and eye colour, i still think it has possibilities for me. the lip colour i'm wearing is rouge d'armani "#408/ rosewood red".

true winter :: supposedly, it's only the true winter who can wear black or white and have them be perfect. and this is further evidence that i am not a true winter. like most women, i have a truckload of black garments, but even i can't deny that i look a little dead wrapped entirely in black. my face offers a contrast, but the colour juxtaposition is so high that my features can't compete. my eyes come looming out of nowhere. i certainly don't hate the lip colour [mac "style curve"], but my skin tone doesn't look as even in that shot as it does in some of the earlier ones.

bright winter :: possibly my favourite look overall when i did my first round of looks, this one does seem to immediately clear my skin and restore some balance. that said, i don't know if i love it quite as much as the bright and true spring drapes above. i do think, however, that my face looks nicely balanced in terms of shape and structure. the lipstick [chanel "famous"] is bright but doesn't diminish my eyes which, as we already determined, are somewhat darker than they look.

so what have i learned? my nose is remarkably flexible?

well, in keeping with my experiences doing different makeup looks, i would say that i can categorically eliminate both soft seasons [summer and autumn] and both light seasons [spring and summer] as well as true autumn and dark winter.

that leaves both brights [winter and spring], true spring and summer and both dark seasons [fall and winter].

in the process, i feel like i also have to rethink the notion that i'm cooler toned. of any of the draped shots, my skin looks best in the two spring ones. my eyes look at their brightest and most intense in the two dark seasons and my bone structure looks the most balanced in the two bright seasons. true summer   is the runner up both in terms of how my skin looks and in terms of how balanced my face appears, although i think that you could argue that, since it's not the best in any category, it can be eliminated too, but i'll reserve judgment for now.

progress has been made. now i just have to figure out how to narrow things down.

agree with me? disagree? ever noticed how certain colours change the way that you look? feel free to share your thoughts.


Grace London said…
Yeah, the Softs are evil on me too. I also convinced myself I might be Soft Summer, which turned out to be one of the worst seasons on me that isn't Autumn.

It's like looking at my face during my draping process. I bet either Bright Spring or Bright Winter - I think I agree that Bright Spring just edges it in these pictures, but I'd test at the edges of the warmest shades of BSp and the coolest of BW to test. I def think Bright.
Kate MacDonald said…
After going through this process, I think you're probably right. I just can't pull off the softer, warmer colours of a stronger Spring blend. It's going to take some getting used to though, because I'd say that I've painted myself into a bit of a Dark Winter corner as far as most of the products that I have...
Grace London said…
Hey - my lipstick graveyard is full of pink/browns. Let's not talk about the taupes (I literally LOLed at the condom comment in the Summer post).

I found I did have quite a few bright lipsticks, and just that makes a huge difference.
Kate MacDonald said…
Strangely enough, lipstick shades with a bit of brown- reds or plums- work quite well for me, even though they shouldn't.

But I'll take the excuse to go out and buy new shades of lipstick and icy shadows...
Butterfly Dream said…
Depending on those photos I would vote for Bright Winter. I came here from google search "Bright spring make up", where I found your Bright Spring example and I just thought immediately, that your skin tone is too cool for a warm season. Bright Spring and Bright Winter lie next to each other, that's why Bright Spring might doesn't looks wrong on you, but in my opinion Bright Winter makes you look way more natural and also much more present. Here is a very good article about determining these two seasons: (there's also a part II).

Kate MacDonald said…
Thanks very much! I've had other people guess me as a Bright Winter as well, so I'm thinking that there's something to it. There's a continuum within each season, so I may be closer to the border, but still on the Winter side.

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