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making faces :: a lip for all seasons [fall edition]

after the brightness of spring and the coolness of summer, we come upon autumn, a season of warmth, lower saturation and relative darkness. saturation actually increases as fall moves towards winter, just as it decreased when spring moved towards summer. generally, though, autumn shades are rich, warm, with a golden amber core, as opposed to spring's bright daffodil yellow. i tend to associate spring colours with fruit and candy, whereas fall colours are those of the vegetable garden and the spice market. [i'm not sure if that will make sense to anyone else, but i'm just putting it out there.]

as you might expect, the fiery tones of autumn foliage all live here- flame reds, burnt oranges, ochre yellows. blue options are limited, but instead of spring turquoise, autumn leans towards teal.it encompasses a wide range of colours, all of which, i find, speak of the comforts of the season, ranging from lighter shades with the softened finish of brushed cotton to the delicious richness of stews and preserves to the sumptuous glints of gold and copper, like the waning sun reflecting from a metal surface.

when i started delving into the world of seasonal colour analysis, i already knew that i wasn't an autumn. i tried to remain open-minded, but those colours have just never worked for me. i know that my complexion doesn't look great with either a tan or bronzer, which is something that an autumn almost always would. [i'm leaving that as "almost" to account for very fair soft autumns or very cool dark autumns who might not look as good, but in my case, it is really difficult to find a bronzer that doesn't look like dirt on me.] looking at the various palettes, however, did give me more of an appreciation for how all of these colours can work together. it's not just shades of earth and rust.

that said, because i knew i wasn't an autumn, i haven't ever made a point of collecting autumn-friendly shades, so these suggestions, while i think they're all appropriate, don't necessarily showcase the range that's available to these complexions.



the season starts off with soft autumn. like soft summers, colours here are low in saturation, but in this case, they are warmer. many cosmetic companies interpret soft and warm as being universal shades. they aren't, but a lot of people assume that they will look good because they don't seem risky. in fact, most people's natural colouring is likely to overwhelm these shades. that can be done for effect [like and intense smoky eye with nude lip], but it's never going to be a look that grew organically from the inherent colours of the person.

soft autumn
going from left to right...

chanel glossimer "intrigue" :: this sheer rosewood is completely warm, which is good, since soft autumn skin retains a hint of summer's watery coolness. it's much more subdued than a red, but it will still read as red-like on a soft autumn. this one is apparently going to be discontinued, so grab it while you can. i've certainly seen it at counters in my area within the last few weeks.

bite beauty lip pencil "madeira" :: a soft beige nude with an slight salmon pink undertone. on a lot of women, this will look like "concealer lips", but on a soft autumn, i think the depth of its colour would really shine. i recommend bite products to everyone, since their formulas are so wonderfully comforting on the lips.

nars semi-sheer lipstick "mayflower" :: this is my go-to colour when i'm wearing a smoky eye, because it's pink enough that it doesn't make me look like i died during the night, but it's a perfect all-around colour for a soft autumn. it's a warm pink that subtly brightens the complexion. it would appear more colourful on a soft autumn than it does on me, but its delicacy combined with the fact that it isn't opaque keep it in the safe zone. [better lit swatch here.]

mac matte "yash" :: originally limited and now part of the regular mac lineup, this is a beige-brown-nude that seems so sophisticated and modern without reading as harsh or cold. the warmth of a soft autumn complexion will keep it from pulling too cool/ taupe and won't be disturbed by the brown tones.

hourglass femme rouge "fawn" :: a couple of years ago, hourglass introduced a number of nude shades to their lipstick line with the stealth of a ninja. they were just there all of a sudden and no one talked about them. if you can wear nudes well, they're a very nice option and this one is just about the nicest. it's described as a "rosy coral", which is right, but there's definitely a toffee brown tone in there as well. "rosy coral" sounds more like spring. this is more fall-friendly.

a few more suggestions :: chanel "jersey rose", rouge bunny rouge "watch out eve", bobbi brown high shimmer lip gloss "naked plum" would look very glamourous, nars "julie", givenchy brun créateur, guerlain "galiane"... honestly, every single makeup brand has multiple colours appropriate for soft autumn colouring and some soft autumns [who lean closer to true autumns] will be able to wear shades that are a little deeper and more saturated than the "safe bets" i've posted here. venture to the cosmetic counter and swatch to your heart's content!

true autumn is all fire and heat. although technically still a muted season, it supports a lot of colour, in clothing, on the face and around them. for lipstick, they can also wear deep, rich brown-nude shades, which look like poop on most of the rest of us, if we're being honest. however, people with golden-warm complexions have a tendency to fall back on navy and rust clothing and brown lips too often. they work, but it's important to remember that the key to this season is warmth, not low saturation. saturation is low only compared to the vivid shades of winter and spring. there's a lot more to the palette.

true autumn




hourglass extreme sheen lip gloss "siren" :: to me, this is the ultimate true autumn lip shade. it is all spicy heat without a hint of cool and it's metallic shimmer is perfect for autumns, who wear shimmer better than anyone. i bought this gloss because i was just so captivated by it, even though it's far from my best colour. no one but a true autumn can give this shade the setting it deserves.


nars semi-sheer "autumn leaves" :: well this one is a no-brainer. again, it's the sort of shade that many will covet, because a soft burnt orange just isn't something you see that often, but it's made for autumn colouring. this will work as an everyday colour, because it's not too strong and the orange-brown will fuse with the rich gold tones in autumn skin.

nars semi-opaque "bilbao" :: i struggled to decide whether this should go into the soft or true autumn group, because i think that either could wear it very well. i finally put it in here because i don't see any hint of coolness in it. it's a sort of caramel-nude which, again, will serve true autumn skin very well and it has a faint gold shimmer that will add an understated glow to the lips.

guerlain rouge g "gipsy" :: i could not get this to photograph properly. even when the other colours looked fine [and i struggled with both the true and dark autumns this way, because my skin tone and the feeble november light were fighting me], "gipsy" looked too red. the colour is more true in the post i've linked. gipsy is a gorgeous pumpkin orange with gold shimmer. very rich, very saturated and possibly the best lipstick formula on the market.

guerlain rouge g "gardner" :: what's this? a limited shade? yes, but you can just substitute "gisela" from the permanent assortment. some day, i will remember to take "gardner" with me to the guerlain counter, so that i can swatch them together and reveal just how close they really are. gardner is a deep, warm, brown-kissed red base with gold shimmer, about as warm a red as you can get without turning entirely brown. on lighter skin, it will show as brighter and bolder, but it's still muted enough to fit well within autumn.

a few other suggestions :: nars "leslie", ellis faas "l202", mac "tabla", mac "mocha", guerlain "gaetane", bite beauty "cin cin", ; there are a lot of nude options from hourglass that i think would work well on autumn skin

taking us out of the autumn season is the dark autumn. here, autumn's warmth mixes with cold and vibrant winter, creating a colour palette that is deeper [sort of obvious from the name], more saturated and slightly cooler than true autumn. this isn't the light cool of summer, either, which made soft autumn shades a little hazy. instead of mixing autumn's heat with grey-blue, here we're dealing with an infusion of indigo or black. the effect is completely different. however, while the palette is darker, it's important to remember that not every colour is dark. it's just that the lights don't go quite as light as other seasons. some of them will read as quite vibrant- more so than other autumns, because winter increases the saturation.

i'm going to apologise for this photo, which makes all the shades look cooler than they really are. i took about eight shots, tried tweaking them to make them look more like they do in real life, but my efforts were frustrated. 

dark autumn




chanel extrait de gloss "controversy" :: ok, i'm sorry, i committed extrait again. it's just that the colours available in these now-discontinued [but still in stock at some locations] glosses were stunning. [i'll be honest: i think most of them were better than the new rouge allure glosses that are replacing them, which seem a little one-note to me.] this one is a deep, dark brown with a plum undertone. it can be applied lightly or full-on vampy. it's a shade with some serious impact even with a light application, but dark autumn skin can absolutely handle it.


mac frost "o" :: a necessary dark autumn staple. it's a reddened aubergine base with tons of gold shimmer, so that the colour seems to be constantly shifting. worn alone, the shimmer colour will dominate and the shade will function very well as an everyday colour. add a deep liner and it will emphasize the base shade more, although you'll still see a gorgeous sheen. i can't imagine a shade that would do a better job of capturing all the facets of dark autumn.

chanel rouge coco "ballet russe" :: deep plum-purple-brown-red confection. it's a classy shade that will read as vampy on many, but on dark autumns, it's more likely to seem medium-deep. regardless, it's a great fit for dark autumn skin, whose undertones will pull the most complementary elements from such a complex colour.

yves st. laurent rouge pur couture "rouge saadi" :: a classic medium red with warm undertones that's not too bright for this medium-saturated season to wear. it's a conservative kind of shade that has presence without calling attention to itself.

le metier de beauté colour core lipstick "bali" :: if you're a dark season, you might as well celebrate by showing off how perfectly you can carry off a really dark lipstick, i say. they don't come vampier than this blackened garnet, which pulls just warm enough to make it more autumn than winter. the same way that soft autumns can giggle at the rest of us for trying to wear the multitude of soft, warm shades that leave others looking pallid, the dark autumn can carry this type of lipstick off with aplomb and without looking like her lips are walking about a foot in front of her face.

a few other suggestions :: i don't personally have a lot of nudes that would suit this sort of complexion, but i think that the brown-toned mac lipsticks i suggested for true autumns would function more as neutrals for a dark autumn. the closer to winter, however, the more you'll want to avoid neutral/ nudes altogether, though. le metier de beauté "castelo", chanel "baroque"; nars "vendanges", chanel "caractère", armani "609", armani "611", nars "deborah", dior "arty"

and that wraps up our look at autumn. i find that it's easier to find autumn tones than virtually any others, because all but the brightest shades are muted by adding a little brown. as soon as you have a golden brown mixed in, it pushes a shade towards the autumn camp. women with spring-season complexions must wonder why the warm shades that should flatter them so often look lifeless. for autumn women, the challenge will always be to find shades that are outside the range of average nudes, since it sells short the incredible power of which this season is capable.

the final chapter of this lipstick saga, our look at winter, will be up within the next couple of days. then you'll best be able to gauge whether i've helped or made things more confusing.

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