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

for the most part, all of my colour analysis posts have been extremely self-centred. [other than the time i analysed dom. and the time i analysed the cats.] at the same time, i know that one of the reasons people start looking into theories of colour analysis is so that they can make sense of the plethora of options offered to them at the makeup counter. i suspect many of them want to try to make sense of the fact that despite the plethora of options, the things that should work somehow don't and yet random things seem to light up your whole face. i feel your pain.

fortunately, there are blogs that give some tips on finding proper makeup colours. christine scaman has both product suggestions and detailed descriptions of what you should be looking for. truth is beauty has extensive lips for sale for each season. i don't have the knowledge of either of those women when it comes to sci/ art analysis, but i figured that it couldn't hurt to offer my opinion. because what fun is the web if you can't find hundreds of opinions about everything?

i decided to start with lipsticks because a. i have a large number of lipsticks; and b. it's a little less complicated than, say, eye shadows, where you're often wearing three or more of them at a time and the question of how well something works is partially dictated by what it's next to. my intent was to do all the seasons in one post, but as i was doing the swatches, i realised that it would be a lot of information and that i'd already removed at least eighteen layers of skin by the time i was half way through. so let's stick to groups of three, organised by season, shall we? good.

my intention was to use only shades that were currently available as part of permanent collections from the brands i usually feature here. things being what they are, i know that it won't be long before some of them are discontinued, so you can just read this and hate me, but please know that i tried. i also tried to offer a range of colours for each season, including different textures and finishes, but i am limited to what i have [albeit less limited than a lot of people], so this was more successful with some seasons than with others.

so let's bring out the springs!

first up, we have bright spring, which is characterised chiefly by the need for full saturation of colour. bright spring shades lean light rather than dark and warm rather than cool, but it's most important that the colours aren't dulled by brown or grey. [there are both browns and greys in the bright spring palette, but more traditional lipstick colours aren't mixed with them.] the bad news is that almost every "office friendly" shade is going to be incredibly unfriendly on a bright spring complexion. the good news is that bold fuchsia, pink, coral and orange are all having kind of a moment, so a lot of limited editions will be right up your alley.

remember, how 'shocking' a colour looks is relative. people who belong to a bright season won't look like they're wandering around wearing a set of wax lips, because the rest of them can balance the shade. sure, it'll still look like a strong colour, but it won't be the only thing that people notice.

bright spring lip colours

going from left to right in that photo, we have:

chanel extrait de gloss "reflexion" :: this is absolutely the most perfect gloss i can think of for a bright spring. it's warm enough that it will pick up on the yellow tones in the skin, but cool enough that it won't clash with the coolness inherent in the colouring. it's also an opaque enough formula that it won't just look like shiny nothing on the lips. [hey, remember two paragraphs ago when i said that i wanted to pick things that were available as part of a brand's existing collection? yeah, about that. chanel recently discontinued this line of glosses. they're still available in some stores and on line, but they won't be for long... carpe diem]

rouge bunny rouge succulent dew lipstick "dissolved in dreams" :: just on the pink side of coral, with a lovely silver shimmer to flatter the winter element of the season, which can easily go this bright every day.

guerlain rouge g "genna" :: bright, juicy, completely saturated orange-red. or red-orange. springs don't actually have a lot of reds, which are more the domain of winter colouring. they're normally either lightened to pink [lightened not faded, hot pinks are absolutely welcome in bright spring] or warmed to coral, but i think that this shade is something a bright spring could wear as a red. the key here is that its warmth comes from yellow, not gold or brown like most warmer reds [those belong to autumn].

mac amplified creme "fusion pink" :: a big, bright coral-pink with a faint but stunning pink-white shimmer. this shade was made for bright spring colouring. [actually, it was made for cirque du soleil, but you know what i meant.] i can't imagine any other season wearing this so well. the review linked above doesn't have the greatest swatches, but you can see a better one here and you can see it used in a very "bright spring" kind of look here.

guerlain rouge automatique "cherry blossom" :: one of the great frustrations of bright season women will be trying to find a more neutral colour that doesn't make them look like a doll whose face wasn't finished. how do you do a bright neutral? my advice is to choose something like this: a light-medium pink that would look more intense on a lot of people, but that reads as quite natural on someone with bright colouring.

a few other suggestions :: nars audacious "greta", mac "party parrot", yves st. laurent rouge pur couture #57 "pink rhapsody", mac "lustering", dior "montmartre", guerlain "girly", guerlain "chamade", chanel "le baiser", mac "chatterbox", nars "grace" and "kelly". it can be tricky to find deeper shades that aren't "contaminated" with brown, but something like ysl "bourgogne artistique", chanel "rivoli", dior "pied de poule" or even guerlain "vega" would work on those who lean more towards winter coolness.

next up, we have the true spring shades. true spring colours are still quite saturated, but are different than bright spring in that they are all warm, infused with a sunny yellow light. there aren't any more bright pinks. instead, you have coral and orange. spring colours won't go tremendously dark compared to bright spring, which is just as well since most dark, warm colours are decidedly autumnal.

true spring lip colours

guerlain rouge automatique "mitsouko" :: a lovely, light peach with fine gold shimmer. it's not tremendously pigmented, but it should pick up nicely on the inherent warmth and lightness in the complexion. [rumour has it that this one is getting the axe along with a number of other rouge automatique shades, sadly.]

chantecaille hydra chic "persimmon" :: some women who fall within the true spring season will be able to pull off a colour as intense as "genna", but for most it will probably be easier to work with the sheerer "persimmon". it has plenty of warmth, but it's a little lighter and and less saturated [because of the sheerer formula].

mac  amplified creme "vegas volt" :: a bright, peachy coral that's bold without the sort of in-your-face quality of bright season shades. it's definitely on the warm side of coral, which puts it squarely into the camp of true spring. like "fusion pink" with the brights, i can't picture this working nearly so well on anyone else.

mac frost "cb96" :: a warm orange base strewn with gold is pretty much the ultimate true spring colour. the fruity base is deeper, but the frost lightens it up, so that this is the sort of colour that can go anywhere. it's been in mac's lineup forever and with good reason.

chanel rouge coco shine "bohème" :: a light, sheer warm strawberry red. yes, i did say that reds weren't really part of spring's repertoire, but this one is really more of a tint than a full-on "red lipstick". it has the clarity that works for spring and is very warm without pulling at all orange. [the look i've linked to is actually something i'd recommend to a true spring. all the colours are appropriate.]

a few other suggestions :: mac lipglass "lychee luxe" [i was really sure i had this, but apparently not],  mac "neon orange" [for those who can handle intense saturation], lancome "corset", ysl rouge pur couture "le orange", nars "geraldine", nars "juliette", rouge d'armani #300, there are a good half dozen armani rouge ecstasy shades that would suit spring complexions very well  and a couple of the armani sheers. armani and mac have both made great strides recently in the world of corals and oranges, so if you're looking for a good variety, you might want to head to those counters first.

finally, we come to light spring. since it borders on summer, light spring colours are less saturated than either of the other spring seasons. they're cooled by summer's misty grey, although they're still warm at heart. christine scaman likes to refer to light spring colours as "creamy", like the petals of flowers, or like ice gelato. as you can guess, the most important thing here is to keep things light. it won't look too light or washed out on the person, because it's the correct match for their pigmentation, but if you put a vampy lipstick on them, it's going to be all you see. [i swear some time i'm going to do a "seasonal colour analysis for goths.] this is a complexion that's easily overwhelmed, so you want to use a light hand as well as light colours.

light spring lip colours

hourglass extreme sheen lip gloss "fortune" :: i'm kind of shocked at how much i like this colour, because it's the sort of thing i'd never pick out for myself on the description. it's a light peach-pink with lots [lots!!] of gold shimmer. you may notice that i included it as part of a bright spring-themed look, but i believe that the colour is more at home in the light spring palette.

mac cremesheen "peach blossom" :: a lovely nude peach with white shimmer. while i like it with a smoky eye, this is the exact sort of shade that will look right at home on a light spring. it's all sweetness and light and that's what you want. while mac describes it as a "nude" shade, i think that on a light complexion, it'll read as a little more, you'll really notice the colour underneath the sheen.

rouge bunny rouge succulence of dew "fluttering sighs" :: if you are a light spring and you buy no other lipstick, buy this one. its as weightless as its name suggests and has that flower-petal softness you want. it's a warm tea rose kind of shade that will really pull the peaches and cream or dulce de leche [depending on where in the spectrum you fall] tones from light spring skin.

nars velvet gloss lip pencil "new lover" :: leaning slightly towards the cool side, this is a cherry ice-cream base with a lot of gold shimmer mixed in. it might appear too heavy if it were opaque and frosted, but the semi-transparent glossy formula keeps it airy and fun.

chanel rouge coco shine "antigone" :: this formula is one that all light-season lipstick fans should check out, because i suspect that they'll get the most out of it. this shade will likely read fairly bright on a light spring, but it won't be too much, because of the inherent sheerness. it's a strawberry pink-red that livens up the complexion and looks so fresh. it's the shade that i chose to use for my original light spring look.

a few other suggestions :: mac "plink!", mac "viva glam v", nars "pago pago", guerlain "mitsouko" would probably suit warmer complexions within the season, mac "lady bug" is another sheer red, mac lipglass "prrr", guerlain "mi-mai", guerlain "jardin de bagatelle". sheerer formulas like chanel rouge coco shine, guerlain shine automatique, mac lustre or the new rouge dior baume will almost always have options; dense, matte formulas [e.g., most liquid lipsticks] almost never will.

so that's the great spring roundup. whew, aren't you glad i decided not to do all twelve seasons at once? next up, we'll be moving onto cool, airy summer. see anything here that you think would work on you? any other suggestions you'd like to make? please feel free to leave a comment.


Bellyhead said…
Such a gorgeous selection of lipcolors! Like candy on your arm. Fluttering Sighs is one of my favorite shades. It wears as a nude on me but I like the dimensional shimmers and even the strong scent.
I'm so glad you're doing this series! I always love your posts about color theory, and I have yet to figure out my own seasonal match (somewhere in the autumn/winter range, I suspect), so I'm excited to see which colors you write about. Genna is my favorite of the lipsticks you've swatched here--such a juicy coral-orange.
Kate MacDonald said…
Belly- I'm surprised at how much I love FS, since nude shades are often tricky for me.

AB- It's my pleasure, believe me. And it makes me feel better about the number of lipsticks I own. I'm not hoarding, I'm using them for blog features!
Your complexion looks on the cool side to me, so some type of winter blend would make sense. The process of finding out is half the fun, though.

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