Skip to main content

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

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another post.] the search for summer colours is further complicated by the fact that cool colours, when they are available, are much too saturated, which will make a true summer complexion look like someone else's lips are standing on her face. yikes.

bracketing the completely cool true summer season, you have the light summer, which is the cooler analogue to light spring and the soft summer, which blends summer cool with a hint of autumn's warmth. both of these pull away from the pure cool of summer by adding different types of heat. as the spring influence starts to fade, colours begin to lose their saturation, becoming softer and hazier. this reaches an apex as summer and autumn mix, as both are seasons with lower saturation. 


first in the summer cycle is the light summer. this is summer cool with a touch of springs sunny brightness remaining. although technically less saturated than light spring colours, the subtraction of the buttery warmth can make these shades appear brighter. lime peel greens become grassy, turqoise shifts to swimming pool blue and corals are transformed into raspberry. the most important thing is that, compared to other seasons, these shades can't be allowed to run too dark. better to waffle a little on temperature or saturation level if you want to play around.

light summer
going from left to right...

chanel glossimer "murmure" :: this is a light, delicate peachy pink that might disappear on other complexions [it adds just a hint of colour to mine], but it will be a fine, carefree option for a light summer. a lot of peach shades will pull too warm, so that they look just a little off, but i think this one is perfect.

mac lustre "sweetie" :: this one is cool enough that i think it could work on a true summer as well, but it does seem to have just a bit of underlying brightness that remains. it's a medium-light cool pink base with a glossy finish and silver shimmer that really does live up to its name- it's a sweet shade, a little too cool and bright to pass as "my lips but better" but not enough to overwhelm a light summer complexion.

mac sheen supreme "new temptation" :: well this might be a bit shocking, but there is a lot of translucency to this colour, so it's possible to get a fairly light application. layered, it might get obnoxious on a light summer, but kept sheer, it will be a cool cherry-syrup red with some of spring's brightness.

armani rouge ecstasy "dolci" :: another sweet name... perhaps that's a hint as to how to identify light summer shades? mmm... probably not. caramel and chocolate are sweet, but they don't belong here. this muted rose pink is a nice fit, however. it's a more muted shade, but still has a little warmth to it. i find that this brightens up my complexion a lot and while it reads as a medium shade on me, it would likely look medium-deep on a light summer face.

guerlain rouge g "grenade" :: this was my very first guerlain lipstick! it's a classy sotf raspberry shade, muted enough to work on those who can't support bold, muscular red shades. i've heard it said that it's more difficult for light seasons to fit into the traditional businesslike mould, which might be fine if you're an artist, but sucks if you're working in a law office. i think that this is the kind of colour that reads as conservative, but not to the point of burying the freshness of the woman underneath it.

a few other suggestions :: rouge bunny rouge "tongue tickles" is a slightly warmer alternative to "sweetie"; chanel rouge coco shine "boy"; mac cremesheen "creme cup"; bite beauty "fig"; rouge d'armani sheer "502", yves st. laurent glossy stain "fuchsia tomboy" 

true, cool summer is at the heart of the season. as i mentioned above, it can be tricky to find shades that are very cool, tinged with grey/ blue and not very saturated [but more saturated than the light seasons].  because such colours are rare, they tend to cause a bit of a feeding frenzy whenever they're available. mac cosmetics' "lavender whip" sold out both times it's been released. nars audacious lipstick "dominique" is now part of the permanent collection [albeit, available only through nars' on line store, barney's in the usa and holt renfrew in canada], but it's been out of stock practically since the collection launched. such colours will have an exotic look on most people [and there is nothing wrong with that, but again, i need to do a separate post on wearing the "wrong" colours], but only on a true/ cool summer will they seem fully at ease.

true summer
rouge bunny rouge glassy gloss "mousse fandango" :: a cool pink with just a hint of a grey undertone. it won't look grey on the lips, but that does keep it quite cool and muted. it's a very soft colour that will suit the delicacy of the true summer complexion. see it on day six of my naked challenge!

mac amplied "up the amp" :: this is probably the upper end of the saturation scale for a true summer, but many, especially ones with darker hair, eyes and complexions, will be able to carry it off with ease. it's a cool purple with a slight mauve-grey tone to it, a classic in mac's line-up, which makes me wonder why they don't have more shades like it.

dior addict "fashion week" :: a lovely medium-deep sheer plum berry in a semi-sheer formula. it's a cool shade that will work almost anywhere, even in a more formal setting, since it's not overly glossy. it can also be built up so that it's more or less opaque [although it's never fully so], depending on your preference.

guerlain rouge automatique "shalimar" :: a perfect medium, cool pink with a hint of fuchsia. it's one of the less opaque shades in this range, more ethereal and soft than what we would normally think of when it comes to fuchsia.

givenchy le rouge "framboise velours" :: it's a common misunderstanding that summer shades can only be light. light summer shades are lighter, sure, but a true summer can actually run quite dark, both in their own colouring and in terms of the colours they can wear. this might not work on the fairest of summers, but it's absolutely made for the season, because it's a cool berry with just a touch of dustiness.

a few other suggestions :: guerlain "l'heure bleue" [another deeper shade that a true summer could wear]; nars "dominique"; rouge bunny rouge "fleur parfait"; nars "vivien"

finally, we have the soft summer, that cosy, foggy season that draws in a hint of autumn brown. the key here is that you want to avoid anything that might be jarring. fortunately, a lot of makeup is about what looks "natural", which means that a lot of makeup is made for the two soft seasons. it is not difficult to find lipsticks suitable to this complexion- only soft autumn has more options.

soft summer
chanel extrait de gloss "merveille" :: again, forgive me, this one will soon be gone, but it's just such a great soft summer shade. it's one of those ubiquitous pink-mauve-brown shades that's deeper than natural lips, but still reads as mostly neutral. i'm not a huge fan of those, but this is a particularly nice example.

mac matte "mehr" :: if i were to pick one perfect soft summer colour, this would be it. it leans cool, has that elusive dusty quality, but there's still a slight brown undertone to it. nothing could be better. [colour analyst christine scaman also prefers matte finishes for soft and true summer complexions, so it works on that front too.]

yves saint laurent rouge pur couture "rouge vermillion" :: every season is supposed to have their shade of red, but it gets tricky to find a variation of such a bold shade when you're dealing with seasons that are the antithesis of bold. however, i think that this soft, slightly warmed raspberry red would do the trick. it'll be a bolder option for a soft summer, but still very workable.

rouge bunny rouge hues of enchantment "scrumptiously devious" :: rbr has a lot of great soft season options in their line-up and this is one of the best. inspired by the colours of pomegranate skin, it has a cool pink base suffused with golden shimmer. it's such a nice balance, without looking frosty and would work pretty much anywhere.

rouge d'armani sheer 600 "bitten" :: this is that rare thing- a cooler option for a "my lips but better" shade. so many assume that natural lips are very warm [or that they should be], but lots of women have cooler-toned lips and just want something to accentuate them a little. this is a great option, a soft plum with just a hint of warmth buried in it.

a few other suggestions :: rouge bunny rouge "dark juices"; bite beauty "pepper"; mac "blankety"; bite beauty "rhubarb" [a deeper option]; ysl "naughty mauve"; rouge bunny rouge "murmurings"; there are many...

so that's a quick look at some options for summer lip colour, but i'd be remiss if i didn't mention one other option: brands sometimes release limited edition shades of sheer blue [like mac "summer shower"], which may seem odd, but which would actually suit a summer collection quite well. [i feel like i should do a follow up of odd shades that suit different complexions, like illamasqua "shoot" for a bright or true spring.]

next up, we look at all the different autumns and i'll warn you up front that my collection and knowledge of autumn-friendly shades is a little lacking compared to other seasons. nevertheless, i do have some recommendations for you [of course!]. 

Comments

All right, I'm now certain that I'm not a summer. Some of these colors appeal to me (Up the Amp is one of my favorite lipsticks, and Mehr looks similar to Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry), but in general I need colors with far more saturation.

Out of curiosity, what's the most common season? I'd assume that many people are autumns of some sort?
Kate MacDonald said…
Good question. Some people assume that they're about evenly divided, but most colour analyst comments I've read have said that's not the case. I know that true seasons are rare compared to neutral ones (which makes sense, since two thirds of the twelve seasons are neutral).

Consensus seems to be that neutral-cool is more common than neutral warm. Dark seasons are the most common, I believe, and bright winters are fairly common as well.

From what I've read, light seasons, particularly light springs are the rarest.
L.P. said…
I've thought I was a Soft Summer for awhile now. my problem with cool toned reds is that my lips have such strong blue undertones it turns nearly every cool lipstick fuchsia.

Having said all that, I just tried Armani Lip Maestro in 400 and although it looks very "bright" compared to my usual somber lip palette, it lights up my skin and eyes in an extraordinary way. It may be folly, but the skin-and-eye test is usually spot on.
Kate MacDonald said…
Seeing certainly is believing, L.P. I assumed for years that reds certain shades wouldn't work on me, so I never tried them.
There are apparently a number of seasons that often get confused with one another and I've heard that Soft Summer and Dark Winter can get mixed up because they share a number of qualities (cool colours, shades that are touched with brown or grey to make them muted, lots of subtle neutrals. If you find that you can pull off more saturated shades, but still look good in some Soft Summer colours, maybe you might be a Dark Winter?
Giselle Pallas said…
BWs are rare. DWs are common. TWs are rare, but not as rare as BWs.
Light Springs are rare, but bright springs are more rare.

The thing is, most of the people WANT TO BE BWs. Or bright something.
But brights, not trues, are the rarest.

Popular posts from this blog

so hip it hurts

there aren't too many artists who stand out as being iconically canadian. it's too easy to mistake us for some other people, mostly americans, who are, let's be honest, pretty similar in a lot of ways. [this is the bit where i apologise for avril lavigne, justin bieber and drake.] the guess who/ bachman turner overdrive held sway over an earlier generation, and musicians and those who appreciate technical proficiency will speak of rush like they are gods, but last night the country said goodbye to perhaps the most canadian of canadian bands, the tragically hip.

for those of you not familiar with that name, the hip emerged in the mid-to-late eighties, among a slew of canadian bands [54-40, the northern pikes, the pursuit of happiness, the grapes of wrath] that balanced on the line between mainstream and alternative rock. all of them played accessible guitar-based music with none of the bombast of seventies dinosaurs, but equally with no hint of the drug-fueled anger that w…

shut up

general reaction seems to be that last night's vice presidential debate was close to a draw, with a slight edge going to mike pence [other than among cnn's panel of independent voters, who overwhelmingly chose tim kaine as the winner]. i feel that's an accurate assessment, although it's largely a question of personal preference. pence absolutely projected the stoic, unflappable, unwavering image that many americans [not just republicans, either] seem to like and equate with strength. for my part, i prefer someone who's a little more mercurial, someone who's able to gets excited about ideas and who's able to expand on them, not just repeat talking points.

so, from my point of view, both vice presidential candidates were pretty disappointing. i found that kaine had a fantastic command of facts and history- he knew pence's voting record better than pence knew his and possibly better than pence knew his own. his opening answers were so smoothly delivered i…

mental health mondays :: parabnormal?

for north america and parts of europe, halloween marked the apex of spooky events, where the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its most diaphanous. but if you're a very traditional roman catholic, you'll know that the 31 of october is merely the beginning, and that the entire month that follows is dedicated to remembering and praying for the dead, specifically for those whose souls are trapped in purgatory. if you listen to dante, purgatory isn't especially pleasant. sure, there's the possibility that you'll end up working off your debt to celestial society, but until then, you get to endure things like having your goddamned eyes sewn shut with iron wire. [much like condo developments, it gets better the higher the floor you live on.]

however, the more common view of purgatory among catholics is that the souls relegated there can't do anything to help themselves, and are reliant on the prayers of their living relatives and loved ones to …