if you've perused the other entries in this series without finding something that really spoke to you [figuratively- lipsticks shouldn't actually speak to you- get help], you may belong in one of the winter seasons. winter, like summer, is cool in tone; like spring, it is saturated; like autumn, it is dark. that combination of elements creates a colour palette [or three] that reads as very "strong" to most. and on people who aren't part of the winter group, such a palette would look severe. the point of finding a palette that reads "correctly" on you is to find something that you can balance and winter skin can absolutely balance these intense shades. someone who isn't part of the winter club will look like they're being buried under the weight of such colours- they'll look physically smaller and, as a result, give the impression of being diminished.
on the other hand, people who require stronger colours will look a bit ill if they adorn themselves with soft, milky neutrals, pastels or muted tones. yes, there are lighter, less "intimidating" options, but they'll always be more intense than those of other people. i'm mentioning this because, on their own, winter colours can look shocking. they won't when they're placed on the right person. anything less would seem feeble.
if you peruse the "making faces" posts on this blog, you'll notice that i have a marked preference for these sorts of shades, a lot more of them than i've had space to mention here, so please feel free to glance through them at your leisure.
the winter season begins as the last vestiges of autumn fade from view. it's still not entirely cold, not icy, but it's quite dark. the colours get richer, cooler and more intense, but there's still a smudge of autumn brown hidden within all of them. a lot of colours in the "plum" spectrum are very flattering here.
bobbi brown high shimmer lip gloss "black ruby" :: it is indeed a deepened ruby red with gold shimmer. because of the sparkle effect, it will be eye catching, but it will still look "right" and not glitzy. winter skin can support a bit of sparkle, like light reflecting on ice.
mac lustre "desire" :: a semi-opaque dark plum, with elements of purple, brown and red. it can be worn heavily for a dramatic effect, but also makes a lovely stain. [the variable opacity also makes it work for day and night.] this has been a staple for years and something i keep repurchasing, even though i've become less enamoured of mac formulas as time has worn on.
armani rouge ecstasy 601 "attitude" :: i will pause once again in reverence to how wonderful this formula is. this particular colour is one of my favourites, a lively reddened purple with a soft finish. it's got plenty of pigment, but this is the level of colour needed to really work on dark winter skin. an important note on that: this is true regardless of the skin's actual colour. people of any race can fall into the dark winter season, even ones who are quite pale, but the rules remain the same. a soft colour will look anemic on such a person.
le metier de beauté colour core "kona" :: this is the equally vampy sister to dark autumn's "bali". in truth, i think that both colours would likely suit a lot of women in both seasons, but this one is definitely cooler and more purple, while "bali" is a warmer burgundy. as i said for dark autumn, if you can pull off a dark lip, i say go for it! no one else can do it as well.
mac lustre "naked paris" :: this one might look like a bit of an orphan, but stay with me. every season needs some sort of everyday colour and while darker shades can work for this, i thought that it might be interesting to throw in something that could work as a "nude" option. this is a plummy brown with shimmer. i think that a soft summer woman could pull it off as a deeper shade, whereas on a dark winter, it'll look more like a "my lips but better" kind of colour. it appears brown at first glance, but there are hints of purple in it and the combination will mesh nicely with those elements in dark winter skin.
a few other suggestions :: nars transeurope express, rouge d'armani 408, rouge d'armani 608, yves st. laurent poupre carmine, hourglass nocturnal, chanel envoutante
after dark winter, the autumn influence disappears and we're into the true winter season. what distinguishes it? cold, cold, cold. it has very high saturation and fairly dark, but the main thing that stands out is that there isn't an iota of warmth in anything here. these colours always look very sharp-edged to me, very modern [perhaps because traditional makeup seems to emphasize warmth].
mac lustre "milan mode" :: you're going to read the words "cool pink" a lot in connection with true winter colours, so we might as well get it started. this is a medium-bright cool pink with silver shimmer. on some, it would appear bright despite it's semi-sheer consistency, but on a true winter, it'll work pretty well as an everyday nude. it can be built up for a little more impact, but it's not ever going to be startling.
mac matte "candy yum yum" :: people are drawn to this light, opaque über-cool pink like moths to a candy floss flame, but there really is only one skin tone that can wear this sort of shade perfectly. you could argue that it's the sort of shade that should be a bit jarring, but if you're a true winter, this will be the sort of thing that just highlights your skin and makes you look healthy. it will still have a bit of drama, but it won't be as... dramatic. [i think i might need more coffee.]
urban decay revolution "jilted" :: such a lovely, nuanced colour! it's a purple-berry base with blue shimmer. the formula is completely opaque but very soft and forgiving on damaged lips [a side effect of seasonal winter, which is fast descending upon us].
yves st. laurent glossy stain "violet edition" :: deep, dark purple. well, it could be lighter, if you want to apply a single coat, or vampy if you want more. although you can definitely see the red in it, purples as cool as this are rare, which makes it worth hunting down for that reason alone.
armani "400" :: i'm not specifying a formula here because it's available in every armani lip format and frankly any of them would be fantastic. you can see another swatch of the rouge ecstasy here [the swatch above is also the rouge ecstasy] and a look i did with the liquid lipstick maestro formula here. it's always a bright red that leans just a little cool, which will make it particularly gorgeous on true winter skin.
a few other suggestions :: mac st. germain [another fiendishly difficult colour to pull off], guerlain gladys, nars funny face, mac violetta, mac heroine, ysl violet singulier, ysl golden gloss white gold topaz, mac cyber, nars angela. a lot of silver lipsticks and glosses are released in limited editions by different brands and, like summer with shades of blue, pure silver would look amazing for a winter.
finally, we reach the end of our seasonal journey almost back where we started: the bright winter. like its warmer counterpart, bright spring, this is a season all about saturation. there is no such thing as too bright, if a bright colour looks off, it's because there's something else wrong with it- it's too warm or too cool, too dark or too pastel. bold will never be an issue here. what can be an issue is feeling intimidated by the kinds of colours that work for this complexion, because it's easy for something that looks bright on someone else to just fade away to nothing on this person. in fact, without strong colours, the person tends to look a little forgettable, or haggard.
chanel glossimer "myriade" :: of course, needing to have strong colour doesn't mean there aren't sheerer, lighter options. this is a cool cherry base with shimmer [the hallmark of the glossimers is their sparkle]. it might look vegas-tacky on others, but it will just be lively on a bright winter.
bite beauty lip pencil "quince" :: this is one of those "no one but this season..." colours. it's a reddened magenta that could power a small city and on anyone else it will look terrifying, but this is what a bright winter [possibly a cooler-leaning bright spring] can pull off and look invigorated.
givenchy le rouge "rouge égerie" :: this is about as warm as a bright winter can go without running into shades that would be better on a spring complexion. however, this is a great example of how bright winter's shades are like the true winter's, but heated up with a little spring sunlight. the warmth in this shade is yellow, not gold, which is autumn's effect, so the intensity is turned all the way up.
chanel rouge coco shine "fiction" :: again, finding a plummy shade that doesn't have brown in it, but this one fits the bill nicely. although it might look bold [particularly given that it's one of the more pigmented rouge coco lipsticks], it will be more of a basic on a bright winter, a purply shade with red-pink undertones and a bit of light gold shimmer.
mac "catharina" :: i've never been sure what formula this is, since it's a more luxurious option among mac lipsticks. originally released as a limited edition, it's been brought back as a permanent edition this year. it's a bright magenta that actually reads a little soft once it's applied. it's not sheer, but it's definitely not as bright as it looks in the tube. it won't look delicate, exactly, on a bright winter, but it won't look ostentatious either.
a few other suggestions :: chanel la fascinante, guardian liu, guerlain garconne, armani rouge ecstasy diva, mac show orchid, urban decay catfight, marc jacobs seduce me, chanel gloomier crushed cherry
we made it! hopefully you've found something in here that suits your complexion and tastes, or you've noticed something you already have and love that might point you towards a colour season that looks right to you. if you have any suggestions for additions to any of these lists, or would like an opinion [keeping in mind i'm not trained to do this] on a shade you own, please feel free to ask!