Lipstick finishes for every season

A few weeks ago I ordered some free lipstick samples from Jane Fardon cosmetics. They are a colour analysis company who sell their own brand of cosmetics and I was very keen to give them a go. I’m a Deep Summer so I ordered Mulberry, Burgundy, Sweet Pea and Pink Jasmine to try.

I tried Sweet Pea first and whilst there was no doubt it was perfect colour-wise, something was off. Even my husband commented on it. “It’s very shiny…” he said (he doesn’t usually notice whether I’m wearing lipstick or not). He was right. All the lipsticks had come through frosted (a metallic shine). The lipstick just didn’t sit right on my face. And it made me think about a fantastic article I read a while back on 12 Blueprints about skin finishes for the different seasons. I am convinced that lipstick finish relates to the skin finishes. It certainly explains why the frosted lipstick looked so off on me. It explains why Autumns always look so good in the slightly matte, heavily pigmented House of Colour lipsticks that they try after their analysis session. It explains why my Spring friend doesn’t look quite right in a matte lipstick (gloss is much better) and why the frosted fuschia lipstick looked better on my Winter friend than the very similar colour in a less exciting finish.

So here’s my theory. The lipstick you wear has to correspond to your skin finish, and your skin finish is dependent on your season. Now it is important that I mention here that not everyone suits lipstick (even in the correct colours), or at least not everyone can wear it in the traditional way. It absolutely depends on your clothing personality too. A Natural will likely look better with a lip stain whereas a Romantic will look best in a more polished, made-up look (lipstick and a lip liner). I’m a Natural Ingénue and every time I go to the make-up counter I look like I’ve raided my Mum’s make-up bag (especially if I’ve asked for a smokey eye). A Natural doesn’t suit the made-up look, and an Ingénue benefits from being enhanced but not overdone, which essentially means less is more on me and so it will be for other types too. Everyone benefits from looking believable, but believable means different things on different clothing personalities and seasons.

Firstly, I need to tell you a little about the different lipstick finishes available. Although they are often marketed under a different name, essentially you’ll find lipsticks come in the following finishes: matte, satin (creamy with a slight shine), frosted (metallic), gloss (similar finish to lipgloss but not as shiny) or shimmer (not to be confused with gloss although the two finishes are often combined). Shimmer lipsticks contain very fine particles of glitter. And there is of course lip gloss, which has a high shine and when applied liberally can look very very shiny indeed. Lip stains are useful and tend to look like felt tip pens. Lip stain (as long as it is a stain and not a gloss) can work for everyone because they are a stain so can look like a real lip (although beware of them going patchy). On some style types / seasons it will look very understated and natural, on others it’ll be all they need. Some will need Vaseline or gloss over the top for shine for the best finish (Springs I’m looking at you).

Spring

Spring skin is most beautiful when it’s smooth and shiny, like a jelly bean or a satin ribbon. Think dewy, smooth, shiny, moist. Pressed powder is far too heavy. BB cream or a tinted moisturiser works well for Springs. Foundation is often too heavy and opaque as is any kind of finishing powder. Highlighter works so well on Springs. Bronzer belongs to Autumn. Dewy and shiny is not the same as glittery, metallic or bronze. So when looking for lipsticks, anything smooth and shiny works well, which includes lip gloss. The exact level of gloss you can handle is related to where you sit in the Spring palette. Light Springs tend to be more peaches and cream. Not as glossy. Warm Springs that sit in the middle of their palette can handle more shine, the Bright Springs the most. Vaseline over a lipstick could work too if it was applied liberally enough (useful if you’ve got a lipstick that’s the right colour for you but the finish isn’t quite right).

Summer

For Summer skin, think smooth, silky and dry, like a brushed cotton sheet. Glossy, frosty, slick and metallic don’t work. As Christine so beautifully said, “Summer skin’s way of handling light is the diffusion of moonlight”. Very cool, very soft. Summer looks so good in brushed silver. (Slightly off-topic but John Greed do an excellent range of brushed silver necklaces like this wildflower one which I own, it positively glows against my Summer skin, I highly recommend). Summer’s softness is feathery. Pressed and translucent powder works so well here. Traditional foundation works too, as do mineral foundations. BB cream and tinted moisturiser will likely be too dewy without powder on top. In terms of lipsticks, I think Summers can wear subtle shimmer well (very fine glitter). Reminiscent of moonlight. Matte lipsticks may or may not be too matte (and they can sometimes be drying) but blusher dabbed on the lips with a finger is perfection. Lip stains work too (they look like felt tips), just be careful the colour isn’t too intense. Vaseline as a lip balm works but keep it to a bare minimum. I do wear Vaseline all the time but I have to be careful not to go overboard. Gloss turns to gloop in a hearbeat on Summer skin so avoid that at all costs. I find my creamy lipsticks look best with some blusher dabbed on top. Frosted, needless to say, does not work. It’s too cold even in the correct colour.

Autumn

Autumn skin has an overall matte look. Think velvet, suede, even leather. Texture. Matte. Not dewy or sparkly. Autumns look so good in velvet, you couldn’t go wrong with a moss green velvet scarf. Autumns benefit most from contouring (lowlights in the form of a blusher, or bronzer), as opposed to highlighting. Texture in metallics sit so well with Autumn (think hammered bronze). Freckles are divine (texture). The texture of the skin when combined with warm colours makes sense in bronzer. Creamy works here, as does a matte finish in a lipstick. Shimmer, in small quantities, can work. Unsurprisingly frosted lipsticks and lip gloss are just too much. Traditional foundation can work but you really don’t want to cover up the texture of the skin too much. Keep it real, not artificial.

Winter

For Winter’s skin finish, think red shiny apple, think black vinyl. A frosted lipstick on a Winter will look entirely normal in the same way the bright, very cool colours of Winter don’t look bright and very cool, they just look normal because they balance the wearer. Winter needs contrast and this should be reflected in make-up. Black eye liner or a bright blush on pale skin. Just be careful with colour, you don’t need or want too much. I suspect foiling (adding a little water to an eye shadow to intensify it) would work very well indeed on a Winter but I’ve yet to see that in real life. In terms of lipstick finish, frosted would work as well as a gloss. Ultra matte too. A frosted fuchsia lipstick on a Winter looks normal (even if the wearer can’t see it at first because they’re not used to wearing lipstick). I find it is the Winters that struggle most with their make-up recommendations. They often ask for something more muted but the Summer lipsticks turn their faces ashen. Starting with sheer cosmetics helps to ease the transition, but don’t compromise on colour.

I’ve yet to see a nude lip work on a Winter. Rita Ora is a great example of a Winter who is rarely seen without her red lipstick.

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What works here? The red lipstick. The black falsies. The platinum-blonde hair. What doesn’t? The yellow blonde hairline. The highlights and the bronzer. A flatter skin finish would work so much better.

Extremes work with Winter. Very matte or high shine lip finishes. They are the most versatile in terms of lip finish, I think.

Art for every season

I happened to be browsing Pinterest today and I spotted a watercolour painting that was perfectly Summer which inspired this short blog post.

Summer

This is the painting that inspired this post. I love this, it’s Summer perfection. There is something about watercolour paintings in general I think that really suits the way the Summer colours go together. Even the brown of the coffee is a compliant rose brown.

Autumn

The solid texture of this combined with the colours is what makes Autumn spring to mind when I look at this. When searching for images I also spotted ‘The Golden Forest’ by Klimt. He uses a lot of Autumn colours in his work.

Spring

There is an innocence about this that I think really suits the Spring palette. It’s also youthful and fun.

Winter

This is perfect Winter: the contrast of the black and white, the bright colours and the drama.

It was a struggle to pick just one piece of art for each season so I suspect they’ll be more blog posts like this in future! 🙂

Wrap bracelets for every season

I have to confess I’m a little obsessed with wrap bracelets at the moment, I got this one for my birthday:

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Sadly it’s out of stock now, but it is perfect for a Summer. The silver grey against my skin is low contrast and it goes with literally everything in my wardrobe.

Autumn

When it comes to wrap bracelets, Autumns are spoilt for choice especially on Etsy. The gold marbling on the beads is just perfection.

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I love this one especially because the texture on the beads is really beautiful and very fitting for an Autumn:

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Victoria Emerson have a fabulous Autumn wrap bracelet too.

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If I was being super fussy I’d say the first two are better choices because the Victoria Emerson one has silver hardware 😉

Summer

This is a lovely low-contrast grey bracelet for a Summer.

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This purple is perfect and I especially love the iridescent beads.

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A very pretty soft pink bracelet:

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Spring

The shiny gold hearts are great for Springs especially paired with the turquoise beads and tan cord.

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Gold hardware and warm green leather, what’s not to love?

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Not technically a wrap bracelet but the colours are too perfect not to include it:

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Winter

A lovely charcoal grey for a Winter, would probably suit a Deep Summer too.

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Black with bright blue beads, a great combination:

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Black again with a bit of bling this time.

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I struggled to find Spring and Winter wrap bracelets actually, Autumn was by the far the easiest to find. In terms of style type, these would be an obvious choice for a Natural which might explain the plethora of natural rich earthy Autumn colours 🙂

Everyone should own a Little RED Dress

According to studies done by A. J. Elliot et al (documented in his Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and his Journal of Experimental Social Psychology), red enhances women’s attractiveness to men, an effect that is apparently universal. This probably doesn’t come as any great surprise when you think about the colour and how it is used in marketing (Special K lady anyone?). It’s certainly a powerful colour, and often a colour that many veer away from for fear it might draw attention to them. Ironically it’s likely to be one of the most flattering colours you could own.

The wonderful thing about red is that every season has a shade that flatters them.

Spring has poppy red, a warm bright red that looks especially striking when worn as a lipstick with a top/dress in a similar colour.

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Spring’s warm poppy red

Summer has a cool cherry red that’s a bit more pink and soft in comparison to Winter’s red. A Deep Summer would also look incredible in a deep claret red (burgundy).

Summer’s soft cherry red

Autumn’s red looks like burnt orange and red mixed together to form a warm muted red.

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Autumn’s brick red

Autumn could also wear a softer version of Spring’s poppy red, which looks more red than the brick.

Winter’s red is cool, dramatic and uncompromising. A Winter can wear true primary red, scarlet, claret or crimson.

Scarlet red tunic

So, have I persuaded you yet? The Dress Spot is a brilliant website if you are looking for a dress in a particular colour. Perfect for finding your own Little Red Dress!

Jewellery for Springs and Summers

Spring

Spring looks best in bright, shiny, gold-coloured metal. Think of pure sunshine.

Alice by Temperley Design Collaboration: WONDERLAND CHARM NECKLACE, Stella & Dot
Alice by Temperley Design Collaboration:
Wonderland Charm Necklace, Stella & Dot, £67.50 in the sale

Brushed gold shouldn’t be ruled out, but it needs to be sunshine yellow, not antique or copper.

Springs that look better in the cooler colours of their palette can also wear silver but keep it shiny and in no way tarnished.

Rose gold can look very pretty on a Spring. Again, keep the shine. Mixed metals can be really magical too.

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Set of three mixed metal rings
by Lisa Angel, Not On The High Street, £19 for the set

Turquoise stones and sparkle are fabulous. Go for transparent rather than opaque stones if possible (I’m being rather fussy here, but we are going for the maximum wow factor).

Raina Earrings (in turquoise) by Stella & Dot
Raina earrings in turquoise by Stella & Dot, £16 in the sale

Avoid anything too muted or bronzed and especially avoid the antiqued look. Copper and antique bronze will likely be too muted and deep.

Harry Potter Time Turner  necklace 18k yellow gold-plated
Harry Potter Time Turner necklace 18k yellow gold-plated, approximately £1 from Etsy

For the price I suspect this lovely necklace wouldn’t last very long, but it is a great example of a Spring necklace. Bright yellow gold, high shine, and the necklace has some movement too.

Summer

Summer glows in matte, silver-coloured metal. This brushed silver necklace on Not On The High Street is a brilliant example of brushed silver making the skin glow. I suspect she’s a Summer with those ash brown eyebrows and platinum blonde hair (albeit from a bottle). It’s a shame her make-up is so distracting. The black eye liner and warm red lippy aren’t right for her. The necklace and her skin, however, remind me of moonlit milk. Perfection.

Luisa Coin Necklace In Gold Or Silver by BLOOM BOUTIQUE
Luisa Coin Necklace (in gold or silver)
by Bloom Boutique, £24

This feather necklace is pretty and smaller-scale. Brushed silver again. The soft flowing lines are very befitting.

Silver Feather Necklace by Lily Charmed
Silver Feather Necklace
by Lily Charmed, £32

The texture of these rings is beautiful, as is the pattern in the stones and the satin finish. Labradorite is a beautiful and unusual choice, spot-on for a Summer.

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Mimi Stackable Band Rings by Stella & Dot, £40

Moonstone is another beautiful and unusual gemstone. It’s misty and gentle in its appearance and has a wonderful shimmer when the light hits it.

Moonstone stud earrings sterling silver, £22, Etsy
Moonstone stud earrings sterling silver, £22, Etsy

This antique-effect silver filigree moon necklace is very pretty too.

Antique filigree sliver crescent moon necklace, £12.50 from Etsy
Antique filigree sliver crescent moon necklace, £12.50 from Etsy

Summers can usually get away with rose gold if they so wish, and a very pale light yellow gold as long as it isn’t very yellow at all. Shiny silver is fine, but a more matte, satin finish will always have the edge.

Perhaps rather surprisingly, Summers can wear antiqued bronze particularly if found on a compliant coat in the form of buttons. The bronze isn’t too warm and is muted, making it an interesting alternative to silver and it looks great with brown leather.

Spring Natural Ingénue

After I shared my Summer Ingénue Natural Polyvore on Facebook I had the good fortune of discovering a friend of the same style type who is a Spring. I couldn’t resist having a go at making her a board too (DISCLAIMER: I’m no expert so take my Polyvore with a pinch of salt if need be!) 🙂 In terms of style I believe this would be Soft Natural in Kibbe, Natural Ingénue in House of Colour’s system and probably Early Spring (Playful Princess) according to Zyla.

Spring Natural Ingénue

Skin undertones and overtones

There seems to be a lot of (very understandable) confusion around skin undertones and overtones. If you’ve had your colours analysed you’ll know that your undertone determines what season you are and yet your undertone is invisible. If you are an Autumn or Spring it can be said you have warm undertones; conversely if you are a Summer or Winter it can be said you have cool undertones. Colour analysis is not about overtones. If it were, women who wear the same foundation would be the same Season.

People often think undertone is skin colour – it’s not. Your undertone is invisible. Your overtone however, is not invisible. It’s the visible colour of your skin. When purchasing foundation both overtone and undertone are important. Some companies have finally cottoned on to undertones. Cosmetics companies who understand undertones and overtones are much more likely to have a foundation shade that matches your skin. Shopping for foundation becomes a lot easier. Your overtone might look yellow, or pink, brown or peachy. It might be described as sand, beige, ivory, biscuit or ebony. All common foundation names. Your undertone might be described by cosmetics companies as ‘pink’ or ‘rose’ if it is cool and ‘yellow’ or ‘golden’ if it is warm.

There is also such a thing as a false overtone. This is the colour your skin can appear to turn when you are wearing the wrong colour. When I wear khaki I look jaundiced. A Winter wearing the wrong colour might look ruddy in the face.

What influences your undertone? There is no definitive answer to this, but it is generally considered that the following are factors:

  • Oxygenated (red) or non-oxygenated (blue) blood vessels that run under the surface of the skin.
  • Melanin (which also influences hair and eye colour). The more melanin in the skin, the darker the skin tone.
  • Skin thickness. This varies by Season and influences how much colour shows through.
  • Carotene, which gives skin a yellow hue.

The only way to find out whether you have cool or warm undertones is by having your colours analysed in person. Some people offer online colour analysis where you send them a series of photos. I love the idea of it, but unfortunately it’s often inaccurate. It’s impossible to simply look at someone and tell what season they are (although I’m often asked to do this! 😉 ). During an in-person colour analysis session it’s important that you see the way the colours change your skin, in real time, in front of the mirror. Watching your skin react and your face change is all part of the (deeply exciting) process.