Are ALL your features cool with an icy quality? Are you drawn to dark primary colors like cobalt blue and ruby red? Do you love the colors of a snowy winter day?
If this sounds like you, you might be a Cool Winter!
The is a comprehensive guide to cool winter in the 12 season system of color analysis. Keep reading to learn the physical characteristics, the best makeup, a beautiful color palette to wear, wardrobe staples, and how to create your own custom palette.
Table of Contents
In seasonal color analysis we look at the skin, eyes, and hair to find a common color family. The 6 main color components are warm, cool, deep, light, soft, and bright.
The winter color family is cool and includes clear winter, true/cool winter, and deep winter.
- Deep Winter
- True/Cool Winter
- Clear Winter
READ MORE: Seasonal Color Analysis: The Ultimate Guide to Beauty
Today we’ll be exploring the icy beauty of cool winter.
Cool, Leaning Dark
Soft Autumn is classified in the following ways: warm hue, medium value, muted chroma.
- Cool hue
- Medium/dark value
- Bright/neutral chroma
Cool winter is one of the pure seasons, and as such all the features are cool. It is distinguished from the other true cool season of summer in value only, with cool winter leaning dark.
The skin is likely to be porcelain or medium beige. The eyes will typically be brown, blue, or gray, somewhat dark and bright. Winter eyes will typically have white spokes as a pattern overlay.
Hair is the in the brown color family, from medium to very dark, and will have no traces of red. Silver gray hair is in the cool winter family as well.
The features offer a high degree of contrast, typical with all winters. Cool winters are striking with dark hair, piercing eyes, and clear skin, and look amazing in bold cool colors.
To emphasize the features of cool winter, makeup colors should be cool and clear as well.
For the eyes, choose light neutrals such as silver, icy pink, and dusky blue, or dark colors like charcoal, pewter, and navy. Accent colors could be purple and teal.
For the cheeks, cool shades of soft pink, rose, and deep pink are wonderful to bring out a rosy glow for cool winter.
Winters should avoid nude as a lip color, because it downplays their natural contrast. A natural lip could be mauve or pink, while rose and sangria are a bit deeper. For a bold lip choose deep red or plum.
Avoid warm tones like coral or orange red lipstick, brown and orange, and bronze cheek colors. Cool winter should also stay away from light lip colors.
Cool winter is known for having deeply cool primary colors and the iciest of pastels. Winter mountain scenes with snow covered peaks offer make opportunities to see cool winter in nature. Since it’s in the cool color family, its heavy with pinks, blues, greens and purples.
Here we see some different elements where cool winter is naturally found. The 6 color rainbow depicts the truest, most neutral form of colors, but the cool winter rainbow is cooler and slightly darker.
The auroras over an icy mountain display the blues and purples that are key to cool winters colors.
The bright pink flowers against a snowy mountain illustrate the contrast of winter, while a frozen tundra under baby pink sunset show the pastels of cool winter.
Finally, Christmas ornaments represent the deep seasonal red and silver for cool winter.
In creating a palette for cool winter we start with neutrals, and work through the major color families.
Black and white find their home in the winter seasons, and go well with dark and light shades of gray. Navy and soft white are also staples in the cool winter wardrobe.
Reds and pinks for cool winter are typically along the bold spectrum, with the exception of icy pink. Yellows can be worn carefully as lemon and chiffon. Many greens can be worn along the medium to light spectrum, all with a hint of blue. Blues and purples are some of the best colors for cool winter and this type can wear most of them.
There is usually a version of every color that can be worn by any season, but some may be more difficult to match and find. Pinks can easily become coral, yellows can be too orange, and gray can be underwhelming if medium in value.
There are some colors that cool winter should always avoid. Orange is one of the worst colors for a cool winter. Muted colors with gray overtones are unforgiving on a cool winter woman. Bright bold colors, specifically cobalt and eggplant, are some of the best colors.
Here we see some outfits for deep autumn. I’ve included two outfits for each season, one with a dress and another with skirt separates.
When putting together outfits, low contrast options featuring mostly darker colors in the palette will be best. Using light neutrals is still a suitable outfit, however.
Patterns should feature mostly dark colors with a hint of light, such as traditional leopard. When choosing other patterns such as florals, plaids, and stripes, look for options that have a dark background with smaller elements as contrast.
Dark wash denim is preferred over medium and light wash. Leather should be in the brown family, like mocha or cognac. Yellow and rose gold are great metals for deep autumn.
No matter your style or personal aesthetic, there are a few items that every woman should have in their wardrobe.
Here are 10 core pieces for the Soft Autumn woman:
The basics of any wardrobe should be neutrals, and you could certainly choose the same neutrals. Layering similar shades of the same color will create a rich luxe look.
For those that enjoy a more colorful look, the basics are still appropriate, but fun and funky accessories in the yellow, orange, purple, and blue families will add interest.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I still wear black?
Of COURSE you can still wear black. Black is a star in any winter type wardrobe. Feel free to create your closet based on black as your primary neutral.
I hate these colors, could my season be wrong?
Yes absolutely, it could be true. But I want to challenge you, what is it that you hate? Is it the neutrals that you don’t like? Perhaps you don’t like gray or white? Is it one of the color families, yellow or pink perhaps? Don’t wear them! Just because a palette includes all these colors doesn’t mean you should wear them all. I dare you to look at your closet and see if you naturally gravitate to any of these colors. If the answer is no, and you still feel this is completely wrong, let me know! I can help!
Should I wear all of these colors?
Well, that depends on you and what you consider minimalism! If you like a lot of variety, then go for it! However, when building a small capsule, you’ll find that limiting your color options is the best idea. I recommend the following:
- Black base
- Dark neutral
- Light neutral
- Main color
- 2-3 Accent colors
Get Your Free Color Palette
Can I only wear these colors?
No way! You should wear what you love! If you want to wear bright orange then go for it! You may find, however, that learning your season affects how other colors make you feel. If you feel confident rocking a color, then it’s yours to own. But if you don’t, feel free to leave it to the seasons that wear it well. If you’re looking to expand your palette, you can also consider sister seasons.
The following are sister seasons for cool winter:
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the lovely attributes of cool winter. These individuals are truly beautiful in their bold icy beauty. They can wear deep primary colors that are arresting.
Are you a Cool Winter? If so, say hello in the comments!
Stacey is the owner and creator behind Radiantly Dressed. She is a certified image consultant and AICI member focusing on creating simplicity in wardrobes via color and style.
13 thoughts on “All About Cool Winter: Explore the 12 Seasons”
Hi, my name is Karen. I’m a cold/dark winter. Your post stated that this particular season will have no traces of red in their hair.
I have very porcelain skin, very bright deep blue eyes with spokes, and my hair is very dark with a lot of red in it.
Dark winter colors do look best on me.
Please enlighten me on the “no red”.
I understand that red hair and bright blue eyes are rather rare. My hair was very very black at birth but has changed as I got older.
Thanks for reading this. Looking forward to your reply.
So a cool winter is also a “true” winter and is cool toned in all areas. A deep winter, however, is a different season and may have red because of the warm influence of autumn. Hope that helps!
I am Scandinavian but not the type with icy blond hair with light blue sparkling eyes and very fair pink skin type, that seldom exists in the real world but mostly in fairy tales.
Even so I have a clearly nordic look.
I have dark blond or light brown hair (I’m not sure where the line goes) slightly ashy but not very much so. Clear medium to dark gray blue eyes with a darker rim around the iris, clearly destinguishing it from the white of the eye. Fair or light pink and rosy skin (I’m not sure about the distinction between fair and light). Naturally cool colorful pinkish lips. So clearly cool, without looking blueish. Because of the pink, rosy complexion I do not look pallid or anemic. Some would maybe say clearly a summer. Yes maybe, but soft grayed out colors and pastels are not the best for me. The contrast between my skin, hair and eyes is not low, but at least medium, leaning towards high.
What do you make of it? Summer or winter? Or not a season at all? Maybe just a cool color type, somewhere in between summer and winter?
And by the way, I am male.
As I see it color analysis and finding ones season or color type is even more important for us males. Why? Because we (usually) do not have many tools to our help. Women can use make up to enhance their looks. We have to go with what nature has given us and make the best of it by using the right colors and color quality.
Thanks for reading this looong comment, Nils
I talk to my husband about color analysis all the time! We’re opposite seasons, so it makes for good conversation! Cool Summer actually has pretty decent value variations and is more bright because of the winter influence. The lighter hair explanation and medium contrast is more likely summer than winter. Occasionally I run into what amounts to a “deep” summer, someone who needs the darker richer colors of the soft summer palette, borrowing from deep winter, but not able to handle the high contrast neutrals.
Thank you for answering.
I have been searching around, testing different self analyzing tests, also with selfies, and come up with cool summer, cool winter, clear winter and even dark/deep winter.
I think that I have somewhat misjuged my own coloring (maybe because my bathroom has warm lighting and so not showing my colors correctly) after taking a lot of selfies in natural light, and desaturting the fotos to gray scale, I have come to realize that my contrasts are stronger than I first figured.
I thought that black was to strong for me. It’s not my favourite, which is darker blues, but black evens out my face coloring and makes me look good (well as good as it gets 🙂 So black is very good on me, and that is taking me to winter since black is supposed to be to harsh for summers.
I have also learned that I have typical winter eye patterns and coloring. As mentioned cool clear darkish blue-gray irises with lighter spokes, no other patterns that could indicate ambivalence and leaning towards some other season. So presumably winter, but which one, cool, clear or deep? My coloring is cool, but also clear and quite deep. So if it exists I would guess Cool Winter, or perhaps Cool Shaded Summer if I would need more toned downed colors, with more depth than usual, but without the deep winter’s slight leaning towards autumn and neutral almost a little warm colors. Orange is a no, no. Neutral universal red is not for me, it has to be clearly bluish red. The same with neutral universal green, no, it has to be clearly bluish green.
For me there is no such thing as a working universal neutral color with equally even cool and warm influence, or lack of. All colors have to be clearly cool.
I think that the so called universal neutral colors that supposedly everyone can wear, is a color theory myth that does not work when you have clearly cool coloring with pink, rosy, red face coloring. It clashes.
The need for blue based colors indicates a true cool season, either winter or summer. If black isn’t too harsh then definitely winter!
That is what I have also come to (after much searching and pondering).
I think I can be a “Smokey Soft Winter”, i.e. a winter with lower contrast than most winters, which has a muted quality, with deep, rich, toned colors.
I need the cool, the dark, but not the very clear and vivid colors. Black, as mentioned, is to my surprise my best color, it compliments my dark blue-gray eyes, tones down uneven coloring and gives a nice contrast and calmness to my face, so logically other colors should also be cool, dark, saturated and calm. Deep charcoal blue, cool burgundy, boysenberry, black cherry, toned raspberry, deep blue, deep blue-green, etc. I can do lighter colors, but best as lesser parts. I think I have found my “season”.
It was not so obvious since I am not extremely dark and the typical winter, with emediate eye-catching great contrast, very dark brown to black hair, dark brown eyes, etc.
Those are great colors, and you may find lots of ideas crossing over Deep Winter and Soft Summer!
This is a great post! I’ve always struggled to understand what my season is! I have dark brown hair, dark blue eyes that pop with darker blues and charcoal. However, my skin tone is naturally olive. As I tan my eyes look bluer.
What nail polish colors do you recommend for cool winter?
The rule for color holds true for nail polish as well, essentially anything in the palette is good as a nail color. Cool, bright, medium-dark value colors will be the best.
I think I am a true winter, I originally went with deep because…I actually don’t know why. I probably just hadn’t gotten used to seeing colors properly yet. But one thing really worried me—I really couldn’t rock those deep dark lip colors deep winters are supposed to look at home in. They made me look ghostly. So I re-analysed, knowing I had to be some type of winter. And I noticed that I didn’t seem to have any warmth in my skin (I’ve had blonde hair before and the minute it got brassy I looked absolutely horrible). Now I’m thinking this could be it. I have naturally jet black hair, so dark it looks almost silver, dark eyes, and black winged eyebrows. I’m Indian and my skin is…definitely brown, but not the golden tan we’re known for. It has a natural pinkness to the cheeks. I look best in cool, bright colours, but there’s definitely a limit—I think unfortunately bright winter colors are not my best, I look just a bit overwhelmed. Does this sound like true winter? It really looks like it fits, but I don’t recognize the color differences yet because I haven’t been researching color theory for long.
Hi Shirin! Definitely sounds like a strong possibility!