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All About Deep Winter: Explore the 12 Seasons

Deep Winter is cool and dark and shares characteristics with winter and autumn in the 12 season system of color analysis.

Are your features deeply dark with cool tones? Are you drawn to the deepest colors of plum, navy, and forest green? Do you love the nighttime colors of a winter landscape? 

If this sounds like you, you might be a Deep Winter!

The is a comprehensive guide to deep winter in the 12 season system of color analysis. Keep reading to learn the physical characteristics, best makeup, a color palette, wardrobe staples for deep winter, and how to create your own custom palette.

The 12 Seasons

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 deep autumn, true/cool winter, and clear winter.

Today we’ll be exploring the dark beauty of deep winter.

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Cool and Dark

Deep Winter is classified in the following ways: cool hue, dark value, neutral chroma.

  • Cool hue
  • Dark value
  • Neutral chroma

Deep winter is cool and dark.

Deep winter differs from its fellow winter seasons in that value is the primary characteristic. Although there is definite coolness, the features are very dark overall.

The skin is likely to be light beige to deep cocoa. The eyes will typically be brown or dark gray. Occasionally the eyes will be a deep blue or green color.

Hair is the in the brown or black color family, and very dark. Black hair may have blue tones. Deep Winter eyes and hair.

The features are overall similar in depth, dark on dark on dark. However, high contrast is also a possibility with light skin and dark hair and eyes. Deep winter is similar to deep autumn, but looks best in cool toned rich dark colors.

Nighttime winter colors.
Aubergine vegetable colors.
Snowy owl colors.
Burgundy ornament colors.

Makeup for the Deep Winter Woman

To emphasize the features of deep winter, makeup colors should be both cool and dark as well. 

For the eyes, choose dark neutrals such as mauve, gold, pewter, and charcoal. Accent colors could be eggplant, forest, and espresso.

For the cheeks, bold cool shades of deep pink, coral, and rosewood are wonderful to bring out a dramatic glow for deep winter.

Nude lips should be avoided completely, sticking with darker colors like rose and sangria for a natural look. Raspberry and mulberry create a bold look, while crimson and deep red are both suitable for a sexy red lip.

Avoid warm tones like orange or caramel lips, orange and pastel eyeshadows, and sandy cheek colors. Deep winter should also stay away from all light lip colors.


Deep winter is known by its bold dark colors. Think of any nighttime snow scene. Since it’s in the cool color family, its heavy with blues, purples, and greens. 

Deep Winter wears the rainbow.

Here we see some different elements where deep winter is naturally found. The 6 color rainbow depicts the truest, most neutral form of colors, but the deep winter rainbow is cooler and much darker.

The snowy nighttime landscape with frosted trees illustrates the blues and purples of deep winter.

Aubergine and ripe figs with blackberry depict the winter spectrum headed into autumn, while the snowy owl illustrates the deep neutrals of deep winter.

A deep pink Christmas ornament against twinkling lights shows the range of pinks in the palette.

Deep Winter Color Palette

Deep Winter color palette.

In creating a palette for deep winter we start with neutrals, and work through the major color families.

Black and white are all stars in the winter palettes, along with deep grays and the lightest of silver. Midnight navy, olive, and espresso are colored neutrals that will be staples in the deep winter wardrobe.

Many deep reds are suitable, along with bold dark pinks. Yellows appear as mustard and honey. Many greens can be worn from ocean to dark green. The deepest blues and purples are extremely flattering on deep winter.

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. Warm reds often become burgundy, some pinks may be too orange, any pure yellow is too light. Purples are best that lean towards blue instead of red.

There are some colors that deep winter should always avoid. Warm tones such as orange and lime green are unflattering. Soft light pastels are not suitable for the deep winter woman as they clash with the skin. Deep bold colors, specifically wine and royal purple are some of the best colors.

Best and Worst Colors for Deep Autumn


Wardrobe Essentials for Deep and Cool Coloring

No matter your style or personal aesthetic, there are a few items that every woman should have in their wardrobe. 

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 blue, purple, green, and red color families will add interest. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Deep Winter

Is deep winter the same as dark winter?

Yes! They are used interchangeable and deep and dark winter are the same subseason. In the 16 season systems these may be called burnished winter or sultry winter. Deep Winters can sometimes be confused with Deep Summer in the 16 season system.

Can Deep Winter wear Gold?

The answer to this depends on your personal hue attribute, aka whether your are cool or neutral. Since Deep Winter sits next to a warm season, many of these types can wear gold. Rose Gold may be a perfect middle ground.

Can Deep Winter wear Beige?

Beige is a classic neutral and works well with other neutrals. For the Deep Winter, beige may be a color that is kept away from the face. It is likely too light and warm.

Can Deep Winter wear Orange?

Orange is a color best suited to the warm seasons. Orange on a deep winter is likely to create a yellow cast to the skin and look unflattering.

Can Deep Winter wear White?

Absolutely! As a high contrast season with a mostly cool undertone, white is perfect. However, depending on depth, deep winter may find off white, cream, or alabaster more congruent.

Can Deep Winter wear Yellow?

Pure yellow is in the big 4 winter season, so deep winter can play with this color. Leaning into deep autumn, the deep winter may find that warmer yellows like honey are a good fit. Every season has a perfect yellow, you just have to find yours!

Can Deep Winter wear Olive?

Olive is another great “color” neutral and works well for deep winter. Choose an olive that is dark and neutral, rather than one that is muted and murky.

Can Deep Winter wear Coral?

Coral is classified as a warm pink, and many deep winter types can wear this color. It will depend on your personal attributes, particularly hue and chroma as to whether true coral works. 

Can I still wear black?

Of COURSE you can still wear black. I personally believe that black is a staple in any wardrobe. Fortunately black is a powerhouse for deep winter and this color makes a great base for a capsule wardrobe.

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? Is it one of the color families, yellow or green 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

Year Round Colors for Deep Winter

Can I only wear these colors?

No way! You should wear what you love! If you want to wear blush pink, 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 deep winter:

Fall Forest colors
Deep Autumn
Icy aurora colors.
Cool Winter

Related Color Analysis Articles:

Ready to create your own color palette based on your season?

download color your capsule

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the lovely attributes of deep winter. These individuals are truly beautiful in their bold striking coolness. They can wear deep beautiful colors that overwhelm other people.

Are you a Deep Winter? If so, say hello in the comments! 

Deep Winter sits on the cusp of winter and autumn and is cool and dark.

28 thoughts on “All About Deep Winter: Explore the 12 Seasons”

  1. These are all the colors I love and have in my wardrobe. I guess that’s more confirmation that I am definitely a deep winter. I do wear some mid-range colors too, but all cool versions. Thanks for this series, I’m going to read the rest.

      1. my son is getting married in September and the bride has chosen terracotta as her color. I’m not a fan of the color and wondered as a deep winter can I even pull it off

        1. Hi Crystal, sorry for the late response. Have you been asked to wear Terracotta or just something close? Terracotta is typically an autumn color, but you could search for a rosy persimmon color instead. Also, as MOTG a beautiful burgundy would be stunning and coordinate with the terracotta! Congrats, mama!

  2. I am looking forward to planning my wardrobe based on this exciting color palette. For years I wore the bright colors of the self-diagnosed Carol Jackson Winter palette-colors like true red, hot turquoise, icy yellow, etc. Most of that basic palette looked fine (not the icy colors so much), but I really didn’t like some of them. And I easily tired of the bright colors. So, I branched out and wore colors that really looked awful on me.
    I am confident that I am a deep winter with gray-ringed, brown eyes that deepened even more when I colored my naturally brown hair dark ash brown. I have fair skin; Physicians Formula C1 disappears on my face. And most importantly, I love the deep winter palette!
    Your article, which I intend to read more thoroughly when I have time, is very inspiring. I love the winter photography to illustrate the deep winter palette! Thank you for writing it and for offering the free download!

  3. Hello! this is very interesting, I didn’t know about it, but a friend told me about. Curious that I love burgundy and navy, strong colors. Thanks for sharing. It is ok to wear brown shoes? like very dark once in a while? as it is a neutral color. Thanks again it is really helpful to know this so we can combine the colors and easy, we don’t have to wear all the colors.

    1. Hi Valeria! Almost all the seasons have a brown they can wear, so of course you can still wear it! Dark espresso is a great neutral for deep winter! Cognac can also be stunning and mixes well with black! Glad you found this helpful!!!

  4. So I did DNA style which is an app that told me I am a deep winter based on their analysis through my picture in natural light. I love these color palettes and people have told me these colors look good on me but I’ve also heard people say orange looks good on me too which really isn’t in here I gravitate towards more dark colors and find that I don’t look as nice in soft pastel color than I do in these bold but vibrant cobalt blues, purples, and greens. I remember trying on a cream dress and a white dress I bought for a family photo shoot I notice how the cream dress didn’t make me look as vibrant and the pure white dress and how I’m often drawn to silver jewelry but often find Gold annoying or hard on my eyes.

    I had a question about their sister palettes for winter which is deep autumn, so we are allowed to wear those colors as well and look just as good is is it just an alternative if we don’t want to wear deep winter palettes.

    And another thing I have so many black outfits it makes no sense 😂 black is definitely my go to color in almost every occasion that or white.

    1. Hey Shania!

      I also love black. It’s my favorite haha! As a deep winter, you can borrow from deep autumn. Just be mindful if any colors make you feel off. It seems like you have good instincts for that, so enjoy the bonus colors!

  5. The only color I question is the coral shade in the ‘Deep Winter Colors for the Whole Year’, as a color to wear for summer. To me it’s too orange or peach and I don’t see a Deep Winter pulling it off unless they have a tan (and even then, I don’t know). Otherwise, every other color swatch is spot on. I love this page!

    1. Hey Michelle!

      Coral is one of the better colors in the Clear Winter Palette, and most winters can dip their toes through the whole season. A lot of Deep Winters tell me they struggle in spring/summer to lighten up the feel of their wardrobe when darker colors are their best. Using the tints of best colors is a way to get that summer feeling without wearing pastels. For a deep winter, lightening the palette depends on whether each person is a bit more muted or a bit more bright, since DW falls in the middle. Some like to borrow from Clear Winter, and others Soft Summer since the qualities vary. Hope this explains some of the reasoning behind coral!

      1. Thank you for the explanation! I will definitely play with the Clear Winter and Soft Summer palettes for the warmer weather as I too struggle a lot with lightening my wardrobe. And I’m going to try out coral.

  6. looking at the pallet I’m seeing colours I like, colours I’d like to wear, seems my intuition is right 🙂 note, this is a general guide and you probably should not try to follow it strictly, even if i like the colours i’d use them as a guide line and won’t be upset if something requires a bit of tweaking we are not copies of each other, after all. the 12 seasons are fun but area a starting point to think about not a lock on your options

  7. I get so confused because I feel I have warmer tones- skin that burns and freckles the first few beach days of the year but turns into a tan the next day and deepens to a golden brown, medium/dark brown hair with reddish highlights, warm hazel/brown eyes… BUT I look best in black and jewel tones but oranges and muted rusty or olive colors look awful! Pastels look terrible too!! Blonde hair washes me out. Contrast makes my eyes pop. What I’m trying to figure out now is what tone of red hair color would look best on me, copper or more burgundy? Another example is nail color- classic red is very harsh and makes my skin look pale and pink whereas darker blood red with brown makes my skin glow golden. I’m Portuguese and Irish so I guess that’s why it’s confusing. What to think?

    1. Hey Sara!

      So the skin you’re describing is most commonly seen in one of the winter crossover seasons of clear or deep. As far as red hair in a cool season, any color in the palette should also look good for hair. So burgundy is better for a deep winter than copper.

    2. I’m definitely a Deep Winter (Japanese, very light skin, black hair, black eyes) and I love almost all of these colours but I’ve heard some people say I look great in blue and purple pastels too (purple is my favourite colour and I love all of its shades). I’m confused because they are considered to be among the worst for Deep Winter.

      1. Hey Kathelyn,

        Winter’s can weary icy tones, which is a bit different than pastel. It can be difficult to find the right ones, but cool bright light colors will work. Pastels are typically soft and white based. So it’s definitely possible for those colors to look great, if they are bright rather than cool!

        1. I love this article, very helpful. I just got draped and am learning more about my colors. Most of my king time favorites are deep winter. Do you have resources and /or services for additional help with fashion and makeup?

          1. Hey Robin, thanks for asking!

            There is a deep winter guide with more color advice. If you’re on the email list I also offer workshops occasionally and a full style course. That’s the best way to stay updated when things become available.

  8. I always knew that I´m a winter, I just couldn´t stand that super intens blue or red. Turns out I don`t have to. I`m a deep winter and can wear my black-navy, black-grey or black-plum outfit combos with an occasional pop of white in it and look absolutley great in it.
    I didn´t know that olive is also a neutral for me. Maybe I give it a closer look next time I´m shopping.

  9. Thanks for the fun guide to read…I especially liked the article on eye color because that helped me to determine that I am a deep winter rather than a deep Autumn. My skin is light medium olive but I tan so I am not that light in the summer months…..but honestly light olive clothes look terrible on me, as do light blue grays and pastels(I look sick). I don’t have a lot of color in my face and I can appear rather gray. I think navy is my best color; softer than black by my face – Now my black hair has turned white so I think I am even more of a winter than I was! I have never had any colors for summer except blues so I just stay with the regular black and white like many on this post, and navy and whites. I am going to try some more color in my wardrobe….I just don’t like wearing bright colors that much. My sister who was a cool summer wore her beautiful pinks and blues all year when her hair turned white. Her skin was rosy. You have your work cut out for you with all the different mixtures of skin tones and I can’t believe that 23 and Me does color analysis (some algorithm they must have with ethnic traits I guess). BTW I had three color analysis done in the past: all different: one clear Winter, one just Winter, and one Fall. I think it’s the eyes that make the difference: blocks of brown sitting in my brown pupil and charcoal rings around the outside, don’t see any starburst type patterns. Sorry for the very long note but maybe this will help some other person! And, I just bought a camel coat; think I’ll return it and just go back to my black. !!

  10. It’s actually a myth that babies are all born with blue eyes. That’s only true for about 1 in 5 babies, and it generally applies to white babies.

    1. I was taught that any color in your palette is great for hair color 🙂 For the deep winter that would include black, espresso, grays/white, or dark colors like burgundy/plum if you’re looking for something different. Having said that, I have typed deep winters whose hair has turned caramel with age, so don’t rule out natural processes.

      1. I am defiantly a deep winter and had dyed my hair an ash blond oops not a good idea it really clashed with my light skin and looked kind of like wool, I dyed it back dark I went for a medium-dark down and it looks so much better I also feel a lot sexier.

        On a side note, I have had my hair a burgundy before and it looks amazing! I only changed it because I am me and I get board

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