Rainbow Your World | Winter Color Palette

We are in mid February, the dead of winter here in Chicago, and finally there is snow on the ground. It’s about time we got a real taste of the fluffy white stuff!

While I’m not a fan of cold and snow, I do like living in a place where I can experience all four seasons, and more importantly, take pictures!

To celebrate the icy season, let’s talk about the three different shades of the Winter color palette: Cool Winter, Deep Winter and Clear Winter.

If you have not yet read my post about the 6 main characteristics of the 12 Season Color Analysis System, go check it out now! Keep reading to find out if you are a Winter, nail down your dominant coloring characteristic, and find out what to wear to look your very best.

Winter Color Palette

Winter Color Palette

Winter is the time when color drains away from the landscape. Crystalline ice forms around the edges of frosted window panes, and the world falls into a pale white stillness.

The green earth quietly slips away under a soft, cold, colorless blanket, occasionally broken by deep pine green, vibrant berry red, or sparkling crystal blue.

Shadows fall long and deep across unbroken white snow, and the quickly ebbing light paints the cold clear sky with icy pale hues.

That is the essence of the Winter color palette.

Are you a Winter? Let’s make sure.

  • Your coloring has quite a bit of depth, saturation and contrast. Your skin is usually either quite light or quite dark, with blue or pink undertones, although a very neutral, slightly yellow undertone may be present in Winters that border a warm season.
  • Your hair has noticeably cool undertones, and is likely very dark, and will have a high level of contrast from your skin and eyes (you may also have deep eyes and hair, but with very bright whites of your eyes, and usually pale skin).
  • Winter eyes are intense, people may comment on the often. They can be anywhere from the clearest and lightest blues and greens to deep blues, greens, deep brown, black, and even violet.

What kind of Winter are you?

Winters have cool, deep and bright coloring generally, but the season further breaks down those characteristics into three types of Winters: Cool Winter, Deep Winter and Clear Winter. Let’s learn a little more about each of them.

Cool Winter

Cool Winter Color Palette

Cool Winter Color Palette

Cool Winter, sometimes known as “True Winter,” is cool above all else. If you show any signs of warmth in your coloring, you are not a Cool Winter. Cool Winter borders Cool Summer on the color spectrum, so both your coloring and the colors you wear will be a little cooler and less saturated than the rest of the Winter Palette.

You may flow between Cool Winter and Cool Summer, but the main difference is in the levels of contrast. Cool Winter will have a little more contrast and clarity, as well as extreme lights and darks than the lighter, softer, and more diffused Cool Summer. Your look is chic, crisp, cold, and minimalist, like winter itself. Think “classic.”

  • {Eyes} Cool Winters will usually have eyes in the medium range of blue, charcoal, hazel, and soft dark brown, but with definite cool tones to them. Lighter, more piercing eyes belong in the Clear group, and very deep, dark eyes in the Deep group.
  • {Hair} Hair has very obvious cool tones, but can be anywhere from cool white blonde to ashy blondes and browns to blue-black.
  • {Skin} Your skin has definite cool undertones and is noticeably beige, ashy, a very cool olive, or even black.

Deep Winter

Deep Winter Color Palette

Deep Winter Color Palette

Deep Winter borders the warm season of Deep Autumn, but because its primary characteristic is Deep, you can wear some of the more saturated colors in the spectrum. If you show any signs of light and delicate in your coloring, you are not a Deep Winter.

You may flow between Deep Winter and Deep Autumn, but the main difference is in color temperature. Deep Winter is cooler and has more contrast than Deep Autumn, but both can wear deep, rich, saturated colors. Your look is vivid, intense, smoky, and regal. Think stately Disney queen villains.

  • {Eyes} Deep Winter’s eyes are always deep, dark brown, black or hazel, and occasionally even a very deep blue.
  • {Hair} Hair is medium-dark to dark rich cool brown, black, salt and pepper or steel grey.
  • {Skin} Many women of color fall into the Deep Winter season, and are often mistakenly labeled as Deep Autumn. It’s all about the undertones! Deep Winters often have deep brown, black or olive skin, but can also have very light skin with pink or blue undertones.

Clear Winter

Clear Winter Color Palette

Clear Winter Color Palette

Clear Winter is all about saturation and contrast. Like Deep Winter, Clear Winter also borders a warm season, in this case, Clear Spring, which allows you to wear some of the brighter warm colors that the rest of winter cannot, like yellows and corals. Many Clear Winters can flow into Clear Spring with a bit of a tan.

Your coloring is all about high contrast and can wear perhaps the most dramatic looks of all of the seasons. Your look is all theater, Cirque du Soleil, Geishas, sparkling, and intensely bright. Think candy store. You can have ALL the colors. As long as they’re super saturated.

  • {Eyes} If the first thing people notice about you are your bright and sparkly eyes, you are likely in the Clear group. They can be bright blue, violet, or green. They can also occasionally be very dark, almost black, if the whites of your eyes are very clear. This usually only happens in cases of otherwise very extreme contrast, such as black eyes, pure white eye whites, with black hair and either deep ebony or porcelain skin.
  • {Hair} Hair can come in a range of shades for Clear Winters, but will always have a cool undertone, iridescent quality, and a large level of contrast from your hair and eyes. Blondes usually do not appear in the Clear Winter season, except sometimes with the exception of white blondes.
  • {Skin} Skin will usually have a translucent quality to it , but can be a range of shades, from deep and dark black or brown, to light and neutral beige, light olive, or milky white.

What to Wear?

Now that you know more about your micro-season, I’ll bet you’re wondering how to put that knowledge to use in your look. Although the guidelines below are for Winter as a whole, stay true to your dominant characteristic. For instance, deep brown can work well on Deep Winters because of the season’s Deep border into Deep Autumn, but it muddies up Clear and Cool. Conversely, pale pinks look beautiful on Cool Winters, but will completely wash out Deep and Clear.

  • {Colors} You will look your best in colors that are cool, deep and saturated, but be sure to stick primarily with your dominant characteristic. Some of Winter’s best colors are black, navy, charcoal, grey, silver, taupe, white, lemon yellow, emerald, ivy, pine, Chinese blue, royal blue, sapphire, amethyst, eggplant, indigo, plum, violet, cranberry, raspberry, rose and ruby.
  • {Textures} What makes you think of Winter? Fresh snow, crystal clear ice, crisp frost, deep pine forests, glossy red berries, dark icy lakes, sparkling Christmas ornaments…you will always look your best in shimmer and shine with sharp contrasts and large blocks of color. Use contrast in your textures as well, such as a pale matte face and shiny red lips.
  • {Intensity} Winter is a landscape mostly devoid of color, which means that when color does appear, it pops. No soft and diffused colors for you. Use large swaths of neutrals (even if that neutral is your skin!) and accent with touches of crisp, bold, dramatic color. You can also go big on color with a smaller contrasting neutral. Better still, try using two contrasting colors, one dark, one light to really light up your look.

Are you a Winter? If you have questions about your palette, ask away in the comments below!

12 Season Color Analysis System

Rainbow Your World | Autumn Color Palette


  1. I find winter to be the most beautiful of all the seasons. It has such a depth and richness to it. 🙁 wish I was a winter!!!!

    • Natalie Webb says:

      I think we all wish we were another season…I’m a Clear Winter, but I love soft vintage shades like you find in Soft Summer or Soft Autumn. But alas, it’s the bright stuff for me. Do you know which Autumn you are?

      • I’m actually really confused! I feel like I don’t look good in any color that I try and I’ve gone through every palette. If I go by online analysis I would be a deep autumn.

        I really love powdery colors and like you love the idea of soft vintage colors but they seem to make me look more muted and not in a good way.

  2. If you go to everydayglamour.weebly.com you can see my pics. Its under inspiration in the color analysis section.

    • Natalie Webb says:

      I think I see it! You look generally warm, but unless it’s just the lighting, I see some bluish undertones perhaps? You’re definitely a Deep, but you may flow between the seasons. You do seem to tend more toward Autumn though. Perhaps it is your finishes? Toward the bottom of the Autumn post you will find suggestions in the What to Wear section that can make all the difference. You can be wearing all the right colors, but the textures and proportions of colors can be wrong, and it looks off. Check it out and let me know if that helps!

  3. Wow! You hit it right on the money. My problem was texture. Lots of attempts atbeing dewey. I actually do look better with shimmer and antique gold suits me better than shiny gold. You explain it wonderfully. I’m going to share this website with some friends whose colors I’m trying to figure out and I’m sure this will help them a lot!!

    • Natalie Webb says:

      There you go! You know, I read an article about textures for the seasons that talked about spices for Autumn – cinnamon, cloves, cumin, curry. Dewey curry. Gross, right?

      You’re totally on your way. When you find an outfit that you really love, send a photo! Would love to see it.

  4. I decided to use a dark brown knit sweater and it really cleaned up my face. I see texture was exactly what I needed. Thanks for everything. Can’t wait to read more.


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