The Right Polish for Summer Skin

Feeling imbalance

I went to a meeting. As people arrived, one woman distinguished herself immediately as a leader in any crowd. Her physical presence was noticed first because she was quite tall and strongly built. Her face was equally strong, in the colours of coffee, cream, and golden piecrust, with clove brown eyes. Wearing bronze eyeglass frames with copper glints, her only makeup a beautiful deep cinnamon lipstick, she was striking and beautiful. 

She moved through the crowd with confidence. She had the business savvy to put in a plug for her company, as smooth as could be. Her natural qualities of character were as manifest as her beauty. Her choices in clothing and jewelry, although of high taste and quality, were confusing. 

Nobody is ever unattractive. Every woman is truly a beauty in her face and her heart and I can look straight in your eyes to say that. But when it comes to getting dressed, we have better choices. Better ways to spend our money that look more truthful and less artificial. 

In a white dress with splashy flowers in primary colours, suddenly, the random blonde in her hair stood out as patchy and disorganized. The coloured glass bead necklace looked plastic. What we wear influences how we look; we influence it right back. Our energy modifies not only colour but also texture and everything else that comes near it. 

In the white jacket, we find our thoughts drifting to skin that’s seen too much sun. It’s uncomfortable now. We have thoughts we don’t want to have. She, in turn, alters simple white to become strident and look, well, a little cheap. Thoughts we don’t want to have. 

We love this woman. It doesn’t feel right that we can’t settle in her presence but our visual system is on a roller coaster with too much to process. I’m always reminded of a light-coloured person wearing those Christmas sweaters in strong reds and greens with shiny ornaments appliqued on the front. Like wearing garland. We’re feeling effort and distraction. Subconsciously, we’re scanning the room for somewhere easier to be. She is an Autumn, probably True Autumn, wearing colours and feelings made for another woman. 

Where’s the balance?

How can we know the way to enhancing what we are in a way that attracts people into our presence? 

By wearing the colours and lines that we are.

Cool shimmer

Summer skin is most beautiful when it’s smooth, silky, and dry. 

Summer skin’s reflection of light is the diffusion of moonlight. There, we can find no sun, no hardness, no sharpness, no glitz or wetness. There’s no winking of fireflies (that’s Bright Spring), no sharp gleam of platinum (True Winter), no dew (Light Summer), neither iron or lead (Dark Season feelings), and on it goes. Moonlight is not blingy; you never have to squint.

Moonlight is cool and  soft. In a morning sky, it’s a sheer cloud-white curtain moving in a breeze. At night, a cloak of pearly, silvery light. 

In the way of Summer skin to mirror the colours and textures it wears, it will shimmer in brushed silver, pink, lavender, or blue, since these are the notes found through the entire palette, including the grays. 

Even satined makeup requires caution. Satin on Summer skin can convert into frosty because these colours are soft in nature and the complexion is delicate. If the shine in the product overtakes the colour and texture present in the skin, the disparity may be exaggerated.  Only you see your clothes on a hanger or your makeup in the pan. The rest of us see them compared to your own colouring right under your face. We look best when we continue the colours, harmonies, and colour feelings that we possess innately. 

Textile that mutes colour is effective. Summer is more swirly than thick, straight, or hard. It sweeps like a porch swing, a branch in a breeze, the lines created when you pour liquid slowly into liquid. 

The Best Skin Finish for Summer Colouring

Summer colours are light (compared to Autumn and Winter), cool, and soft. Summer surfaces look muted and lightweight, with brushstrokes or a gently buffed texture. The softness is feathery. Fluffy is good. Downy is great. Good dreams have fleecy edges.  

Shiny surfaces shift colour to appear lighter and brighter. That’s great on Spring but makes no sense with Summer’s colours. They don’t cooperate. Since those same colours exist in Summer skin, it won’t cooperate either. White feathers can be almost blue in moonlight but they’re never the colour of lightning (Winter). 

The Summer Skin Finishes

Light Summer: peach 

True Summer: cotton 

Soft Summer: flannel 

Light Summer

Pearl to petal.

As daisy, as butterfly wing. A little more fluff than Spring, a little more dry-down. 

The True Summer section applies. There is more warmth here as a first warm weekend in May. Outdoor glows are great yet controlled. A pale pink-gold gloss or an uplight on the cheeks is plenty. You are a Summer, not a Spring, so restraint with shine is in order. A May picnic isn’t the same as the beach in July. Stay cooler than warmer in everything you add. 

Every palette has light and dark colours and wearing our full range defines the facial bones and contours. For the Light Seasons, the dark colours don’t get very dark but they are still important, as are shadow and depth in any world or realistic drawing.

Dark colour may appear darker than it is on this colouring, so try to match your palette in daylight and don’t exceed the darkest level. Draw the product on white paper and smear it out to see the nuance in the colour. 

Face powder still applies. Use translucent, perhaps with a slight peach tint. Arbonne Translucent is a nice one.

The Spring stroke in Light Summer sometimes  places the outer corner of the eye higher than inner corner. Follow that with the eyeliner if your eyes have that shape, but again, use an appropriate colour.  A too-dark choice may appear artificial or forced, as might a line that is curved beyond the natural curves of the face and eyes, giving a theatrical impression. The effect seems more belonging and creative in eyeglass frames than eyeliner; with makeup and attire, follow what you are already.

Among my favourite ways of adding detail to Light Summer eye makeup is a cloud of aqua or cornflower blue at the outer corner of the upper lid. The little puff of colour feels like the giggle that sneaks out, the adorable side, and the uncomplicated appreciation of the simple things.

Many True Summers have a round eye, almost square. Many have an outer eye corner that slopes downwards to meet the slope of the cheek. For this eye shape, keep the eyeliner close to the rounded outer corner of the eye. 

True Summer

Paper to pearl finish. 

Use face powder for a matte translucent effect.  Look for powders that are not too light. Although Summer skin looks light, in Caucasian women, light-medium foundation colours generally disappear, best while the porcelains and alabasters are too light when applied to the entire face. Some powders dry the surface but leave a white cast, others are obviously yellow. Look for a skin-like neutral beige (Almay’s lighter colours are often good in pressed and loose powders).

The Shine Stopper at Paula’s Choice is very good for maintaining a dry skin surface for hours.

Stay with calm, fresh, gentle contrasts. Summer light colours are pastels, meaning more pigment than Winter’s light colours, which are closer to pure white. Avoid too much distance between lightest and darkest elements in hair, cosmetics, and clothes. Keep them closer together. 

It’s quite important to settle in your mind how far from white your lightest colours are. Look at them and notice that even the lightest of the coloured pastels are some distance from white for all three Summers. The eyeshadow highlight for Winter is some version of white or near-white. For Summer, choose pastels for the brow bone, as muted (grayed) shell pink or softened white (‘pastel white’).

Use eyeshadow instead of eyeliner or to diffuse the liner well by applying shadow over it.  Eyeliner is moderately darker than the darkest of the eyeshadows, which in itself avoids intense or bold geometric lines that step in front of the eye’s own colours. 

Soft Summer

Paper to flannel finish. 

From our textures above, Soft Summer becomes more woven, drier, and thicker as we move deeper into Autumn. Think of cotton to waffle weave. 

Contour is an excellent effect on all Autumn-influenced colouring, enhancing the 3-D effect that Autumns do so well. Choose a cooler-than-peanut-butter, matte colour. Ideal colour may be hard to find and if the product is sheer, in the restrained application we will use, colour that is a touch too warm may be fine for Soft Summers who have visible warmth in the eyes, skin, or hair.

For Soft Summers who appear cooler and more Summer-like, a powder foundation that is two shades deeper than you would normally wear may work well. 

For Summer, application is gentle and swirly. There are so sharp lines or edges. Diffuse one product into the next. The canvas is drier, using translucent powder over the entire face, including upper eyelids (but perhaps not beneath the eyes if the product settles in lines or the drying effect makes skin crease with facial movement) to ensure that products don’t catch and jump. If using cream products, apply them to the skin before the powder so they appear to emanate from within. 


The skin is soft and dry, setting the scene for gentleness and graduated muting. The features are blended into the skin with colours that create a soft flow instead of sharp definition. As colours flow into each other as hazy mists, the line between one colour and the next is unclear. 

Your Sci\ART-based palette is pre-configured for these effects.  Wear any colour with any other and the colour transitions remain soft and lovely. 

Christine Scaman is located in Prince Edward Island, Canada. In addition to in-person Colour Analysis, Christine is also an instructor for the Colour Analyst training program. Please click the link buttons below for more information.
Christine Scaman