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Seasonal Color Analysis Misplaces Redheads

by Samantha Bradley
(Ottumwa, IA, US)

Redhead Beauty

Redhead Beauty

I'm a natural redhead (slightly more brown than red, actually, but still very much red) with fair and cool skin, and dark brown (almost black) eyes.

And, in fact, I feel that I am that certain redhead who's misplaced in Seasonal Color Analysis.

Here's why:

1) Apparently redheads can only be Springs and Autumns, and 'most commonly' in the Warm (I prefer True) Springs or Autumns. These are warm seasons, and my skin leans more cool.

2) I went draping at Wal-Mart, and I found out that silver, *not, not, NOT* gold, enhances me much more. So, how can I be a Spring or an Autumn if SILVER jewelry and fabrics enhance me?

3) Camel, which is an inherent Spring color, makes me look wan, pale, AND it draws out my flaws in my face. Just like gold. Brown, which is an inherent Autumn color, looks bland, 'meh', if you will, on me. It simply sits there. So, once again, how can I be a Spring or an Autumn if these two hallmark colors DON'T enhance me?

4) Black, which is Winter's hallmark color, really enhances me. From what I saw, it hid my skin's flaws, and gave me a bit of a glow. So, once again, how can I be a Spring or an Autumn if BLACK and ONLY BLACK enhances me?

And from what I saw on one of your Q&A's, the COOL palette looks better on me than the WARM one. So how can I be a warm season if the COOL palette looks best on me?

Samantha, I'm glad you brought this up. And you are absolutely right. There are many more variations in redheads than what the seasonal color analysis is showing.

If the Gold or Silver test shows that you look good in jewel, blue based colors then you must be a Cool, despite your auburn hair.

You can find muted, Autumn redheads with golden ivory skin and coppery hair. And there are those with translucent, milky white skin and fiery or deep red hair. There are redheads with pinkish, English rose complexions and strawberry locks. Peaches and cream redheads. Basically, there is a full range of high contrast, low contrast, clear and muted redheads!

This is definitely one of the pit holes in the seasonal color analysis. If I could alter (I probably will in the future) the Color Me Beautiful system I would have placed each of the redhead variations in their appropriate seasonal group and category based on the intensity of their colorings which is based on the intensity of their colorings (hue, saturation, lightness and contrast), like for example:

  • Low level redheads with a very light golden/olive skin tone which are a very muted Autumns --> Soft Autumn
    Color analysis for soft autumn

  • Gossamer with very translucent skin and from strawberry to medium copper reds --> Clear Winter
    Color analysis for clear winter

  • High contrast with very pale skin and dark red (black-red, auburn, burgundy) hair --> Cool Winter
    Color analysis for cool winter
    --> Deep Winter if you're darker skinned
    Color analysis for deep winter

  • English rose with pinkish skin, lighter shade of red hair and low contrast level between hair and skin --> Light Summer
    Color analysis for light summer

  • Peaches n' Cream with pale to fair peachy golden skin and lighter hair (ex. strawberry blonde with red highlights) --> Light Spring
    Color analysis for light spring

... and so on. There are again more variations within each of these redhead 'versions'. So YES, I do believe redheads should hold a wider space in the seasonal color analysis.

We have 6 dominant characteristics in our complexions and the seasonal color analysis is based on these:

1. Deep -- Dark and rich
2. Light -- Delicate
3. Soft -- Muted
4. Clear -- Bright
5. Warm -- Warm undertones
6. Cool -- Cool undertones

And finding yours should pinpoint you to your correct color palette in the seasonal color analysis.

So with that in mind, you're either a:

  • Deep Winter or Autumn

  • Light Spring or Summer

  • Clear Winter or Spring

  • Soft Summer or Autumn

  • Warm Autumn or Spring

  • Cool Winter or Summer

The flow color chart shows the similarities (ex. Light Summer and Light Spring have similiar light, pinkish and low-contrasting traits):

Unfortunately no one has gotten their finger out in improving the color analysis system, so redheads (and other women who seem to be stuck in one or two categories) should in the meantime put their trust on the Gold or silver test although it only gives you a general view of what colors suit you. Or you could try to determine the intensity of your coloring on your own based on the information provided on this page to find your season/color palette. Check out Color Theory.

August 2011 Update: Make sure to check out the new and improved seasonal color analysis where we focus on your dominant characteristic (Cool, Warm, Deep, Light, Soft, Clear). In Samantha's case, her dominant characteristics is Cool.

I also think Anonymous' link is a good read as well: Knitting Tango - Redhead Color Typology

I hope this helps! This page is open for feedback so feel free to comment :-)

Kind regards,

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Comments for Seasonal Color Analysis Misplaces Redheads

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Sep 30, 2017
surely the elephant in the room
by: Anonymous

is that this whole colour analysis thing is pseudoscience. It's a fun game but you can't expect it to work consistently. The reason it doesn't work for you may be just that it *mostly doesn't work*, rather than anything magical about redheads.

May 29, 2016
I love you so much!
by: heterochromiaeyes

Thank you. I have been interested in Color Analysis since I was 9 years old.
I am now decades older.
I have been so confused though because I have missed my true season all along until now.
I am a cool winter!
My cherry cola hair would lean otherwise I thought until I just read the above!
It all makes sense now.

Mar 04, 2016
Trust your eye
by: Anonymous

You really have to trust your eye when you are a redhead.

Gold and silver work equally well for me, but somehow I cannot wear pink gold.

I am what is a "spring" mostly. Jewel tones work. Orangey-reds work, but orange doesn't. Orangey reds do not work as a lip color, but mauve and mauve-reds do. My skin is a cool color with pink undertones, but I have golden freckles. My eyes are aqua blue with flecks of green and gold. In other words, some redheads have both warm and cool tones in their complexion, eyes and hair color. The many shades of red hair are a range from warm to cooler, copper to auburn.

Black, bright fuschia pink, red and orange can be stunning on the right redhead.

So trust your eye. What were your favorite clothing colors from early childhood? These might be a good reference.

As we age, redheads lose pigment. It is good to soften the contrast at this point, and review what works once again. Golden skin tone from freckles may fade. What worked when the freckles were prominent may not work now.

We redheads are unique, so we don't fit easily into tidy little color types. Enjoy it!

Oct 27, 2015
What about me?
by: Kathy

I am very confused about my personal colouring. My hair was once auburn but has become more brown over time (I think it is still red though). I have blue eyes that are all blue with a darker blue ring, no flecks. My skin is light but not pink and I have no freckles. You don't mention my particular 'type' in your list. I've done an online analysis that said I was 'warm'. Until then I always thought I was a cool and preferred silver. Any ideas?

May 26, 2015
by: Anonymous

Thank you for bringing attention to this!

My hair--ash & platinum blonde in childhood--is now medium brown/red/blonde (and has caused much confusion over the years in government offices when I try to update my passport or driver's license). I guess I'd call it chestnut. I am definitely a cool based on drape tests, but there's no gray in my skin, my hair only rarely looks ashy/platinum (e.g. when my makeup is too orangey), and I have freckles and the infamous reddish (but not purplish) cast to my hair, so everyone's always trying to make me a spring. I look *awful* in pumpkin, strong corals, camel, or marigold. I've always gravitated toward medium-depth blue-greens.

I describe my eyes as pine green with a lime green flare around the pupil. They can appear blue, green, or grey, but never olive. The veins in my wrists are purple and the very visible veins in the crooks of my arms are teal. My skin, because it is so light, seems neutral, but easily turns yellow or orange in foundations labeled "ivory." I think it is more properly a very pale rosy-beige.

I think I'm a Summer and maybe even a Cool Summer in spite of my "warm" anomalies. I seem to "pop" better in colors that are more vivid than Soft Summer's, in spite of my apparent warmth; I'm pretty sure my hair is too medium/high contrast to be a Light Summer; I guess I could be some funky breed of Winter with my chestnut hair and blue-green eyes, but I don't feel like I rock jewel tones that well.

Anyway, thanks for taking a stab at categorizing cool redheads!

May 21, 2015
by: Megan

Can a warm spring have cool eyes? I ask because my skin is very pale and freckly with the undertone leaning on warm despite my veins being aqua/turquoise instead of green, but my eyes are a somewhat light grayish blue with a navy ring around the iris. I am a natural coppery redhead. I look great in almost all non-pastel greens as well as true blue, navy, aqua, turquoise, pale pink, peach, coral, ivory, gold, champagne, peach, copper, deep garnet reds and all browns. I look good (not great) in black, white, pink, red, purple, silver, and gray. I look terrible in yellow and orange. Am I still a warm spring? Or am I something different?

May 15, 2015
Clear spring redhead!
by: Anonymous

I am a clear spring redhead. My skin is neutral to warm, and I actually tan! My hair is a warm light red. But my bright sparkly blue eyes and contrast are what make me a definite bright spring! True blue, navy, bright pink, warm hot pink, shamrock green, crisp gray, warm teal and black are my go-to's!

May 05, 2013
Helpful :)
by: Anonymous

In makeup my best blush is a mix of peach and bronze, like a soft autumn. I love the coral lipsticks in a deeper red coral. I know a darker green I've tried brought out a peachy colouring in my cheeks once (a dark jade green). I look dull in beige or sand so I've always liked the more solid colours, so I'm also kind of leaning towards the light spring.
But my hair isn't really the lighter colour of a light spring that people call "carrot top" and "ginger". It's a bit deeper. It's even been mistaken for black once.

It's really helped to have the little colour charts to compare my good and bad experiences to. Other blog entries on it without that still left me confused haha
After sitting on this page and thinking about it, I'm definitely a soft autumn, but I might lean towards light spring, too.

Oct 18, 2012
Definately NOT Autumn
by: Anonymous

I am a natural redhead, although I now dye my hair a darker shade with highlights. I have never ever been able to wear any yellow based clothing. I glow in royal blue and cherry red. I cannot wear greys or blacks near my face either. I wear gold or silver jewellery but probably suit silver especially in summer. Although I have blue/pink tones in my skin which is also very fair, I have yellow coloured freckles. I am sick of being type cast in Autumn tones. There are as many variations in redheads as there are any other coloured hair person.

Oct 24, 2011
by: Anonymous RedHead

I read this article and it did help me quite a bit, but I'm still a little confused as to which colours I should wear exactly. I'm going to my year 7 graduation in a couple of months and need to find the perfect dress. I have very pale skin, light blue eyes and light, coppery, gold coloured red hair. I've had my eye on a light mint green dress from Dotti, it's strapless and has a bit cut out at the back with a bow. Do you think this would suit me? I've also been thinking about shoes for a couple of months, I want to wear wedges, but don't know what colour, I was thinking that I'd wear silver if I got the mint green dress, gold if I got a dark or cobalt blue dress, and I'm not sure about other colours. The wedges come in coral as well. Does anyone have any tips on nail polish or makeup? for makeup, I was thinking of wearing a tinted moisturiser(foundation if the tint is too light), dark brown-black mascara, peach or coral coloured lipstick and maybe eyeliner. Does anyone have any thoughts about this? Please help.

Apr 30, 2011
by: Anna

Just to get the facts straight. A close friend of mine who has been a color analyst for 6 years was the first to bring this up (the intensity of the redheads) and we've talked about how we could improve the color analysis with this theory.

Honestly, it was natural to give the different redheads the names I mentioned in the original post. I've taken courses and have had training in color analysis, and the names of the different colorings you are accusing me of plagiarizing have already been mentioned in textbooks and training materials. English Rose isn't actually a unique name and is commonly referred to people with yes, a Summer, pale English Rose complexion (Naomi Watts). Please refer to the gold or silver test. And we usually categorize Spring people as Peaches and Cream (Beyonce).

The concept behind the seasonal color analysis has always been the same which is based on the intensity and quality of a person's coloring. That's nothing new. We just took the theory over to red-heads because they don't seem to be well represented in the color analysis. The same thing with women of color.

I'm sorry if you feel like the names where plagiarized, but I still stand by my point. However I want to show you my appreciation for pointing out the well-informed blog post - I'm sure it will be of great help for red-heads who need more advice and information on their coloring. So thank you, Anonymous.

Feb 14, 2011
by: Anonymous

The names and types of redheads were lifted (i.e. plagiarized) from THIS blog post:

Shame on you, posting this information as though it were your own original ideas! If you're going to blatantly use the names the original blogger came up with, you could at least credit her or link to her blog.

Feb 02, 2011
I agree about the examples.
by: Rachel R.

Hmmm...I can see the point here, I think. The image examples we're given are always the ones that most epitomize or typify the "ideal" of each season. That can be very helpful if you, too, are a nice, neat fit, but for those of us who aren't such a tidy fit into a particular season, these images aren't especially useful in helping us to solve the puzzle. Some "less-perfect" matches to each season would be very helpful examples, IMO.

(Although I have to say that I have season a number of examples of red heads that were, indeed, classified as cool seasons, so not everyone is overlooking that issue.)

Nov 02, 2010
For Cara
by: Samantha

Yes, there *is* a hybrid of Autumn/Winter seasons. This would be the Deep that's been said a lot. I went from thinking I was a Deep Winter to then being a True Winter, back to Deep Winter. Until I asked Lora a q about this, and she answered it with me as a Deep Autumn. This would most likely be because my hair and eyes are so dark -- like I said earlier, my hair is a deep auburn (and it may sound more chestnut really, than auburn).

Keep in mind that Deep Autumn/Deep Winter are neutral seasons but that Deep Autumn is warmer than Deep Winter. Both need colors deep and pretty vivid, but with Deep Winter clearer (albeit with a touch of Autumn's earthiness and softness), and Deep Autumn softer (albeit with a touch of Winter's clearness, coolness, and boldness). But both can easily pull off black and it harmonizes with their coloring.

I hope this answers your q a little bit.

Oct 17, 2010
cool winter with auburn hair
by: Cara

Hi there! I was noticing this, too. I'm naturally a brunette with red highlights, but color my hair a rich auburn. And it goes great with my winter color palette. I think because I am actually a true winter. I have Ivory skin, and green eyes, but prefer a warmer foundation on my skin to compliment my hair color. Cool foundation is to cold looking on me, and I prefer to have a little bit warmer color on my skin since my skin color has both warm and cool tones. Is there a "hybrid winter/Autumn category? I think I'd fit right in! I can't wear a lot of browns unless I accent them with bright yellow to brighten them up. Otherwise they're just too dull against my skin and hair. And about the jewelry, I've found I look good in both gold and silver. I usually wear two-toned jewelry, and incorporate other pieces of either gold or silver. So the analysis is not always right that a winter should just wear silver jewelry it's all about what you find works for you. The color palette is helpful as a basic guide, but should not be followed to the T. There are always exceptions.

May 17, 2010
I can relate to this.
by: Anonymous

As a child I used to be blond, then my hair went auburn then to dark brown(nearly black). I started to get gray hairs in my 20s and then my hair went salt and pepper. Now it's nearly all gray at age 43. I'm told I look good in gray and people told me not to dye my hair. My hair doesn't have any yellowish twinge to it.

I have a photo of me in beige and it is not a flattering color on me. I still had auburn hair in the photo. I look better in jewel like colors than in muted colors. Pastels don't do much for me either. I remember tying on orange once and saying to myself, oh no I'm not wearing that again!

Also when people comment on my complexion, they nearly always say it's very clear.

Feb 16, 2010
Oops, sorry!
by: Samantha

I have to apologize for the last comment. It didn't hit me until after I made the comment that I wasn't looking at the *big* picture. I now understand that the 'average' person isn't all cool or all warm, but instead has a nice blend of both.

I may be your 'average' person in that regard, but when I took pictures of myself yesterday looking in the bathroom mirror, I saw that my hair looked more burgundy, and my eyes looked a lot more black than regular brown. So I'm not the average redhead, that's for sure.

The thing I'm really wanting from SCA is this: the analysts to change their attitudes about the beauty of redheads and others who are harder to place. Let redheads who *are* Cool seasons be cool seasons instead of trying to force them into the Warm seasons that clearly don't fit them, as one example. This is what I was wanting to convey.

When I was 20, I had a really dark tan (for me) that allowed me to wear really bright and light colors. I might have been a good hybrid of Cool Winter/Summer then, but I'm not so sure now. I looked at my eye whites, and they are *white* white. So I think now I may be a Cool Winter with just a trace of Clear Winter too, but I'm not sure. That one warm color that I can wear about as well as any cool color? Off-white. That's it.

Feb 16, 2010
Face of the Season
by: Samantha

How do you leave out the face of the season? When I talk about the 'average', that's what I'm talking about -- the face of the season. Nicole Kidman isn't left out -- she's your 'average' Warm Spring, and therefore, the face of the season. Amy Adams as well. *That's* what I'm talking about when I refer to the 'averages'.

I, however, am *not* the FOTS. You (any analyst in general) couldn't analyze me without trying to squeeze me into a season that I truly *don't* belong to (like Warm Spring or Autumn). And *I* am part of the largest group of people whose DNA is different from the FOTS, that does *not* fit the 'average', of the FOTS. And for me, average = FOTS, or Face Of The Season.

I don't think I'm going to be able to say what I feel like I want to say without going over 3000 chara, max. Maybe I could send you some pictures of me to gauge my coloring better? I also wanted to thank you, Anna, for letting me ask the questions that I wanted to ask, and for this answer.

Feb 13, 2010
We don't usually fit 110% in one single seasonal group
by: Anna Villaruel

Samantha, I completely agree with you on the celebrity examples. But I do know that image consultants often use their images because they're easier to obtain and give an example.

I've already admitted that the Color Me Beautiful seasonal color analysis isn't perfect and often leaves out 'averages'. This system was invented back in the 80s and the society back then was less broad-minded back then - it was either black or white.

Fortunately many image consultants today are constantly realizing the SCA issues that might leave 'averages' out in the dark. I don't know why Carole Jackson hasn't done a third improvement of the system but I really think it could need some serious revision!

With that in mind and the SCA left untouched since its previous revision over a decade ago, it is important to remember that each and one of us belong to more than one color group (which is called your flow group) - we usually have one main group and an additional for when our complexion changes (turns older or gets tanned). And we don't necessarily look good each and every color of a color palette either but the majority of the hues in a palette tend to do so.

- Anna

Feb 13, 2010
by: Anna Villaruel

Sounds like a great color system. I would love to receive more information on the analysis. Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury of time right now to start color analysis training but I would love to someday :-) thanks for the tip.

Feb 11, 2010
Reply: My point on the 'Averages'
by: Samantha

My whole issue with the SCA is this: the most well-known systems seem to only show the 'obvious', or what they call the 'average' for that season. Or those that are close to it. What doesn't help is that they choose celebrities rather than normal women who aren't such to portray the 'seasons'. So where does that leave the majority of the population who doesn't fit the averages? Up a creek without a paddle, that's where. Still searching for their right 'season'.

But I've found mine, and I can honestly say I *love* the colors in that palette wholeheartedly. They do a lot for my coloring, but also for my moods -- they make me happy.

Jan 24, 2010
Color Analysis HAS been improved
by: Anonymous

I loved seeing your blog post. I am a 24 year color analysis professional who saw the challenge of color typing people like yourself who don't fall into any of the seasonal categories including the ones that divide the harmonies into 12 different types. Twelve type systems leave out four distinct types. My trademarked color system is called Essential Colors ( it has 16 color harmonies based on color temperature, value, intensity and enery.

Also, most seasonal systems choose palettes based soley on coloring. Essential Color palettes are also chosen to align with a woman's inner essence so that she feels authentic AND beautiful in her colors. The result is a color harmony that instantly connects with each woman at a gut level. "Yes. I love those colors". There are certified Essential Colors consultants around the country and in Europe and Asia. All are personally trained by me. Would you like to become one?

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