What is a color type?- your simple guide to seasonal color analysis

color pallette

Do you want to look your best at all times? Are you looking to save time and money when it comes to your wardrobe? Then it is time to learn about your color type!

In this simple guide to seasonal color analysis I will answer all your questions such as: What is a color type? How do you determine your color type? Which are the different color types? Which colors are ideal for your color type?

Plus as a bonus you will learn how knowing your color type helps you to simplify your life and save money.

What is a color type?

The term “color type” used in seasonal color analysis. Seasonal color analysis describes a method of determining the colors of clothing and makeup that harmonize with your skin undertone, eye color, and hair color.

First important point: your hue and your value

In seasonal color analysis all colors are broken into 2 different groups by using the 2 categories “hue” and “value”:

  • Hue is the “undertone” of your skin and it will either be cool or warm
  • Value is the “lightness” of your skin and it will either be light or dark (deep)

As a result of the 4 possible combinations of hue and value, 4 distinct color types have been defined, named after the 4 seasons:

      Spring: Warm hue / light value

spring color type


     Summer: cool hue / light value

summer type


Autumn: warm hue / deep value

autumn type


 Winter: cool hue / deep value

winter type


What season are you?

Knowing your own color type is really great, as this concept gives you guidance as to which colors suit you best and if you choose the right colors for your make-up and clothing, you will not only look great but also save time and money.

In this section, I will help you find your personal color type.

The first step is to find out, what your skin undertone (hue) is – either warm or cool and here are 3 simple tests to find out:

1. The white paper test: The easiest way of determining your skin undertone is the so called “white paper test”. To perform this test, hold your hand – palm facing up- against a piece of white paper.

  • If your skin appears yellowish, you have a warm undertone.
  • If your skin appears pink, you have a cool undertone.

2. The jewelry test: Another great way of determining your skin undertone is by holding a piece of gold and a piece of sliver jewelry up against your neck and check which metal makes your skin look fresher. This is the metal that is better suited for your type. Silver for cool undertone skin types and gold for warm undertone skin types.

3. The veins test: The last test involves looking at the veins on the inside of your arm. If the veins appear blueish, your have cool skin undertone, if your veins appear greenish, you have warm undertone.

If you are still not sure, what undertone you are, you might be a “neutral”, which is great news, as neutral undertones can pretty much wear any color.

I also recommend getting together with a couple of friends and do the white paper test or one of the other tests together. By comparing with others and getting a different person’s view, it will be much easier for you to determine your own skin undertone.

Look at your hair and eyes to find your “value”

The next step in determining your color type is to find your “value” by taking a look at your hair and eye color. If you naturally have light hair eye color – the most extreme case being blond hair and blue eyes – you have “light value”. If you naturally have very dark hair and dark eyes, you have “deep value”. The two extremes of light value and deep value are blond hair and blue eyes on the one end of the scale and black hair and black eyes on the other end of the scale. But of course there are many variations between those 2 extremes.

To help you find the value of your specific hair and eye color, I will share an overview of the possible light and deep colors below.

Combine your undertone (either warm or cool) with the value of your hair and eyes and voila, you have determined your own personal color type:

cool color types

From 4 to 12 seasons – how does that work?

The 4 seasons give a basic concept of 4 distinct color types. With all the variations of skin undertone, hair and eye colors in the world, not everybody fits into these 4 types. What if you for example have black hair (deep value) and bright blue eyes (light value).

In order to allow for more of these variances, a more detailed set of color types was developed. By including a third variable in addition to the existing variables hue and value, a total of 12 color types were defined.

These 12 color types are hence determined by the following categories:12 color types

  • Hue – either cool or warm
  • Value – either light or deep
  • Chroma – either clear (saturated) or muted

When taking chroma into account, we arrive at 12 color types as shown in the chart:

  • SPRING: warm spring, light spring and clear spring
  • SUMMER season: cool summer, light summer and soft sommer
  • AUTUMN season: warm autumn, deep autumn, soft autumn
  • WINTER season: cool winter, clear winter, deep winter

Taking the additional variable into account will help you determine your very specific, bespoke color type and hopefully the graph will help you in identifying the color type that is for you. I recommend focusing on the basic color types (one of 4 seasons) at first, as the “chroma variations” of the color type are related to these main types when it comes to suitable colors of your clothing. You can’t go far wrong with this.

For your ease and understanding, I am going to include color charts that show the main seasonal types and what colors go with this type, but also the related types. I recommend you play with some color variations in your distinct main seasonal type to determine which specific variation of the type you might be and what suits you best.

Which colors are right for your seasonal color type?

Right, now that you have identified your basic color type, which are the best colors to wear with your type? The basic concept to keep in mind is that warm color types (spring and autumn) can wear colors with warm yellowish undertones, whereas cool color types are best off with colors with blueish undertones.

I will provide a description of each of the seasons as well as a very handy overview, that will help you determine your specific color type very easily.

Another great way to think about your colors, is to think of your colors as the typical colors of the specific season:

Spring: Spring colors are clear and bright, just like the colors of a spring day.

The sun is low on the horizon, so everything is imbued with the golden hues of the sun. The trees and grass have not yet matured, so they are tinged with yellow undertones and are a bright spring green color. Distinct yellow undertones impart a vibrant, electric appearance to everything.

The colors of this season are truly like a spring bouquet enveloped in bright spring green leafy foliage: red-orange and coral tulips, bright yellow jonquils and daffodils.

If you are a spring, here is the color chart for you including the 3 variations of the spring color types:

spring color chart

Summer: The colors of this season are muted with blue undertones (think of looking at the scenery through a dusky summer haze).

Late summer blossoms, a frothy ocean and white beaches are seen everywhere.

Baby blue, slate blue, periwinkle, powder pink, sea foam green and slate gray are typical Summer colors.

If you are a summer, here is the color chart for you including the 3 variations of the summer color types:summer color chart

Autumn: Autumn colors are virtually indistinguishable from the rich, earthy colors of the season for which they were named.

They are as golden-hued as a fall day, and it is impossible to mistake them for any other season.

Typical colors from the palette include pumpkin, mustard yellow, burnt orange, brown, camel, beige, avocado green, rust and teal. Autumn colors are perennially popular, because they bring a feeling of warmth and security.

If you are an autumn, here is the color chart for you including the 3 variations of the autumn color types:autumn color type

Winter: The colors from this season are clear and icy, like a winter’s day; always with subtle blue undertones.

To name a few: holly berry red, emerald and evergreen, royal blue, magenta and violet. Winter inspires pictures of winter berries, pine green conifers and black and white huskies racing through snow.

If you are a winter, here is the color chart for you including the 3 variations of the winter color types:winter color types

8 Benefits of knowing your color type

I am all for keeping things simple and comfortable, especially when it comes to your wardrobe. I had my color type defined a number of years ago and have experienced how it made my choice of clothing so much more straightforward.

Here are the main benefits I have experienced along the way:

  1. Knowing your color type will help you save time and money
  2. it will help you shop, especially online and save you from lots of disappointments and wrong purchases. When you look at models online, they are usually done up by professional stylists, who know exactly how to dress the model according to her color type. So try to find types that are similar to you and choose the colors they are wearing accordingly
  3. it will help you put together a stylish wardrobe, for work and play, that will always look great of you .
  4. Knowing your color type also makes de-cluttering a lot easier, since you know which colors suit you and which don´t and you can quite safely get rid of the items that don´t suit you
  5. Same goes for make-up shopping: it will be a breeze. If you stay within your color palette, your skin will glow, your eyes will pop naturally and you won´t spend money on the wrong colors of make up.
  6. The best thing about knowing your color type is that it makes shopping for clothes so much more effective. Once you know your color type, you will automatically choose the “right” colors and as long as you stay within your color palette, any new item you choose will always go with everything you have already. Since the colors in your color palette all go with the other colors, you cannot go wrong and you will never regret a purchasing decision again.
  7. So you will not only look fantastic in what you buy, but you will also save time and money as everything you buy will be perfect for you! Fantastic, right?
  8. The colors in your color palette are your “power” colors, they will make your overall appearance pleasing to the eyes and will make you feel more confident in any situation

So you will not only look fantastic in what you buy, but you will also save time and money as everything you buy will be perfect for you! Fantastic, right?

Look your best and simplify your wardrobe

Knowing your basic color type will assist you a great deal in simplifying your wardrobe and put together business attire that looks great on you. There are 4 basic color types named after the 4 seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. There are 3 simple tests to finding out your “hue” and by looking at your eye and hair color you will find your value. The 2 combined will get you your personal color type. Once you have your basic color type you can look at the chart for your season and see what colors suit you.

I hope that this post helped you to think of your business wardrobe differently. Colors are important communicators and if you dress in “your” colors your will feel more confident and powerful at the office.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.


Image copyright: feel image / Matern


  1. That is a cute pic. I always tell people my favorite color is Rainbow.lol but really. Its soo good to see a sight like this. It shows your talent Thanks for sharing. This post is so lovely. im trying to see my color. So it seems i have a cool undertone, and the jewelry test is true. i have never been a fan of gold. I love silver jewelry. also it revealed deep value for me. wow very cool site.. 

    • Hi Meme, well, for a “rainbow” person like you, the pic is totally perfect :). It is so cool that you tried the tips immediately. The self-test is great; it helps you a great deal to define your color type. You might also love my post about  3 Genius Ways To Find The Best Colors For Your Skin Tone, or if you want to determine your color type and get some recommendations about the best colors to wear, you can take a

      FREE color quiz here.

  2. It’s exciting to work with colors; it ignites love and beauty in our minds. I always find it very pleasing to get myself surrounded by different beautiful paintings with different colors. Colour analysis is a good thing, and it nice of you to share about it. What makes it very Important?

    • Hello Shavo, it is great to hear that you love colors and art. The benefit of color analysis when it comes to fashion and make-up is that you can find exactly the shades of colors that suit you best through color analysis. These colors make you look refreshed and make you feel good, just like the colorful paintings in your house. The other benefit of color analysis is that once you have found “your colors” and buy clothing items just in those colors, they will all match, and your outfit will always look good and in harmony. I hope that makes sense to you. If you have any more questions, please let me know. I will be delighted to help you out.

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