Bright (Clear) Winter Color Palette: Makeup, Hair, and Fashion Guide

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Think of the northern lights gleaming through the night sky, the galaxies peeking through the vast darkness. 

A beautiful winter landscape with snow falling

The icy white snow brings more vibrance to the earth’s natural colors, like how the ripeness of the winter harvest looks richer next to the blanket of snow or how the colorful blossoms stand out against the misty winter outdoors. 

The extremities of a lively winter night are depicted in bright or clear winter colors — extremely light, vivid, or dark.

Looking at bright winter colors almost feels like they’re too good to be accurate. It’s as if you’ve captured the most spectacular cool neon light flashing against the dark winter night and kept it inside one palette. 

That’s exactly what the bright winter palette is. 

Seasonal Color Analysis

Constructing the appropriate look in fashion and makeup is more than just preference.

The seasonal color analysis is a reliable guide that will help you fully utilize the things you own while giving you the best possible look.

This guide uses the natural colors on your skin, hair, and eyes and analyzes them together to formulate a specific color selection that flatters you. 

It is categorized into different seasons, each with three sub-seasons.

Bright Winter Color Dimensions

The winter season is divided into three subcategories, each with a more specific evaluation of its features and color palette. 

Among the three is bright/clear winter. It reaps the most brilliant colors among the winters and follows the season’s dark and cool aspects. 

To describe this season’s overall palette, here are the dimensions you should keep an eye



Hue is determined by the degree of warmth or coolness of your natural features.

Like dark winter, this winter sub-season stands close to a warm season — in this case, spring. The transition in hue makes some of their attributes jump over the borders.

Regardless, the low temperature still prevails for bright winter. 

This means seeing the colors leaning toward the cool tones and blue undertones is expected, but it isn’t impossible to see hints of warmth in a bright winter color palette.


Value refers to the lightness or darkness of your overall natural colors.

Generally, the value of bright winter is neutral; it’s neither dark nor light. 

Bright winter colors can come from the lightest or darkest side of the palette, but due to their hue, more shades are pulled closer to having a greater concentration of blue undertones, giving the illusion of subtle darkness.  


Between saturation and desaturation, bright winter colors are highly saturated, meaning they are bright and vivid. Softness or mutedness has no place in this season. 

Chroma is where we’ll find the extremities in bright winter. 

Bright/Clear Winter Comparison

Being classified under a particular season shouldn’t restrain you from expanding your options. 

Your color palette can extend and borrow some shades from the seasons next door. These are

called your sister palettes!

Cool/True WinterBright WinterBright Spring
ValueLeaning to darkMediumNeutral-light
ChromaLeaning to brightBrightBright

Bright Winter vs True Winter

Bright winter stands next to the heart of your season, true winter. 

As bright winter gets closer to the springs, it slowly lets go of some of the winter attributes. It transitions to the medium value and gets more saturated.

The cool temperature is retained, but the winters are preparing for a seasonal transition to include subtle warmth.

To give you an example of the color comparison, the brightest version of true winter colors seem darker, like limelight, red rose, and Victorian blue. But if we head over to clear winter, it’ll be royal purple, French blue, and green jacket. 

Bright Winter vs Bright Spring

Bright winter stands on the other end of its season, next to spring, making bright spring one of its sister palettes. Because of this, it’s reasonable to mistake one for the other.

If you’re unfamiliar with this analysis, you might wonder where the difference lies. They are both bright, to say the least, but the varying hues flowing into one another are also the clear distinction on how to tell them apart. 

Bright winter is from a cool season; most of its colors will incline more to the cool and blue undertones. On the other hand, bright skin leans into the warmer end of the scale.

Bright winter also tends to have a more intense contrast than bright spring.

Bright Winter Features


Common skin colors: Porcelain white, pale beige, pink beige, buff beige, pale olive, pale tan, rose brown, cacao, deep brown, and black

A woman with beautiful skin looking at the camera while touching her face

A clear winter’s skin tone reflects their neutral or neural-cool aspect. It has respective shades from light to deep, but there’s going to be a more distinct blue undertone on most of them. 

Freckles are also common on bright winter skin. And they would also be clearer or have a certain translucent quality. Lighter skin tones may look paler, and darker skin tones naturally have a glowy, glass-skin-like effect. 


Common eye colors: Green, blue, aqua, cyan, gray, cool brown, and black

Bright winter eyes are sparkly and electric and come in shades of blue, green, brown, and black. Like their winter sisters, they obtain the typical characteristic of their season: borders around their iris.


Common hair colors: Medium ash brown, dark ash brown, medium brown, dark brown, black-brown, and black

The hair is continuously shining through the darkness for this season as the bright winters carry on with their naturally medium to dark brown or black hair. 

Bright winters have blue or ashy undertones. Blondes and redheads aren’t the types they’re born with. 

Naturally occurring gray and white hair is also part of this season.


Among this cool family is the sub-season that has the highest contrast between its features. This can often be found in the battling lightness of the skin against the darkness of the hair or the skin, hair, and eyes against the teeth. 

Even in the eyes themselves, you’ll see a high contrast between the eyes’ iris and whites. 

The Bright Winter Color Palette

Worst ColorsBest Colors Best Neutrals
ChiffonTrue redCharcoal
BrassCherryTrue gray
BlushHot pinkPewter
WisteriaLemon limePure white
Soft PlumLemonSoft white
Army GreenJungle greenSilver
Fern JadeStone
Sea foamTealNude
Light mossCyanTaupe
Muted pink and violetBlueMidnight Blue
Deep tomato redGrape

Colors to Avoid

The bright, captivating harmony of vibrant colors brings the most life out of your features. But your season can’t tolerate certain bright shades too.

Light and muted colors can dim you out, make you look lifeless, or make your entire palette look disharmonized and uncoordinated. In short, pastel colors are most of the time, not suitable for you. 

To help you catch the outliers from your palette, here are the colors to look for in terms of color dimensions:

  • Hue — Sitting next to a warm season doesn’t give you the full entitlement to warm shades, so keep your shades on the cooler end of the spectrum. But also don’t go overboard. 
  • Value — Going too dark or too light can turn out to be less flattering on you.
  • Chroma — Bright winters are always at their brightest, so soft, dusty, and muted colors can fade out your shine and disharmonize your palette. 


The clear winter color palette has its fair share of very light to very dark neutrals that bring life to its highly contrasting nature. 

Because of that, the bright winter’s black isn’t too cool, which makes it different from the icy black of the true winter. 

Let’s split your neutrals into two to help you see a clearer picture.

  • Dark neutrals — If you want to step out of the norm and want to try different dark neutrals aside from black, you have the charcoal and dark gray shades.
  • Light neutrals — True white is a safe light neutral to try, but your season can also do light grays and light beiges. 

Best Colors and Combinations

Clear winter color has a predominant brightness, backed by the vivid coolness in temperature and relatively dark-leaning hues.

The balance of colors is found within the highest contrast. If you want an effortless example, use value contrast. This creates contrast against the tints and shades of the same color, like light blue and dark blue.

But because of the extremities of this season, that won’t be enough. Even black and white alone can seem too bland. If you want a contrast that stands out, it takes courage to try out hue contrast.

It matches cool colors with warm colors to make a more striking combination.

Another combination to try is the usual neutral plus accent color. Some of your colors look best with a hint of warmth, so keep note of this.

Despite the darkness that’s part of your palettes, your season still has some of the liveliest colors, like acid green, neon yellows, and bright fuchsia.

  • Red, orange, or pink — ruby, true red, cherry, fuchsia, strawberry, hot pink
  • Yellow or green — lemon lime, lemon, marigold, jungle, jade, teal
  • Purple or blue — grape, purple, plum, cobalt, blue, cyan

Aim to incorporate at least one bright color on your clothing or accessories to make your colors pop even more. 

Bright Winter Hair Dyes

Whether you want to explore different bright winter hair colors or improve yours, here are clear winter hair color tips you can try.

Since you have a spectacular array of colors in your palette, this can influence the color of your hair too! That being said, artificial dyes and fashion colors can harmonize with your look quite well. 

And lucky you, as your hair turns naturally gray and white, you open a new flattering realm of bright winter hair. 

But tinsel-like platinum is also a good color to try if you want to mimic this natural transformation. Salt and pepper hair is also a stylish option!

And if you aspire to try the reds, you can alternatively try a violet or cherry. Hair color techniques that produce contrast like highlights and lowlights are also better than a fully colored head of hair. 

While blue-black sounds like an instant fit for a clear winter, blue-black dyes can be tricky to work with. Make sure the shade you’re picking isn’t too blue.

Bright Winter Makeup

The typical “no makeup” makeup look will not cut it for bright winters. 

The contrast and intensity of bright winter features must be reflected on makeup to make it look as natural as possible. Meaning, defined eyes and bold lips are the usual way to keep the look balanced. 

Complexion Makeup

Your entire look and how the rest of the makeup will wear on your skin are defined by your complexion makeup.

While it is impossible to point out the exact shades to go with for all bright winters, remember to keep it identical to your natural color. 

Retain the neutral-cool aspect. You might also see hints of pink undertones on bright winter skin, but keep it away from the peach and yellow tones.

For the foundation and concealer finish, a sheer or satin finish would be better than matte ones to accentuate your palette’s brightness. 


Your eyes hold a natural bright winter intensity, and this trait should also be displayed when playing with eye makeup. 

Never be afraid to stir in more color to the eyes. “Colorful” runs in your season. But one thing you should be cautious about is that your eyeshadow shouldn’t be entirely dark.

Using your neutrals is a good way to start building your eye look. Taupe and grays hit the right spot for a clear winter. 

To create contrast on the look, use the dark, bright, and vivid side of your palette and pick your accent colors from the soft reds, pinks, purples, blues, and greens.

You can explore having these cool-toned eyeshadows in shimmery or frosted finishes, but avoid the warm and muted mattes if you want to keep the eyes looking striking and awake.

The best eyeshadow shades for bright winters are chalk, cloud, silver, sky blue, orchid, jade, sapphire, icy blue, icy pink, navy, pine, arctic wolf, abbey stone, steeple gray, quiet gray, griffin, tornado, rose violet, amaranth purple, blithe, bright green, and putting green.

Eyeliner and Mascara

Your eyes have a bright and intense stare, and what’s a better way to brighten this aspect out a little more than by keeping your eyeliner and mascara dark and cool? 

For the eyeliner, you can go with the classic or ashy black, but you can also play with more color choices in purple, blue, and green shades. 

If you have a pale complexion and don’t like going for a heavy and dark liner, you can go for charcoal and dark taupe.

You can also add glittery white or silver eyeliner if you want a bit more flair.

The best eyeliner shades for a bright winter are pirate black, sodalite blue, amaranth purple, everglade, emerald, petrol blue, and byzantium. 

To top up eye definition, use black or dark gray mascara. These are the best choices for your clear winter eyes. You can also explore brighter colors and try blue. Never go near warm brown tones. 

The best mascara shades for bright winter are anthracite, phantom, jet black, charcoal, black iris, dazzling blue, and navy blue.


A woman is applying makeup with a brush in front of a mirror.

The eyes and the lips may not be the focal points of the intensity of your makeup, but adding a flush of color to the cheeks can also be a good idea. 

Bright winter blushes make your skin glow better if they’re kept looking like they’re barely there. 

Creamy, sheer, and shimmery shades of coral to red are where you’ll find your appropriate shade based on the depth of your skin tone. Cool shades of pink, like rose pink, look good on you too!

Give the warm oranges and peaches a miss. You don’t want your blush to clash with your season’s temperature. 

The best blush shades for a bright winter are rose pink, orchid, crimson, ruby, raspberry, true red, honeysuckle, vivacious, red plum, pink flambe, beetroot purple, boudoir red, and cherries jubilee.

You can give your bronzers and contours a rest; these aren’t the products you’d want to keep in your stash if you’re a clear winter.

They provide the wrong kind of contrast and warmth to your cool and bright colors and make you look muddy. 

Instead, by using highlighters, you can give yourself a more luminous and glass-skin-like effect. That’s the safest and most flattering way to do some lifting on your face.


This sub-season is filled with bright colors, and bold lippies aren’t a shocker. 

Despite the attention-grabbing shades of fuchsia, red, and purple, matching them with a good glossy finish is the secret ingredient to the perfectly natural look. 

What you need to shove away from your stash are dark and warm oranges, yellow-based reds, and nude colors because they don’t reflect your season and lack the intensity you need. 

The best lipstick shades for bright winter are hot pink, fuchsia, imperial red, rose, jester red, scarlet, vivid viola, amaranthe purple, cabaret, purple wine, honeysuckle, raspberry, and pink cosmos.

Bright Winter Nail Polish

The best nail polish of bright winters reflects their bright and lively palette or their dark and shimmery aspects. Nails can spice up your look and enhance your natural colors.  

The best nail polish shades for bright winter are winter white, yellow, coral pink, neon orange, bright red, pink, purple, dark teal, teal, royal blue, cosmos blue, midnight.

Inside a Bright Winter’s Closet

Wardrobe Basics

Now that you know your basic color schemes and the do’s and don’ts to your bright winter palette, we can head over to the most flattering clothes for you. 

What makes you different from the other winter seasons is that the best outfits for you are composed of bright, striking colors. 

If you’re wondering how to wear your neutrals, it would be better to put a twist to them and not stick to an entirely, say, black look. 

That will look too cool on you, and the more it dominates your outfit, the more it inclines to an overall darker value. Keeping the blacks balanced with light neutrals in your outfit will look way better on you. 

Instead of whites, other icy light colors can make an unexpected difference and might flatter you even more. 

What’s easy for all winters to achieve is pairing dark colors with light ones because of the plethora of neutrals you can wear and your naturally high contrasting values.

Also remember to keep your jewelry sparkly!

Your eyewear can do more than give you better vision. If you keep the material metallic and shiny, your glasses can bring more life to your face. A matte or powdery coating, on the other hand, can make you look flat.

Plastic can be a good material to invest in, but wood is a no-no!

Sparkly accents can give you a luxurious look, and chromatic and reflective sunglasses lenses and metallic frames hit the right level of brightness, shine, and depth that your features need. 

Prints and Patterns

We can’t complete a bright winter’s closet without having its selection of prints and patterns. 

To explain everything in the simplest way, the first way a pattern fits your sub-season is if it only contains the bright, beautiful colors of your palette.

Next, look for the abstracts and the round and rectangular geometrical patterns; they depict your highly contrasting aspect. Medium to large prints often work better, depending on the colors used. 

If you’re into florals, they’ll look better on you if they’re not designed in small, densely, or loosely arranged patterns. You might also want to avoid any blended figures or gradients on the patterns to avoid clashing with your highly contrasting features.

Jewelry and Accessories

Clear winter colors are almost versatile for metals because of their neutral-cool aspect. Their best metals are silver, platinum, and gold (either white or regular gold). 

Golds look better when paired with diamonds to balance out the hue.

Your season also homes shiny metals. Leave the antiqued, tarnished, satin, soft matte, and brushed metals to your winter sisters. They will only look grimy and lifeless on you. 

And even when you pick jewelry pieces, your cool bright colors have to be the star. There are many stone options for you to try aside from diamonds. You can reach for rubies, emeralds, and blue and pink sapphires. 

If there’s a general criterion, it will always be clear and reflective like the holographic shine of Swarovski crystals rather than misty and earthy. 


Can bright winters wear black?

Any season can wear black, to be honest. But for a bright winter, wearing black dominantly can be too dark and too cool for you. As a result, you’ll appear more dull than contrasting.

Can bright winters be blonde?

Blonde and beautiful woman with hands on hips in pink dress smiling and looking at camera

Being born blonde isn’t a characteristic of this sub-season. Instead, having light hair can be something you can transform into.

An example is the natural phenomenon of having your rich, dark hair turn gray or white. 

Interested in seasonal color analysis?

Read these other sub-seasons:


  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

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