Cool (True) Summer Color Palette: Makeup, Hair, and Fashion Guide

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From the serene and steady ocean to the beautiful array of clouds in the sky, the misty mornings, and the gentle blossoms in the greenest garden… 

Unlike our usual perception of summer, this analysis welcomes the dreamy lightness of a cool yet sunny environment.

Cold drink on the beach on a hot summer day

The coolest shades of delicate colors dominate this season, like the soft pastel that hugs nature after a long, dark night. 

This season opens a different view on the light and dark side of the spectrum. If you want to know more, here’s the cool summer color palette to serve all your styling needs!

Seasonal Color Analysis

Seasonal color analysis is more than just studying the natural colors of your features and allotting specific shades and tones of colors for an exquisite combination. 

It’s creating a comprehensive guide to elevating your personal style with the proper guidance to curating the best fashion pieces for your natural features, even if you’re not an expert. 

If you’re up for the challenge or the lessons, let’s analyze the best cool summer color palette!

Cool Summer Color Dimensions

Hue

The first thing that the seasonal color analysis considers is your skin, eyes, and hair’s undertones, whether they come in cool or warm tones.

Typically, summer is the season that would remind you of spending hot, sunny days at the beach. But ironically, cool summer palette colors are ruled by coolness. 

So instead of the warm, sunny rays you’re thinking of, you’ll see more colors with a blue undertone. Just think of the colors of the ocean.

Value

Value is defined by the lightness and darkness of your overall natural colors, but one prominent feature we look into when considering the value is the hair.

Any color palette is naturally composed of light and dark versions of colors, but as the heart of your season, you’re most likely to be filled with colors ranging from light to medium shades. 

Chroma

Some values and hues may look similar, but determining the saturation or desaturation of your colors direct you to the sub-season where you belong.

Chroma is the second aspect we look at in the color analysis of a cool summer. The colors can be from neutral to slightly leaning into the muted or grayed-out colors.

Cool/True Summer Comparison

As a sub-season that sits between light and soft summer, coolness and mutedness are the main characteristics of the colors found in the true summer palette. 

But the plethora of colors that can be worn along these are influenced by the seasons near you too.

This is why we open the doors for your sister palettes and use them to enhance your selection in terms of color and style.

Light SummerCool/True SummerSoft/Muted Summer
HueCoolCoolCool
ValueLightNeutral-lightNeutral
ChromaNeutral-brightNeutral-mutedMuted

Cool Summer vs Light Summer and Soft Summer

Given that these other two sub-seasons are located at both ends of summer, these are automatically influenced by the season they sit next to. 

And with that, the common neighboring sub-season between the two is cool summer — the standard and the heart of summer. (This is also why it’s called true summer.)

By looking at the table, we can easily address that summer, in general, is ruled by coolness. The majority of the classic summer color palette colors have blue undertones.

Comparing it to light summer with a spring flair, the colors of the light summer palette are cooler, darker, and more muted. In comparison, soft summer goes all out with softness or mutedness, just like its sister palette, soft autumn.

Cool Summer vs. Cool Winter

These versions of two different seasons are cool, as their name suggests. 

But despite the similarities, there are obvious traits that set them apart. 

Looking closely at their seasons, it’s undeniable that they all go by blue undertones because of the full extent of coolness. But the winter colors are intense and highly contrasting. 

It’ll be overkill compared to summer’s value, saturation, and contrast.

True summer is more muted, or more likely to have less concentration of colors, whereas true winter is more intensely pigmented, which creates a higher contrast. 

Cool Summer Features

Skin

Common skin tones: Pale rose, porcelain, pale beige, sienna, band, dark beige

The true summer skin ranges from fair to tan, commonly in shades of beige or pink, and has distinct blue or cool undertones.

Eyes

Common eye colors: Gray, blue, green, gray hazel, gray-blue, gray-green, gray-brown

Since this sub-season is fairly light and muted, common eye colors are blue, gray, green, or light gray hazel. 

It’s noticeable for these colors to appear gray, and they come by the trademark of the summer eyes, which has a cracked glass pattern around the pupil. 

Hair

Common hair colors: Ash blonde, light ash brown, medium ash brown, dark ash brown

The hair reflects this sub-season’s primary and secondary aspects. And with that, true summer has zero warmth in the hair and is naturally muted and ashy.

A close up of a dark brown wavy hair.

It can go from dark blonde to light, medium, and dark brown. Because this is generally a cool season, natural highlights and golden or red tones are unusual. 

Contrast

The combination of your features’ colors, fair complexion, light eyes, and dark hair generates the highest contrast among the three summers. 

There’s a strong contrast between the eyes and hair but not strong enough to get the level of contrast past medium because it’s balanced by the complexion. 

The Cool Summer Color Palette

Worst ColorsBest ColorsBest Neutrals
BlackTrue redNavy
RedSoft redSage 
Royal pinkBubblegum pinkBlush
Lemon glacierFuchsiaSoft white
Apple greenCarnationIvory
Orange sodaMauveSilver
Satin sheen goldBallet pinkDove
BistreLemonGray
Vivid tangerineChiffonSlate gray
CoralMintCloud gray
Dirty brownSeafoamSteel gray
Saddle brownJungle greenCharcoal
Golden rodGreen
Mikado yellowPine green
Portand orangeAqua
Persian red

Colors to Avoid

As the heart of this season, cool summer is known to be the standard of all summer sub-seasons.

Nevertheless, every sub-season has a set of colors to be avoided to make way for the most flattering shades that make up the classic summer season color palette. 

To be clear of the specific colors to be avoided, we measure them based on the following dimensions:

  • Hue — As a sub-season with full-on coolness, you must avoid the warm tones that instantly clash with your natural colors. They will look off and unhealthy against your features. 
  • Value — Dark shades aren’t the best color variety for you because these shades eat away the lightness of your features and overwhelm your summer traits. They’ll make you look old.
  • Chroma —  To keep the gentleness of the soft colors in your summer seasonal color palette, colors with too much saturation must be kept out of your closets and out of your style combination.

Warm and saturated colors create the most chaotic rivalry against your cool and soft aspects. It would be best to ditch the strong yellows, oranges, and dark shades of purple, black, and white. You’ll find beauty in the blues and grays.

Neutrals

Despite leaning away from straight-up black-and-white colors, certain neutrals are essential to the summer seasonal color analysis as they balance out your palette. 

To better look at what this sub-season has in store for you in this spectrum, let’s divide neutrals into two:

  • Dark neutrals — You’ll have to find the darkest range of colors between charcoal to dark brown and blue, but dark gray also looks just as good.
  • Light neutrals — True white may be light, but it has a clashing brightness that destroys your sub-season’s medium contrast. Light grays and browns or grayish-blues are a good alternative for a more suitable neutral

Best Colors and Combinations

Depending on how well you perceive the tonal value of colors, you’ll easily understand that there are shades that would suit you best and some that won’t.

In this section, we’ll classify the best color summer color combinations fot clothes and for every fashion need based on the different base colors that work for you. 

Cool, light, and muted are the reigning factors for your selection. Embracing the cool summer color palette will make your features shine the best. 

But remember, you have just an adequate brightness and an ample lightness, so keeping the contrast level in a medium is vital for your palette.

You can find some of the best colors for true summer in these colors:

  • Red, orange, or pink — true red, soft red, blood red, bubblegum pink, fuchsia, carnation, mauve, ballet pink
  • Yellow or green — lemon, chiffon, mint, seafoam, jungle green, green, pine green, aqua
  • Purple or blue — orchid, violet, periwinkle, dusty indigo, azure, cobalt, baby blue

The perfect combination for you will look as if it blends with your natural features, and if there’s going to be any contrast, it must be maintained at a medium level. Since most of your colors are mid-range, it won’t be hard to do so. 

A monochrome or tone-on-tone look is wearable and suits you just as good as grabbing a neutral piece and pairing it with an accent color.

Cool Summer Hair Dyes

If you’re trying to step up your hair game and switch hair colors, remember that keeping the natural ashy won’t stop from going for the light colors.

The best hair colors for cool summer are light ash blonde, light pearl blonde, dark blonde, and dark ash blonde.  

Fashion colors are also welcome; you can often see them in soft platinum, pale violet, mushroom, cool pink, and silver. These shades look good, whether as highlights, ombre, or balayage.

Yes, nothing warm and bright but an evident ashy tone instead. This keeps the cool luster of this sub-season intact. 

Cool Summer Makeup

The natural makeup of a cool summer looks as if nothing is going on in the face. It gives off an overall “my features but better” vibe from the cool and delicate colors.

A soft dust of color to the eye, just enough to level up the depth, further defined by a cool brown, charcoal gray, or soft dark blue mascara and eyeliner will suffice. 

Your cheeks and lips give the illusion of a natural fresh blush in the cool and soft shades of pink or nude. For more color, you can wear your everyday lippie in soft berry or a fusion of plum and pink. 

Complexion Makeup

Complexion makeup, like foundation and concealer, are the makeup items that cover the majority of the surface of your face, and it’s a rule of thumb that these should match the natural tone of your complexion.

Although we can’t tell an exact shade for every complexion, you’re most likely to have a cool undertone, so to find the best complexion makeup, you’re going to pass through the aisle of blue- or pink-toned mattes.

There’s no room for warm, peachy, glowy foundations and concealers for the cool summer spectrum.

Eyeshadow

The perfect eyeshadow look for you will be composed of your neutral and accent colors and decline the bright, warm, and glittery.

Neutral shades such as grays and taupes are great colors to start with.

If you want your eyes to be more dramatic, you can adjust the depth of these colors, but the plums, pinks, blues, and greens on your palette can make a great accent too! 

Make sure to blend them well to avoid harsh color transitions. 

The best eyeshadow shades for cool summer are porcelain, lavender gray, light steel blue, arge, cool gray, slate gray, pink pearl, aegean, lapis, steel blue, dark slate blue, and jungle green. 

Eyeliner and Mascara

When talking about eyeliner and mascara, you have nowhere to run but your cool summer palette neutrals. 

Portrait of beautiful woman with glamorous makeup looking at camera isolated on blue

Even if a true summer is darker than light summer and has the coolness of winter, black is still too cool and harsh for you. Instead, head on over to the dark shades of gray and blue. 

The best mascara shades for cool summer are davy’s gray, volcanic ash, charcoal, dark slate blue, and gunmetal.

The same rule applies to your eyeliner, but if you want to settle for a bit more pop of color, match it with the shade of your eyes.

The best eyeliner shades for cool summer are major brown, davy’s gray, wenge, light slate gray, volcanic ash, metallic blue, popstar, medium ruby, cyber grape, dark cornflower blue, chesapeake bay, dark spring green 

Cheeks

For the cheeks, a true summer aims for a slight dust of color that looks as if they’re naturally blushing. 

Cool and soft tones of pink- and plum-based blushes bring off this effect effortlessly, especially when they come in matte finishes that melt into the skin seamlessly. 

Overly bright and warm colors like red and orange can be too overwhelming for this sub-season, and too much shimmer creates unnecessary contrast.

The best blush shades for cool summer are dust storm, pink pearl, amaranth pink, blush pink, punch of pink, hibiscus, rosebloom, moonlite mauve, and rose quartz pink. 

Meanwhile, bronzers and contours aren’t the type of makeup that belong to the summer type with no warmth. They’ll only clash with your cool skin and make you look sick. 

Lips

The color of your cheeks and lips resembles one another; they both look soft and natural. And keeping them on the cooler side of pinks and plums are the best way to go. 

Also, keep them in matte, satin, or shiny finishes and away from the overly glossy finishes at all cost. 

The best lipstick shades for cool summer are classic rose, candy pink, soft pink, chateau rose, soft rose, baker-miller pink, middle purple, rose quartz pink, medium ruby, irresistible, and rose red.

Cool Summer Nail Polish

Your nails shouldn’t create too much contrast with your natural skin tone. So, in case your nail technician isn’t aware of your sub-season, suggest that the ideal nail set comes in cool, soft nude colors in matte and glossy finish.

The best nail polish shades for cool summer are silver white, baby pink, nude pink, nude mauve, lilac, gray, rose, cherry, lavender, teal blue, light blue, and French blue. 

Inside a Cool Summer’s Closet

Wardrobe Basics

A cool summer wardrobe palette consists of fresh, airy colors, but if you’re planning to build a capsule wardrobe, you have to stretch out the options and own staples pieces.

Starting with the denim, you can grab either the light-colored and faded variants or the solid blues and grays in your signature choice, whether in solid color, wrecked, or frayed looks.

Saving some pieces for formal occasions, you can grab the softer and cooler grays and browns from your neutrals.

If there’s going to be a life-saving tip to get the best shade, get to know your shades of taupe! It has to be neither cool nor too dark, unlike true black and brown.

These may be unusual, but slate and gray marle cotton hit the right spot for your sub-season. 

And your accent can come in shades of deeper oceanic teals, and rosy burgundies are flexible in any article of clothing, depending on your style. 

Cool summer palette outfits won’t be complete without eyewear; solid-colored, brushed, and matte metals are your go-to, and reflective and bright-colored ones are not made for you. 

You can go for rimless or thick-framed glasses depending on which flatters your face shape, and semi-transparent or gradient lenses are just as stunning as your features.

Prints and Patterns

To keep your wardrobe flexible, owning printed and patterned pieces is a must. But keeping it in accordance with your season isn’t as easy as you think. 

First, you have to make sure that the colors align with one another. No disharmonious color should reign supreme, especially if it’s the majority of the design we’re talking about. 

If you have that all set, check to see if the prints and patterns are as delicate as these colors. Cool summer looks great in watercolor, brush-stroke effects and hand-drawn or hand-painted florals.

The elements should also flow freely on the design — nothing too dense or arranged too orderly — and it should be in medium or large proportions.

Jewelry and Accessories

As a season that goes full-on coolness and zero warmth, your style is spiced up by brushed and satin cool-toned metals such as silver, white gold, and platinum. 

Wearing warmer-toned metals like gold, bronze, and brass diverts you to a different season. Metal pieces that are too blingy and shiny also downgrade your look. 

White pearls necklace on black background

Incorporating stones like the mother of pearl, rose quartz, moonstone, blue and pink sapphire, aquamarine, blue lace agate, blue and lavender chalcedony, amethyst, tanzanite, and pink and blue tourmaline can surely add elegance to any look but not if they have faceted cuts. 

If you’re into pearls, then this is the right summer season! Pink, gray, silver, and white pearls go exquisitely stunning with your features!

FAQs

Should cool summers wear gold or silver?

Since cool summer is a season of completely cool colors, warm metals such as gold have no place in any of its style. 

However, we can give white gold a go. And silver too. These are the most ideal ones to wear. 

Can cool summer wear black?

Some seasons take black as their most flattering neutral, but summer, especially cool summer, isn’t one of them. 

Black can be too harsh for this sub-season. It can overwhelm the natural colors of your features to the point where they can age you. 

If you want to sneak this shade into your wardrobe, the safest alternative is to have it with a hint of gray or to take the darkest shade of gray, like charcoal. 

Want to know more about the hearts of different seasons? 

Read these articles:

Author

  • 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.

2 Comments

  1. Chloe Gibson says:

    This is the ONLY article out of many that was able to explain my color season.
    10/10. Amazing. Thank you SO much!!

  2. Perfectly stated overview on the Cool Summer profile. This helped me, as well as clarified some aspects, of this under-addressed color type, and I’m deeply appreciative!

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