Cool (True) Winter Color Palette: Makeup, Hair, And Fashion Guide

Cool (True) Winter Color Palette: Makeup, Hair, And Fashion Guide

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The auroras gleaming over the snow-covered mountains on a winter night, the ice glaciers, the pastel flowers frozen from the coldness, and the festive holiday ornaments hanging on the tree…

A woman wearing winter clothes

Like the literal aspect of this season, the winter sub-season in this seasonal color analysis signifies coldness, but there is so much more to this season than the absence of warmth. 

If you think you’re a cool/true winter but are still having doubts, then this is the perfect guide to help you assess and classify yourself into a sub-season and improve your overall style. 

Seasonal Color Analysis

Creating your signature style should be fun rather than difficult. But how do we do that if there are so many things to consider? 

We’re here to teach you a comprehensive guide to discovering a color harmony that is rooted in your own features and helps you uncover the best hair colors, wardrobe pieces, and makeup for you.

Introducing the seasonal color analysis.

Cool Winter Color Dimension

An infographic featuring color qualities for cool winter

Among the 12 sub-seasons, true winter has the coolest palette and its characteristics extend to obtaining brightness and high contrast.

It sits in the middle of its family, and with that, it’s safe to say that this season is the truest and purest form of winter.

To find out if you’re a cool winter, check if your natural features reflect these characteristics.


Hue is assessed through the warmth or coolness your natural undertones. Coolness is the primary aspect of every winter, and cool winter has the coolest hue among the three sub-seasons.

In the cool winter palette, it’s presumable that we’ll be seeing more naturally blue-based versions of different colors.


When it comes to the lightness and darkness of colors, the value of cool winter went a little over the middle and slightly into the realms of darkness. 

Most of this sub-season’s features and swatches are predominated by a medium-dark value. But don’t be confused if you see some leaning more into the darker end; the high concentration of the blues influences this. 


As for saturation vs desaturation, true winter has saturation as its secondary aspect, so you can expect the colors within the cool autumn palette to be vivid or vibrant. 

For a sub-season with a relatively high chroma, there’s no way a true winter can be dull, soft, or muted. 

Cool/True Winter Comparison

There’s more to seasonal color analysis than classifying your features and establishing a color scheme.

There are actually secondary palettes for you to explore! And this is all thanks to your sister palettes and complementary palette.

Once you know what aspects you share with analogous and complementary seasons and sub-seasons, you can borrow some colors from their palettes and use them to add more flair to your style. 

Deep/Dark WinterCool/True WinterBright Winter
ValueDarkLeaning to darkMedium
ChromaMediumLeaning to brightBright

True/Cool Winter Vs Dark Winter and Bright Winter

If you check the seasonal chart above, you’ll see that cool winter sits between dark and bright winter, making it the heart of the winter family. 

As sister palettes, these winter sub-seasons carry the prominent dimensions of their parent season, but they also share distinct similarities and borrowed colors from one another.

The three winters carry their seasonal trait of having a bright and cool appearance, which varies when it comes to these aspects’ intensities. 

Cool/true winter is the coolest among the family — that’s a given. If we compare deep winter versus cool winter, cool winter is brighter and lighter than dark winter, but it’s darker and not as vivid as bright/soft winter. 

To give you the essence of your neighboring colors, you can explore the different spectrums of your sister palettes.

Here are what you can borrow from your winter family:

  • From dark winter, you can grab some of their lighter colors like marine green, splish splash, and ibis rose.
  • From bright winter, choose the less striking colors like dazzling blue, blue iris, and everglade

True Winter vs. True Summer

Wondering why, all of a sudden, we’re joined by a summer? This is because true summer is the season opposite the cool or true winter.

Even if they don’t stand next to each other, their opposing sides do still resemble and influence one another. 

These two seasons look alike due to their similar primary characteristic: you’re both naturally cool. 

But their difference enters once we look at their secondary color aspect and contrast; true winter has a bright chroma and high contrast, while true summer is filled with muted tones and low contrasting features. 

This is why despite the blue undertones reigning over the two, true summer leans more into the grays, which give it a more toned-down or desaturated appearance. 

On the other hand, true winter has more blue-black pigments that create a more striking contrast, higher saturation, and a wider color palette. 

To cut the story short, the delicate tones should be kept in the true summer’s palette, and the higher-contrast saturated shades in the true winter palette.

Cool Winter Features

An infographic featuring skin, eyes, hair, and contrast characteristics for cool winter


Common skin tones: Very pale beige, pale beige, pale olive, rosy beige, sable, or brown-black 

A cool winter skin has an evident cool and blueish undertone. It can range from very pale to deep dark brown, and you’ll notice how it always creates contrast with the eyes and teeth. 

A woman looking down on her side while touching her skin in a light colored background

Paler skin tones may not be warm, but it tans easily and freckles may also be present. True winter skin, if you have African genes, can be in the shades of light brown, saddle brown, to sable.


Common eye colors: Cool blue, icy hazel, cool brown, cool dark brown, or black

With a zero trace of warmth, the cool winter eyes can give you the iciest stare. But if you’ll close at the details, you may notice the winter trademark of having a border around the iris.

Color-wise, it comes in cool and bright shades of blue, green, hazel, brown, or black — all with a distinct blue undertone. 


Common hair colors: Dark ash brown, dark brown, cool brown-black, black

Dark hair is one of the most recognizable winter features, and for this sub-season, ashy tones of dark brown to black are the most prominent. 

Seeing cool winter hair in the shades of medium to dark brown is also probable.


A distinct contrast between features is one of the first things you’d notice in a cool winter.

Convert your photo to black and white. Notice how the iris and the pupil of a true winter eye. The eyes, skin, and hair all speak with such a high degree of contrast

The Cool Winter Color Palette

Worst ColorsBest ColorsBest Neutrals
Golden brownCrimsonNavy
Rusty orangeSoft redDove
Dusty blueBright redGray
Tawny RoseMagentaBlack
CamelIcy PinkCharcoal
SageLemonSoft White
Olive GreenChiffonOptic White
Pea GreenJade
Soft SalmonEmerald
Pastel PinkGreen
Han Blue
French Sky Blue
Fresh Air
Baby Blue

Colors to Avoid

As a white blanket of snow covers the surroundings, the rich earth is covered by the cool and bright spirit of winter.

Now that you know your best colors, worst colors, and best neutrals, you can tell that this season is not excempted from a fair share of dos and don’ts. 

An infographic featuring worst and best colors, and best neutrals color palette for cool winter

If we are to point out the biggest enemy of cool winter colors, it’s the warm and muted or desaturated tones

These are the characteristics of colors that should stay out of your palette:

  • Hue — You are the heart of winter, so warm colors are nowhere in your palette because they can dim out your style.
  • Value — Colors that are too light will drown your pigmented palette and make your colors look unbalanced. 
  • Chroma — Save the muted colors for those who belong to other seasons. Their intensity is no match for yours and will only make you look bland and sickly.

We’re all about intensity and brightness; soft, muted, and earthy colors don’t have what it takes to make you stand out. But there are carefully chosen pastel hues that can somehow work their way into your winter color palette.

But if you own quite a lot of pink, yellow, and gray on your palette, some versions of it may point you to the direction of different seasons. 

The yellows you choose can be too orangey, the pinks can be too peachy, and the grays can have too much of an underwhelming value — all of which do not fall under the flattering options for a cool/true winter.


With cool winter as your season, you have neutral staples in your hands. The classic true black and white are some of the best for your season.

But there are also a set of dark or light neutrals in your palette such as the following:

  • Dark neutral — Your season can rock some of the darkest and most vibrant deep colors like navy, gray, charcoal, and black.
  • Light neutral — Light neutrals like light gray, beige, soft white, or optic white may seem a bit too flat compared to the other seasons’, but you can definitely use them along with vivid winter colors.

Best Colors and Combinations

Cool winter is mainly composed of cool, highly contrasting, and vivid color combinations that bring life to one another.

The cool winter’s palette is home to a wide range of light to dark icy vibrance. The abundance of cool green, blue, and purple makes you stand out each time! 

Let’s break down your colors based on their color families:

  • Red, orange, or pink —  crimson, soft red, bright red, magenta, fuchsia, icy pink
  • Yellow or green — lemon, jade, emerald, green, aqua
  • Purple or blue — egg, violet, lavender, cobalt, navy, sapphire, han blue, french sky blue, fresh air, baby blue, turquoise

Your combination is pretty easy as well. You can go for analogous or contrasting, or you can pair your dark or light neutrals with an accent color from your cool winter palette. 

The classic black and white may be perceived as plain and boring, but think of it: not everyone can have them as their go-to, but the true winter can.

Not to keep you from putting on a monochromatic look or keeping all blacks or all whites on your cool winter color palette wardrobe — an all-light or all-dark look is okay, but opting for a starkly contrasting scheme looks best on true/cool winters. 

True/Cool Winter Hair Dyes

An infographic featuring different hair dyes for cool winter

Dyeing your hair can still be an option, even if dark shades rule this feature of yours.

Dark brown or black with blue or ash tints, deep ash, blue-black, or black-brown are some of the most flattering shades you can dye your hair with.

Even if it seems like the slightest change, it greatly enhances your true winter features. 

And when it comes to style, you can go salt and pepper, or have faint highlights in platinum, silver, steel gray, or silver

Unfortunately, the lightest you can ever go for this sub-season is gray or silver. Red and golden tones are a big no-no. 

Cool Winter Makeup

A cool winter makeup

As a true winter, you have an overflowing edge and intensity, and with that, you can go for a smokey look every day, even in the daytime!

Focus on accentuating the eyes using your dark neutral eyeshadows, pair it with an intense mascara, and match it with a lip color that’s more subtle or just as intense as your eyes, and voila! A simple, yet true winter-defining look.

An infographic featuring different complexion makeup, eyeshadow, mascara and eyeliner, and cheeks and lips makeup for cool winter

Complexion Makeup

The first step to every makeup routine is building your base or complexion makeup. 

Choosing a foundation or concealer requires an in-depth assessment of your skin. Get a good shade match and ask yourself: What is my skin type? What is my undertone?

These are the two vital factors when choosing your base products. As a member of the winters, yours is not strictly in a cool undertone; the hue may vary between cool and neutral.

But the true winter’s skin never goes warm, and so does your complexion makeup. 

You better keep off the mattes if you don’t want to look dull. Dewy and satin finishes are your crème de la crème.


We’re pretty sure you’ve seen this rule when choosing eye makeup with reference to your seasonal colors: take them from the neutral region of your palette, and take out your complementary and accent colors for the highlight.

Mixing light and medium-dark cool shades are right up your alley! Cool, sharp looks define your eyes beautifully.

Basically, the cool winter makeup palette for the eyes is supposed to be icy, pigmented, and powerful, but there’s an array of neutral colors from white, grays, and blacks to taupes for your neutral staples. 

For your accents, you can choose from rich purples to greens. And the beauty of winters is that you can mix matte and frosted or metallics, but never go with just the mattes unless you’d want your bright features to get washed out.

Best eyeshadow shades for cool winters are snow, lily-white, neutral gray, silver, royal purple, hyacinth, purple sapphire, emerald, spectra green, sea green, ultramarine green, malibu blue, cerulean, iron, dark royal blue, and navy.

Eyeliner and Mascara

To bring more life to cool winter eyes, there are no better colors to choose than intense ones. 

So for mascaras, it’s safest to opt for blacks, like carbon or jet black, and to drop the warm, earthy colors like brown.

On the other hand, cool winter eyes naturally have cool and dark attributes, which can be your reference when choosing an eyeliner shade. Keep it as similar to your eye color as possible —  that’s what you look best at. 

Best eyeliner and mascara shades for cool winters are black and carbon black.

Best eyeliner and mascara shades for cool winters are black, carbon black, iron grey, molé, castlerock, deep bottle green, blackcurrant, navy, black iris, indigo blue, eden green, ocean cavern, acai, and aventurine.


When choosing the appropriate shade and finish for this area, the goal is to keep it looking like a healthy, cool, natural flush of colors as possible.

Spoiler alert: the winters are filled with blush shades that may look intimidating right off the pan. 

If you’re a cool winter, you have an assortment of pinks, reds, and magentas as your blush shade. But with an option this wide, you must be ready for a series of trial and error. 

The intensity of the pigment and the shade, however, is relative to the depth of your skin. But the right blush for you will never go within the shades of oranges, warm reds, and peaches.  

Dark blush shades are also a no because they might create an impression of warmth. For the most natural-looking finish, we would want something that blends into the skin rather than building intensity on the skin’s surface.

And with that, cream blushes are the way to go. 

The best blush shades for cool winter are pink lace, taffy, raspberry, ruby, rose, magenta, pirouette, bonbon, strawberry moon, very berry, wild aster, pink frosting, wild orchid, raspberry rose, and festival fuchsia.

Meanwhile, a bronzer establishes an artificial warmth to your face, eliminating the essence of your season.

But since you’re more of an icy princess than a golden goddess, you can skip this step and leave the contrasting aspects to your natural features instead. 

If you want to stick to a highlighting routine, you can definitely do so. Add sparkles and shimmers to that healthy flush of cheek color, but make sure it does not contain any golden specks or undertone. 

Some highlighter shades a true winter should try are iridescent white or silver. They’ll give you a bit of sparkle without adding a distracting tone to your face. 


In the true winter color palette makeup, your lip shades match your blushers. Choose in the spectrum of reds, pinks, purple, or magenta.

Swatches may be too striking at first because they resemble your appearance’s natural vibrance, but if it’s too much for your liking, you can sheer it out with a gloss or slightly rub it off and flaunt a my-lips-but-better kind of stain. 

Trying on a nude lippie is a bold attempt as it will drain the life out of you regardless of the shade your nude leans into. But some winters can skip the lippie and still have their lips looking plump and alive.

The best lipstick or gloss shades for cool winters are rose red, royal red, cherry, granita, deep pink, strawberry moon, very berry, wild aster, wild orchid, raspberry rose, festival fuchsia, magenta purple, lilac chiffon, violet, radiant orchid, and charisma.

Cool Winter Nail Polish

An infographic featuring different shades of nail polish for cool winter

Showing pure love to the true winter means going all out including the nails. Keeping them on the neutral or accent side of your palette doesn’t matter and can make your hands look younger. 

Best nail polish shades to try are winter white, gray, silver, cascade, electric pink, scarlet, magenta, fuchsia, purple, royal blue, navy, and midnight.

Inside a Cool Winter’s Closet

An infographic featuring wardrobe, prints and patterns, jewelry and accessories, and shoes style for cool winter

Wardrobe Basics

Now that you know your way through the true winter color palette, we can now take a step closer to putting up a cool winter wardrobe collection for you.

The first thing that’s a certified go-to for true winters is very dark or solid navy denim. It’s okay to wear wrecked or ripped jeans, but make sure the color stays dark, solid, and not faded.

Choosing cool winter color palette clothes is the least of your worries if the celebration calls for formal attire.

A woman wearing dark colored winter clothes and light colored hat while putting both of her hands in her mouth in a season of winter

Whether male or female, a classic tux is made for your season! Pair it with patent leather shoes; the overall look is a total stunner!

While you can rock the intense dominance and contrast between black and white, exploring your accent colors and pitching them together on your look is also super important.

Remember, your dominant traits can set you apart from the rest of the seasons, and with that, you can use them with little effort and still look amazing! 

You may begin with your neutrals, and go minimalist! Starting with your basics can help you work your way deep into your palettes until you can get creative with your accents.

You can also have your eyewear in a true winter style, and with the right materials, rocking eyewear is a breeze for you, and here are a few tips:

  • You look best in cool-toned or black-colored metals, and because of your naturally high contrast, you can even take light colors up to an all-white.
  • Avoid rimless and lightweight designs, but you can enjoy an extra razzle dazzle and dimension to your style by adding in rhinestones and other blings.

Prints and Patterns

Owning pieces of printed clothes are a staple for everyone, but only if you have your season-appropriate type of prints and patterns.

Since cool winter is highly contrasting, this should be embodied when choosing prints and patterns. Don’t forget that the black-and-white combination is never an exception to this rule.

The first thing to look at is the primary or the dominating color. It should be kept cool, bright, and within the regions of your palette. The higher the contrast, the more your cool winter outfit is flattering.

The right floral print for true winter are those highly stylized or not in the usual floral patterns we see and more of the abstract type. Choose those that come in brighter colors. 

If you’re wondering if the abstracts are for you, they are! You can also opt for something with a mixed geometric figure like circles and rectangles.

Jewelry and Accessories

Your sub-season possesses the coolest tone in the family; therefore, the jewelry for you is in the line of silver, white gold, titanium, platinum, and palladium.

Have these in a shiny and reflective finish, and they’ll bring sophisticated sparkle to your appearance.

Remember, the more your jewelry looks warm, golden, or brownish, the more off it looks on you.

Stones, however, do not necessarily have to be shiny, but they have to be clear. These types work best for you: diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, jet, obsidian, and many colors of Swarovski crystals.


What is the easiest way to tell whether you’re a cool or deep winter?

Deep winter is a sub-season sandwiched between the autumns and winters. If you see warmth in one of your natural features or your best colors, you might be a deep/dark winter instead of a cool/true winter. 

Cool winter, on the other hand, is cool throughout, with a little darkness and a lot of vibrance on the side. 

Deep winter is the darkest among its family, while cool winter is the coolest.

Can cool winter wear gold?

A big no to that! Cool winter won’t look good with gold, whether it’s yellow or rose gold or bronze, copper, and other brassy metals. These are too warm and earthy for your rich and icy season.

If I’ll have my hair changed to a summer color, will that make me belong to that season instead?

Unfortunately, no. You can only classify yourself under one season. And even if you try to alter your appearance to make you belong to others, the new colors will only clash with your natural features as the latter will shine through.

Want to explore more seasons? Read these articles!

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