Light Summer Color Palette: Makeup, Hair, and Fashion Guide

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Picture this: it’s early morning at the beach, the serene blue sky slowly waking from the haze of dawn as ocean waves kiss the shoreline in gentle crashes. 

A cool, misty breeze rises from the sea, enveloping you as the tranquil warmth of the morning sun’s rays settles into your skin. 

Dew drops grace the leaves, blooms surround the light sand, and everything is joyful in its serenity. 

an image of a beach view in the morning

This is the essence of light summer, a sub-season distinguished by its airy coolness and soft radiance. 

If you’ve got a sneaking suspicion that you’re a light summer, join us as we provide a comprehensive guide to the light summer color palette to help you sharpen your styling skills and create a breathtaking signature style. 

Seasonal Color Analysis

Seasonal color analysis assesses your natural features — namely your skin tone, eye color, and hair color — and assigns you a color palette that matches and harmonizes with them. 

These color palettes are broken down into four categories named after the changing seasons: winter, spring, summer, and autumn.

Each category also features subtypes or sub-seasons, and figuring out which specific sub-season you belong to empowers you to better curate your color and style choices. 

Among these sub-seasons is light summer, one of the three summer seasons. Let’s take a closer look at its specific color dimensions below.

Light Summer Color Dimension

Hue

Hue generally refers to the warmth or coolness of each individual’s coloring and undertones.

While summer calls hot, fiery days to mind, light summer surprisingly leans more toward the cooler side of the temperature scale. 

This is true of all summer seasons in the seasonal color palette.

Through its lens, summer is less characterized by scorching afternoons and more by the colors of the clear summer sky and the beach.  

So cool hues dominate this sub-season of summer. Hints of yellow may be perceived in the undertones, but blue tones remain the most prominent. 

Value 

The lightness or darkness of colors is determined by their value. 

True to the name of the season, light summer colors lie at the lightest end of this spectrum.

There’s virtually no trace of darkness in this palette; in fact, the primary aspect of a light summer’s coloring is light.  

Some medium tints are present, and they’re used to introduce depth to the predominant light shades.

Chroma

Chroma indicates the saturation or desaturation of a season’s colors.

Light summer straddles the line between soft hues and vivid ones. The chroma of the season’s palette is neutral-bright

So light summer gravitates a bit toward bright colors but remains true to the dominantly neutral quality of summer palettes. 

Light Summer Comparisons

No season is an island. Like all others the 12-season color analysis model, light summer has sister seasons or neighbor palettes with which it shares certain characteristics. 

These seasons are light spring and true summer. Light summer borrows the unmistakable luminosity of light spring and a hint of neutrality in chroma and an abundance of coolness from cool/true summer.

Light SpringLight SummerTrue Summer
HueWarmCoolCool
ValueLightLightNeutral-light
ChromaNeutral-brightNeutral-brightNeutral-muted

Light Summer vs. True Summer 

In general, summer seasons are distinguished by cool, neutral hues. As the heart of the season, true summer embodies this to a T. 

On the flip side, while light summer retains the season’s cool tones, it favors ever-so-slightly brighter and more saturated hues. 

True summer also has more contrast in the features, whereas light summer is characterized by very low contrast.   

Light Summer vs. Light Spring

Lightness rules the light spring palette and the light summer palette, to which both owe their aversion to any shade darker than medium. 

But as spring transitions to summer, it mellows out its bright hues and sheds the warmth in its palette. 

As such, light summer has cooler and softer hues than light spring. 

This means warm shades of a cool color may look disharmonious on a light summer, and cool shades of a warm color may clash with the coloring of a light spring. 

Light Summer Features

Skin

Common skin tones: Light ivory, cool beige, medium beige, rosy beige

The skin tone of a light summer can range from fair to medium. The undertones are typically neutral to cool with pinkish or bluish hues.

friendly girls with light summer hair and make up looking at the camera seriously

Eyes

Common eye colors: Light blue, light blue-green, light gray-blue, light gray, light gray-green, light green

Light summers usually have distinctively light eyes with cool tones. The irises also often feature a crackled glass-like pattern and soft, blurred edges that separate them from the whites of the eyes. 

Hair

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

Light and cool are the primary aspects of a light summer’s overall coloring, which includes hair color. 

Most light summers boast naturally ashy hair colors, even those with brown hair. 

Contrast

With light eyes, light hair, and light skin, there’s very low to no contrast in the features of a light summer. 

The extreme lightness and perceptible absence of darker shades give light summers an effortless luminosity and a dainty aura.

The Light Summer Color Palette

Worst ColorsBest ColorsBest Neutrals
True blackPale yellowDove white
Pure whiteChiffonCream
Warm yellowSky blueSoft taupe
Mustard yellowCornflowerCool gray
True orangeAqua Dove gray
Burnt orangeRoyal bluePearl gray
Scarlet redTeal Beige
Army greenMint greenCool brown
Forest greenSeafoam green
Olive greenBaby pink
Eggplant purpleRose pink
Burnt umberCool pink
Lilac
Lavender
Orchid
Raspberry 

Colors To Avoid

Like any other season, there are colors and shades that may not quite flatter your features or, worse, swallow them up completely. 

To help you identify which colors to avoid altogether, here are a few guidelines to follow based on color dimensions:

  • Hue —  Overly warm colors, even warm shades of cool colors, will clash with your cool tones.  
  • Value — There is zero tolerance for darkness in this season’s palette. Deep, dark shades will introduce too harsh a contrast into your coloring, draining the blush from your cheeks and giving you a sickly pallor. 
  • Chroma — Any shade too stark or vibrant will overwhelm the natural softness of your features.

Simply put, warm, dark, and intense hues detract from your delicate appearance and disrupt the natural harmony of your coloring. 

The same goes for high-contrast color combinations. Steer clear of complementary color combinations, which pair two colors opposite each other on the color wheel. 

This yields an excessively bold contrast that will completely overpower your features. 

Neutrals

Cool tones and lovely pastels may carry the most weight in the light summer color palette, but how nuanced and well-balanced it is will hinge upon your choice of neutrals. 

Here’s a quick guide to help you pick the most suitable hues in this color family:

  • Dark neutrals — The darkest neutral you can go for is slate gray, a less stark alternative to true black. Any medium gray is also a reliably versatile choice, as are cool-toned browns like beige or taupe.
  • Light neutrals — While light summer goes all out on lightness, the lightest neutrals like pure white belong more to the palettes of bright winter or deep winter. Instead, opt for softer whites like dove white and creamy white.
an image of three generations of woman wearing white with light hair for the summer

Best Colors and Color Combinations

The gentle yet deliciously luxurious palette of light summer revels in breezy, relaxed hues. 

By embracing these, you can accentuate the delicateness of your features and select fashion pieces in undeniably flattering colors. 

As a light summer, here are some of the best colors for you: 

  • Red or pink — Light red, ruby red, baby pink, rose pink
  • Yellow or green — Pale yellow, chiffon, seafoam green, mint green
  • Purple or blue — Sky blue, aqua, cornflower, royal blue, lilac, lavender, orchid

The guide above will also help you mix and match your color choices to create aesthetically pleasing combinations. 

Keep in mind that it’s best to go for low-contrast color combinations like monochromatic combinations featuring darker and lighter shades of the same hue to achieve a seamless minimalist look. 

But to inject a little more fun and variety into your style while ensuring your color picks blend well with your low-contrast features, you can also go for analogous color combinations that pair hues next to each other on the color wheel. 

For instance, you can pair green and blue in the same outfit or choose scarlet red accents and accessories to match a baby pink dress. 

Light Summer Hair Dyes

When you’re craving a style transformation, your first impulse is likely to switch up your hair color. 

And the good news is you don’t have to suppress this urge to remain true to your season! The trick is to find ashy hair colors that complement your cool tones. 

The best hair colors for light summer are light ash blonde, medium ash blonde, and light ash brown. 

Any tint or shade of ash blonde hair dye would look exquisite on a light summer. 

a close up image of a woman with fair skin

But if you’re averse to its edgy, intimidating vibe and partial to the charm of a warmer, more welcoming shade of blonde, you can go for a light golden blonde instead. 

Take note that a medium or dark golden blonde may be a tad too warm for your coloring. 

Now if you’re a natural blonde, you can also dye your hair brown with confidence! Just make sure to opt for a light, cool-toned brown hue like ash brown hair dye

Additionally, light summers who love smoky hair colors or wish to embrace their age with grace can freely go gray!

Light Summer Makeup

Preserving your naturally fresh radiance and highlighting your ethereal features should be your top priority when it comes to creating makeup looks. 

So your light summer makeup palette must consist of colors and finishes that incline toward subtle and understated over bold and imposing. 

As always, soft, light, and cool hues are the pick of the bunch for light summer makeup colors.

Matte finishes should also be your go-to; too much shine is ill-suited to your natural features. 

Most seasons match their choice of finish to their chroma.

Those with neutral or muted chroma — such as soft autumn — go for matte finishes, while those with bright chroma — such as warm spring — choose shimmery finishes. 

While it’s true that light summers do incline more toward brightness, extremely shimmery or glittery finishes will push the neutral-bright chroma of your features too far over to the bright side of the spectrum. 

As such, these finishes will create too stark of a contrast against your features and thus look unnatural on you. This is why it’s best to steer clear of them and stick to a more neutral look via a matte to natural finish. 

You can add a touch of shimmer with a few touches of highlighter or a light layer of gloss to top off your lipstick, showcasing your sub-season’s low contrast. 

Just make sure not to go overboard with shine to keep your look cool, subtle, and laid-back. 

For a woke-up-like-this, no-makeup look, try a sheer base with color-matched foundation and concealer, a light dusting of cool-toned eyeshadow, and a soft pink lip — and you’ll be good to go. 

To give you more insight into how to make the right choices for your looks, let’s dive into the specifics below. 

Complexion Makeup

Of course, the golden rule of selecting foundation and concealer still applies here, namely to match them to your specific skin tone and undertones. 

But in general, pink-toned beige or ivory concealers and foundations, which are generally formulated for those with pink undertones, look best on light summers. 

Going for thin, lightweight, and matte liquid formulas that won’t look heavy on your face is also a good idea.  

Eyeshadow

Your choice of eyeshadow shades should borrow heavily from the neutrals — taupes, creams, and grays — of the light summer color palette, although trying swatches on your skin to see which ones match your skin tone perfectly is still ideal. 

For a peppier, more playful look, you can also pick a few of the more vibrant hues from your color palette as accent colors and experiment with different combinations! 

But remember to avoid going for heavy eye makeup. This can draw too much attention to your light eyes and throw off the balance of your features.

Also, as with all your other makeup products, your eyeshadows should have matte finishes.

Shiny or glittery finishes will look too bright on you, creating an appearance that drowns out your best features. 

A light shimmery finish may also be acceptable, but going all out with glitter is a huge no-no. 

The best eyeshadow shades for light summer are bone white, light gray, slate gray, mushroom brown, icy pink, dusky blue, seafoam green, lavender, soft plum, and mauve.

Mascara and Eyeliner

If there’s one thing in nearly everyone’s makeup bag, it’s black mascara and eyeliner. 

But as a light summer, you’re better off without them. Black mascara, in particular, can look harsh and aggressive around your light eyes.  

So swap it out for cool-toned brown or gray mascara. 

The best mascara shades for light summer are charcoal gray, dark gray, taupe, and black-brown. 

As for eyeliner, it’s ideal to go for softer hues that play up and complement your eye color. Blues, grays, and purples are excellent examples of this.

The best eyeliner shades for light summer are soft navy blue, slate blue, dark denim, smoky purple, blue-gray, carbon gray, sleet gray, dusty gray, and pewter.

Cheeks

If you don’t want to go out of your color comfort zone, you can always rely on the trusty cool pinks in the light summer color palette for your blush. 

But for a tinge of warmth, you can lean into spring’s influence and go for slightly peachy pinks like coral to give you a diffused glow. 

Aside from the color, it’s crucial to take the finish and formula of your chosen blush into consideration as well. 

woman applying a creamy blush using a black brush

A creamy blush with a matte finish is a foolproof choice.

As is the case with eyeshadow, going for a blush with a matte to slightly shimmery finish will give a more natural-looking flush. 

A highly shimmery blush will clash with your features as you may not have as bright a chroma as you need to be to match the attention-grabbing shine of this type of finish. 

Light summers also tend to look effortlessly rosy, so there’s no need to apply multiple layers of blush; a light pop of color is all you need.  

The best blush shades for light summer are light coral, rose, powder pink, flamingo pink, candy pink, and watermelon. 

Plus, you can add a highlighter with a pearlescent sheen to your base makeup arsenal, but it’s crucial not to go overboard with it. 

Just apply it to the area around your eyes or select high points of your face for a slightly dewy touch. 

Feel free as well to ditch your contour and bronzer as these may give you an excessively warm, unnaturally sculpted appearance.

That said, if you want to use bronzer to give you a little more color, keep in mind that the best bronzer shades for light summer are pink-toned ones. 

Stay away from any bronzer with yellow undertones as these are sure to clash with your skin tone.  

Lips

Your color and finish choices for lipstick are more or less the same as those for your blush. And fortunately for fun-loving light summers, there’s a little more room to play with your lippie! 

In most cases, it’s best to stick with lighter lip colors to match the rest of your makeup and stick to your season’s color palette. 

But if you want to go a little darker for a more dramatic makeup style, especially when you’re hitting the town on a night out, a very slightly deeper cool pink or berry shade can work for you. 

Going a tad bit darker in the shades of the pinks in your color palette will allow you to achieve a subtly bolder look without compromising the lightness and low contrast of your overall look.  

What’s more, while matte lipsticks are still the most optimal choice for you, you can top yours off with a faint gloss to highlight your natural glow in an understated way while staying within the sub-season’s low contrast. 

Just make sure to avoid overly glossy lips. 

The best lipstick shades for light summer are nude pink, sugar coral, carnation, rose quartz, soft pink, soft rose, French rose, burgundy rose, strawberry pink, candy pink, flamingo pink, raspberry, rouge red, and lilac. 

Light Summer Nail Polish

Nothing can amp up your style like the right mani, and picking nail colors from your seasonal color palette is sure to be a game changer. 

So go ahead; embrace the enchantingly refreshing pastels and light neutrals of summer and incorporate them into your manicure! 

Opting for a matte or slightly glossy finish is also key to embodying the laid-back look of your season. 

You can even drive the theme home by trying nail designs with a summer vibe (when it’s season-appropriate, of course). 

The best nail polish shades for light summer are ballet pink, cream pink, baby pink, dusty rose, powder blue, teal, turquoise, lavender, and light mauve. 

sea stones in female hands with nails painted in sky blue polish

Inside a Light Summer’s Closet

Wardrobe Basics

The light summer wardrobe calls to mind a fresh, crisp breeze with an airy, delicate feel.

How do you achieve this for yourself? Put together outfits in colors from the light summer palette! 

It goes without saying it’s a must to have light-blue or light-gray denim pieces as your everyday go-to. You’ll also be able to pull off denim dresses for a chic yet comfy aesthetic! 

The rest of the staples in your capsule wardrobe — shirts, blouses, sweaters, cardigans — should be in mostly light neutrals, like soft grays and creamy whites. 

Nonetheless, it’s essential to avoid defaulting to all-neutral outfits; these will wash you out and underplay your lovely features. The trick is to layer neutrals with colorful accent pieces to add visual interest to your look.

For your office wardrobe, you can do this by going for powder-blue blazers or pairing gray trousers with a pink turtleneck. 

For formal wear, you can flaunt your gorgeous palette decked out in a lovely blue, pink, purple, or even light-red dress with refined jewelry pieces! 

Alternatively, you can amp up a neutral-colored evening dress with bright-colored accessories. 

But for your everyday looks, feel free to let loose and experiment with different light summer color combinations to embody your unique sense of style. 

Prints and Patterns

Any pattern too high-contrast may clash with your natural low-contrast features. Instead, you can complement them with low-contrast patterns and prints. 

These can include watercolor textures, dainty florals, free-flowing waves, and natural design elements. 

Aim for dense, small- to medium-scale prints and patterns in loose, irregular arrangements.

Large-scale prints may diminish your dainty lightness, while fixed geometric patterns may look too harsh on you. 

You can still go for lines and stripes, although it’s ideal to choose looser, wavier ones.  

As usual, your choice of patterns for your clothes should be in light summer palette colors. 

If you’re willing to mix things up a little, you can introduce patterns with accents in slightly darker shades of the same colors from your palette into your wardrobe so long as they maintain the sub-season’s low-contrast look. 

Jewelry and Accessories

While the light summer palette is inclined to cooler neutrals, you can mix and match warm and cool — or gold and silver — metals. 

Since light summer sits next to light spring on the seasonal color palette, there’s a bit of room for warmth when it comes to your choice of metals; just make sure they’re extremely light.   

You can’t go wrong with light silver necklaces, bracelets, rings, and watches to crank up the glam of your casual and formal outfits. 

White gold and light rose gold also make flattering choices, although remember that deep, yellow, or rich golds will appear too heavy or warm against your skin tone. 

The same is true for your eyewear. You can go for lightweight silver or white gold metal frames, or choose plastic ones in light gray, light blue, or white.   

For your choice of stones, pearls should be your crown jewel, so to speak.

Their satiny sheen and light hue match your delicate features, not to mention they’re versatile and sophisticated enough to go with any look. 

Other suitable gemstones include amethyst, aquamarine, turquoise, opal, moonstone, rose quartz, and sea glass.

Shoes

Any shoes that feel stylish and comfortable to you can work; just make sure to go for ones in light colors that harmonize with the rest of your outfit. 

Leather is a solid choice of material for your shoes, whether they’re heels, boots, oxfords, loafers, or ballet flats. You can pull off patent leather as well, especially if your shoes are in an extremely light hue. 

Additionally, white sneakers are a must-have in your shoe closet. 

FAQs

Light Summer vs. Soft Summer: What’s the Difference?

While both are summer seasons, light summer and soft summer are different in many ways. 

Firstly, since soft summer sits more at the end of autumn on the seasonal color palette, it’s more receptive to warm, earthy colors.

While it’s still characterized as neutral-cool in hue, it has the most warmth out of the three summer seasons. 

Light summer, on the other hand, carries much cooler hues as it sits next to true summer. 

Secondly, soft summers tend to have more contrast in their features than light summers. They have low-to-medium contrast, while light summers are distinguished by their low-contrast appearance. 

Lastly, soft summer is characterized by the muted chroma of its palette, while light summer has a neutral chroma that leans a bit more toward brightness.   

Can a Light Summer Wear Red?

Yes, but you’ll have to be pickier with the red you choose. It’s wise to go for a lighter, cooler red that has more purple or blue than yellow, such as raspberry or cerise. 

Some light summers also wear true red but pair it with neutrals from their seasonal color palette.

Which Celebrities Are Light Summers?

If you’re a light summer, you’ll be pleased to know that many A-list stars share your season! 

Examples of light summer celebrities include Cate Blanchett, Michelle Pfeiffer, Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts, Margot Robbie, and Gwyneth Paltrow. 

Learn More About Other Sub-seasons Here

Author

  • Nicole Serrano

    Nicole has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative Literature and four years of experience as a freelance writer and editor. Since her college days, she’s been obsessed with all things makeup, fashion, and hair care with a particular fondness for ’70s and ’90s trends.

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