Soft (Muted) Summer Color Palette: Makeup, Hair, and Fashion Guide

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Soft summer is the kind of summer filled with misty, dreamlike visuals that remind you of your favorite memories. It’s enchanting, not because it screams with vibrancy but because it allures you through the calmness and mystery. 

Summer beach with shells, a starfish, and palm tree leaves

It’s the hazy dawn, the foggy sunsets, and the dusky evening. Also, it’s the softness of the flowers, the dusty view of the countryside, and the gentleness of the earth and water. 

We bet you’re already picturing what this sub-season has in store for you. 

If you look best in soft and cool colors, you might be a soft summer! 

Seasonal Color Analysis

Do you want to be your own stylist? The seasonal color analysis can help you become just that!

It’s a comprehensive guide that uses and analyzes your natural features and formulates the perfect color combinations that make you stand out from head to toe. 

If you think you’re a soft summer and want to learn tips and tricks in acing a soft summer style, then read on to find out for real!

Soft Summer Color Dimensions

Hue

Warmth and coolness are the two temperatures that divide the seasons. These can be identified through the features’ undertone and the palette’s colors.

This type of summer is still predominantly cool, but unlike its other summer sisters, it doesn’t go all the way to the end of the scale. There will be a few shades of yellow, but they will still have blue tints. 

Value

The lightness and darkness of specific colors align with value. 

In the soft summer color analysis, you’ll see combinations of light and dark colors, but most of them fall in the middle of the scale or within the neutral level.

Chroma

Chroma, or the saturation of colors, is where vividness and softness sit. The easiest way to distinguish this aspect is by looking at how gray influences color.

This summer sub-season is named after its primary aspect, which is softness. All the colors and features of this season can be found with a hint of desaturating gray. 

Soft Summer Comparison

Soft summer is a transitioning sub-season that sits next to the autumns. It’s basically a late summer color palette. Soft and cool are the main characteristics of your palette, which are also binded by a medium value.

Due to the influence of both summer and autumn, your color analysis shows a mixture of earthy and delicate colors. In these comparisons, you’ll see how the neighboring or the sister palettes influence soft summer. 

Cool/True SummerSoft/Muted SummerSoft/Muted Autumn
HueCoolNeutral-coolNeutral-warm
ValueNeutral-lightNeutralNeutral-light
ChromaNeutral-mutedMutedMuted

Soft Summer vs. Cool Summer

Soft summer and cool summer share almost the exact dimensions but have varying intensities and levels. 

True summer is cooler, slightly lighter, and somewhat brighter than soft summer. It also has higher contrast making it tolerant to more saturated cool colors. 

Soft Summer vs. Soft Autumn

Soft summer is the last summer sub-season located next to autumn, or soft autumn, to be exact.

They are both muted and almost have the same neutrality. The amount of softness or low chroma in both autumn and summer explains why soft summer has a full-blown softness that goes up to the very end of the scale. 

Soft summer may appear cooler and more grayish than soft autumn, but neighboring autumnal warmth is what pulls soft summer away from extreme coolness and brings it closer to a neutral level. 

Soft Summer Features

Skin

Common skin tones: Porcelain, pale beige, pink beige, ivory buff, rose beige, buff beige, sienna

Close-up of woman's lips with fashion natural beige lipstick makeup. Macro sexy pale lipgloss make-up . Gentle pure skin and wavy blonde hair. Cosmetology, Spa, increase in lips

Soft summer skin colors don’t fully dwell with the cooler tones. There are neutral to neutral-cool shades within the range of fair to tan and with a visible marking of freckles. 

Eyes

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

Every soft summer has an enchanting eye color, with a cracked glass pattern like the rest of the summers. They come in light to medium shades of blue, green, gray, or brown, with distinct muddy or gray undertones. 

Even if the hair and skin go full-on with their cool hues, a light summer’s eyes are in a clear, soft brown color. 

Hair

Common hair colors: Medium ash blonde, dark ash blonde, light ash brown, and medium ash brown

Soft summer hair colors have a great concentration of gray, resulting in an adequate amount of brown and ash that isn’t too light. 

Because this is a neutral season, hair colors can go from warm to cool with a consistent gray undertone. It is never saturated and bright; it keeps a low to moderate contrast between the rest of the soft summer features.

Although blondes are rarely seen as innate for this sub-season, blonde highlights are formed naturally when hit by the sun. 

Contrast

This sub-season has low to medium contrast. Even if there are features that go by a darker shade of colors, these colors are not far from the light ones in value. 

Just like we mentioned, having extremely cool hair and skin is balanced by the color of a soft summer’s eyes. This is a clear manifestation of the soft summer contrast. 

The Soft Summer Color Palette

Worst ColorsBest ColorsBest Neutrals
ButterRubyDenim
MarigoldSoft redSage
MustardDeep roseBlush
OrangeStrawberrySoft white
SquashGarnetSilver
SunsetMulberryDove
Hot pinkRougeGray
HeliotropeCarnationGreige
PlumPale pinkSoft navy
Imperial purpleMaizePutty
LimeCornCharcoal
PearBlonde
ShamrockChiffon
Army greenEmerald
Phthalo greenSea foam
Asparagus
Wisteria
Orchid
Soft plum
Lavender
Cornflower
Steel
Soft turquoise

Colors to Avoid

It’s natural for each season to own colors that work for them, but it’s also fair to not have it all. There will always be unflattering colors that one should avoid. 

Because soft summer sits next to a different season, you must know the traits or the characteristic of colors that you should keep an eye on. 

  • Hue — As a bordering sub-season, soft summer tends to remain cool despite having its fair share of neutrals. Going over to warmer tones can give you the impression of the wrong season and make your skin look sickly. 
  • Value — This sub-season has zero tolerance for overly bright colors because these can easily overwhelm the delicate lightness of summer. 
  • Chroma — Colors with intense brightness will clash with the all-out softness of this sub-season and end up swallowing your soft summer glow. 

To cut the story short, as a muted summer born with delicate softness and adequate coolness, you are sensitive to wearing colors that embody vibrance and too much warmth.

Neutrals

Your neutrals will be the foundation of your soft summer clothing color palette. It’s important to get a good grasp about which colors work for your sub-season and which do not.

The basic rule for soft summer neutrals is to stay away from true black and optic white. This is true for the entire summer season because these colors tend to be too harsh on you.

The rest of your neutrals are broken down into two categories:

  • Dark neutrals — Without black on your palette, the gentler and softer alternatives that take the place of your dark neutrals are charcoal, dark grayish browns, and denim.  
  • Light neutrals — You have acquired the lightness that is intolerant to vivid colors, making pastels and lighter versions of gray, sand, and muted browns your light neutrals. 

Best Colors and Combinations

Once you’ve read about your sub-season’s dimensions and your sister palettes, make sure to take note of the colors that are essential to yours. These are where you’ll find some of your best colors. 

Despite not having a definite value and brightness, red, yellow, and pink are still part of the classic soft summer color set. But to set this sub-season apart from autumn, it has no orange shades in the palette.

Green and blues are also part of the family as long as they are in a medium tone, nothing too warm or bright.

Blue, in fact, is central to the palette, and adding a splash of purple to these colors would also look stunning in soft summers. 

Speaking of purple, soft and cool versions finalize the entire palette.

You can also find some of the best shades in medium pastel colors. 

To give you a better look, here are some of the best colors for muted summer based on their true versions:

  • Red, orange, or pink — ruby, soft red, deep rose, strawberry, garnet, mulberry, rouge, carnation, and pale pink
  • Yellow or green — blond, popcorn, chiffon, emerald, sea foam, and asparagus
  • Purple or blue — wisteria, orchid, soft plum, lavender, cornflower, steel, and soft turquoise

The natural contrast of this season isn’t too striking, so the best color combination should also depict this. They should look blended and complementing, like this sub-season’s natural features. 

Monochromatic or analogous colors are the ideal combinations for you. These are the mix of different shades of one hue or the combination of neighboring colors with the same value. 

Refrain from pairing colors that sit opposite one another on the color wheel if you don’t want to make your features look washed out from the high contrast it generates.

Soft Summer Hair Dyes

Mousy and dark — these characteristics should remain if you’re shifting summer hair colors. 

The best hair colors for soft summer are iridescent blonde, light ash blonde, medium ash violet blonde, violet ash, medium blonde, and dusty silver.

If you’re looking for blondes as light as the springs and light summer, it isn’t ideal unless you’re born with it. But harmonious styles for you can be an unusual mix of highlights and lowlights

But be wary about going too dark; you won’t want to look older. 

Fashion colors can be found in shades of pink, violet, and mushroom hair, but the best hair color for soft summer won’t be found in red tones because that will clash with your cool features.

Soft Summer Makeup

Soft summer makeup looks sophisticated with minimal colors.

Matte bases are the solid foundation of your look. You may add a bit of shine or a tad of dewiness to the skin through your blush and highlight, but keep it easy on the shimmers.

If you want to keep a “no makeup” makeup look, your base — added with the eye definition from your mascara — and a sweet powder pink lip stain is all you need. 

This can easily be converted to a subtle look by adding a gentle pink blush and a sweep of your neutral eyeshadow

And for a dramatic look, deepen the shade of your lippie, swipe a bit of contour, and smoke out your liner and your eyeshadow. 

Complexion Makeup

Complexion makeup covers the majority of the skin’s surface, which is why it’s crucial that your foundation and concealer accurately match the true tone of your skin. 

Apart from wearing matte finishes that flatter your low to moderate contrast, you’re likely to have ashy and pink undertones.

The right products should capture these aspects. These are the perfect base makeup for soft summer skin tones.

Refrain from using warm-toned products and those with dewy or shiny finishes. 

Eyeshadow

Among the summers, soft summer holds the darkest color selections, but it doesn’t extend up to true black. 

Instead, dark shades of brown, navy blue, charcoal gray, or taupe look better on you. These neutrals are also a solid foundation for creating your signature makeup. 

To give a bit more life, any accent color from your soft summer colors can be used mainly for creating dramatic eye looks. 

When used in the right shades, matte eyeshadows replicate a soft summer’s soft and muted features.

Give overly dark or bright colors and shimmery and glittery finishes a miss. These characteristics are an overkill.

The best eyeshadow shades for soft summer are icicle, birch, Philippine gray, deep taupe, grullo, gray quill, cedar brown, espresso, dark denim, powder pink, twilight lavender, graystone, key largo, storm blue, and Oxley. 

Eyeliner and Mascara

In defining the eyes further, we tend to grab black eyeliner and mascara. But this shouldn’t be the case for soft summers, or else it’ll be too harsh against your facial features.

For this makeup category, dark neutrals will still be your go-to. Mascaras in dark shades of gray and taupe look best against the softness of your eyes.

The best mascara shades for soft summer are dusty gray, steel gray, espresso, dark puce, thunderstorm, feldgrau, and raven.

Moving into the eyeliner, almost the same range of neutrals from soft summer color swatches apply, only this time, you can extend the options to the non-saturated shades of green, blue, pink, and purple. 

As a soft summer, the best eye makeup combination is formulated by selecting an eyeliner in a different color than your eyeshadow. Having it similar to your eye color also highlights it.

The best eyeliner shades for soft summer are dark chestnut, dark puce, sedona sage, thunderstorm, blackberry wine, mood indigo, charcoal, Atlantic deep, posy green, rose gold, purple haze, feldgrau, and dark denim. 

Cheeks

Soft summer blushes come from the areas of pink and red with cool undertones. You don’t need bright colors to make a statement, so your set of cheek makeup is just as subtle and as elegant as a rose. 

However, you might need a series of trials and errors to find the perfect shade for your complexion.

Happy Woman Applying Pink Blush On Skin

Make sure you’re shoving away from excessively warm colors like oranges and true reds; these colors will clash with your cool complexion instead of making it pop. 

Matte finishes blend with your skin flawlessly, but adding a shimmer or choosing a satiny finish won’t hurt unless it’s filled with specks of glitter. 

The best blush shades for soft summer are powder pink, mellow rose, rosette, dusty rose, quartz pink, flowering ginger, mauvelous, wild rose, and mesa rose.

Adding depth to your face through bronzers and contours are totally up to you. For contour, cool-brown tones are okay as long as you make sure it won’t go too heavy for your sub-season’s value. 

For bronzers and highlighters, a hint of pink, a subtle brownish tone, and a subtle sheen can work. But remember, a little goes a long way, and you wouldn’t want to destroy your contrast and alter your hue. 

The best contour shade for soft summer is beaver, while the best bronzer and highlight shades are mellow rose and New York pink.

Lips

Your blush and lip makeup will come from the same soft summer color palette region, which explains why you see a similar color variety. 

Reaching for darker shades is also possible for this sub-season. Some cool plum and berry shades can achieve the perfect balance for a soft summer look. Again, like the blush, matte is a classic, but satin finishes can also work. 

The best lipstick shades for soft summer are English rose, powder pink, quartz pink, flowering ginger, desert rose, irresistible, Turkish rose, cameo pink, puce, mellow rose, dusty rose, and dry rose. 

Soft Summer Nail Polish

Soft summer nail polish reflects the delicate softness of this sub-season through elegant faint neutrals that can be found in both matte and slightly glossy finishes. 

The best nail polish shades for soft summer are rose gold, piggy pink, cameo pink, rose nude, dust storm, black shadows, slate, rocket metallic, pale lavender, mystic maroon, Weldon blue, and light blue.

Inside a Soft Summer’s Closet

Wardrobe Basics

If you’re about to start the journey to discover the best color and style for you as a soft summer, then you have to know the fundamentals of what we’ll consider your soft summer closet staples, starting with one of the most common must-haves: denim.

You can wear the classic blue, gray, and charcoal, whether solid dyed, wrecked, faded, vintage, acid washed, grainy, or sandblasted. Soft summer is one of the luckiest when it comes to denims.

For suits and formal attires, gray is the easiest to style. You can wear your deeper teals, cassis burgundies, soft pine, and taupes. 

When considering the suitable materials for your added accessories, such as your shoes, belts, and bags, light-absorbing and diffusing fabrics are right up your alley rather than the colorful and reflective ones. 

Suedes, raw leather, brushed velvets, and corduroys offer just that.

Raw linen, cotton, wool, felt, and lace are natural fabrics that can add more depth and flavor to your style too. 

Patented leather should be nowhere near your closets, but you can still try moderately contrasted snakeskin.

For additional class or to make your eyeglasses more stylish, refrain from using black frames. You can still go for your usual dark shades of gray, charcoal, and slate. 

Avoid bright colors, reflective metals, and mirror finishes. Aim for partial frames in semi-transparent marbled, metallic, or powder finishes. 

Prints and Patterns

After knowing the basics of wearing appropriate and flattering colors for this specific summer season through the soft summer palette, matching outfits are now easy for you. 

But a wardrobe for soft summer is more than just the solid colors; you’ll have to spice it up by incorporating prints and patterns into some articles of clothing too. 

The right pattern will be predominantly filled with the muted summer color palette. It doesn’t necessarily mean that these will be the only colors found in the piece, but make sure these are on most of the fabrics.

These colors can be closer to soft summer or closer to its sister palettes, like true summer pink or soft autumn blue, but the palette never has a spot for bright spring orange. 

Next, the design elements are more appealing when they show delicate natural details such as feathers, leaves, flowers, and birds. 

Watercolor and floral textures are the perfect soft summer elements we’re looking for, especially when shown as a drawing or brush stroke. 

Lastly, when it comes to the arrangement of the prints and patterns, they should be on a small to medium scale, just like your natural contrast.

Nothing too dense, too orderly sorted, too sharply shaped, or too stiffly geometric will flatter your look. 

Jewelry and Accessories

Since gold and silver will look good in this sub-season, you can wear a flexible line of soft summer jewelry and accessories. Thanks to autumn’s influence, you can cop yellow and rose golds, titanium, white gold, and platinum. 

If you’re still cautious about wearing gold, pair the classic yellow gold up with cooler pieces in the rest of your outfit, and you’ll be fine.

And if you’re looking for accessories that stand out, try looking for traditional pewter.

The metal texture, however, is something you should carefully consider.

The best metals for this sub-season are brushed, matte, satin, and hammered. And while antique pieces can also work as long as you keep them not overly blackened, shiny metals are prohibited from your wardrobe. 

Others don’t feel complete without eye-catching stones. And for this kind of summer, cloudy and opaque stones are on point.

The sea is a good source of these! Like sea glass and pearls, as long as they’re not in the shades of peach, cream, or yellow. 

Other stones that suit this sub-season are the round cabochon versions of rose and smoky quartz, amethyst, blue lace agate, moonstone, rhodochrosite, and rhodonite.

Overly bright and shiny pieces may drown out this sub-season’s natural colors. But you can always try to reach for champagne or pebble diamonds for reduced bling. 

FAQs

Can soft summers have warm hair?

Due to the influence of autumn in terms of warmth and earthiness, soft summer hair can be seen in warmer tones of brown; however, it must always have a grayed-out look or a mousy look. 

Does black look good on soft summers?

True black is a winter color that holds way too much vibrancy and depth for a soft summer. 

Set of total black outfit on a wooden background

Wearing pieces of this color next to your face can make you look old and unhealthy. If you’re looking for alternatives, charcoal or grayish dark browns and grays are great options.

Enjoyed this piece? 

Wait ’til you learn about the rest of our seasonal color analysis 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.

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