Summer: the different types

This is the second of four blog posts, exploring the different 'types' of each season. When discussing each season I will try to use the most commonly understood terms of each type, but please do contact us if you feel we've missed out a term that would help colour analysis clients understand their season.

We're into week two of our exploration of the different types within each season, and it's the turn of Summer. If you missed last week's post, why not hop back for an introduction to what I'm doing and a look at the different types of Spring palettes.

As I said last week, do remember that your seasonal type is a guide. If you fall at one end of, say, the Autumn palette, it doesn't mean you can't ever wear colours from other areas of the palette you may have been given, just that this particular area is the strongest part of the palette for your personal skin tone and contrast level.

This week, we'll be looking at Summer colours.

True/Sweetpea Summer

This is the 'classic' Summer. The colours are mid-range, neither too light nor too dark, and are at the cooler end of the summer palette - the rose browns and jade greens of Summer are often a little too warm for True Summers, even though they are cool toned colours.

Often a True Summer has a real Summer 'look'; ashy mid-brown hair, grey, blue or green eyes, and relatively light skin. Their best colours are mid pinks, lots of blues from denim to sky and the beautiful blue-greys of the Summer palette.

Your best Kettlewell colours: pink clover marlroserose pinksoft orchid, light grey marldove grey, mid grey, steel bluelight blue greydelphfrench greybluebellsummer blue marlperiwinklelapis blue.

Light/Pastel/Cotton Wool Ball Summer

Summer is, on the whole a lighter palette than either Winter or Autumn - only Spring can compete on lightness - but Light Summers are best at the lightest end of this relatively light palette. They can have the bright look of Springs about them, and might be blonde and blue eyed. If the four seasons are viewed as a spectrum rather than four distinct blocks of colour, it makes sense when you see that the Light Summer colours are those that head towards the Spring palette; they are still cool toned, but begin to be less cool that True Summer's colours, and gain a tiny bit of Springs brightness.

Light Summers look amazing in sky blues, primrose yellow and light pinks and greys.

Your best Kettlewell colours: powder pinkpink icelight grey marl, silver,  soft greypebble grey, mint ice, iced aquamistice blue, light aquapastel jade, light teal marl, light blue greycobalt blue marl, cornflower, summer blue marl, oxford bluewisteriaice lavendericed hyacinthprimrose.

Deep/Cool/Dark Summer

Deep Summer sits at the very coolest, wintery end of the Summer palette when all four seasons are viewed as one linked spectrum. Its colours are, unsurprisingly, the darkest and brightest Summer colours, and often work best with a degree of contrast not found with other types of Summer.

Dark Summers can often be mistaken (or mistake themselves) for Winters, with a bright or dark look about them, and it is only with a professional analysis with precision dyed drapes that the difference can be seen.

Your best colours are those deep dark Summer colours that land just on the cusp of the Winter palette, like deep grape and aubergine shades, bold pinky reds and the darkest and brighter Summer blues.

Your best Kettlewell colours: passion flower, shocking pinkraspberrydark reddeep claretcassisblackberrycharcoalsprucedark emeraldbright navymidnight blue, irisnavyfrench navy, purpleviolet.

Soft/Brown Summer

The name Soft Summer can be a little misleading, as it seems that it ought to be similar to Light Summer but actually it tends towards the Autumn end of the Summer palette, which lends it some depth of colour and warmth (although all Summer colours are still very definitely cool toned, soft Summer colours are less cool than others).

Soft Summers often look like they might be autumns, perhaps with olive coloured eyes or red glints in their hair. Your best colours are cool toned sea greens and teals, rose browns and soft navy, and you also do rose gold as well as silver when it comes to jewellery.

Your best Kettlewell colours: soft orchidmusk rose, true red, cassisblackberry, aubergine, dark molemocharose brownmolerose taupetaupewarm greysoft whiteduck eggsoft teal, peacockantique tealseaspraydeep tealpetrel blueheliotropefrench navy.

Maureen Kelly on Mar 09, 2022 6:29 PM

I seem to be a mixture of summer types. Although designated a sweet pea summer my best 100%**colours are French Navy, dark blue grey, lavender, hyacinth, rose madder. Next best 100%* are airforce blue, Delphi,jade,lilac, plum,.

Laura on Feb 04, 2022 6:59 PM

I’m a cross between true summer and clear spring. I can wear those Colours. I was blonde and blue eyed in childhood with a few freckles and my hair became a darker brown over the years. I have cool undertones. Can I be both True Summer and Clear Spring?

Kate on Jan 23, 2022 3:35 PM


Your colouring sounds like mine, even to the yellow sunburst around the pupil. My eyes are dark blue (never featured in any colour quiz I have taken). I have been told I'm a Spring, Summer or Autumn!! I don't know what I am either. If you get a definitive answer, please post and then maybe I'll know too.

Cat on Dec 31, 2021 5:57 PM

I've always been told I look great with black, which I think I do. I'm struggling with finding out what my season is, though :( I could be a Winter or a Summer. I sometimes read that only winters can rock black and sometimes that both Summers and Winter can do it so I'm just... confused at this point 😭 I have pale skin, my cheeks are a little more rosey than the rest. When I was a kid I had blonde-ish hair that ofc got lighter in the summer but I'm pretty sure that happens to everyone. As I grew older it became darker though, it became a dark blonde-ish color, and sometimes it'd also look coppery when exposed to sunlight. Now I dyed it a bit and it's more on the light blonde side (I already miss my natural color but everyone that I know who dyed their hair felt like that at first). My eyes are a mess lmao, there's yellow around the pupil which sticks out quite a lot (Also don't think this is important but to be exact it's honey-like) and the rest is a mix of grey and blue. Apparently sometimes they look green-ish because of the yellow. I absolutely love black, but I obviously think that theres more colors to what fits me, I'm just not sure about what they are :,) This isn't the same as an irl consulence but it's the least I can do to find out right now so yeah, thank u so much to anyone who reads <3

Tmc on Oct 11, 2021 5:48 AM


I have been listed by more than one stylist as winter season: bold, clear colors. My hair, which is now salt and pepper, used to be dark brunette, and my complexion slightly olive, with blue skin under tones. My eyes are dark brown. Yet, I am highly drawn to the True/Sweetpea Summer palette listed on this site, more so than the darker winter colors. The True/Sweetpea are all my absolute favorite colors, especially the smokey blues, greys, rose, and dusty pinks. Could I possibly be a Summer instead of a Winter? I tend to really like blue-grey and pinks.

Marguerite Woodall on Sep 12, 2021 5:08 PM

Very recently I had my colours done with HOC and was very happy to find out I am a summer. I am older now with grey hair, but my hair used to be medium brown and showed red highlights. Throughout the years, I was analyzed as winter, spring, and even deep autumn, everything but summer. I've always loved the colours. My colour consultant thought I was both a brown and deep summer. This is confusing to me because it took a long time for her to decide whether I was summer or winter. That might indicate "cool" summer. With grey hair, I'm reluctant to wear any brown except mushroom or a very cool brown. I also find the musk pinks a bit warm, though I love deep rose and watermelon. She said we are all individuals and can wear any colour in our palette. Lavender is a top color for me, along with plum, raspberry, and cornflower!

Amy on May 22, 2021 3:26 PM

Hi could you tell me what are the summer colours look like please.

Ryan on Sep 02, 2020 4:23 PM

I just learned I'm a summer, which is tough for me and my personal style. For certain occasions, I like to dress feminine/delicate/girly, but other times I prefer an edgier look (black is predominantly in my closet). I've seen 0 inspiration for how to dress edgy as a summer. Advice?

Kettlewell Colours: This blog post might help you.

Karen on Aug 31, 2020 10:33 PM

Hi I have naturally quite mousey brown hair, grey blue eyes and pale skin. On another site I was analysed as winter and lots of tif winter colours do suit me but I also suit bright coral, look ok in brown, wore ivory on my wedding day, was born with strawberry blond hair, had golden blond hair as a child, don’t really suit emerald green which makes me look too pale. I’m so confused. I don’t seem to fit squarely in any group. I suit bright colours but also colours like soft teal. Would be grateful for any pointer please.

Manuela Teles on May 14, 2020 1:38 PM


Thank you for all the information and work. I finally decided to write about my difficulty to find out what season I am. Results always change from winter to summer and autumn. I have fair skin, soft brown eyes (dark hazel, with some gray and some yellow), and dark brown hair (with grayish tones but golden highlights in the sun).

The most comfortable colors for me are blue (very dark but also light and electric), cold browns (from beige to almost black ones) and charcoal. Some yellows also look good on me but I look sick and drained with orange and lilac. Most purples are also not so good on me (except if they are reddish, closer to raspberry and mulberry). So, can you help me?

Kettlewell Colours: Hi Manuela, it is very difficult to say but it sounds like you might be one of the cool seasons (Summer or Winter). Have you had a real consultation with a colour consultation? As this is the only way to get an accurate result.

Avryl on May 11, 2020 7:33 AM

Hi, I’m a Summer and love wearing navy, grey and charcoal. Some of the pinks and dark pink reds look good on me too but have to be careful that colours are not bright or too strong. I feel like I’m a true Summer but I’ve discovered duck egg is a perfect colour on me. Does this put me into a soft / brown summer? Should I try colours like mole? I used to have light brown/ mousey hair but now have white/ ash grey hair. I have soft grey/blue eyes and a cool skin tone. Thank you in advance 😊

Kettlewell Colours: It sounds like you might be a soft/brown summer if the softer/more muted colours are better on you. Why not try a couple of these colours and see how they work? 😊 Of course, when possible, the best bet is to see a colour consultant so they can guide you in your very best colours.

Sun on May 07, 2020 2:30 PM

I have really cool skin, hazel eyes, but medium brown hair with golden/red highlights. I used to be more of a red head as kid, but now am going brown. I look awful in warm and bright colors-- so I am thinking I am a dark summer, but is that possible with warm hair?

Kettlewell Colours: Yes, it is possible to have warm hair and still be one of the cooler seasons, although unusual. Why not have a go at our online quiz which might give you an idea :)

Angelique on Apr 29, 2020 5:58 AM

I think I am a light summer: very pale pinkish skin that burns easily and has cool undertones, blue eyes, and blonde hair. However, my hair has very reddish tones in it, looking golden blonde rather than ashy as is typical for summer types. How does this affect the palette I should be wearing? Are there colors I should avoid in the suggested palette, or other colors I can use even though they aren't in the suggested palette?

Kettlewell Colours: It's not uncommon for Summers to have warmer tints to their hair, especially those that fall at the less cool end of the Summer spectrum. Both Light and Brown Summers are less cool than True and Deep Summers. Generally these less cool types suit the 'warmer' colours within the Summer palette, which will naturally flatter your hair without needing to change either your hair or your palette! Look out for Spring/Summer and Autumn/Summer crossover colours.

em on Apr 21, 2020 3:07 PM

Bought a top abroad which really flatters my skin tone but doesn't quite fit into any of your blues - pantone investigation suggests its perhaps their sky or powder blue: what equivalent do you suggest from your range please?

Kettlewell Colours: We suggest trying Powder Blue, Campanula or Duck Egg, these look the more similar!

Johanna on Mar 18, 2020 8:25 PM

If I dye my hair from brunette (I am a clear winter type) to strawberry blonde, will I become summer?

Kettlewell Colours: No, your season is mainly decided by your skin tone - whether it is blue based (cool) or yellow based (warm) so changing your hair colour would not affect this. This blog post might help

Sarah on Nov 17, 2019 12:58 PM

I have mousy brown hair, very pale skin with freckles and blue/grey eyes - I think I'm a soft summer.

But I often look quite good in black, so this has confused me a bit...! Any advice?

Kettlewell Colours: Black can often feel comfortable when it is appropriate for the social setting we're in (especially work and more formal events), but as a Soft Summer you might find you feel even more amazing in something like Sultry Navy or French Grey.

jane on Aug 15, 2019 10:02 AM

I'm rather obviously a light summer (pale pinky white skin that freckles, light hair and deep hazel green eyes. Can I pull off sapphire blue????? I want to make a wrapover dress in it. Thoughts?????

Kettlewell Colours: We think that Sapphire Blue would be a little strong for you - we code Sapphire for Winters only. If you want to find a Summer blue, why not visit our Shop by Colour page for Summers? You will find all the blues we think are best for Summers such as Cornflower, Campanula or Periwinkle. Hope this helps :-)

konstadina Ioannidou on Jan 16, 2019 9:53 PM

i made the house of colour analysis in greece but it was only seasonal not tonical...i would like to know. how can i learn that?

Kettlewell Colours: The tonal system is used by Colour Me Beautiful. This blog post explains the differences:

Hope this helps :-)

Suzanne on Sep 01, 2018 2:48 PM

Agree with Katie & Jessica, it would be great if you could update or redo this series of types of season blog every season, including your new season colours :-)

konstadina on Feb 15, 2018 8:14 PM

Hallo.i made the color analysis 2 years ago and i am problem is that my eyes are warm skin is pink and my hair is dark brown.i always read that a summer,has not b

Kettlewell Colours: There are actually almost no hair or eye combinations that specifically can't belong to particular seasons, so brown eyes and hair definitely don't preclude you being a summer. We hope that helps you feel confident in your palette!

Rose on Feb 02, 2018 4:57 AM

I have never seen "True Red" suggested for a "Soft Summer" before. I've seen "Raspberry Red" but never "True Red".

Jill on Oct 10, 2017 1:25 PM

I have read the full blog about different types of summer - I am dark summer. Is it possible to buy swatches? I have had my colours analysed professionally but would like to add these colours for my shopping. Thanks

Katie on Jun 16, 2017 11:23 AM

Very helpful! It would be so great if this were updated for current colours!

Alina Teresa on Jun 07, 2017 8:07 PM

great blog!!! I have really learned the differences specially with the pictures you have provided.

Check out my fashion blogs as well

pls comment tell me your thoughts Thanks

Jessica Mayo on Mar 04, 2017 12:40 PM

Please could you update the 2016 Blog post on the very best shades for each Summer type? (and Spring, Autumn & Winter!) It would be so very useful when choosing what to order where colours in the current collection sit each of us. Many thanks! I LOVE the blog and find it so helpful to have the new-ish ideas for each season part of it.

Biks on Dec 27, 2016 9:11 AM

I have colour analysis done my professional, however she says that I am "natural" summer. What is mean in terms of "soft", "true", "deep" and "light".

My skin undertone is cool.

Julie on Nov 07, 2016 10:21 PM

I'm confused! I have a bit of colour to my skin -pinkish cheeks -and have always blushed easily. I think this leads me to the cooler end of summer but is it likely I am deep/dark/cool summer? I do like the spruce & dark emerald but feel the need to wear them as a neutral with a lighter colour cami or maybe a scarf?

Sue on Oct 29, 2016 3:04 PM

Hi Jo, I really like the botanical print skirt in magenta and real. I'm a dark summer - and would love a crossover top to go with the skirt. Which colour would go best please?

Jo @ Kettlewell Colours on Oct 22, 2016 12:31 PM

Hi Barbara, the sea green marl is probably best on a soft/brown summer, but should work on other types as well, paired with the right top/scarf combination.

Jo @ Kettlewell Colours on Oct 22, 2016 12:29 PM

Hi Julie, I would go for light dove grey, soft grey and pebble grey. Any grey within the summer palette that doesn't get too dark and deep within the Summer palette should work on you.

Barbara fisher on Oct 12, 2016 10:44 PM

Hi I love sea green marl merino cardi. Which summer type does this fit best with? Thanks

barbara fisher on Oct 05, 2016 6:15 PM

Hi there I like the colour 'sea green marl' which type of summer is that please? Thanks!

Julie on Sep 20, 2016 7:42 AM

As a soft summer(I think) you suggest warm grey but I can't see that in the current collection. What other grey is best please? Thanks

Karen on Jul 29, 2016 2:44 PM

This post is really useful for me, I am a brown, sweetpea summer and have been able to find little reference to this subcategory, until now. The sweetpea colours and some from the brown palette, make up my wow colours.

Kathy on Jul 02, 2016 10:01 PM

Hi, thanks for these posts, really enjoying reading them. Another "Summer" category I've seen on the HOC consultant facebook pages is "Bright Summer" - a person who suits the "brightest" colours in the Summer palette. Would you be able to write on this a wee bit?

Laurie Campbell on Jun 27, 2016 10:32 AM

My daughter and I had our colors done several years ago and she was told that she was jeweled summer. I don't see that on your list of different summers. Is there another name for jeweled summer?

Janice on Jun 23, 2016 9:10 AM

Many, many years ago I was diagnosed as a winter but I can see that I am really a dark summer. I am so happy about this, the colours make me feel better. Thank you!

Sharon on Jun 19, 2016 9:00 PM

I had my colours done many years ago and was categorised as a light summer. I find your palettes here so limiting as I like to wear all the summer colours and some of the winter ones too - like dark fuchsia.

Vicky on Jun 19, 2016 1:43 PM

Hi I'm confused as I was diagnosed as a sweet pea/brown summer? Correct me if I'm wrong but reading this seems like they are either end of spectrum? i.e 'sweet pea' cool and 'brown' being warmer?

Val on Jun 17, 2016 1:28 PM

That explains why me and my daughter pick different colours. I am a soft brown and she is a true.

Kettlewell Colours on Jun 17, 2016 10:58 AM

Mama Squirrel, we think that Deep /Cool/Dark summers and Soft/Brown summers would look good in Blue Jade.

Kay on Jun 16, 2016 5:12 PM

Thank you. I really needed this. x

Mama Squirrel on Jun 16, 2016 2:08 PM

I'm curious: which out of the four would wear your "blue jade" the best?

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.