Twelve Season Color Analysis

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What lead to the creation of the Twelve Season Color Analysis?

Four Season Color Theory

The 4 season color analysis exploded in popularity in the 80’s, largely due to Carole Jackson’s successful book “Color me beautiful”. Jackson’s book was based on the theory of Johannes Itten.

Itten categorized all colors into two sections:

–  WARM <–> COOL


This resulted in four harmonized groups of colors, each named after every season of the year. Interesting theory but it doesn’t work for everyone.

There is one fundamental aspect missing in this theory, namely “Chroma” or “Saturation”. The solution to this problem? Munsell’s 3-dimensional color theory.

Munsell’s color model demonstrates relationships between full-spectrum hues(color families) as well as tints (value) and shades (chroma). Chroma distinguishes strong, saturated colors from weak grayish ones.

High chroma = rich and clear
Low chroma = dull or muted

Adding “chroma” to the 4 season color theory created a more accurate 12 season color theory (also called flow theory)

How do these values work in the twelve season color theory

  1. HUEdefines the color family. Each color is either warm or cool.
  2. VALUEdesignates the brightness of a color. Colors vary from dark to light.
  3. CHROMAdefines a color’s saturation. True red is fully saturated and clear. Sage is considered a muted blue.

These three aspects of color determine six dominant characteristics:
warm – cool – dark (deep) – light – clear – muted (soft).

Find your season

In a large mirror, with good lighting, study yourself from the shoulders up. Leave your hair down unless it is dyed very differently from its natural color. In this case use a cap to hide your hair color. Wear no makeup. The features to focus on are your hair (if it’s your natural color), eyes and skin tone.

A. Determine your Dominant characteristic

The dominant characteristic is the most obvious trait you see in yourself.

Look for one of these 6 traits:

  1. DEEP: Strong, rich, dark coloring. Dark hair and eyes. Skin may or may not be dark.
  2. LIGHT: Very light. Light eyes and hair. Usually a natural blonde at some point in their lives.
  3. WARM: Yellow based skin color; no blue undertones. Red hair and green or blue eyes are common. Other warm hair colors are found, too.
  4. COOL: Blue based skin color; no yellow or golden undertones. Pink or rosy glow on the cheeks. Eyes are most often blue, but gray is common too.
  5. CLEAR: Bright, clear colors; no single face feature is muted or dusty. Eyes are often clear and sparkly.
  6. MUTED: Soft, dusty colors; nothing bright and overpowering. There is little contrast between the eyes, skin and hair.

B. Determine your Secondary characteristic

Next, you’ll decide if “warmer” or cooler “colors” look best on you. If “Warm” or “Cool” is already your dominant characteristic, decide whether “Clear” or “Muted” colors look best. After finishing these two steps, you will find your “season” in the table below.

Light + Warm = Light Spring
Clear + Warm = Clear Spring
Warm + Clear = Warm Spring
Light + Cool = Light Summer
Muted + Cool = Soft Summer
Cool + Muted = Cool Summer
Deep + Warm = Deep Autumn
Muted + Warm = Soft Autumn
Warm + Muted = Warm Autumn
Deep + Cool = Deep Winter
Clear + Cool = Clear Winter
Cool + Clear = Cool winter


If performing your own color analysis was easy for you, you’re lucky! You can start applying your newly gained wisdom. If you have difficulties or doubts while finding your season, let me help you define your “season”.

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