Real Women Case Studies
This "Real Women" page is where I showcase actual clients I have analyzed. This is in contrast to celebrity women, who are - yes, I know - real women also. But most don't have photoshopped glamour photos styled by professional makeup artists, fashion stylists, etc.
They have graciously allowed me to use their photos so you can learn from their color analysis.
"Donna" is a Dusty Soft Summer. I'm particularly pleased with the virtual mini-makeover I did on her.
I changed the brighter blue top to a soft grey-blue.
A wash of that same shade of grey-blue eyeshadow and light soft pink lipstick was all I need to make an amazing difference.
Everything harmonizes. And look how beautiful her eyes are!
And look how beautiful her eyes are!
They are the epitome of soft summer eyes!
Case #12 is another Soft Autumn, but not a Smokey Soft Autumn like the last 5 volunteers were :)
"Abby" was an easy one for me. I like easy ones.
Here is a current photo without makeup.
You can clearly see the warmth in her, though it muted compared to a Warm Autumn.
Since she’s not a Warm Autumn, and too light overall to be a Deep Autumn or even darker Soft Autumns, this leaves the lighter Soft Autumns.
While her skin’s surface looks a little on the cool side, her eyes are warm. And in my ColorBreeze System, one key aspect is looking for a person’s sister-season. This will help you pinpoint your actual season.
If Abby had blue-eyes, I may be tempted to suggest the Dusty Soft Autumn which points toward the Sunlit Soft Summer. But with the warm eyes and the fact that she showed me other photos such as these below made me choose Sunlit Soft Autumn for her (she seems to flow into the Sunlit Soft Spring).
Remember, there is a bit of luminosity (sunlight and warmth) in the Sunlit Autumn that the Dusty doesn’t have. This is why I chose the Sunlit Soft Autumn for her. But like all sister-seasons, she can borrow some colors from the Sunlit Soft Spring as well.
We now have a 5th person in a row that turned out to be yet another Smokey Soft Autumn! Well, I have analyzed other clients in between who were different seasons but those who have volunteered for my case study lately have all been Smokey Soft Autumns.
And that is good because it will allow you to see what this often misdiagnosed season looks like in different people.
Chantelle told me she felt she looked good in royal blue and other jewel tones. She also loved black and white prints.
But if you are familiar with this season, none of those colors are in her palette. So I wasn't sure how she would accept this season. But I just tell clients my thoughts and hopefully they will agree. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't.
Sometimes they never give me any feedback at all. Chantelle did.
But first let's look at a few of her photos:
Above is the virtual makeover I did on her. See how gorgeous her eyes are with rich brown eyeshadows? Adding just some soft peach blush and lipstick brings her eyes into even more focus, as they should be.
Here is what she wrote to me a few months after her analysis:
I have to thank you for the analysis. I was uncertain at first as the new colors were the ones I have avoided my whole life. That being said, I bought a few olive and dark teal and khaki items, and have received nothing but compliments in these shades. So I am now a proper convert!
You are welcome to use my photos for your website examples if you would like.
I do love getting emails like this. They make my day :)
My 10th Case marks the 4th person in a row that I have labeled the same season as the previous three, believe it or not.
Katarzyna had previously been analyzed as a Cool Summer and a few other seasons. Here are just some of her photos:
The above photos show one photo (left) being much warmer than the other one. Even so, both images show her eyes were quite warm and muted, and her skin, even in the cooler photo, at the very least, looks muted. She sent me lots of photos with hair ranging from blonde to dark brown to even an auburn shade.
Her childhood photos show that her hair was naturally pretty neutral and somewhat ashy. Still, I could see some warm tones in her hair.
So I tested colors on her via Photoshop.
The photo on the left (above) was the original photo she sent me. Along with the navy top and pinkish lipstick and blush that was already there, I added some light grey eyeshadow to test out the previous Cool Summer assessment she received from someone else. Her eyes are simply too warm to be a Cool Summer. Her skin seemed too warm, as well.
If she were, perhaps a Soft Summer, warming up her top and adding warm makeup would not be flattering. But when I did, her eyes seemed to glow. The warmth sunk in beautifully.
She has blended temperatures, and as I always say, one will be more dominant than the other one, even if it is just slightly. This means that she can successfully choose colors from both sides of the spectrum as long as they are not cool or too warm. But she clearly has more warmth than coolness. Warming things up slightly will amplify the subtle warm tones in her.
I believe she is a I chose the deeper soft Autumn because of the depth of her eyes, though she actually is more mid-value. Another reason was that even as a young child, her hair was not that blonde. Had her hair been light blonde naturally, I would have no problem labeling her a Dusty Soft Autumn, even a Sunlit Autumn had it been very golden blonde.
Speaking of hair color, she asked me which hair color was better blonde or darker brown. As I tell all Soft Autumns (and Soft Summers), there is a pretty wide range of hair colors that she could wear. Darker brown or lighter blonde will work, and neither is better than the other. It's just a personal preference. But I advise not to go too flat and dark nor too light/platinum blonde, and add warm highlights and/or lowlights to add depth and dimension.
Below is a photo of her with a range of hair color, and she looks great in all of them :)
Leana said on her questionnaire that some of her most unflattering colors were nustard, olive green, yellow, orange. And in the end, I tell her she’s an Autumn (where these colors are standard)!
But I have to tell it as I see it.
And from the photos below, I saw her being soft and predominantly warm and soft.
Her childhood photo shows her hair to be the same -predominantly warm, but nothing that is extremely golden or red. So she is not the typical golden Warm Autumn. She is definitely a Soft Autumn.
Even though her eyes are on the deeper side, I’d say her overall value is medium-to-light. So I chose the Soft Autumn light. Since her has was not that warm, I chose the Dusty Soft Autumn, even though most Dusty Autumns have blue eyes (but not always).
Her earthy, warm eyes told me she was warm and soft. Her skin looked predominantly warm, but as we know, skin tones can be deceiving. What was the deciding factor between soft autumn or soft summer was the soft lavender top.
If she was a soft summer, that color should be more flattering to her coloring. And while it’s not a horrible color, it really does not blend in to coloring at all.
So I tried a soft yellow on her and warmed up her makeup to test my assumption:
I do think it blends in quite beautifully with her natural coloring. That shade of yellow would not be flattering on a summer.
Why didn’t I choose the Sunlit Soft Autumn? I definitely considered it.
Unique to the ColorBreeze System is the identifying of who one’s sister-season is (what season does she seem to flow in to?) This helps me distinguish between two ‘twin’ seasons like the Sunlit and Dusty Soft Autumns.
If her hair was naturally lighter and I felt she could handle much more brightness, I’d say she would flow into the Sunlit Soft Spring. But I actually think that she has a little more summer elements to her than a Spring. And again, since she is not super warm, I chose the Dusty Autumn.
Just like Case #7 below, Amy was easy to diagnose, as well.
I've seen this coloring so many times, mainly because the client can't quite pin down their exact season, or a paid analysis from another analyst might just not feel quite right to them. This is why I get so many of these women (and men!) as clients.
Below are just a few photos she sent me:
The warmth in Amy's skin is undeniable, but it does seem kind of neutral and muted. The eyes are a mixture of soft olive, warm brown, greyish-green. Her hair is mostly a neutral brown with some golden highlights.
People with these types of colorings are often thought of as a Winter, due to the darker eyes, or perhaps a Deep Autumn. But when it is obvious that she is not so deep as to qualifiy her as a Deep Autumn, they sometimes assume Summer may be more appropriate since very warm, golden colors never quite feel right on them.
But there is a perfect Autumn for her that is not golden warm, rich but not dark. She is a Smokey Soft Autumn.
She stated on her questionnaire that she did not like brown and orange on her. I had to explain that the Smokey Soft Autumn's oranges and browns (yes, they are in her palette) are mostly rich and muted. No bright oranges or golden browns. In fact, except for some occasional brighter accents, bright colors should be avoided entirely. She's all amount richness and softness and neutral-to-warm colors.
I did a mini-makeover on her:
I made the original grey top (which didn't look bad) slightly warmer and turned it into a greyish green, which is a color Smokey Autumns look great in.
I just added brown and grey-green eyeshadow and liner, and some soft peach blush and lipstick.
I think she looks fabulous!
Daniela was a pretty easy case because I've seen her coloring many times before.
Here are the first photos I got from her.
To me, she is a perfect example of a Soft Autumn. Because of her eyes, I'd put her as the deeper soft autumn. Specifically, in my ColorBreeze system, I'd label her a Smokey Soft Autumn.
I should say that I was pretty sure of my first impression. Different lighting can alter everything, and I couldn't be sure if the softness might be due to the photos maybe being taken with a cell phone camera (they are notorious for 'softening' images.)
Her somewhat neutral-but-still-warm warm hair is obvious but sometimes it can be a result of haircoloring or a very dark hair transitioning to grey.
So I asked for some childhood photos.
This is why I love childhood and teenage photos. They show you what a person was when coloring is in its full bloom and its most undeniably natural state.
Here are the photos she sent:
You can see as I did that Daniela's coloring was not much different as a child than it is now! Soft coloring, neutral but more warm than cool. So my initial impression was correct :)
Results: Smokey Soft Autumn
If you read Case #5, you know that my client, Holly, had taken a style course that had a component about color analysis.
She was told she was a Spring, and, to 'rock her world' (her words) even further, my assessment of her was the opposite of the one her teacher gave her.
I gave my assessment of some of her friends and family that she had also used as case studies in her training. And my assessments were not the same either.
Evelyn was one of them.
The image on the left was the original photo of her. She was assessed as a Winter by the teacher.
But I couldn't see that the wintery blue top doing anything for her. It certainly didn't light her up like that shade of magenta would do if she were truly a Winter.
Also, I saw nothing but muted, rich earthiness in her eyes.
I changed her top color to a nice Autumny brown. And as I applied the rich earth tones to her via makeup, it only confirmed my analysis.
Can you see how the earth tones bring out her rich eye color?
Results: Smokey Soft Autumn
My latest case study is an interesting one.
I analyzed Holly as a Cool Summer many years ago. And she was happy.
But then she wanted to learn about style and body shapes, and she found an online course that taught that. And she learned a lot from it.
But it had a color analysis component, too. And Holly was told she was a Spring. Which, in her words, 'rocked her world". It sent her on a long quest to make the Spring season work for her.
She even went to two more online consultants for their opinions. And both of them said she was a Spring!
Again, she tried to make it work. But it just didn't. She instinctively knew it didn't work, but three experts telling her otherwise? It was difficult, to say the least. She later told me she was close to not believing in the whole field of color analysis anymore.
When she took me up on my "2nd Look Offer," I had recognized her name. I remember testing colors on her before, and she was nothing but cool, in my opinion. Then she told me her entire journey. And we talked on the phone. And we talked more. And then more.
If anyone has ever talked to me on the phone, they will know that despite me being pretty much of an introvert, I can talk for hours about color analysis. And this is what Holly and I did and still do 😉
When I saw her photo again, nothing changed regarding her assessment. I mention this caveat in my listing of how I may just still see you as the exact same season. And this was the case with Holly.
But just to reassure her after her long, expensive ordeal, I went to my colleague, who was once my trainer/mentor, to ask for my own second opinion. It was a 2nd-second opinion because I went to her years ago asking for her opinion originally. I think I was using the 16 season system back then and was still a little unsure of myself and conferred with my mentor often. When I contacted her this time, I didn't tell her what she thought of her years ago nor what my thoughts were then or now. She, too, said Cool Summer was her best season.
If you look at Holly, you will see there is nothing warm about her. Not only is she cool, but it is her dominant characteristic.
As a picture is worth a thousand words, I did some makeover for comparison since she sent nice, high definition photos.
First I applied the Spring colors and the Cool Summer colors.
I only applied eyeshadow, lipstick and blush on her; I did not apply any foundation. I did take out the slight warmth out of her hair (she said it could be from the sun bleaching it or well water but it was not natural).
You can see the Spring colors just ‘sit there’ on her skin. Those peachy colors would light up a true Spring. The cool colors blend in more naturally. They certainly bring out her beautiful blue eyes.
For the next makeover, I used the warmest Autumn colors possible.
Can you see how the heavy, warm colors just sit there, too? They do nothing to harmonize with her natural coloring at all.
Are you able to see how the laugh lines under the eyes are less noticeable with the Summer colors?
TIP: Do the 3-second trick: close your eyes for 3 seconds and then open your eyes. See which photo shows the colors that 'sink in' and look more natural. The one which brings Holly's eyes forward and makes you see HER first and not the colors first.
It's clearly the Cool Summer.
I will let you read her reaction to the makeovers, and what she has learned from this whole color analysis journey she's been on (below):
"Oh, [happy expletive] OMG, I'm so happy to see this post, I could CRY.
I'm so excited to tell you that I noticed immediately the warm makeup colors of Autumn and Spring look absolutely DREADFUL. What's more, this is exactly how I look when I attempt to wear warm makeup colors! The lips are way too harsh, and the eye makeup is so obvious and disharmonious. As a matter of fact, the wrong makeup colors look to me as if they're badly applied. I used to think that maybe I wasn't that good at applying eyeliner, but the charcoal liner as dark as it would seem just flows and looks properly applied. The other pictures make me look old. Blech!
My take on being an Autumn... Boy, I love autumn colors and want to feel safe and grounded (that's what Autumn makes me feel like) and look earthy and sexy (who doesn't?). Lesson. Learned. Looking at myself in the warm brown eyeliner, I realized that this is how I look in brown eyeliner. Like I mentioned above, I actually used to think that I don't know how to put eyeliner on properly, or I just don't look good in eyeliner, period. Eureka moment: it never occurred to me that it might be the color and not the application! Where was I? Don't even get me started on the Autumn lipstick shades. Obvious and aging and wrong period.
Moving on to being a Spring... Oh boy.... Peach blush, lipstick, and eyeshadow equal obvious and forced. Again, this is exactly the way I looked when I put on spring makeup colors. If fact, I once had a peach eyeshadow that looked a lot like this, but even a tad more sheer and light, and my best friend looked at me and said, "Oh, peach eyeshadow." I knew immediately that if she was noticing my makeup, something was off.
My journey of being previously analyzed as a Spring was one that started to make me feel as if color analysis might not be a valid forum. I would go lipstick shopping for easy to shop for and detect spring lipstick colors, come home and want to cry after putting them on and looking exactly like I did in the spring virtual makeover you did for me. Ditto on the blush shades. Not only can I see that it's off, I feel it.
My take away for this whole experience is my photos are a testament that color analysis is a valid forum, and that a talented analyst like you can prove that with makeup colors alone and a simple change in the color of your shirt.
From here on, I will stop trying to swim against the current to get into the 'spirit of the seasons', attempting to belong and fit in by wearing the perceived grounded, secure, sexy and earthy Autumn colors, the happy, fresh, bouncy, young and warm Spring colors, or even the deep, mysterious, alluring and contrasting Winter shades to blend in and feel like a part of something.
We all want to fit in, feel accepted and a part of something. Self-acceptance is the key. It's not about being put into a box and feeling constricted and limited. Embracing the colors you were born with is powerful. We are all amazing and unique. ColorBreeze captures this perfectly. I realized when I'm wearing my best colors, I can evoke the qualities of all the seasons when I'm wearing the cool, soft, and muted colors of COOL SUMMER.
Summer is just a season. Cool Summer colors are ME. Lora, thank you for your having the Eyes Of A Color Goddess! you truly have a gift!"
For the record, I don't think I'm a Color Goddess. I'm just happy she is happy. 😊
This next "Real Women" example shows how much lighting can affect one's perceived season.
It is something I deal with working with virtual clients, and one must always be aware of how it can affect your coloring.
The first thing I noticed when I saw "Kayla" was that her dominant trait was light. I love it when I can definitely identify a dominant trait because that narrows things down significantly.
So she's either a Light Spring or a Light Summer. Well, in my ColorBreeze Complete, she could be one of 4 seasons (all-cool Icy Light Summer, traditional Light Summer, traditional Light Spring, all-warm Sunlit Light Spring).
Here are some of the photos she sent me and my initial reactions to them.
This was the first one I saw, and immediately I see a little warm and a little cool.
The next two below look more warm than cool.
This one on the right above looks especially Light Spring-like.
If this were the only photo I saw (and rarely do I ever want to say with assurance one's season with only one photo), I would no doubt say she's a Light Spring. But she is in sunlight, and sunlight can bathe a person in warmth, whether she is naturally warm or not.
This photo (left) in particular, struck me as summery because of the fact her new hair growth looks ashy to me, and I see a bit of pink in her skin. This light and somewhat dusty blue would look pretty flat on a Spring. I think it looks good on her.
What this eye closeup above confirmed was that she is definitely a LIGHT season. Hair roots are light. Lashes are light. And eyebrows are very light.
Her hair roots are ashy, and her skin looks a little pink.
She sent me lots of photos. And it was challenging to find which undertone seemed to be more dominant.
But before I tried any of my Face Flash Cards, I found a set of photos she sent me which were essentially two critical cool vs. warm test colors: hot pink and bright orange.
In my opinion, the hot pink was more clarifying and overall flattering than the orange.
Since she was not all-cool, I eliminated the Icy Light Summer as a possible choice for her.
Results: Light Summer
Client "Janice" told me she was debating between two seasons: Soft Summer and Clear Spring.
How can two very different seasons -nearly polar opposites - be mistaken for each other?
It's those clear-looking eyes I talk about in my training. Some seasons can have eyes that look clear (dark rim, light iris), but they are not a Clear season.
But just for the record, all Clear seasons like Clear Spring and Clear Winter (whose dominant trait is CLEAR WILL always have clear eyes. If they don't, they are not a Clear season). There are a few exceptions, of course, but not many.
But Summers in particular, most often Light and Soft Summer lights, can have eyes that look clear, too.
In Janice's case, her skin looked cool. And her hair seemed ashy. While she didn't look dreadful in yellows and oranges,
they did not light her up like they should if she was truly a Spring.
On the other hand, a soft blue shade puts her face in focus and makes her eyes even more noticeable.
Final assessment of "Janice" was:
Sunlit Soft Summer
When I analyzed Alexis, I knew she was very warm. But she was way too deep to be a Warm Autumn. At the time, I was using my ColorBreeze System, but there was only a Deep Autumn season and the newest soft Autumn deep that was very warm (see case #2) called the Toasted Soft Autumn.
Still, I felt she was too deep to be even the Toasted Autumn. So I chose the Deep Autumn season for her, feeling that her dominant trait of Deep overrode her need for warmth. There was no other option.
Alexis wasn't completely happy with the assessment, because she knew she needed more warmth than the Deep Autumn season provides.
Plus, she really did not seem to flow into Winter. If she flowed anywhere, it was into Warm Autumn.
However, at this very same time, I was formulating the theory for the 'missing' seasons that eventually completed my ColorBreeze Complete system.
And one of those was the Hot Deep Autumn season, which is, essentially, a hybrid of a Deep Autumn and Warm Autumn.
While I was trying to think of celebrity examples for this season, actress Raquel Welch came to mind (left).
I thought perhaps Sophia Loren is one, too, but one of my Italian colleagues swears Sophia is a Winter who just colors her hair. I won't disagree.
But I knew Raquel is an Autumn. A very warm one.
Alexis was thrilled to find the perfect season!
She's contacted me several times to tell me how happy she is with this season, and it makes me very happy when one of my clients is, too.
As you can see in her most recent photo, she is warm yet deep. She can handle a lot of depth but has to make the colors warm for the best effect.
Here is one of your comments she sent me not too long ago:
I just wanted to provide some feedback on my post analysis experience.
Dark Autumn 2017 - didn't work out and wasn't feeling attractive at all or in my skin with colours and makeup (struggled to accept it but there was no other season I could be).
2018 Hot autumn - all my colours are working even without colouring my hair. the copper makeup is perfect and even the accent colour mustard can work as a fashion colour (tweaking jewellery etc) I never thought I could look so beautiful last year was the worst as a traditional neutral DA.
With blonde I used your toasted autumn e-book makeup recommendations (have swatch book too) but everyone's traditional DA recommendations repeatedly failed and made me look ugly. The purpose of this feedback is people should know when they are working well and if they are on track.
Well done Lora (can we have what to follow if hot Autumn goes blonde too in the new ebook?).
Boo to 12 seasons am not happy with them."
Alexis - England
Elena was an important case for me because I got her wrong! Well, with the system I was using at the time, I chose the best season for her from what was available. See her coloring below.
I've seen coloring like this before. Rich, heavy Autumn coloring that struck me as either a Deep Autumn or a Warm Autumn.
Clearly an Autumn, but with a definite heaviness to her with the dark brown eyes and rich auburn hair.
Additionally, of the many photos my client sent me, the majority had varying shades of red hair, though some, like the one below, had almost black hair.
Because of the heaviness, I labeled her a Deep Autumn but said she was almost a blend of both Deep and Warm. I advised her to wear the warmest colors of the Deep Autumn or the deepest colors of the Warm Autumn palette.
Note, I did not consider the deeper soft Autumn since, at that time, the deeper soft autumn season was deep but muted. Elena clearly needed warmth.
Long story short, she contacted me again for some more clarification about her season. At the time she contacted me, I had the seed of the ColorBreeze system growing in my mind. In the end, because of my brand new ColorBreeze season "Toasted Autumn," things made sense to me about these deep, very warm Autumns who were not deep enough to be Deep Autumns, but too deep to be Warm Autumns.
This made sense to her. Here is her response after getting her new Toasted Autumn swatch:
"Let me say it's really a beautiful object. You added a lot of information, and I like the shiny paper even more than the satin version. But I liked my new colors, above all. When I opened it, I finally felt to have found my home. Neither the shaded nor the pure Autumn swatches gave me this feeling. Thanks, thanks, thanks!"
About these Real Women examples
While everyone loves to see celebrity examples, many people want to see 'real women' who typify particular seasons.
I do ask many clients if it is ok to use their pictures and most politely say no. Many don't like me using pictures of them without makeup, which I totally understand. I feel like a hypocrite asking people for photos since I don't even like showing photos of myself on my own website, and these are even pictures of me all made up! I have issues.
But for an accurate color analysis, it is critical for me to see women without makeup so I can see their skin and natural coloring. So I am especially grateful to the ladies below who volunteered to be posted on here so others can see 'real women' and their seasons.
By the way, I don't come right out an ask anymore, unless they mark that they may be interested in being a model on my site on their questionnaire.