I found a really interesting video on how our coloring and the usage of our palettes changes as time marches onward. I have a great love for Inside Out Style Blog and this particular video spearheaded a desire to write this post.
Imogen Lamport has her own color analysis system that she has expanded beyond the 12 seasonal groups. For those that have felt left wanting after having a color draping done, her method might fill in the gaps for you. That aside, let's address a question that comes up.
"What happens with my color palette when I go gray, my eye color softens and my skin tone naturally cools down? Will it stay the same, or can I expect changes?"
The answer to that is, there is no hard and fast rule. Many people stay the same seasonal category for life. Others do indeed change to either their next cooler neighbor, or a softer toned selection. The below for each seasonal category is merely a suggestion, and not set in stone. Experiment with this as you see fit.
True Winter: You are a True/Cool season. If you find you are losing pigmentation in your hair, a la going gray or turning white (lucky you!!) chances are good you will stay in the same palette. If you soften down and cannot handle the relatively bright colors of your palette, your best choice will be True Summer.
Bright Winter: You have always needed intense colors throughout your life. If you were to cool down in your coloring and no longer instinctively feel comfortable in your Bright palette, I would try out True Winter for size. For those of you whose coloring has really softened, Light Summer would be another palette to look at, but this would really be a stretch.
Bright Spring: I have seen many a Bright Spring, including recently draped later-in-life Bright Springs maintain that brilliance. The only reason why I would say "no" to Bright Winter (a logical place, since it is cooler) is because it is a darker palette and wearing "too dark" colors can be harsh and aging. If you find that your need for color intensity has waned, Light Spring may work very well for you.
True Spring: Gray or white hair can be a real challenge for a True Spring. Your warm toned wardrobe might not seem like it is a good fit any longer. Light Spring is a really nice next step for you. I would not recommend Soft Autumn as a possibility, because the base tone of Autumn is too heavy. You still need clarity.
Light Spring: The Light seasons thrive on brightness and delicacy. Should you cool down in your coloring, I would take a look at Light Summer as a distinct possibility, BUT I would stay within the lightness and darkness parameters of your original palette. You have less darkness tolerance than a Light Summer would.
Light Summer: It would seem an obvious choice that True Summer would be your next go-to, but I find that unlikely. True Summer is markedly darker than you would comfortably handle. Your best solution is to dress and wear your cosmetics as a cool-leaning Light Summer. Your yellows and corals might not be such a good fit, but the cooler berries and pinks may suit you more at this stage of your life than ever before.
True Summer: If you are that lovely rose-petaled creature of habit that doesn't like change, I think you will be pleased to know, being a True/Cool season means your palette will fit you well for a lifetime. If anything, you may discover your palette looking better on you now that it ever did. Consider yourself very fortunate.
Soft Summer: Your situation is much like that of True Summer. You likely won't cool down into a True Summer since those colors were a bit too intense and cool on you during your draping. How you use your palette will change. Instead of wearing browns, you may find yourself more comfortable in grays. Your yellows and warmer greens may no longer seem to fit. Experiment as you feel necessary.
Soft Autumn: I have always felt the Soft seasons were very close sisters. Many neutral toned categories are. If you find yourself drawn to more pinks and blues and feel that your terra cottas and warm nudes just don't jibe, it may be time to visit Soft Summer and see how it works. If it is still a bit too cool, adjust how you use your palette.
True Autumn: You will genuinely have to go by how you feel with this one. Like True Spring, you will have a challenge with your hair turning gray. It may seem like it doesn't fit with your wardrobe quite so well. If your colors seem a little intense and imposing, try out Soft Autumn for size.
Dark Autumn: I have noticed that Dark seasons maintain their intensity and need for depth throughout their lives. If your coloring has cooled and bittersweet, browned burgundy and red copper don't feel right, Dark Winter would be a nice new start for you. If your coloring has indeed softened to where the depth of Dark Autumn no longer feels right, Soft Autumn may be great new beginning.
Dark Winter: You have a couple of choices. One: you can gravitate towards the cooler end of your palette. There is definitely no harm in that. I recommend that for many people. That being said, if you find your colors feel a bit dark and heavy for you, try out True Winter. Should your coloring really soften down, Soft Summer might be a real possibility.
At A Glance:
True Cool seasons: True Summer and True Winter:
Stay within your category. True Winter may indeed soften down to True Summer, but not likely.
True Warm seasons: True Autumn and True Spring.
You may step into the category of a Neutral/ Warm season.
True Autumn: Soft Autumn
True Spring: Light Spring
Neutral/Warm seasons: Bright Spring, Light Spring, Soft Autumn, Dark Autumn.
Your next cooler neighbor would be a good place to look, or staying within your tonal category (Neutral/Warm) but going softer or lighter.
Bright Spring: Light Spring
Light Spring: Light Summer
Soft Autumn: Soft Summer
Dark Autumn: Dark Winter or Soft Autumn
Neutral/Cool seasons: Bright Winter, Light Summer, Soft Summer, Dark Winter:
As above, your next cooler neighbor is a palette to consider. In the case of Light and Soft seasons, I would recommend using your palette differently by selecting the cooler tones available.
Bright Winter: True Winter
Light Summer: Stay within palette, use your cooler colors more.
Soft Summer: Stay within palette, use your cooler colors more.
Dark Winter: True Winter. If your coloring really softens, use Soft Summer.
My hope is that this guide has served as a compass into your next phase of life. Over time, hair for many of us begins to turn silver, salt and pepper or white. Our skin tone tends to become more pink as opposed to the ivory or peach of our younger days. Many of us will keep our palette forever. Others will need to choose something from another color category to better suit us.
If you have to make a change into a different palette, don't jump in right away with both feet. Take time to experiment until you feel confident you are headed in the right direction.