Hair Colour Determines your Overall Value
One of the first steps in a colour consultation is determining whether someone has light or dark hair. This is called the "value". If you think of a black and white photograph each colour in real life shows up as a shade of grey - some light and some dark. Some of the colours are so dark they will be almost black and some colours will show as almost white.
The Difference Between Colour and Value
Hair colour names can be subjective as some people may refer to copper hair colour as orange or red. Dark blonde can also look like a light brown to some people. The best way to determine hair colour as a value is to look at something which is called a value scale.
Looking a the value scale when you are checking how light or dark something is means that you are not confusing the issue with actual colours but merely the lightness and darkness or depth of the shade.
Dark hair can include dark brunettes or browns, some red hair such as mahogany, very dark grey and black.
Light hair can include blonde, some brunette or brown, some reds such as auburn and grey.
Hair Colour Charts at the Salon
You will find that hairdressers will look at many aspects of colour which include the base. The base colour is talking about how light or dark the colour is. This is similar to the value scale or grey scale. The hair salon also includes numbers on their chart to indicate coverage and tones. Most hair colour charts will have two or three numbers/letters on each colour.
Variations or Solid Hair Colour
You may have one overall colour to your hair or several colours such as streaks. This could be coloured artificially or natural streaks caused by the sun or chlorine if you swim a lot in pools. If you are going from a darker colour to grey then you may have what is commonly called "Salt & Pepper" hair. This is a beautiful combination of black, grey and silver and it is an elegant look. Depending on how much black is in the hair it could still be classed as dark.
The Purpose of Looking at Hair Colour for Overall Value
Overall value is the first step and then we look at colour and contrast. By taking the actual colour out of the equation it is easier to determine how light or dark the hair is without getting into the technicalities of the warmth or coolness of a shade.
The reason a personal stylist will look at the hair first to determine overall value is because the goal is to draw attention to the face and also to give an overall balanced appearance. If a woman has light hair and wears very heavy dark coloured clothing she will need to wear something dark on her head such as a hat or glasses to balance the whole look. This is where contrast comes into play.
You will see the dark outfit looks too heavy on this woman. The clothing on the right suits her overall value. The shoe colour is too dark. If she wore light coloured shoes this would create a more pleasing effect as the eyes loop from the hair to the toes and back up effortlessly.
The is a lot more to consider apart from overall value. This is the base to start from. Have you ever looked at newsreaders on television and noticed that you see either their outfit first or their face first? This could be to do with the colour they are wearing or their overall value does not work with the light or dark shade of the outfit.
Changes in Hair Colour as We Age
Some clients have had a colour analysis when they had dark hair. The recommendation is to have a colour analysis done every ten years. If there is a colour change during the ten year period and the colour changes to two or three shades darker or lighter there is an easy way to use your colour swatch. Just go to the lighter end of your colour swatch for your clothing and accessories if your hair is lighter. If you colour you hair slightly darker. use the colours at the darker end of your colour swatch.
For example the woman on the left in this photograph may have once had quite dark hair. Now her overall value could be classed as Medium. The woman in the centre may once have had dark hair. Her hair is definitely light. She would have an overall light value. The woman on the right has more dark than light in her hair and she would be classed as deep overall value.
One of the best ways to determine your overall value and check the value of your hair is to take a black and white photograph of yourself. You will soon see whether you have an overall light value or overall dark value.