Sunday, June 18, 2017

Losing Your Level of Contrast...What Happens When We Go Gray. Part I-Palette Colors

During the transition between our regular, pigmented hair and when our hair goes white or gray, we have the false illusion of losing our natural level of contrast. It can be a frustrating experience because how we used to see ourselves has changed radically. The truth is, as our hair changes our skin tone also changes. That brown or dark blonde hair that looked so nice on us 20+ years ago might in reality be too harsh for us right now. 

Taken from advice I learned a long time ago from Bernice Kentner who developed Color Me A Season, here is how to get used to a whole new color scheme. 

Consider that you may have actually changed seasons. This does not happen to everyone, but it can happen to some women. When your hair and skin tone change, you might drop into the next seasonal category cooler:

If you are a Dark Winter, your cooled down skin tone and gray or white hair may shift you into the True Winter palette. Dark Winter colors may look a little too browned on you. 

True Winters look beautiful in their gray or white hair. You might not feel as comfortable in your red or yellow any longer, but at this stage of the game, your remaining colors will look stunning. 

Bright Winters might not feel so good in their lime greens, yellows, corals or warmer reds. The intensity of the palette may feel like it is a "little too much". That being the case, True Winter would be the next logical place to go. Should your coloring soften, Light Summer would be worth trying. 

Bright Springs may do better with the cooler end of their palette and move away from using the yellows, yellow greens, rusts and more orange colors. Borrow from Bright Winter if you have to, but remember that Bright Winter is darker overall. If your coloring really softens down, experiment with Light Spring. 

True Springs are the ones that, for the most part, retain a warm hair color even later in life. Your gray may look like a very light blonde. If you find your coloring has softened and lightened a bit, a move to Light Spring may be prudent. 

Likewise, if you are a Light Spring and have transitioned to gray or white, experiment with Light Summer in order to see if it works for you. The darker end of it might be a little bit too dark for your delicate complexion to handle. 

Since True Summer is markedly darker overall than Light Summer, it is unlikely that you will switch to it. As per Bright Spring, center your Light Summer wardrobe and cosmetics around the cooler end of your palette. 

True Summers are a True Cool season and will likely stay in that palette for life. You may look better in your colors at this stage than ever before. Move away from mauve browns and use your grays and navy colors as neutrals. 

I have found that Soft Summers going gray stay pretty true to their palette. Soft Autumns, on the other hand, may indeed find that Soft Summer may be a better fit as they go gray. 

True Autumns have some really gorgeous gray hair that looks very striking against their palette. However, if the colors seem a little harsh for you, Soft Autumn may be a great place for you to start over. 

Dark Autumns retain their contrast well into later years. If you feel the warmer end of your palette is not as comfortable as it once was, or if the whole color scheme feels off, try Dark Winter. let's say your seasonal category has not changed at all. If anything, you had a draping done again and everything has stayed the same. It may be frustrating to hear that, BUT how you use your palette will change. 

1) You may have gathered this from reading the above, but your neutrals will change. Your browns and beige might not be so great any longer. Make the switch to gray, navy, your version of black and white. 

2) The warmer colors of your palette, like yellow, orange, peach, yellow green and gold might not be as nice on you as before. Try working with the cooler end of your palette, even if you have never done so before. 

3) The high contrast seasons are:

True Winter
Dark Winter
Dark Autumn
Bright Winter
Bright Spring

If you are one of these seasonal categories, keep dressing in a high contrast manner. Even though your hair may be lighter, there are still strands of your darker color entwined where you may not be aware. Wearing your clothing in a high contrast manner will make your hair come to life and it will look more three dimensional.  You may find that wearing bright or dark eye glass frames gives you balance and helps accentuate your contrast level. 

Even as we age, our eyes retain their level of contrast unless we get cataracts. There are few things less flattering than wearing clothing that is too muted or drab for us. It will dull our eyes and make our skin tone look either ashen or dirty. If you were formerly in your youth a high contrast person, continue to dress in that manner. Your eyes will look much more crisp and sparkling. 

The Medium to Low contrast seasons are:


True Spring
True Summer
True Autumn

Medium contrast is one of those enviable looks that not everyone can carry off. You are the one that has the world's greatest "mix and match" wardrobe. By using your lightest palette lights and your darkest palette darks as neutrals, you will create visual interest while not appearing too harsh. 


Light Summer
Light Spring
Soft Summer 
Soft Autumn

If you are a Light or Soft season, trying to create contrast that was never there to begin with will be incredibly aging. Don't go there. Your Light and Soft colors will put a glow on your complexion. A more harsh combination may erase or harden your features. As per above, Lights and especially Softs have ease in creating a fantastic mix and match wardrobe. 

Everyone is individual regarding the adjustments we have to make. I am hopeful that the above suggestions point you in the right direction!



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