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“Playing out of your color contrast can help you create a bold look. If that is your image goal, it’s a great tool,” says Vaz. For example: “Sydney Sweeney naturally has a low-contrast beauty, so when she is blonde, she has the best harmony, but she attended the Met Gala with a black wig,” she explains. “I bet the first thing you noticed was her hair! She created an impactful, bold image, and I believe that was the intention. So there’s no right or wrong; it all depends on your image goal.” And my image “goal” just so happens to be that of a conventional beauty-obsessed Libra, okay?!

Sydney Sweeney blonde

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Sydney Sweeney in black wig

John Shearer

So how did I know my hair was too dark? This requires some understanding of color theory. In order to find your own color season, you need to analyze three color dimensions: value, which examines whether your skin is light or dark; chroma, which analyzes whether it’s muted or bright; and undertone, which is whether you are warm, cool, or neutral-toned. Or, ideally, have an expert do this for you, which I did. (Or ask the Redditors over at R/ColorAnalysis).

I’m a “bright spring,” which includes celebrities like Emma Stone, Tessa Thompson, Taylor Swift, Jessica Chastain, and Kerry Washington.

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Tessa Thompson

Karwai Tang

In my case, I’m a bright spring because my chroma is bright, my undertone is neutral-leaning-warm, and the contrast between my features (eyes, eyebrows, and natural hair) and skin is medium to high. (For high contrast, think Anne Hathaway. For low; Swift or Sweeney, and medium; Zendaya or Stone.)

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Lucy Liu, high contrast

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Taylor Swift low contrast

Taylor Swift, low contrast

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So what does that mean for my hair? While my previous shade was too dark for my skin tone, going too light isn’t ideal, either. It is, after all, about harmony. “Because you have medium-high contrast, you need to be careful when dyeing your hair lighter,” Vaz explains. “You will move into too low of a contrast if you dye your hair more than three tones lighter than your natural hair color from your roots.”

When you lighten your hair color, you decrease the difference between your hair and skin, says Vaz. “That’s why you feel washed out, even if you chose the shades that work for you,” Vaz told me about my dark brunette hair color. She went on to explain that if I dyed my hair black, it would increase my contrast, making me look even paler. “Black is also dark and cool, which will not harmonize with the characteristics of your color palette.”

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