Low Contrast

Low contrast means there is minimal difference between the juxtaposed colour qualities of a person’s colour characteristics.

This man has overall low contrast, with highlight blue grey eyes

Low contrast is a general classification, determined and dominated by the similarity in tone between the skin and hair.

Low tone contrast happens across all skin tones, from people with light skin, through medium to dark skin.

This man has low tone contrast

Most people who have natural low contrast between their skin and hair have darker hair then skin. People who have natural lighter hair and skin, usually have light skin.

The natural tone of this woman's hair is lighter than her skin

There are varying levels of low tone contrast, which are generally below two levels of tone.

Once the difference between the skin and hair is two levels of tone, the contrast generally moves from low into moderate contrast.

Low Contrast Scale

However, this ambiguous point of contrast can also be determined by other colour qualities, such as the contrast of hue and variable saturation. The area and volume of the hair can also help decide if a person’s contrast remains low or moves into moderate.

If the hue and variable saturation of the skin, hair and eyes are the same or similar and the volume of hair is low, this will help the overall contrast remain low.

This man has overall low to medium tone contrast and low hue and variable saturation contrast, which means his overall contrast is low

The hair and eyes of people with medium skin tone levels are most often darker, which usually results in a low to moderate level of contrast.

This woman has medium tone caramel coloured skin which directly links to the lighter tones in her hair. The darker tones in her hair links to her eyes, brows, lashes, and shading on her face, all of which create low contrast

Low hue contrast generally occurs with light skinned people and is considered to be an analogous colour combination.

Low, variable saturation contrast generally means the variable saturation across a person’s skin, hair and eyes is similar. Dominated by the variable saturation of a person’s skin.

The blue eyes of this woman are a complementary contrast to her yellow orange-based hair and underlying orange skin

If a person is without hair, they will most likely have overall low contrast. The contrast between the colour of their skin and eyes will become more significant, especially if the colours are different and the whites of the eyes are prominent.  

If there is tone or hue contrast between their eyes and skin, they will most likely be a highlight or lowlight contrast, with the overall contrast remaining low.

This man has low tone and hue contrast, low levels of variable saturation across his skin, eyes and facial hair and therefore has overall low contrast

With the natural aging process and the loss of pigmentation, people with dark hair and light skin (high contrast), will lose natural contrast intensity as their colour characteristics move through the aging process.

Some people with natural high contrast will move through low contrast as they age, and others will end up with low overall colour characteristic contrast.

The loss of hair pigmentation through the aging process has changed this man’s colour expression contrast to low. As he continues to age he will end up with low to moderate colour contrast

People can superficially create low contrast, by dyeing their hair, to a tone which is closer to their skin.

The natural tone and hue of this woman's hair has been changed, reducing her natural colour expression contrast

If a person has low natural contrast between all colour characteristic qualities, and the hue of their hair changes, the chances are the contrast will remain low. Unless the superficial colour is not a natural neutral tone and is approximately more than four colour categories from the persons natural underlying skin hue.

The natural hue of this woman’s hair has been changed to a yellow based hue, which creates an analogous colour combination with her skin and eyes. Considering the tone and variable saturation of her hair is similar to her skin and eyes, her overall contrast remains low

Colour expression lowlights

Colour characteristics with lowlights, refer to either dark or discoloured contrast areas, on the skin, eyes or within the hair. 

Most natural lowlights occur on the skin however, lowlights do occur naturally in the hair, usually as people age or once a person changes their hair colour.

This man’s colour expression has many lowlights, which in effect are uneven low, variable saturation areas

Considering the small size of the eyes, it is difficult to recognize lowlight areas, although they are present on some people.

In general, dark eyes are not considered lowlights because they have a film of fluid over them, which reflects light and creates a gloss or sparkle.

Lowlights are usually 2 or more tones darker than the juxtaposed area of a colour characteristic.

There are a number of low light areas on this man’s face, including the large dark blemish above his eye, the bags under his eyes, scaring and his facial hair shadow

If the tone of the lowlight is only one level different, but the hue of the lowlight is noticeably different, the combination may make the area a lowlight.

Lowlights usually create low contrast; however some more severe lowlights may create moderate to high contrast.

The deep wrinkles, blood-shot eyes and bags on this man are areas of lowlight

Lowlight areas of contrast are mostly skin blemishes and include dark, red discoloured spots, lines and patches.

Deep wrinkles, bags under the eyes, dark freckles and discolouring in the whites of the eyes or teeth are also considered as facial lowlights.

The full beard of this man is an extension of his hair, his facial stubble creates a low light

Facial hair shadow or stubble is a lowlight area on the face, a beard is not.

Dark areas on the skin are emphasised by dark hair or lowlights within the hair and, in most cases, have a low to moderate effect on colour expression.

The facial tattoos of this Kurdish woman are lowlights

People can choose to reduce or increase their lowlights, such as hair colouring, make-up, facial tattooing and facial hair growth.

Lowlight colour qualities can be a focal point when the level of contrast is high.

The dark hair roots on this woman are considered a lowlight, considering they create an area of low light

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