The True Spring With Dark Hair

December 20, 2011 by  


Tension Vs. Relief


Learn To Trust Your Feelings

A fascinating draping experience recently.

A woman of Northern Italian descent. Her overall appearance was of a mid-range darkness level. From the nose down, she had an Old World Mona Lisa face shape. Dark beige hair and eyebrows (hair growing out an orange-red dye), light brown lashes. Her eyes are large and a green brown colour that glowed yellow if lit from the side. Baby perfect skin that seemed fairly clear, more translucent than restrained in colour clarity. Her mind could spin in three directions at once. This lady could change topics on a dime.

One of my reasons for loving the Sci\ART analysis system is that it self-checks as it proceeds. No Season is canceled until we have multiple sources of corroborating evidence, meaning many different comparisons that always gave consistent results. We were sure she was a True Warm. Our choices were down to True Spring and True Autumn.

This is where it got difficult. She was one of the few women I’ve met who was not even slightly drawn to Autumn colours.  My gut feeling was always Spring in every contest. In the end, True Spring brought out a delicacy in the features that Autumn would blunt. We saw darker shadows under the eyes in Autumn drapes. The edge of the iris was fuzzier. It was the Spring brown that most intensified eye colour, not Autumn’s camel brown.

The dark haired True Spring won’t look like Charlize Theron. Lightness is not True Spring’s TMIT (the most important thing). Of course, even Seasons whose TMIT is lightness can have dark hair because hair colour is very varied among all Seasons. True Spring’s TMIT is yellowed warmth. The Season doesn’t get very dark but the colours that most folks associate with True Spring actually reside in Light Spring.  When we finally wrap ourselves around True Spring’s palette, we say “Oh, wow, I didn’t get how much colour there is.” Most people would be physically fatigued after an hour of trying to match the energy of True Spring colours. When we’re dealing in brown, there’s a lot of brown.

The richness of colour and the high degree heat give True Spring’s colours much more intensity that we expect. The darker colours are so saturated that on a person of fair skin, they can appear to be fairly dark. Put that hair on the head of a dark person and it would look lighter, like sandy brown. The same colour that looks quite dark on Helen Mirren will look just medium on Sandra Bullock. The question we want to answer is “What are your darks? Which colours make up your perfect set of just-right-darkness darks?”

Natural hair colour isn’t always typical of the average for any Season. Indeed, there’s very little yellowed hair growing from heads over 35. If that colour were added to the hair, it would look great on most True  Springs  but not all. Many True Springs don’t have Uman Thurman’s Nordic genes. They are inherently darker of hair and eye. Highlights are never a necessity nor do they flatter everyone in any Season. As we saw in The Emmas Are True Springs Part 1, the result of  a PCA can be quite unexpected, and never more than for True Spring.

I try to think of resemblances because I often see people for 3 hours and never again. I can’t always remember faces for future email questions. Also, it helps us picture changes on ourselves if we can apply them to a look alike. This woman made me think of Lucrezia Borgia. There was a Renaissance quality to her face.


The facial progressions to find a modern day version landed on Spanish actress Sophia Valverde. She could be a dark Winter for all I know, but could you agree that she doesn’t seem an automatic Autumn? There’s a lightness of colour and a delicate bone structure. She is more streamers (Spring) than building blocks or bricks (Autumn). Is that just because she’s 20 and beautiful? Yes, sure, very possible.

Here she is as Lucrezia.


And another version of the same woman.
María Valverde
María Valverde Pictures

What does streamers and building blocks tell you about a person’s colours? Nothing. Season can only be known by in person draping. I’m not trying to prove Maria is a Spring. It’s just fun to think about. Have a look through this evolution of Maria. I found Picture 9 most interesting. Then, let’s compare her to Jillian Michaels (watch the video clip) and go through our Autumn vs Spring question list.

Who is an unattractive blonde? Maybe both women are. Jillian has great Autumn hair colour. Blonde would not be nearly so good, though not as rough as on a Dark Autumn. There, if she’s 30, she looks 50, and if she’s 50, she looks a much older woman, as if she’s frosted her hair with grey for some reason. The pale pink lip they put on Jillian looks grey, as every pastel does on Autumn.

Who feels like bricks? Jillian does, perhaps part of her media persona, but it doesn’t feel a big stretch. Maria looks to have a lighter, more playful touch.

Who wears corduroy, who taffeta? I’d suggest J and M in that order.

Who wears toffee lips, who clear salmon? I don’t see J in clear salmon. Maria? Well, I’d be open to either. You don’t have to know the answer to every question just as the winner in every drape contest won’t be obvious or easy. Maria in toffee lips makes me feel like I did when Leslie Stahl of TV’s 60 Minutes wore a curry lipstick. Goodness gracious, it wasn’t good.

Whose energy is best described by ‘solidly grounded’? Ms. Michaels definitely is. Maria seems too delicate. If one of these is the little coloured glass figurine that sits on a little mirror, it’s Maria.

Photo galleries are a good exercise in learning to recognize tension and relief. Don’t think about shadows or makeup and so forth. Only think about when looking feels most relaxed. Only think about where your guts don’t tighten up at all. Where do you need zero internal adjustments, where is it all acceptance and no resistance? Where is there no distraction of external stuff to process before you get through to the real person? Every time you change the photo, every time I change a drape, tune into your first response – did you feel a step forward or a step back? Maria’s gallery is here. Lightness or golden-blond, as the photo leaning on white wall never feels so good, too heavy or thick. Something about the long peach dress works.

Renata’s recent post on Ivanka Trump shows another woman who reminds me a lot of Maria. Similar face structure, like the singer, Dwight Yoakam. They sure could be Soft Autumn, but I’d sure be keeping True Spring in mind till they’re draped. Autumn women often have a deeper voice, as does Ivanka. But then, so does Scarlet Johanssen who appears Spring. Can’t go by that.

A most astute True Spring reader sent me this photo of Nicole Richie. That seems a True Spring red, maybe even  more saturated than that depending on your monitor (which would push it into the Brights). I have no idea what Season the woman is, though the stereotype pushes you to drawing Soft Autumn assumptions and maybe that’s correct. I’m just saying that you have to stay very open to the possibilities.  This colour doesn’t look completely overwhelming on her. She is sorry in black and sad in white, so are Soft Autumn, Light Spring, and many True Warm Season people. Have a look at this most interesting gallery. All this yellow coming out of these eyes- who knew it was there?

Michelle Williams is similar. Many blonde hair green-eyed celebs like Hilary Duff and Kate Moss seem Soft Autumn to me. Not this woman. The pixie face, the general sense of lightness, dimpled cuteness and youth,  speak to me of Spring. ‘Strong, solid roots’ doesn’t seem to capture her somehow. Ethereal, sprite, and fairy fit better. She’s not a great ash blonde, nor is she a natural blonde. See all the yellow in the eyes?


She is a great honey blonde. She can go incredibly yellow and just gets prettier.

Photo linked to Allure Beauty Trends blog.


Perhaps we haven’t learned much we didn’t already know besides illustrations of the difference between tawny (Autumn) and perky (Spring). And how hard it can be to see the difference and the many ways in which it got hidden. That’s fine. Seeing the infinite variations of beauty never stops inspiring us.

We often look at one another’s photos. The fascination and the problem with them is that until we see you in person and in your right colours, we haven’t really seen you. I find this with every woman whose photos I’ve looked at many times, then finally see in her right colours at a draping. It took those colours to fill in the  missing blank, to express everything that that woman is, not just some parts of her. This is where the frustration of searching for your right colours arises, of trying to come up with that last elusive jigsaw piece. You know you haven’t been seen, or been seen as someone else, and you’re tired of living the half-truth.

One of the basic questions asked by philosophy is “Who am I?” But we get confused and uncertain, with age and media and so on. Eventually, what we are looking to answer is “Is this me?” Without knowing that, it’s hard to move on to answer “What is my place here? What is my purpose?” That’s what the woman sitting in front of the analyst’s mirror is looking to recognize. It helps her pin down “This is part of me. That is not part of me. The border between the two is here.” That’s why women want to know and understand their colours and how to express their colour language. And why it disturbs many analysts so much to hear that they’ve tried and tried and keep getting different answers. At least know that there are analysts as distressed by this as you are who aim to fix the problem, even if it means exposing it, discussing it openly, maybe ruffling a few feathers, and then moving away from these Dark Ages to a lighter, truer, more educated place.

PS – about a question on differentiating Spring and Autumn’s peach:

Spring’s peach can be found in a pile of cooked cold shrimp on one of those $2.50 rings you can buy, you know? You can perceive gentle white, young skin pink, and clear luminous yellow. And it’s moist.

Autumn’s peach is more likely to be in a bouquet of dried flowers. It will look duller and drier. If asked whether you pick up the same colours as the shrimp ring or let’s say, the presence of tapestry beige, brick red, and muted gold, you’d choose the latter.

In the Comments, Renata asked for a visual of the comparison. Huge thanks to Margo for creating the graphic below, a gift of creativity and time.


Note: I do not own the photos on this page. Wherever possible, they are linked to the site of origin. If you own these images and would like them removed from this page, I would be happy to do so.


32 Responses to “The True Spring With Dark Hair”

  1. Esther on December 20th, 2011 11:26 am

    The next time I am in Ontario Christine I hope to come to you for what I hope to be my be-all, end-all draping.

  2. Kathryn on December 20th, 2011 2:58 pm

    Wow. Fantastic piece!

  3. Arienne on December 21st, 2011 2:24 am

    Excellent post, Christine.
    Does actress Sienna Miller look like a TSp to you? Seems her natural hair color is quite dark although she colors it, sometimes redder, or lighter or more golden, her skin is medium and she has dark blue eyes.

  4. Melinda on December 21st, 2011 9:40 pm

    Nice! I had been wondering a bit about my niece as a spring and I really think it is possible. I love the guide lines for spring versus autumn as well. It helps me to see where to not cross the line over into spring. Great post Christine!

  5. inge on December 21st, 2011 11:55 pm

    Christine, happy holidays, and very good new year!

    God bless us, every one!

  6. Renata on December 24th, 2011 5:07 am

    This article is great – I particularily liked the photo example of Michelle Williams – I have always loved her in a spring’s honey blonde hair – she seems to glow AND she also recently played Marilyn Monroe in a film (Marilyn apparently was a spring) – check these photos out: AND
    Also, thank you for clarifying the difference between springs and autumns peach – I’m wondering – do you have a photo of autumns dried flowers, its hard for me to invision it? Thanks again!!!

  7. Michelle on December 30th, 2011 6:04 am

    Here you go :-) A bit autumny this picture perhaps, but it made me think of this article. Dark haired model and sunny spring energy in the tulips field :-D

  8. Christine Scaman on December 30th, 2011 1:45 pm

    Brilliant, Michelle. Those tulip fields are a huge True Spring association for me. I hope to do a children’s book with the landscape photos and kids’ faces and this would certainly be on the T Sp page.

  9. Margo on January 4th, 2012 9:43 pm

    Christine, did you mean these colors?

  10. Christine Scaman on January 6th, 2012 9:25 am

    I can’t open the link and the link isn’t active in the comment. Any way to link it in the comment?

  11. Margo on January 12th, 2012 7:03 pm

    Christine, I sent the link with a photo regarding difference between spring and autumn’s peach but I was not sure what’s happened. I do not know how I can show that photo with my comment. I will appreciate your help.

  12. Christine Scaman on January 13th, 2012 4:58 am

    Margo – email me the link at and I can see it and post it here.

  13. Michelle on January 13th, 2012 9:50 pm

    I know!! Just love tulips, want to surround myself with them and beautiful True Spring energy. Happy kids yeah :-D Here is one more picture for you, one of my favourites found when googling, wish I could hang it on my wall.

  14. Daenerys on January 14th, 2012 4:42 am

    Marilyn a Spring? I woud have said Light Summer!

  15. Christine Scaman on January 14th, 2012 7:03 am

    Renata, Photo added!

  16. Christine Scaman on January 14th, 2012 7:05 am

    Amazing, Michelle. And the photos beneath it are equally evocative. Really unbelievable, some of them.

    Daenerys , I’d agree that Marilyn Monroe was a Spring of some sort. Might have had a little Summer, but not a lot, I wouldn’t guess.

  17. jkitten on January 14th, 2012 7:33 pm

    What exactly is true springs/springs brown vs autumns browns?

  18. Margo on January 14th, 2012 8:35 pm

    Christine, in the future I would be very glad to read your new article about non-typical representatives of Autumn who are on the border of two categories – Autumn and Winter. These representatives can be considered as neutral types combining different natural characteristics of appearance, both warm and cold, as examples, with warm moss green color of eyes, neutral beige tone of skin (possibily with goldish brown freckles), and more cold than warm or neutral hair and eyebrow color, closer to ash brown. In different light with different make-up and hair color, these representatives may be considered either both Autumn and Winter. The complete feature of this kind of Autumn is that they do not look very good in the traditional warm autumn colors which have been mixed up in a yellow or orange base, subsquently they look a lot better in vibrant colors which have a red color as a base.

  19. inge on January 15th, 2012 4:05 am

    You may also follow the links under “Categories” for search by keywords.

  20. inge on January 15th, 2012 4:35 am

    Well.. I meant: You may also follow the links under “Categories”, or search by keywords.

  21. Arienne on January 16th, 2012 12:24 pm

    Does anyone know why there is not a warm red-violet color in the TSp palette? There are the periwinkle purples, but not a red-violet. I have a bathing suit and now a long sleeve sweater in that color and it seems to blend perfectly with the rest of the palette. Thanks!

  22. Christine Scaman on January 18th, 2012 12:59 pm

    A hard Q without looking at the swatches. Sp is yellower, clearer, and lighter usually. A is oranger, heavier, darker, and muted so it looks duller and feels more opaque.

  23. Christine Scaman on January 18th, 2012 3:43 pm


    I have 2 strips of purples in the Sci\ART Colour Book. The first is the blue-purples, like periwinkles. The second is the red-purples, there are 3 that are distinctly redder. Do you have the same Book? Do you see the colours this way?

  24. Daenerys on January 20th, 2012 4:37 am

    Well, it may be right; Marilyn was marvelous in bright colors; there was no muted feeling in her, but… she was the perfect platinum blonde, even it wasn´t natural, and I believed platinum belong to Light Summmer; correct me if I´m wrong, please.

  25. Tora on January 22nd, 2012 5:09 pm


    Platinum blonde is more Light Summer than Light Spring, yes. It’s a cool shade so Springs don’t pull it off as well. It could also look good for a True Winter (maybe BW?). High contrast and all.

    But I don’t think Marilyn was the perfect platinum blonde. I think she looked a lot better when her hair was a warmer blonde, more golden or honeyed (good word, Christine!) than platinum. I also liked when it had a little variation in value as blonde hair looks more natural that way but that could just be me :)

  26. Christine Scaman on January 23rd, 2012 8:25 am

    I find real platinum so hard that it’s a Bright Spring or Winter colour. Light Summer does light beige. Just MO.

  27. Daenerys on January 24th, 2012 2:32 am

    Very interesting answer; thank you, Christine; I will think about that

  28. Daenerys on January 24th, 2012 2:36 am

    Thanks for Tora, too; colouring world is not a simple thing!

  29. Sarah on June 25th, 2012 2:55 am

    I’d never seen Michelle Williams brunette before. If I’m looking between the blonde and brunette picture, the brunette is *such* a relief to me. Seeing her blonde is stressful to me. Am I the only one seeing that?

    I’m not disagreeing with her being Spring, btw, and I don’t think ash blonde would be better, I just like the brown SO much more.

  30. Kathy on July 29th, 2012 3:28 pm

    I like the blonde on Michelle, but I wonder if it yellows her a bit? Comparing the two, the blonde hair makes her very peachy skin look warmer, but brighter and more even than in the first picture with the darker hair.

    Oh, and Maria Valverde looks very springy to me, especially in the peach dress and with the strawberry blonde hair. I’ve been trying to figure out what this coloring looks like aside from that one shot of Marilyn Monroe with her original brown hair. My coloring is very similar to Maria’s, and I think I might be some sort of spring despite having hair and eyes like that of a textbook autumn. Bright spring is still a definite possibility, but I would have never considered TS until I read this post.

  31. Ragnhild on November 13th, 2012 1:43 pm

    Talking about Michelle Williams, I just saw her in “Take This Waltz. The use of colors is very poweful in this movie! It seems that they use true spring colors on michelle (and also often on the surroundings). I`m not sure if it`s perfect on her all the time, but she looks very young and very natural in this movie.

  32. Jane on January 28th, 2013 9:42 pm

    Great Michelle Williams comparison – so revealing.

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