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How to harness Value Contrast in your outfits

Jul 7, 2022 · Colour Theory

 Have you mastered the concept of ‘Value Contrast’? If you haven’t, you’re not alone! It’s one of the more intricate parts of colour theory. Your styling truly comes together when you can harness your value contrast, so let’s take a closer look. 


There are three foundational elements of colour theory involved: 

  • Value 
  • Value Contrast 
  • Colour Contrast 


Grey scale compared to hair colour to determine your value

 Your ideal value is determined by your hair colour and where it sits on the value scale from 1 to 10. Simply, 1 is the darkest value and 10 is lightest. A colour analysis will discover your value for you, or use your growing colour knowledge to self-assess.  

Value Contrast 

Different women with different value contrast

 Value contrast is the amount of differentiation you have between light and dark in your complexion. This is expressed as low, medium-low, medium, medium-high, and high. Again, you can find this out in a colour consult. 

Colour Contrast 

colour analysis to determine your colour contrast

We can then replicate the values of our hair, skin and eyes in our outfits, by choosing colours that have a similar value contrast. This effect creates harmony with our overall features. 

The Disney Princesses are here to help! 

To demonstrate this, we have called in the big guns – the Disney princesses. 

  • Snow White: She has very dark hair and ivory skin. She’s a high value contrast. 
  • Aurora: She has blonde hair and pale skin. She’s a low value contrast. 
  • Cinderella: She’s a darker blonde with pale skin, so this makes her a medium-low value contrast. 
  • Moana: Shae has dark hair with medium-dark skin, She’s also a medium-low value contrast. 
Disney princesses and their different values

Now we’ve got the princesses sorted out, how do we apply this to what we wear daily? This is where Colour Contrast comes into play. You’ll also find a colour wheel a very handy tool here. 


  •  If you have a low value contrast select colours from your palette that are one or two steps away from each other on the value scale. 
  • For medium-low contrast select colours that are three to four steps apart on the scale. 
  • For medium contrast use colours that are five to six steps apart. 
  • For medium-high contrast select colours that are seven to eight steps apart. 
  • For high contrast go for nine steps apart. 


The more you understand the concepts of value and contrast, and how they intersect with each other, the better your outfits will work for you, effortlessly