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What does ‘value’ mean in personal styling?

Apr 7, 2022 · Colour Theory

A term you hear regularly in personal styling is value. This word, with all its meanings, tends to confuse people new to the colour styling world! Let’s clear up any confusion: value refers to the lightness or darkness of a colour.


Generally, value is expressed as a number from 1 – 10, with 1 being the darkest and 10 being the lightest. You’ll often see a Value Scale on colour wheels in fabric and craft stores. All colours can have different values, so when you look at a value range for a particular colour, it involves adding small amounts of either white or black, or lightness and darkness. “A-ha!” we hear you say.

You may be thinking ‘this is interesting, but what does it have to do with the way I dress?’.

Aspects of our complexion can be expressed in value. Therefore we look at the value of our hair, skin and eyes to determine how to wear colours in harmony with us.


Your Hair Value 

An easy way to start thinking about value is to look at your hair. Usually your hair is one of the first features people notice. If you align much of your outfit to your hair value, you will have a harmonised base to build on with other pieces and accessories. If your hair is bleached on the ends, you’ll use two values to find an average value to work with.

An Example of a Value

Let’s assess Terri’s hair as an example. Terri has bleached ends, so she sits on the Value Scale at a 5 for the darker roots and 7 for the lighter ends. Therefore Terri’s average hair value is 6.

What do you think your hair value is? A full Colour Analysis helps discover your value along with your colour type and ideal contrast level. With all this newfound knowledge, shopping and choosing outfits truly becomes a breeze.