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skin tone hair tone advice for realistic characters.

Discussion in 'Research' started by Grimmlore, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. Grimmlore

    Grimmlore Minstrel

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    Hey guys I just realized that I have something from my profession that could be handy knowledge.
    Im a hairdresser and during consultations with clients one of the things I do is assess their physical appearance and colourings.
    (someone with really red cheeks shouldn't have red hair dye its just too much red!)
    get what I mean?
    so if you have any questions about a realistic appearance for your characters post here ill do my best to help.
     
  2. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    This is great! Ok, Grimm, I've got one for you.

    One of our FMC's was born with snow-white hair. Not old-lady white, but that sun-on-snow white that has prismatic blue highlights. Her brows are white, as are her lashes and everything else. Her skin is very fair (she burns easily), no freckles, and her eyes are the blue of deep sea ice. She uses light brown mascara on her lashes and brows to give her face features, and sometimes a little shade on her lips and cheeks for occasions.

    I always envisioned that she wanted to dye her hair, but couldn't because her natural color complicated it - but I never knew how, exactly. So, what sort of issues would she have encountered trying to dye hair like this?
     
  3. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

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    I've heard that dark hair doesn't dye as easily as light hair. One of my characters has hair that's naturally black, and is also the kind of punk who'd probably like to dye her hair. What dye might I have her use? (I've been thinking dark blue, but I'm not really sure.)

    (You mentioned comparing to complexion. If it matters, her skin is dark brown.)
     
  4. Grimmlore

    Grimmlore Minstrel

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    Ok, Girls with pale skin cant go too dark it makes them look sick. light golden or honey tones works well. If she tried to make a statement I think something like that nichole kidman red would look stunning, she would probably feel better if she filled in her brows with a pencil to make them slightly darker. light rose or honey colours would be great for her. She can go blues and purples because that's already in her range but too much will give her an ice queen look.
    hair problems. you would usually find in hair that light metallic type shades of subtle green and yellow if she washes her hair with water stored in something metallic (like a tub or even metal piping) if she was to walk into a hair salon to dye her hair as I said something honey would look great the light golden tones will put warmth into her face. If she was to attempt going a medium brown (which is boarder line too dark) then she would have to have her hair dyed red first.
    maybe simply the colouring wouldn't suit her skin tone, or she has successfully done it once and found that it washed out and faded really quickly leaving a blotchy look and she didn't like it.
     
    A. E. Lowan likes this.
  5. Grimmlore

    Grimmlore Minstrel

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    dark blue wouldn't be very obvious unless in direct sunlight (been there trust me!) if shes going for the punk look id suggest having her hair streaked with a brighter colour (she would have to bleach her hair first for it to cover) a lot of girls with black hair also have very resistant hair, very coarse rough curly/frizzy hair if her skin is also dark brown id imagine the resistant hair would be a probable factor for her. in any case she would have to bleach her hair before putting any sort of colour (resistant hair is a btch to colour) on it and after a couple of weeks she will have a big black line where its grown back (maintenance!)
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
    Feo Takahari likes this.
  6. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    I have seen that, Looks black until its in bright light.

    I always thought black hair was hard to dye because all colors are lighter. Black is with all colors in it, so adding more of any color wouldn't change it. White is no colors, so all color will change it.(thats why its so hard to keep white clean)
    So even if you bleach out the black, they usually don't take color well?

    I knew skin tone mattered, the typical gothic girl, black hair with sickly pale skin, is because her skin tone is to light to match the black hair, they don't look natural, it looks like the black haired person is sick, and thus is pale.
     
  7. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I think it's the reverse, at least with regards to light (though really, isn't that what color is anyway?). Black is absence of color; white contains the entire spectrum, which can be broken into its parts. That's why you see rainbows when white light is shone through a prism.
     
  8. Weaver

    Weaver Sage

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    There's often confusion when it comes to what makes white and what makes black. If you're talking about light, the primaries are red, green, and blue, and they combine to make white light. Lack of all these makes black: darkness. If you're talking about pigments (generically, not pigments in humans), the primaries are yellow, cyan (a slightly greenish blue), and magenta (a slightly purplish red), and they combine to make black. The lack of all these makes white. (The difference is because light is light, obviously, but when we see the color of an object, what we're actually seeing is the light reflected from that object -- the color that it doesn't absorb.) Primaries for pigments are often taught as yellow, blue, and red, but if you mix those three together, you won't get black; you'll get dark mud-color. (And to make it even more confusing... Yellow in light is a combination of red and green. Green in pigment is a combination of yellow and cyan.)


    Black hair is black due to pigment, so it's black from the presence of color, not the absence. It isn't true black anyway -- "black" hair is actually very, very dark brown, which is why it bleaches (chemically or by exposure to sunlight) to a reddish brown.
     
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  9. Grimmlore

    Grimmlore Minstrel

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    when we bleach our hair from black to blonde we take out a level of pigment at a time. in the hairdressing world the levels range from 10 to 1. 10 being the lightest and 1 being the darkest.
    1- black
    2- dark brown
    3- dark red
    4- red
    5- red/ orange
    6- orange
    7- dark gold
    8- golden
    9- pale golden
    10- lightest golden/white

    if the hair is lifted three to four levels from black (which is usually the limit for most people in one application) the hairdresser can determine what pigment will be left in the hair which is as weaver says a red pigment and apply hair dyes containing pigment of the opposite colour to neutralize the tone. eg green neutralizes red and vice versa (tomatoe juice a great way to remove green tinges from blonde hair that has had contact with chlorine because of its red colour)
     
  10. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    I never thought I would have a question like this but I actually do. In my WIP two races are separated in every way possible, wealth, technology, freedom status, rights, a hundred foot high wall and, most of all, by appearance.

    The downtrodden race's features consist of very dark brown to black hair and pale to white skin. Their eyes are on the lighter side, greens, blues and grays.

    The wealthy race's features are brown to very light brown hair and anywhere from tan to very dark brown skin.

    Here is my issue: it is illegal for the poor folk to alter their appearance (basically, your job in my world would be a black market trade) but it is somewhat common for young girls to become prostitutes and change their looks to resemble the more wealthy race. Some do it just to satisfy men's fetishes and thus make more money and others do it to eventually assimilate into the wealthy society.

    What I need is a process for changing your appearance that could be maintained in a reasonable way, going from dark hair and white skin to light hair and tan/brown skin. The available technology in the world is more advanced than ours so things like tanning beds would be available but beyond that I'm stumped.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
  11. Weaver

    Weaver Sage

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    Unless your people are quite unlike us, exposure to sunlight would help with darkening their skin. It would also lighten their hair somewhat. I'm assuming you want something a bit less simple/accessible though.

    Dyes. Full-body "tattoos' for more color in the skin. (If they're really clever, they could do something similar to the eyes to change blue/grey/green to brown.) Genetic alteration, or the magical equivalent thereof, to give a person permanently light hair and dark eyes -- but their children would still be born with the parent's original genes, which may or may not result in them looking like the 'lower-class' parent, since for us, at least, brown eyes are a dominant trait... as is dark hair. Green eyes, though, are from a co-dominant gene, which could give all sorts of complications for the characters involved.

    Do you want technological methods, or magical ones? And how scientific/realistic do you want the results if they are magical?
     
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  12. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    Actually, the lower-class are not allowed out during the day and live a backwards schedule. They never see sunlight and breaking curfew is strictly forbidden and harshly punished. Also, some people, my wife included, can go tanning both artificially and naturally several times and only grow a single shade darker, and almost immediately fade back to porcelain. I imagine that my lower-class would experience similar problems. The girls staying part of the lower class society would have access to tanning beds to maintain the coloring but those people faking their way into the high class would need a more permanent solution.

    I like the dyes idea. Especially the idea of dying irises. If they had a child, which they would avoid, and it had lower class features they would be put to death for falsifying their appearance. The segregation is pretty severe.

    I'm looking for technological methods because magic 'doesn't exist' in the book until the MC finds out that it actually does.
     
  13. Weaver

    Weaver Sage

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    Ah, so on top of everything else, they've got health problems from vitamin D deficiency... (Full-spectrum lights can help, but they're not perfect. Also, I cannot imagine the 'upper class' providing full-spectrum lights for people they don't allow to see daylight, nor making sure they can afford enough meat in their diets to make up for the lack of light at least as far as vitamin D goes. See how complicated things can get...?)

    Interesting twist on what has been traditional in many cultures in our world: Only the upper classes have tans from being out in the sunlight. (I've seen stories where the poor are pale from lack of sun, but it's always from being stuck in factories or whatnot during the day, not from being forced to live a nocturnal schedule.)

    I know people like that, too. Comes from less pigment in the skin in the first place. (Did you know that a brown-eyed blond will tan easier and darker than a blue-eyed person with dark brown or black hair? Fits right in with the people in your setting.)

    No doubt the people who make the dyes and provide them (for a high price?) to those who want to pass for 'upper-class' are also subject to severe penalties if caught. You've got potential for a complex subplot right there. Do some of them do it just for the chance to make a lot of money? Do some of them do it because they believe in a cause? Is this kind of appearance alteration ever used by spies?

    (I wish I could brainstorm this thoroughly about my own stories. *sigh*)
     
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  14. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    I've actually taken this into consideration and the street lamps produce ultraviolet light. (EDIT: Technically it's not ultraviolet light but it has the positive effects that the sun has) There is a mega-corporation that produces nearly all of the existing technology and most of their technology is solar-based, including vehicles and weaponry. (EDIT: their science incorporates magic but that is not known to the general public) They provide the street lights because the general health of the lower class is important as they serve the upper class as nighttime maintainance workers and grunt laborers. The easy lives of the upper class would collapse without them and they know it, though the lower class, being poorly educated, usually don't grasp economical concepts like that. When someone does figure it out, the inevitable mini revolutions are put down easily due to the technological gap. Hammers versus hover crafts and tele-rifles has an obvious outcome.

    Thanks, I like the twist quite a bit myself.

    The MC is actually a criminal so this will come into play a lot. The mob-like organization he works for is run by yet a third race who tend to be merchants that dabble in the black market. They run the lower level economy, own the whorehouses and make the appearance changes in exchange for a ton of gold or for a lifetime of favors... as you can imagine, anyone making the change from lower to upper class will be forever in their debt. The spy thing is a great idea, and an unwilling spy could be just as useful...

    Ah, but you're so far removed from my story. Brainstorming about your baby is pretty difficult, hence the reason we turn to Mythic Scribes
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013
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