These women have two things in common.
1. They're all famous Springs.
2. They're all brunettes.
Their Springiness may help these particular women be convincing blondes. But like most adult American women with blonde hair, their natural hair color is actually brown.
I bring this up because we deceive ourselves about blondeness, and in doing so we deceive ourselves about seasonal color.
We want to believe in blondeness. So we smile and nod when celebs claim they're "natural blondes" and we ignore the evidence in front of our eyes.
(I think celebs have all agreed to privately define "naturally blonde" as "blonde at birth" or "blonde during some period of my childhood." One's childhood hair color is not one's natural color if one is no longer a child.)
Articles like this one perpetuate this peculiar, false faith in the supposed natural blondeness of brown-haired celebs. It doesn't take a lot of research to determine that Angelina, Brittany, Gwyneth, etc. have been natural brunettes at least since adolescence, if not longer.
OK, so what? Why do I care?
Well, partly because belief in the myth of widespread natural blondeness perpetuates an idealization of light coloring that's hurtful to darker women, especially because the context is a society that already privileges Whiteness in so many ways.
Partly because of my nature: I'm an Enneagram 4. I want to reveal the truth.
And partly - and most pertinently, for this blog - because seeing all these supposedly blonde Spring and Summer celebs leads us to incorrectly believe that Springs and Summers - especially Light Springs and Summers, and Warm Springs - are typically blonde.
I personally know many brunettes whose path to discovering their true colors was made longer and more difficult because of a shared, mistaken belief that certain Spring and Summer seasons are blonde seasons.
There is no blonde season. Every season's average or typical representative is a natural brunette.
Statistically, it's inevitable that this be the case; with the vast majority of all human beings having naturally brown or black hair, a majority of even the most delicately-colored people will be brunette as well.
It's true that natural blondeness is not found infrequently in the seasons with lighter palettes, in particular Light Summer and Light Spring.
Might a quarter, or even a third, of adult Light Summers or Light Springs have blonde hair growing naturally from their heads? Perhaps. You can think of dozens of Light-season people as easily as I can. What proportion of them are blonde at age 30?
Surely not the majority of them. Probably not even half of them.
Let's revise our mental image of what these seasons look like. The caricatures just get in the way of seeing what's real. We know it's not about hair color anyway, so let's picture what it's really about. Look at the Light and Warm Springs and Light Summers that you know: what do you really see?
P.S. Blonde sisters, I hope it doesn't sound like I'm hating on you. You're beautiful and I love you. I just like to keep it real.
P.P.S. Scandinavians, I realize what I've written here might not reflect your reality. I know there is an unusual proportion of natural blondes in your little corner of the world. :-)
Here is a hair color scale I originally intended to use in the post above, to help make clear how I'm personally defining "blonde" and "brown."
In the end, it felt pedantic to include it - but now I think the failure to attempt to define terms just added to the general chaos. So for the record, this graphic reflects how I was conceptualizing these hair colors when I wrote the post. For me, it was essentially a question of hue: more yellow than brown = blonde, more brown than yellow = brunette.
6/17/2019 12:34:06 am
Second. I'm a Clear Spring with natural level 5 brown hair. I'm tired of Springs depicted as blonde all the time. I had dark blonde highlights when I was younger but always on brown hair.
3/24/2011 01:47:47 pm
Wow. I kinda feel special now :-)
3/24/2011 06:04:14 pm
This is a great article. What I would really love to see is an article that discusses how you would decide if a brunette is a spring or an autumn (if warm) or a summer or winter (if cool). What sort of tests show the borderline ones... For example, we might think the brunette spring is an autumn by default, but what clues should we look for? We might think the dark brunette summer is a winter, but how can we tell if she is or not? I'm talking about the brunettes that don't fit obvious categories... that would be fascinating! Really enjoyed the article by the way! Great stuff!
3/25/2011 03:25:35 am
Hi, colorqueen -
3/25/2011 05:56:06 am
Hooray!! Great article, it's so easy to fall into the trap of only blondes are springs. I tried for years to be a soft autumn unsuccessfully wondering why the colours were just too dark and heavy for me. I'm still trying to find lipsticks soft enough and light enough because I reach so autumatically for the browns.
3/26/2011 01:18:57 pm
:) Yay! Very brunette neutral-warm spring here.
3/27/2011 01:14:28 am
@E : in that picture, Rose McGowan looks more like a deep winter than spring to me...
3/27/2011 03:46:37 am
Even in Scandinavia most of the (light) blondes you see are either not blonde at all or are really a darker shade of blonde. Which is another thing I find confusing: why do people only call the lightest shades of blonde 'blonde'?
3/27/2011 10:40:47 am
Diva: well, I won't argue it much, though she's said to be a bright spring? So there could be some winter cross-over. It might be the sun/shade combo that make her look so translucent, and the warm red coral dress might be better on a warm spring. But her hair color in the sun is the same as mine. That's more the point I wanted to get at from the photo. People don't seem to think warm springs would have dark auburn hair, it's an unfair assumption, which is why I was confused for quite a while because I didn't -look- uber-warm like that even though I am.
3/27/2011 05:55:59 pm
It is hard for me to get my mind around the term "brunette" being tossed about so loosely. I am no true blonde even though I'm a Light Spring, but "brunette"? No one has ever called me such a thing in my entire life. This is a word normally reserved for people with truly dark hair and features. Judging by the usage on the Internet the lack of distinction is a recent and growing phenomenon, possibly defensible by the etymological origins of the word. But even so it leaves a gap in the nomenclature.
3/29/2011 03:58:25 am
Greetings from Finland!
3/30/2011 01:48:14 am
Tynne - thank you. :-) I'll add your idea to my list of future post topics.
3/30/2011 09:22:18 am
The post script helped. :) Am definitely somewhere in 3 Dark Brown.
4/1/2011 06:02:56 pm
Definitely helped. Personally, I fall into the med-dark blonde range, though it's what many term "light brown". The thought of being a brunette was so foreign to me, but I think people are starting to use the term for anything non-no. 8-12.
2/28/2017 05:58:35 pm
I also do not see myself as a brunette and so do an awful lot of people who have a similar colour like me and don't dye their hair. This picture is from a thread of people with long hair who were searching for people with ash dark blond hair.
5/2/2011 10:15:50 pm
It always seemed like a really big deal that I was blonde because my parents and older sister were brunette. It didn't help that I was blue-eyed and my sister hazeled so I typified the "ideal" that was in every children's cartoon in the 80s (and everywhere else). She-Ra, Barbie, Jem, even the Care-Bears movie. My family all made a big deal out of it for as long as I could remember so it was this huge part of my identity. As a teen I started using Sun-in because I wasn't playing in the sun like I used to and it wasn't lightening up much on its own. By 17 it was definitely dirty blonde roots so I started dying it blonder. At 20 I had chopped most of my hair off and once it grew out some inches, it felt sooo dark, about the color of Scarlett's hair in the pic. And everyone said I looked so much better with blonde.
5/23/2011 03:19:14 am
I'm glad someone finally made this point! Quite frankly, I've never seen a celebrity spring who's NOT a brunette, or at least very dark blonde.
9/16/2011 04:19:06 pm
Thank you for your article "exploding" the blonde myth! It was easy for me to identify myself as a Summer, but impossible for me to identify myself as a "dominant characteristic" type because my hair color seemed to fit only the Soft type. I've found that I look my best in Light colors--and so does my hair in its natural ashy color. I went through a spell of having it highlighted but now I'm saving myself the expense and enjoying my true coloring. But there's still such pressure to go blonde, so your article makes me feel vindicated!
1/18/2013 05:00:00 am
Thank you for such an informative article! I originally assumed I was a Winter because my hair looked dark to me. I'm still unsure of my season, and I can't find anyone in town that does draping. Two hairstylists have told me my hair is a level 7 dark blonde ash color. I'm wondering--can a Bright Spring have ash colored hair, or is warmth always present in their hair coloring? My eyes have some warmth in them, but my skin has some pink in it. My veins are mostly blue with some green mixed in. Any help is appreciated.
2/16/2013 11:56:18 am
12/26/2013 08:14:00 pm
People tend to assosiate eastern europe with natural blond, I heard from Spanish friend that there are sooooo many girls with blond hair in Poland - Im telling you there arent! It happenes that they have ash blond but most of them have greyish-brown hair. Natural blond hair women is something very rare. In Sweden probably are more blondes but they have not golden but cold almost white hair, and there are also brunettes even there...NATURAL BLOND HAIR ARE RARE and awesome :) i read that only 2% of world population is natural blond but it doesnt say golden or white, i love golden blond hair
1/29/2014 05:32:25 am
The pictures you showed of Scarlett, Reese, and Michelle to me all show blonde hair, not brunette. I think the chart you used was not meant to represent actual hair color. This is a far better chart: http://killerpics.blogspot.com/2007/08/today.html
The question of what's blonde and what's brunette may ultimately be a potato-poTAHto issue.
1/30/2014 05:32:20 am
I can agree that the level 6 blonde in the link I posted hardly fits with the public perception of blonde, however it is considered blonde by hair dressing standards, which may be another reason why so many celebrities say that they are naturally blonde. My opinion is that level 6 is split down the middle; I've seen it in blonde form and I've seen it brown. Also, I am the creator of the hair color chart you linked to. :) http://i809.photobucket.com/albums/zz17/Blaircorneliabass/haircolorlevelchart-1-1.jpg
1/30/2014 05:54:04 am
Wow! That's a neat chart. :-)
12/14/2017 03:39:35 am
Totally agree x
1/30/2014 11:08:47 am
I can definitely agree with that. :) As your article suggests, I believe we see far too many representations of bleached light blonde, so much so that we only think of that color when thinking of blonde. Whereas the majority of blonde adults are almost all medium-dark blondes. Anyway, thanks for writing the article!
2/26/2014 08:42:19 pm
Thank you! This post was very clearifying for me. I have light brown hair (much like young Scarlett or Nicole), blue eyes and bright, but still warm skin. I always thought (and heard from others) "springs are blond". I have tried to squeeze me in to the summer or autumn section, but I basically look sick in many of the blue and cold colors typical for soft summer for example. And autumn colors didn't seemed right either. But the bright spring palette seems much more suiting.
9/22/2015 11:00:59 am
I find this very informative for the most part. However, I find it odd that you consider Scarletts hair brown and then post a professional hair level chart. Most hair stylists have called me level 7 and one called me level 6. And my hair is almost the exact color as Scarletts! I would consider her a natural dark blonde. But of course, this stuff is subjective.
10/2/2015 09:35:03 am
It really is, isn't it?
3/30/2016 02:03:32 pm
Thank you for this article. I am a level 7N, neutral dark blonde and I have had the hardest time figuring out that I am indeed a Spring, and probably a Light Spring at that! All I ever see on Light Spring examples are colored blonde celebrities. It makes it all so confusing!
10/20/2016 03:32:25 pm
Excellent article, Rachel. I'm a brunette, 4.5 on the scale, and I'm also almost certainly a Spring. At least one site states that if one's hair is brown they're definite not spring. Thanks for clearing up this misconception.
1/23/2017 08:16:23 pm
Yes to this. I am definitely a light summer but have medium brown hair and medium depth hazel eyes. People assume because of this that I will look good in brown/olive green clothes, when in fact these autumn shades are the absolute worst for my skin tone. I've noticed all light summer celebrity examples have blue eyes and this has created a widespread myth that if you don't have blue eyes you cannot be a light summer or light spring.
12/14/2017 03:38:02 am
Heya, love your blog, esp desire for truth. re hair though i have to disagree. hair stylists are all trained re hair to know the difference between a dark blonde and a light brown. a level 6 and a level 5. A level 5 is a light brown and if you were to lift it to a blonde it would have to pass through orange to be lifted. Any brunette has to pass through the red if a dark brunette and then orange, or orange if they are a medium/light brunette. But a dark blonde level 6 passes through orange-yellow, a sort of warm gold colour. when you hold a natural hair chart next to someones natural hair i know i found it surprising, the difference between level 5 and level 6 is quite distinct in tone. and it really is the divide between brunette, and a darkened blonde. Brown has a different tone to it precisely because of the richness to its depth that means it has to pass through more stages to get to blonde when stripping back. I was surprised to find this when i held my own hair up to the chart in natural light. I believe it is important to know this because someone who is a dark blonde is going to be flattered more by heading up the scale toward blonde. but a natural brunette is much more flattered by maintaining some depth. this is why charlize theron and cameron diaz and scar jo look better as blondes and quite frankly flat as brunettes. If you are not naturally a brunette you look flat as a brunette. and if we dont differentiate between the tone of a dark blonde and light brunette we can lead people astray! A dark blonde usually has a delicate colouring and if she views herself as a brunette she will find herself walking in the wrong direction in her colour choices at large and her whole perception of herself will be askew
6/17/2019 12:47:28 am
Thank you for your post Scarlet. I've always been right on the divide. My hair was level 6 in youth and darkened to 5 at puberty. I tried to lighten it but got no compliments. In middle age I went back to my level 5 roots and got so many compliments. I seem to need the contrast like you were saying.
12/14/2017 06:06:03 am
Unsubscribed by mistake.
6/30/2018 01:18:19 am
"I personally know many brunettes whose path to discovering their true colors was made longer and more difficult because of a shared, mistaken belief that certain Spring and Summer seasons are blonde seasons." Yes. I thought I was an Autumn but it just wasn't working out. I was actually buying Spring colours and telling myself they were the light end of Autumn and using Spring makeup too because it works.
1/7/2021 04:40:33 am
I used to be white blonde my whole childhood and through my teens (platinum blonde). In my twenties it turned darker and I used to have highlights with more yellow tone because I thought I was a spring type. Now I'm 30 and growing them out and discovered my hair is more light ash-brown. In hindsight the yellow tones did not suit me very much. Could it be that I am a (light) summer, and yellowish blonde is too warm for a summer type? Is it normal for a light summer/soft summer to be really platinum blonde as a child/teen, or am I mistaken and could be a winter instead?
1/7/2021 10:51:53 am
Linea, do you have high contrast in your skin/coloring? Winter is high contrast while Summer is muted.
3/9/2022 01:46:53 pm
So... if you actually *are* a blonde in adulthood (level 6, I believe the term is "dishwater", so not too exciting) is it safe to say you're a light season? Or does it still come down to draping?
3/9/2022 01:49:23 pm
12/9/2022 02:19:20 pm
I still have no clue what season I fall into. Don't think I'm ever going to figure it out tbh. My skin is Liv Tyler Anne Hathaway kinda cool/pale. My hair was red as a kid but it's faded to a very warm light coppery brown with natural blonde highlights. My eyes got all of my melanin. All of it. They're so dark they look like contacts against the rest of my colouring honestly - several very rude people have asked if I'm wearing them. You can't see my pupil at all unless the light hits at the right angle. I look quite nice in spring colours under yellow light but daylight always picks up the blue in my skin and ends up looking weird. I usually end up looking best in warm blues, cool greens and purples. Idk what to do with that lol.
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