Wine Dark... Hair?
April 9, 2011 6:16 PM   Subscribe

Wine Dark... Hair? Have there been significant studies of the gradient between black and red hair in literary, visual arts, etc? You see a lot of attention paid to the gradient between blonde and red. Does anyone know anything about this?

I want to describe a color that is not brassy copper from a bottle but is not reddish blonde either. It's not that fake burgundy hair color either. The closest I can think of for this rare shade is "wine dark".
posted by MidSouthern Mouth to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by elpea at 6:17 PM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Dark red wine is a great description. It's accurate and surprising enough to be interesting. Why not run with that?

Traditionally, burgundy wine has been singled out in particular to describe a dark, deep red color.
posted by jsturgill at 6:28 PM on April 9, 2011

Look up "Titian Blonde" an that should give you some interesting examples.
posted by effluvia at 6:33 PM on April 9, 2011

Chestnut, maybe? I'm confused about your question, are you actually looking for "significant studies" of some sort, or just a word to describe the color you're talking about?
posted by Gator at 6:35 PM on April 9, 2011

As far as I know, auburn is sort of a medium-dark brown-red, and is the darkest red hair you get in nature. That almost purple-red-black color is, as you described, artificial.

If you're looking for a photo or a description, maybe spend some time looking at hair dye shades?
posted by you're a kitty! at 6:43 PM on April 9, 2011

You rang?

But yes, auburn.

"It can't be denied your hair is terrible red; but I knew a girl once -- went to school with her, in fact -- whose hair was every mite as red as yours when she was young, but when she grew up it darkened to a real handsome auburn." -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
posted by oinopaponton at 7:06 PM on April 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

posted by bunji at 7:06 PM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Are you certain that this is a color which occurs in nature? I ask because I'm a redhead who takes special notice of other redheads I see in the wild, and I've never seen this color except in a bottle. But I have heard it described by certain Portal of Evil exhibits as "cherrywood."
posted by milk white peacock at 7:49 PM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

My mother has this color hair: cherrywood or cherry-black are the terms I've heard. You cannot tell that her hair is not black unless she's in the sun, and then it shines dark red highlights. (Now her hair is half white, but when I was a kid).

I did not inherit this color. I am still peeved.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 8:16 PM on April 9, 2011 [5 favorites]

I've always heard people who have dark hair which looks reddish in certain lights described as "auburn".

If you're looking to describe a very specific dark burgundy-ish color that isn't easily explained with one word the reading public would know, then, as a writer, why don't you... describe it?

See also Anne of Green Gables and further books in the series, for inspiration on how to talk about a character's red hair. Or hair, in general, as Anne waxes poetic about just about every other character's hair. If the series took place nowadays, Anne would have grown up to be a hair colorist.
posted by Sara C. at 8:48 PM on April 9, 2011

Florence King describes her father as having "black cherry" hair in Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady.

Auburn is more brownish red.
posted by brujita at 11:35 PM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I too think you might be referring to auburn hair. Maybe if you could give an example? Is this really a hair color that occurs naturally? Is it like Julia Roberts's hair in Pretty Woman? That's generally the color people think of when they think auburn, although in Julia's case that's definitely a bottle job.
posted by katyggls at 2:50 AM on April 10, 2011

I think that black cherry/cherry black/cherrywood is going to be the best constellation. Thanks everyone!
posted by MidSouthern Mouth at 5:51 PM on April 10, 2011

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