Finding the Right Hair Color for You

Is your hair color flattering or faltering? Finding the right hair color for you doesn’t have to be rocket science but there are rules to the game. Today we’re going to play “pick that color” and find the one that’s right for you.

Show Us Some Skin

No! Put your clothes back on! Looking at your face will do nicely, thank you. :). And exactly what are we looking for? We’re looking to determine your skin tone. This is done by seeing which underlying pigment is present in your skin. Most people fall into four main categories—pink undertones, yellow undertones, olive undertones and brown undertones. So let’s see how you decide which one you are:

Pink skin tones: Mirror, mirror on the wall you’re the fairest of them all. In plain language this means you will have very pale skin and often have a pink-y tinge to it. Chances are you’re a redhead or very pale blonde and your skin burns faster in the sun than bacon on a hot griddle.

Yellow skin tones: This is most Caucasian skin tones but can also be those of Asian decent or people of a mixed race background that includes Caucasian. You most likely have dark blonde to medium brown hair if Caucasian and a have faint beige or yellow tint to your skin.

Olive skin tones: You most likely have olive skin tones if you are of Mediterranean or Latino decent or a fair skinned African American. You’ll have naturally dark brown to black hair.

Brown skin tones: This last skin tone is reserved for those of African American decent, Indian decent or Middle Eastern decent.

OK, that’s an awful lot of talk about skin in order to choose a color for your hair, isn’t it? It may seem unrelated but if you’ve ever seen someone with colored hair and their face and hair looked horrible—like they didn’t “match” it’s because they didn’t pay attention to their skin tone. Now you don’t want to go around with a mismatched face and hair do you? We thought not. All right…next step is choosing the color group.

Hair color, like skin tones comes in groups but thankfully this time we’re only dealing with two main ones. Those two color groups are the cools and the warms. These colors are determined by their underlying pigment, just like your skin tone was. Cool hair colors will have a blue/violet base to them such as burgundy reds, eggplant, ash blondes or ash browns. Warm hair colors are rich coppers, auburns and golden blones/browns for example and these will have yellow undertones. So let’s now pair up your skin tone with the color group that suits you best.

Cool hair colors: You’ll look best in cool hair colors if you have olive or pink toned skin. As a test you are likely a person who looks good in the colors purple, pink and blue and prefer silver jewelry over gold.

Warm hair colors: Warm hair colors are your thing if you have yellow or brown skin tones. As a test you are likely a warm hair color person if you look good in the colors brown, burnt orange and khaki green and prefer gold to silver jewelry.

All right! By now you should know your skin tone and whether or not you should be aiming for cool or warm hair colors. As the final step below is a list of common hair colors in both categories to help you choose the right shade. If you’re coloring your own hair and finding the right hair color for you from a box pay close attention to the names of the colors and look for words like ash (cool), golden (warm) violet (cool) and copper (warm). When in doubt look for hair colors with the word “neutral” in the name as they won’t have a lot of blue or yellow undertones and should suit any skin tones.

Warning: Don’t confuse the words “neutral” with “natural”. “Natural is usually indicative of a cool shade of hair color.

Cool Hair Colors to Choose From:

* Any shade of ash blonde
* Any shade of ash browns
* Any shades of brown with the words “cool” or “natural” in them
* Burgundy or eggplant reds
* Blue black

Warm Hair Colors to Choose From:

* Any shade of golden blonde
* Any shade of golden brown
* Most reds except the burgundy/eggplant or violet ones. Look for words like “golden red” “copper red” “auburn red” “spice” and most “intense” reds are all right as well.
* Natural black

As a final piece of advice, if you’ve never colored your hair before we recommend sticking with hair colors that are within 2 to three shades darker or lighter than your natural hair color. Your roots won’t show as quickly and you’ll be less likely to look washed out from too dark a hair color. When in doubt about finding the right hair color choose a shade you want and color your hair with a semi-permanent version of that color. This way you’ll know if the color suits you but if you get it wrong it will wash out within three to four weeks.

Phew! That was a long one! If you have any questions about finding the right hair color (and who could blame you?) please ask them in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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