How to Pick the Right Shade of Hair Color for a Skin Tone

Woman brushing her hair in mirror
A young woman brushing her hair in a mirror. (Image: Jupiterimages/PHOTOS.com>>/Getty Images)

Your hair complements your skin, making it look vibrant and healthy -- if you choose the right color, that is. Choose the wrong shade and you can end up looking lifeless and washed out. The secret to achieving your ideal hue lies in your skin. Once you have identified your skin tone, you will be able to choose a shade of color that effortlessly highlights your natural beauty.

Step 1

Determine your skin tone, either warm or cool, to know which shades of hair color will be the most flattering. You have a cool skin tone if you have pale skin with pink undertones. Warm skin tone can normally be identified with peach or gold undertones. Look at the veins on your wrists as a clue. Those with cool skin tone tend to have blue veins, while those with warm skin tones normally have green veins.

Step 2

Think about what color clothing looks best against your skin. Stand in front of a mirror and hold various colored shirts near your face. A cool tone hair color is right good for you if you find shades of blue, green or purple are the most flattering. A warm tone hair color is your best choice if your skin looks good against shades of red, orange or yellow.

Step 3

Choose a hair color based on your skin tone. Black, ash blondes, ash browns and platinum blondes generally look good on cool skin tones. Golden brown, golden blonde and warm reds typically look good on warm skin tones.

Step 4

Darken or lighten your hair within three shades of your natural hair color for the most natural looking results. For a dramatically different color change, seek advice from a professional hairstylist, preferably one who specializes in color. A professional colorist will evaluate your hair color and skin tone to determine how a dramatic change in hair color will look on you. For a subtle change, lighten your hair color by one shade.

Step 5

Decide how much time you are willing to put into hair color maintenance. The farther away you go from your natural color, the more often you will have to recolor your roots. A hair color that is close to your natural hair color shade means your roots will not be as noticeable as they grow out, which allows you to wait longer before dying your hair again.

Tip

There are always exceptions to hair coloring rules. Some people are lucky and look good in both warm and cool hair color shades. Try on a wig to see how the color will look against your skin if you want to try a color shade that is opposite of your skin tone.

Warning

Your hair color may not turn out the same color displayed on the box. Hair color is tricky -- the end result color depends on a variety of factors, including if your hair has been previously dyed and the natural color of your hair. To be on the safe side, ask a hair color specialist for advice on which hair color to choose.

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