Blog post

How to Choose a Hair Color for Your Skin Tone

Trying to find the perfect hair color?

If so, this is something that you should choose based on your skin tone, as well as your skin undertones.

How to Identify Your Skin Tone

Let’s begin with your skin tone, since this tends to be much easier to determine than skin undertones.

Your skin tone is basically the color that you see when you look at your skin.

This will usually fall under one of the following categories:

  • Fair/ light
  • Medium
  • Olive
  • Dark
Infographic on different skin tones

You will sometimes find those categories split up even further, but so long as you can match your skin tone to one of the four listed above, that’s all you need when choosing a hair color.

Having a tough time working out your skin tone?

It can sometimes be easiest to look at the color of the skin on your jawline. This area is usually less susceptible to color changes, which should help you to better identify your skin tone.

Don’t forget, your skin tone will be continuously changing depending on a variety of different factors. From the time of year to skin conditions to hormonal fluctuations, you will need to regularly keep a close eye on your skin tone so that you can match any changes to a new hair color.

How to Identify Your Skin’s Undertone

Now on to determining your skin undertone…

What exactly is a skin undertone?

Your skin’s undertone refers to the subtle tint underneath the surface of your skin. This is more of a muted color that helps to give your skin its overall unique hue. Although your skin tone may change quite a bit through your life, your skin’s undertone will always remain the same.

There are three main categories when it comes to the different undertones out there:

  • Warm – these undertones will be golden, peachy or even a warm yellow
  • Cool – these undertones will be slightly bluish, or a red/pink shade
  • Neutral – this usually lies somewhere between cool and warm, with olive undertones sometimes being present

Can’t see any of those colors in your skin?

There are a few tricks that you can use when it comes to determining your skin’s undertone:

  • Veins – if the veins on your wrist are blue or purple in color, this signals a cool undertone. If they are green, then your undertone is likely to be warm. On the other hand, if your veins are a mix of blue and green, then this could mean that your undertone is neutral
  • Tanning and burning – those with warm undertones usually tan quite well, whereas those with cool undertones tend to be quite susceptible to burning
  • Blushing – if you blush quite easily, this could mean that your undertone is cool
  • Eye color – if you have warm undertones, your eye color is probably green, golden-brown, a warm blue, or hazel with gold flecks. If your eyes are black, dark brown, gray, a steely blue, or hazel with blue or gray flecks, then your undertone is likely to be cool
  • Behind your ears – you will need a friend’s help for this one – have someone look behind your ears. If the skin here has a yellow tint, this is a sign of a warm undertone. If a pinkish tint is present, this is a sign of a cool undertone, while those with a neutral undertone will have a bit of both

Make sure that you use a few of those methods when trying to identify your skin undertone, as this will guarantee you a more accurate result.

Now that you’ve determined your skin tone and undertone, you can move on to choosing the perfect hair color…

Fair Skin Tone

In general, the fairer your skin is, the lighter you can go with your hair color.

Of course, this does still depend on your skin undertone too…

Warm Undertone

LOS ANGELES - JUN 05: EMMA STONE arriving to MTV Movie Awards 2011 on June 05, 2011 in Hollywood, CA
DFree / Shutterstock.com

Is your skin fair with a warm undertone?

If so, take a look at Emma Stone, Elizabeth Olsen and Emma Roberts for some hair-spiration. Emma Stone in particular has sported a beautiful copper red color that complements her skin tone perfectly, highlighting how naturally peachy it is.

Wondering which other shades you could go for?

You could give one of the following a try:

  • Rust
  • Butterscotch
  • Golden blonde
  • Strawberry blonde
  • Caramel

Gray can also work quite well for you, so long as you opt for a medium gray.

Since your skin undertone is warm, try to avoid any colors that have blue or violet tints to them.

Anything else you should avoid?

Yes…black! Although this will definitely contrast with your skin, it will likely end up looking too harsh and won’t be very flattering.

Cool Undertone

Got fair skin with a cool undertone?

Take a look at Michelle Williams and her icy blonde hair. This shade is perfect for this skin tone and undertone, especially since it will contrast beautifully with your eyes, no matter their color. Baby blonde, champagne blonde and platinum also work so well on fair skin with a cool undertone.

That being said, just about any shade of blonde that has a bluish tint to it will complement your skin, while balancing out any ruddiness.

Don’t forget…

If you do decide to go for a blonde shade, make sure that you use a purple shampoo. The pigment in the shampoo will help to keep your blonde looking fresh and bright, while minimizing any of the brassy notes that can often appear in hair that has been dyed blonde.

Want to go for a deeper and darker shade?

Try one of the following:

  • Jewel-toned shades, such as a rich red
  • Deep, dark brown
  • A solid blue-hued black

Wondering which colors you should stay away from?

Anything warm – basically, the colors that have been listed above as being flattering on those with fair skin and a warm undertone, including copper, gold and caramel.

Medium Skin Tone

A medium skin tone tends to be much more forgiving than a fair skin tone, giving you the freedom to experiment with a wider variety of shades.

Warm Undertone

Blake Lively attends the 'Cafe Society' premiere and the Opening Night Gala during the 69th Cannes Film Festival at the Palais des Festivals on May 11, 2016 in Cannes, France
Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com

Blake Lively is an ideal example of someone with a medium skin tone and a warm undertone, and she also matches her hair color with this beautifully. Mandy Moore is another example of someone who uses her hair color to her advantage, preventing her skin from appearing sallow.

Look for warm shades when choosing your hair color – golden will be especially flattering, and will give your skin a vibrant radiance.

Other shades that you could consider include:

  • Bronde (a mix between brown and blonde)
  • Copper
  • A golden caramel
  • A golden-red

What about the shades you should avoid?

Stay away from anything with cool hues, as this will only make you look older. While you can pull off a warm and darker shade of blonde, be careful not to go too light with this.

Cool Undertone

If you want to go for a blonde shade, take a look at Taylor Swift for some hair color ideas. She has a medium skin tone with a cool undertone, and an ashy blonde suits her beautifully. Cameron Diaz is also a great example with her ashy-toned hair.

Other blonde shades to go for include:

  • Sand
  • Beige
  • Wheat

Looking for something darker?

Try one of these:

  • A walnut brown
  • A medium auburn
  • Cinnamon

Olive Skin Tone

When it comes to an olive skin tone, brunette shades are likely to be the most flattering for you. Again, this does all depend on your undertone too…

Warm Undertone

Look for warm shades, as this will bring out both your skin tone as well as your eye color. Both Eva Mendes and Jennifer Lopez know how to do this perfectly, opting for caramel and deep golden shades.

Other hair colors to try include:

  • Mocha
  • Ebony
  • Honey-blonde

Want something deeper and bolder?

Make sure that you go for rich and warm colors, such as a violet red or a violet black.

There are also several shades of warm blacks out there that you could try if you’re wanting to go for a more exotic vibe.

Highlights can help to add depth to your hair, but make sure that these are in a warm hue too, such as a honey or a muted gold.

Cool Undertone

If you want to try a brunette shade, these colors will work well on you:

  • Chestnut
  • Cinnamon
  • Autumn

Mocha is another shade worth trying, because this will help to balance out the red undertones in your skin, making your skin appear much brighter, clearer and smoother. Take a look at Bella Hadid for proof of how well a mocha shade can work on your skin tone.

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 11: Bella Hadid attends the premiere of 'Ash Is Purest White' during the 71st Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 11, 2018
Andrea Raffin / Shutterstock.com

One other thing that you could try is…

Adding in some highlights!

These work so well on olive skin with cool undertones, especially if you go for honey blonde or caramel highlights.

Wondering what you should stay away from?

Try not to go too blonde, as this will only end up washing your skin tone out.

Dark Skin Tone

While most people with a dark skin tone tend to have warm undertones, don’t automatically assume that this is the case for you. Everyone’s skin is different, making it important to still spend time determining your undertone, even if you have dark skin.

Warm Undertone

With dark skin and a warm undertone, your skin likely looks quite rich and deep, and this is something that you should try to highlight as much as possible.

How?

This depends on whether you want to go light or dark…

If you would like to stick to something darker, try a warm black.

For a lighter shade, try one of these:

  • Caramel
  • Toffee
  • Mahogany
  • Maple

Want to be a redhead?

If so, go for a blue-red. Although this may seem strange since your skin undertone is warm, this is an exception. The blue tones in the red will actually end up enhancing your warm undertone.

Need an example?

Both Halle Berry and Beyonce have dark skin with a warm undertone, and have sported several different hair colors that complement them perfectly.

LOS ANGELES - FEB 10: Beyonce arrives to the Grammy Awards 2013 on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, CA
DFree / Shutterstock.com

Wondering which shades you should avoid?  

Stay away from any ashy colors, such as ashy blonde or ashy brown. Anything that has a blue or a green tint to it (other than the blue-red mentioned above) could also be unflattering.

Cool Undertone

One of the best shades for people with a dark skin tone and cool undertones is a deep inky black. The way in which this shade will reflect the light will really add so much depth to your skin, making it look so vibrant. Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o both manage to pull this off really well, with their dark hair color really bringing out their beautiful skin tone.

Don’t want to go quite so dark?

These shades will also work well on you:

  • Espresso
  • Deep violet
  • A blue-black

Want to add in some highlights?

Anything with a cool hue will be flattering on you, whether this may be a cool blonde, brown or red.

Preserving Your New Hair Color

Once you have chosen your perfect color and have dyed your hair, don’t forget to take the necessary steps to preserve your color for as long as possible.

Shampoos and conditioners that have been designed for colored hair are essential. While other formulas will still clean and condition your hair, they will slowly strip away your color, making it fade so much faster.

Keep your hair away from heat as much as you can too…

This not only includes hot water in the shower, but also when it comes to heated styling tools and sun exposure. If you do need to use heated styling tools, however, try applying a protective hair serum first. This will help lock in moisture and create a protective film over the hair shafts as you style your tresses.

It can sometimes take a bit of trial and error to find your perfect hair color. However, once you get the hang of matching colors to your skin tone and undertone, making a choice will seem so much easier!

Lionesse

By Lionesse

Previous Post

Next Post