How To Pick The Best Hair Color For Your Skin

June 20, 2018

We match our concealers and foundations to our skin tones for the perfect look and application and the same should happen when it comes to our hair color.

Oh, you want that new foundation? Great! What is your skin tone? Um, I think maybe medium? Or could it be Light 2, Light 5, or Medium Fair? But my friend told me that all girls can have red hair, no matter what their skin tone. Is that true? What about this color shirt, how does it look? Does it show off my eyes? Make them stand out? Do these questions sound like you? If so, well, you are like 99% of women who are making bad choices left and right when it comes to their foundations, lipsticks, clothes, and most importantly: their hair color.

Figuring out what color best flatters truly starts with your skin tone, but finding out whether you fall under warm, cool, neutral, fair, medium, or dark without the help of a makeup artist or professional can be challenging to say the least. And there is no test or quiz, like the ones we often find that will match our foundation to the perfect shade. So, we often go through magazines, bringing our colorist an image of something we think looks spectacular, only to find out, our reference was for someone that has a completely different skin tone than ours. For those of you who do not want to invest in a frontal sew in or sew in hair extensions to achieve a temporary new hair color we have created a guide of suggestions when it comes to all things hair color, so you can feel confident you are making the choice that is best for you, and only you:

  1. Find your skin surface color

What is your surface color? Well simply put, it is what you see in the mirror and you probably already know which you are. But there is some confusion out in the world, like when it comes to “fair” and “light, so here is your easy guide to finding your skin surface color:

Fair: You are very fair and prone to burning to a crisp in the sun. Your skin has cool, milky, blue/red undertones and you literally cannot get tan no matter how much oil and sun you get. You are also prone to redness and skin conditions such as rosacea (on places like your cheeks).

Light: You are different from fair. While fair girls have blue/red undertones, you have more yellow, pink, and beige undertones, but are you are both on the on the cooler side of the color scale. Containing rosy/peach undertones, your skin flushes easily when you are embarrassed, but you can pull off cool-colored makeup (think blue metallic eyeliner).

Medium: Your skin is medium in color and you have been told you have olive undertones. You have equal amounts of pink and yellow undertones, which leaves you with very neutral skin. You are known to have more options when it comes to makeup and the sun tends to like you.

Deep: You have a dark, deep complexion and most likely brown eyes. You tend to look the best in brightly-hued clothing (think royal purple or a bold green) and you can pull off more intense colors when it comes to your makeup (burgundy wine lips, purple eyeshadows).

  1. Determine your skin undertones

Cool: Pink, red, or blue undertones.

Warm: Yellow, peach, or golden undertones.

Neutral: A balance between both cool and warm.

Still confused? Here are five easy ways to determine your skin tone

Check your veins: What color are your veins? Bluish-purple means you are on the cool side. Greenish means warm. If you are not sure and your veins look bluish-green, you may be neutral.

Do you tan or burn? Those that tan easily are warm-toned, while those that get red instead are usually cool.

Do you blush easily? If so, you are on the cool side.

What colors look good on you? Cool tones look good in deep, vibrant colors, such as blue, purple, and emerald-green. Warm tones glow in earth tones like red, orange, yellow, and olive-green. If you can wear both shades, you have neutral undertones.

Do you like gold or silver jewelry? Cools look best in silver, while warms look great in gold.

What color are your eyes? Golden brown, green, and hazel are warm-toned. Black, deep brown, blue, and grey are cool toned.

  1. Find your perfect hair color shade

Fair complexions with warm undertones: Say hello to butterscotch, blonde, and honey. These shades play up the peachiness of your skin, while making you look glowy and healthy.

Fair complexions with cool undertones: Look for blue-based colors like platinum, flaxen (platinum with a bit of yellow), and champagne blonde (subdued creamy blonde that is infused with platinum and golden accents) to flatter your ivory complexion.

Medium complexions with cool undertones: Toasty hues like chestnut brown, auburn, and cinnamon look amazing on you. But that is not all, you can also go ebony brown and rich mocha, all these violet-based colors enhance the natural warm undertones of your complexion.

Medium complexions with warm undertone: Your skin tone can stand up to the intensity of a deep, rich brown or it can go for some subtle gold and honey highlights, to create a beautiful depth.

Deep complexions with warm undertone: If you have a warm undertone like try shades of maple brown (chocolate base interspersed with reddish highlights), mahogany, toffee, and other rich, warm colors to bring out the apricot tones in your skin.

Deep complexions with cool undertone: From deep to cool espresso to inky black all of these hair colors look amazing on your skin tone. The only rule to going deep, dark, and sultry is to never use permanent black hair dye. It is the hardest to remove or change and the condition of your hair can become compromised. Case in point? If you like to change it up between seasons, go for something a little less permanent than black.

  1. Know your products

For blonde hair: Purple shampoo, a must if you have been noticing unwanted brassy tones in your hair. Purple shampoo helps tone the hair and keep it on the cool side.

  • Clairol Shimmer Lights

Shimmer Lights refreshes faded highlights, removes the dull yellow in gray hair, and leaves hair shiny without residue and it can be used on natural or color-treated hair.

  • Amika Bust Your Brass Cool Blonde Shampoo

Avocado oil and sea buckthorn berry work their magic to bring damaged hair back to life, all while making your color look fresh.

  • dpHUE Cool Blonde Shampoo

Cool Blonde Shampoo neutralizes the hair’s yellow tones and reduces brassiness and warmth while it gently cleanses. Perfect for any hair color, it can be used on color-treated and natural hair.

For brown hair: If you want to revive your hair’s tone and texture without making a costly salon appointment, snag this salon-inspired glaze for brunettes. Its gives dark hair shades a high-gloss shine and a silky smooth texture.

  • DPHUE Color Boosting GLOSS

This semi-permanent hair color with deep conditioner will give you a fresh color and soft, shiny, vibrant hair. It intensifies and illuminates color-treated or natural hair in as little as three to twenty minutes with no ammonia and no mixing.

  • Oscar Blandi Vivid Clear Shine Rinse

Formulated for color treated hair, the Oscar Blandi Vivid Clear Shine Rinse is a luxe hair cream, completely clear, that helps enhance your hair color and prevent it from fading. Power-packed with botanical extracts and essential oils, the hair color cream not only maintains the vibrancy of your color, but also protects your hair and preserves its health and strength.

  • PRAVANA Nevo Color Enhancer Treatment

The Color Enhancers offer stylists a multitude of easy opportunities to build revenue by retailing the ideal Color Enhancer to every client who gets a color service done creating an express color boost service in-between visits or even as an add it on to a blow-dry service! What else you need to know: maintain the brilliance of your color and the health of your hair between salon services.

For black hair: Masques are all the rage. Sulfate-free toning masques with a blue-green toning complex eliminate orange/red brass and prevent fading.

  • Moroccanoil Restorative Hair Mask

This treatment penetrates deep into the hair to help restore elasticity and rebuild. Strength while repairing damage caused by chemicals and other environmental stresses. This unique formula is rich in vegetable proteins and will help bring out hair’s inner health, leaving it incredibly moisturized with a brilliant shine.

  • Tresemmé Nourish And Replenish Mask

The Tresemmé Botanique Nourish and Replenish System, featuring this hair treatment mask, delivers salon-quality performance with every wash. Their specially crafted hydrating formulas, with a blend of coconut milk and aloe vera, helps to replenish the moisture your hair needs to achieve the results you want.

  • Bee Mine BEE-U-Ti- FUL Moisturizing Deep Conditioner

Bee Mine Bee-U-Ti-Ful Deep Conditioner is made with creamy and emollient cupuacu butter to promote smooth and soft hair while boosting the rebirth of the hair’s natural moisture and elasticity. Highly beneficial for dry and damaged hair. BEE-U-Ti-FUL also provides protection from damaging UV-A and UV-B rays and helps to restore shine and moisture to stressed hair.

We hope we could set the record straight on all things color and skin tone so you can go out and find the shade that’s made for you.  But remember, there are no rules per se, as coloring hair is an expression and only you know the right shade for you. With an endless array of colors to choose from, learning about your skin tone is a great place to start. So, now you can go out and find the shade that is made for you, and only you.

Written By: Emily Nicole


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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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