How To Choose a Hair Color That Suits You

Beautiful hair depends on having the perfect cut and color.  Lots of people take the time to learn how to cut and style their hair, but make the mistake of just grabbing the first box of hair color they like.  If you want your hair to really stand out, it's important to choose the hair color that looks the best on you.

Does your face look tired and haggard, with discolored bags under your eyes? Does your complexion seem unhealthily pale, oddly reddish or sallow?  What color are the veins in your arms? 

Believe it or not, all of these questions are relevant when you are trying to choose the right hair color.  Here are some tips if you want to learn how to choose a hair color:

  1. The fundamental objective: don't try to match... try to complement.  For example, if your skin has some ruddy coloring, don't dye your hair red.  Instead, add color that softens the red in your face.  If your skin has a sallow tone that you consider unpleasant, your remedy will not be to add more yellow or gold tone to your hair, but rather to soften the yellow complexion and bring other tones to the forefront by adding richer, complementary color to your hair.  The good news: there are so many hair colors that complement each skin tone.
  2. Skin complexion: cool versus warm.  We might all be warm-blooded (or almost all of us), but that doesn't mean our skin complexions are all warm.  Nay, we are often broken into two camps - cool and warm.  Some say silver and gold, but as far as we're concerned, that kind of talk can wait until the holiday season rolls back around.  For now, let's stick to cool and warm.

    What does this distinction mean for your hair color choice?  Quite a bit, as it turns out!  Very few people want to look like a cadaver or like someone suffering from scarlet fever.  Heed your skin, eye and hair tones!

    • Do you have medium-pale or pale skin with some pinkish hue around your cheeks?  Are you simply pale with no recognizable undertone? Does your skin have an olive complexion (this would include many of Asian or Hispanic descent), or is it a dark brown hue?  Some folks have cool bluish or reddish undertones beneath their eyes, and some have pale skin that almost appears as if it were softly translucent.  If any of this describes you, your skin color is likely cool.
    • Warm skin includes pale peach flesh-tones, brown with faint undertones of pink or gold, warm gold and yellow undertones, and skin with lots of freckles or rosy flush.
    • If you have already tried dressing in a white shirt, standing in daylight and gazing into a mirror in the attempt to discover whether you're warm or cool, and haven't figured it out, here's a clever trick.  Simply look at your arm - specifically, the veins in your arm.  Do they look bluer than green, or greener than blue?  If they look green, you probably have warm complexion.  Blue means that your skin is more on the cool side.
  3. Here's another way to determine your skin temperature: look at your natural hair color.  It can be as simple as salt-and-pepper gray versus yellowish-gray.  Both are very common, but the spicy one indicates coolness while the yellow signals warmth.  Is your hair brown with a reddish tinge, or brown with golden undertones?  Both are dark, but we want you to pay attention to those undertones, so that you can pick a hair color that complements your complexion.  Brown with gold undertones would suggest that your complexion is cool.
  4. Eye color.  Ask anyone for the first facial features they notice.  More than likely, it's either the eyes, the hair or the smile.  And since we're not always smiling, we'd better do what we can to make the other two as gorgeous as possible! 

    how to choose a hair colorLet's talk eyes for a moment, since eye color can also help you to determine where on the warm/cool thermometer to place your complexion.  You wouldn't want your hair color to make your eyes less alluring and beautiful, would you? If your eyes are green, gold-brown, or hazel without speckles of anything but brown or gold, then your complexion is likely on the warm side.  Grays and blues, not surprisingly, as well as dark browns and black, might place you on the cool side of the spectrum.  If your eyes are hazel, but are speckled with any of the aforementioned cool colors like gray, operate under the assumption that you are, indeed, cool... Daddy-o.

  5. The generalizations.  Some thoughts for picking your hair color: warm people generally will be better suited for golden, rich brown and redder colorings.  If you try to dye your hair black or light blonde, you might be pretty disappointed by the outcome.  Rich gold highlights are often an attractive choice among people with warm complexion.

    If your complexion is cooler, then opt for hair colors that will complement your cool complexion, giving it a warmer appearance.  Ashy shades of brown, rather than red-browns, are potentially your better bet.  Black hair coloring is sometimes a good option, as are the truly light hair colors like the lightest blondes.  And the flashier, bright hair dyes often enjoy more success among cool people too. Please keep this is mind as you choose your hair color.

  6. Now for the nuances.  Having narrowed down coloring options based on natural complexions of cool and warm, it's time to remember the cardinal rule of hair coloring - complement your complexion.  Consider which options in that smaller pool would best suit your unique complexion; not all warms or cools are the same!  If you're complexion is warm with yellow undertone, you shouldn't add those gold highlights we mentioned.  Stick instead to adding richer color to your hair, and consider some red highlights; in so doing, you will reduce and soften the yellow undertone in your face.

    Or let's say you have cool skin with a faint blue undertone.  Even though cool folks might be able to get away with some of the brighter, wilder hair colors, blue isn't one of those colors for you, unless you want that deep-freezer look.  If your goal is to soften the cool complexion, rather than emphasize the coolness, consider some dark browns and faint golden hues in your hair.

    Notice how the colors that soften and enhance your facial complexion can make your eyes stand out more too?  You warm people with golden brown eyes - depending on your unique skin tones, gold hair hues can complement your skin complexion and bring the gold right out in your eyes.

  7. When in doubt, don't make a radical change. You can minimize possible bad results by coloring only a few shades lighter or darker than your original color.  You can also play around with everything from black hair color to strawberry blonde hair color as long as you go with temporary hair color - save the major hair coloring decisions until you're ready for permanent hair color!
  8. Consult a professional.  Tired of looking at yourself in the mirror trying to figure out whether your skin undertones are pink or peach? Having some difficulty looking at the veins in your arms to determine whether your skin is cool or warm?  If you don't feel comfortable choosing a hair color, consult a salon professional or aesthetician.  A pro can take one look at your skin, eye color and natural hair, and tell you what hair colors would complement, rather than exacerbate, your undertones.  


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Great advice, I've got to save this article. =D

By Kashy Ali

Another way to tell what your hair color should be, when wanting to get rid of grey, etc., is to go back to your childhood color. Around the ages of 6-8, if you had reddish, auburn hair, at 50 it will work great.

By Marion Cornett