Girl's Guide: How To Choose The Best Hair Color For Your Skin Tone

by Sarra Khechremi, Lifestyle Columnist


Published in Lifestyle on 21st February, 2020


From blonde to purple to brunette. You're tired of trying almost all the hair color trends but still not quite happy with how it looks?

Before rushing into a bad decision, consider matching the hair color shades with your skin tone and complexion.

What works best for others may or may not work for you. Choosing the perfect hair color that matches your skin tone makes a big difference in how you look.

hair tone

So, How do you choose the right hair color for your skin tone?

Choosing the right hair color that suits your complexion might be really tough. However, it is so WORTH IT! Because it can make you look healthier, younger and it can make the color of your eyes pop. Whereas the wrong hair color can make you look pale, older and sick.

No panic though! As soon as you figure out your skin tone you will be able to have the hair color that looks best on you makes you more attractive and live your ultimate hair goals.

How do you know what skin tone you have?

Before considering going blonde, red or plum. It is vital to know your skin tone as well as your skin complexion.

You have probably heard of someone saying I have cool, warm or neutral skin tone and essentially taking this factor into consideration to find the right hair color, eyeshadow palette, and colors of their outfits.

Before we start the simple test to identify your skin tone, it's important to know that skin complexion is different from skin tone.

Skin complexion can be light, medium or dark. Whereas, skin tone (sometimes called undertone) can be cool, neutral or warm. Your skin complexion can change with tanning, for example, you become darker. But your skin tone will never change.

So, if your celeb hair color crush has dark skin complexion and you have dark skin complexion as well. This alone doesn't guarantee you to have the best hair color that will suit you. And that's because you might not have the exact same skin tone like her.

Here's a quick and easy test to determine your skin tone:

  • The color of the veins on the inside of your wrist.

Find a sunny spot. You can either sit in front of a window where natural sunlight comes in or you can sit outside. The test doesn't work with artificial light because it may change the appearance of your natural skin tone. Take a peek at your veins on the inside of your wrist.

  • If your veins appear slightly green, you have a warm skin tone.
  • If your veins appear blue or purple then you have a cool skin tone
  • If your veins have blue-green undertone colors then you have a neutral undertone.
  • Compare the contrast of a white paper sheet or a white T-shirt with your skin.

First, make sure that you have a clean face with no makeup. Put your hair into a ponytail so that it won't interfere with your perception. You need to have a mirror and a sunny spot.

nice hair

Then you can hold up a white paper sheet up close to your face or wear a plain white T-shirt and look at the mirror. Compare the contrast. How does your skin look?

  • Do you look good in white? You probably have yellow undertones and you're more likely to have a warm skin tone.
  • Do you look washed out in white? Or maybe you can see some pink undertones or a ruddy skin complexion. Then you are probably cool.
  • If you look good in both white and off-white and you can't determine whether you've got pink or yellow undertones. You have a neutral skin tone.

Another helpful thing to do is to consider the colors you look best in. Maybe the clothes that your friends compliment you on: "Oh Susan! You look really good in this yellow dress!"

  • If earth-toned clothing like yellow, brown, ivory, burgundy and orangey-red look good on you - You have warm undertones.
  • If jewel tones look best on you; like green, purple, black, pink and true red - You have cool undertones.
  • For those who figure that no particular color compliment their complexion better than any other color, you're leaning on the neutral side of undertones.
  • How does your skin react under the sun?

We are all guilty of those days when we don't wear sunscreen or have enough protection from the sun. But put that aside. Now, think about how the summery sun rays affect your skin.

  • Do you get that golden-hued suntan that everybody wishes for in the summer? You are more likely to have warm undertones.
  • Does long sun exposure make your skin burn? And do you rarely tan? Most people who rarely tan and burn from sun exposure have cool undertones.
  • Are you not sure if you tan or burn? Then you may have neutral skin tones.
  • Silver or gold jewelry?

This is another good way to help you determine your undertone. Which metal compliments your skin tone? Your preference can tell you. Silver jewelry compliments cool skin tone really well. Gold jewelry looks more flattering on warm skin tones. If you look good in both, you may have a neutral skin tone.

  • Your eye color can help.

Your eye color can be a simple way to determine your undertones. Honey brown eyes, that appear to have yellow or brown-red undertones, usually mean that you have a warm skin tone.

Ice blue eyes or pale brown usually means you have a cool undertone. However, note that this isn't always the case and it's best to combine it with at least one of the other helpful tests.

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It's important to know that your skin complexion can be any color and still your skin tone can be either cool, warm or neutral.

Some people with darker skin can have a cool skin tone. And some people with white skin complexion can have warm undertones.

What season is your skin tone?

A few months ago, I dyed my hair platinum blonde. The color looked absolutely amazing on Jennifer Lawrence. It had that daring and elegant look to it that I was looking for.

After long steps and time spent in the salon, I looked in the mirror to check the final results... it was so overwhelmingly disappointing. I looked so washed out and tired. The color didn't flatter my complexion at all!

As someone with a pale skin complexion and warm skin tone, platinum blonde doesn't suit me. It goes best on the cool skin tone. But I learned my lesson, after all.

From now on, I will consider my skin tone before choosing the right color for my hair and I will take the seasons into account.

Seasonal color analysis is a tool which involves three things:

  • Your hair color.
  • Your eye color.
  • Your skin tone.

It's very helpful if you want to identify the colors that will look best on you. It can make your skin look glowy and radiant by balancing the colors of your hair, eyes, skin tone, outfits, and makeup together.

Seasonal color analysis sections color into two categories:

  • Hue (Which is cool or warm).
  • Value (Which is light or dark/deep).

Identifying which category your hair, eyes, and skin results in four groups named after seasons.

So, you have identified your skin tone? Great! Now take a look at your hair and eye color. Are they naturally light or dark? Incorporate this into your undertone to find out which season you are.

  • Summer: Summers are usually characterized by having cool skin tone, light hair (light brown or blonde), usually light eyes (hazel, light brown, light blue, green...) but some summers have dark eyes as well. Here are some celebrities who fall under the summer category: Beyonce, Shakira, Gisele Bundchen.
  • Winter: You are probably a Winter if you have cool skin tone, dark eyes (black, dark blue, dark brown...) and dark hair (ashy-black with no golden or red highlights). It's a contrast to having fair skin and really dark hair. People who fall under this category may have ruddy skin complexion. Celebrities who are winter include Megan Fox, Courtney Cox, and Liv Tyler.
  • Spring: You are probably a Spring if you have warm undertones, light eyes (hazel, light brown, light blue, green...) light hair (light brown, blonde, strawberry blonde and auburn). Some springs have a ruddy skin complexion. Celebrities who are Spring include Taylor Swift, Renee Zellweger, and Cameron Diaz.
  • Autumn: You are likely to be an Autumn if you have warm undertones, dark eyes (black, dark blue, dark brown...), dark hair (black, dark brown, auburn, copper). These celebrities are Autumn: Lindsay Lohan, Jennifer Lopez, and Evan Longoria.

Last but not least, our dear redheads out there are usually classed as either Spring or Autumn.

What color is best for my skin tone, and how to choose unnatural colors?

Identifying your season is an essential way to know what hair color will suit you and why things haven't been working in the past. This mini-guide includes unnatural colors as well.

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Don't feel restricted to the traditional-ways. Unnatural hair colors can look amazing on you if you choose the right colors that suit your complexion.

  • Warm skin tone:

As said earlier, warm skin tone can fall under the category of either spring or autumn.

So, if you are naturally born a Spring, the best hair color for your hair can be;

  • Light Icy Blonde.
  • Ashy Blonde.
  • Ashy Brown.
  • Platinum Blonde.
  • Pink.
  • White.

It's best to avoid any Golden or orange Based hair colors like;

  • Honey Blonde.
  • Golden Brown.
  • Yellow.
  • Orange.

If you are an Autumn, the colors to do are in the orange base chart and red base chart. These colors include;

  • Rich auburn.
  • Copper or caramel tones.
  • Milk chocolate/ chocolate brown.
  • Rich, golden browns.
  • Warm, beige blonde.
  • Honey blonde.
  • Golden blonde.
  • Red.
  • Orange.
  • Warm pink.

Colors to Avoid are anything with a violet-blue or blue-green undertone;

  • Platinum blonde.
  • Ash brown.
  • White.
  • Blue.
  • Cool pink.
  • Green.
  • Violet or plum.
  • Cool skin tone:

If you have a cool skin tone, you can be either a Winter or a Summer. Do you have a harsh contrast between skin color and hair color? You are more likely to be a Winter.

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The best hair colors to go for can be anything with a blue or violet undertone as opposed to the Autumn people. Hair colors with a blue or violet base are flattering on your skin tone, especially if you have blue eyes.

These colors are likely to bring out the healthy glow in your face.

  • Jewel-toned hair.
  • Really dark brown or black.
  • Solid, jet black.
  • Shades of blue.
  • Green.
  • Cool pink.
  • Violet or plum.
  • White.

For some people who fall into this category white, platinum blonde can do wonders to their overall look. These colors will make your eyes pop and give you that healthy glow we are all looking for.

On the other hand, the colors to avoid falls under the chart of red and yellow-orange bases like;

  • Golden blonde.
  • Copper red.
  • Caramel or honey.
  • Red.
  • Orange.
  • Yellow.

If you are a Summer, lighter colors usually work well. It's best if you try hair colors with a yellow or an orange base like;

  • Rich, golden blonde.
  • Light, caramel brown.
  • Honey colors.
  • Champagne blonde.
  • Yellow.
  • Orange.

However, it's best to avoid any ashy colors as they can make you look grey and dull. We don't want that! Green bases are not suitable for your skin tone.

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If you want to try unnatural hair colors, avoid blue and green as they can make you look older. Black is not a good idea if you are a summer. To sum it up the colors to avoid are;

  • Ash-brown.
  • Ash-blonde.
  • Blue.
  • Green.
  • Violet or plum.
  • Blue-green based colors.
  • Black.
  • Neutral skin tone:

That people with a neutral skin tone are the luckiest. And that's because they can try whatever colors they want, dye their hair any colors they want, and it will still look good on them. I honestly don't believe this is true. Here's why?

Yes, you can have a neutral skin tone. But, there are still some hair colors that don't look flattering on your skin tone and complexion. It's important to know that the majority of people who have a natural skin tone, might lean more towards cool or warm undertones.

According to all the tests, I have neutral skin tone but platinum blonde hair doesn't enhance my skin tone. That's because my skin leans more towards the warm tones.

Skin tone tests alone might be a bit confusing, but if you combine them with the Seasonal color analysis you will be able to find your skin tone and the best hair color that will do wonders to your overall look.

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