What hair color is best for my skintone?

Where do you get your hair color ideas? If it’s from what’s trending or which color your favorite celeb is currently wearing, you might want to consider another factor. Your skin tone color. That’s right, the color of your hair can make you look youthful, glamorous, and glowing (yay!) or dull, sick, and aged (not so yay). Follow along as we show you how to determine your skin tone, which hair colors to avoid, and the hair colors that will make you look incredible.

Perfect Hair Color Ideas for Your Skin Tone

You know how one person can look amazing with ash blonde hair and someone else can look washed out and tired in the exact same hue? The difference is in their skin tone. If you’ve ever gone to your bestie’s stylist for the same color job and walked away not loving your new hue, this may be why.

The good news is there isn’t just one hair color that flatters your skin tone. You can choose from light hair colors, dark hair colors, and something in between. It just has to be a hue that suits your skin undertones.

What are skin undertones? Glad you asked because this is super important. Skin tones range from fair to dark. But undertones are the subtle shades within your skin tone that affect the overall hue. Skin undertones are cool (blue or green), warm (yellow, gold, or red), or neutral, and any skin tone can have any of the undertones.

The first step in choosing your most flattering hair color is identifying your skin undertone. A simple rule of thumb is that the best hair colors for you are those that are opposite tones from your skin’s undertones. If you are unsure of your undertones, try our simple test below.

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How to Determine Your Skin Undertone?
What Hair Color is Best For My Skin Tone?

Start with clean skin that is free from makeup. If you’ve just washed your face, wait for 15 minutes for any pinkness to fade. Now, hold a piece of white paper next to your face while looking into a mirror.

Does your skin look yellowish or pale brown? This means you have warm undertones. If your skin looks pink, rosy, or bluish red you have cool undertones. Skin that looks gray is usually olive skin tone with a neutral undertone.

If you can’t identify any cast of yellow, olive, or pink you most likely have a neutral skin tone and (lucky you) can wear pretty much any hair color on the color spectrum. Hair colors that mix cool and warm hues are actually beautiful on this skin tone. Think Jennfier Aniston or Jennifer Lopez. When visiting your stylist, arrive armed with hair color ideas that include both warm and cool multidimensional looks.

If you still can’t tell what color undertones your skin has, take a close look at your eye color. Lighter hued eyes usually mean cool undertones, while eyes with gold flecks often point to warm undertones.

What Hair Color is Best For My Skin Tone?

The Best Hair Color for Cool Skin Tone

Skin with cool undertones has a blue or greenish cast and looks best with warm toned hair colors. Amy Adams, Emma Stone, and Octavia Spencer have cool undertones.

DO: Adding depth and warmer toned hair colors will make skin appear glowy and vibrant. If you are going blonde, think honey, butterscotch, and golden blonde. Strawberry blonde is perfect for those with fair skin and cool undertones. Or add caramel or honey blonde highlights. For deeper hair colors, opt for beautiful rich chocolate brown or reddish brown.

DON’T: Skin with cool undertones does best to stay away from other cool toned colors, including icy blonde or ash brown which can make you look washed out and enhance dark circles.

WARM COLORS FOR COOL UNDERTONES: Golden blondes, strawberry blonde, rich browns, and honey highlights. Summer is the perfect time to go blonde. Make sure you prep your hair now for the perfect warm blonde highlights.

Here are some "Hits" and "Misses" for this skin tone.

Amanda Seyfried exhibits just how much more vibrance and color a warmer hair color can give to a cool skin tone vs how overly ash tones and wash you out. Ash on ash not only can deliver a sickly appearance but also accentuates lines and dark circles...which we all want to avoid. 

What Hair Color is Best For My Skin Tone?
What Hair Color is Best For My Skin Tone?

Rihanna's is no stranger to playing with her looks and hair color which makes her a dream client for hair stylists. While it's impossible to make Rihanna look bad, you can see that a warm hair colors deliver a healthier, bronzer skin tone to her cool skin.

Natalie Portman's warm brown hair color brightens up her skin while giving her a youthful glow; however, her ash blonde hair washes her out and overly matures her beyond her age. Warm colors like chestnut brown hair or golden blonde can tend to fade from the rich vibrant color to something more muted and brassy. It is important to keep up with hair toners and use color-enhancing hair products between salon appointments. Here is a list of our warm hair color maintenance kit:

Keep your warm hair color looking vibrant

Davines Alchemic Shampoo & Conditioner Sets

Whether you are trying to keep your copper hair fiery or maintain that rich chocolate brown, Davines creates a pigment-packed duo to keep your color looking flawless between appointments.

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Rahua Detangler & UV Barrier

Nothing is worse for hair color than UV rays. Protect that expensive color from the sun while hydrating and gently detangling to prevent breakage and dryness - both wreak havoc on hair color.

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Oway Silk'n Glow Shampoo & Conditioner Set

Moisturized hair means happy, color-holding hair, so invest in a highly hydrating shampoo and conditioner like Oway's Silk'n Glow line.

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The Best Hair Color for Warm Skin Tone

Skin with warm undertones has yellow, golden, or red tones and looks best with cool skin tone hair colors. Katherine Heigl, Drew Barrymore, and Rihanna have warm undertones.

DO: When going blonde, platinum blonde and icy hues balance warmer skin tones. Ash blondes are perfect for this skin tone. Choose cool browns and reds for deeper hues. Chestnut, mocha, dark chocolate, and dark auburn are perfect. If you are going red, opt for burgundy or red violet.

DON’T: Warm, golden hair colors can make skin with warm undertones look red or pink. Steer clear of cooler toned hair colors, like warm browns, warm reds, and copper reds.

COOL COLORS FOR WARM UNDERTONES: Ash blondes, cool browns, and cool reds. If you go red, be sure to stock up on tips and products for maintainin your red hair color at home. Have fun choosing your hair color but stay within your ideal color scheme for most flattering results. For more on hair colors for your color tones, check out our @nataliepalominobeautypro reels skin tone series.

Hits & Misses

Dove Cameron is the perfect example of how pink undertones in skin mulitply when coupled with warm hair colors. When your skin contains pink undertones, counteract them with cool hair colors like platinum or ash blonde, ash browns and cool blacks.

What Hair Color is Best For My Skin Tone?
What Hair Color is Best For My Skin Tone?

Similarly, Katherin Heigl's deeper natural ash color is far more flattering than the golden blonde that she has on the right. Ash brown or light ash brown hair with blonde highlights would highlight her natural bronze undertones delivering a more youthful appearance.

Ciara is gorgeous and this ash blonde edgy mid-length cut was a major HIT. The golden blonde is overly light for her and gives her skin a yellow tinge causing a flat pallete. Cool hair colors like ash blonde and ash brown with multi-dimension do wonders for this skin tone.

Deep ash tones to platinum blonde can be difficult to upkeep as most hair colors have warmer undertones. Here is a list of our ash hair color maintenance kit.

1. Naturally Drenched Rebalance Pre-Conditioner Treatment - Apply this strengthening treatment once every other week between your shampoo and conditioner to balance your hair's pH and improve hair porosity (i.e. your hair's ability to hold on to moisture and hair color).

2. Kavella Purple or Blue Shampoo - Shampoo your hair with a color-depositing purple or blue shampoo, like Kavella, at least once per week to cancel out yellow or brassy tones and keep your ash tones bright. Blondes and silver hair should choose purple shampoo while medium brown hair and darker should choose a blue shampoo.

3. Innersense Hair Love Prep Spray - Spray a heat protection spray on each section before ever hitting your hair with a hot tool as heat not only damages the hair but it opens the cuticle letting color and toners escape.Have fun choosing your hair color but stay within your ideal color scheme for most flattering results. For more on hair colors for your color tones, check out our @nataliepalominobeautypro reels skin tone series.

Other Great Options

Kavella All in One Mist

Use a daily leave-in conditioner spray or product that includes heat and UV protection. UV rays and heat open the cuticle allowing hair color to escape. Also, wash hair with tepid to cool water to prevent color fadage.

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Conquer Blonde Silver Masque

This weekly purple-based hair mask keeps cool-toned hair color or platinum blonde hair color yellow-free while delivering intense moisture. Win Win!

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Briogeo Don't Despair Repair Deep Conditioning mask

Apply this strengthenig hair mask once per week to give your hair the moisture and strength to hold on to hair color.

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The Best Hair Color For Skin Tone Chart

Unsure how to identify your skin tone as cool, warm or neutral? Use the following skin tone chart to identify what undertones are most prominent in your skin color.

written by natalie palomino

Natalie Palomino is a Master Stylist, educator and Founder of North Authentic. Through advanced education and commitment to her craft, she built a vast clientele providing haircare education and hair services. In 2020, she created North Authentic, a conscious haircare retailer that puts the health of its customers and the planet at the forefront.

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