They say you should be happy with what you’re born with. And while I agree that you the way you are is most beautiful, sometimes it’s just plain fun to change things up. Also, age can be cruel even when you’re not even remotely “old” in number.
That being said, things change over time. Even puberty can change your hair color or texture. Sun can make it lighter. So many changes, so the way you want to look is how you should look.
Naturally, though, hair color is one of the easiest changes we can make to have a new look.
Whether that look is something that helps us enhance our original color or it’s something completely new, coloring your hair can make you feel like a whole new woman.
However, the hair color that will suit you best I one that works with your skin tone. Colorists are trained in color theory.
You can walk in the door, and they’ll already be mentally filing through all the colors for your hair.
Just because you want to be a blonde like your bestie doesn’t mean it will come out looking right on you. Though you may have more fun finding out!
Anyway, here I’m going to set the record straight about how to choose your best hair color. Keep reading, and you’ll soon be ready to pick one!
But first, what’s your skin tone?
I know when I treat myself to the salon, I usually save my fave styles from Instagram and Pinterest so I can show my stylist. But I appreciate the honesty I get if something isn’t going to flatter me.
The shades you choose (the cut too, but that’s a story for another time!) need to complement your skin tone. As such, it might be helpful to check out my post on how to determine your skin tone and undertone.
As a brief summary:
- Skin tones are either warm, cool, or neutral
- To quickly determine, look at the underside of your wrist
- Purple or blue veins = cool
- Greenish = warm
- Both = neutral
Easy enough so far, right?
So, when you know your skin’s tone, you’ll want a hair color that plays opposite. A quick rundown:
- Cooler skin should go with cool beige, ash, or coppery-reds
- Warmer skin should go for warm beiges, golds, chocolate brunette, and mahogany red
- Neutral skin has the best of both worlds (lucky you!)
But wait! There’s a little more to the story. See, warm skin tones can be one of 2 categories, either autumn or summer, while cool skin tones have winter and spring.
I know this sounds a little more confusing, but keep reading, and you’ll find out about all the tones and how to pick a flattering hair color for you!
As mentioned, you’re cool-toned if you have those purple or blue veins on the underside of your wrists. What follows below are a list of characteristics that will help you figure out your perfect match.
The more you can honestly answer “yes” to, then you will find your proper cool tone.
– Cool tones with an originally dark hair
- Lighter skin or fair skin for your particular ethnicity
- Pink undertones
- Jewel-toned eyes (includes blue, green, emerald, dark blue, and the kind of dark brown that almost looks black but NOT hazel)
- Skin doesn’t tan easily
- Born with black or dark hair
- Major contrast between the colors of your eyes, hair, and face
Does this sound like you? The you will look your best with any of these colors that have a blue, violet, or green base:
- Platinum blonde
- Light and icy blonde
- Ashy blonde
- Ashy brown
And yes, you should know there are colors you should avoid with this cool skin tone:
- Stay away from orange bases
- No overly golden bases
- Say “no” to honey blonde or golden browns too
– Cool tone with originally light hair color
- Fair skin with pink or yellow undertone
- Lighter colored eyes (light blue, green, hazel, gold brown)
- Darker eye colors (dark brown or dark/deep blue won’t fall into “spring”)
- Skin tans fairly well but not as well as others
- Born with dirty blonde or super blonde
For you, these are the colors to sport:
- Icy, light blonde
- Platinum blonde
- Ashy in blonde or brown
Again, stay away from:
- Orange or overly golden base
- Honey blonde or golden brown
With those warm tones, you will see greenish veins under your skin. You’ll want to find the most appealing colors to pair up so it makes for a natural look that you’ll love.
– Warm tones with an olive base glowy skin
- Eye color is golden brown or hazel green with those gorgeous gold flecks (less of a jewel color)
- Skin has a glowing tone
- Naturally, hair is rich, dark, and brown
- Skin tans very easily
- Even if the skin is pale, it has an olive base
For you, I recommend you do colors that have an orange base. That doesn’t mean orange like a clown’s wig btw! It means the base is orange, or a red undertone would work well too, like these:
- Copper or caramel tones
- Rich auburns
- Chocolate (both milk chocolate and chocolate brown)
- Golden and rich browns
- Honey blonde
- Warm beige blonde
- Golden blonde
– Warm tone with a golden olive skin
- Skin is golden and olive (bronzes when you tan)
- Tanning is easy for you
Oh, the colors you can do with your skin tone!
- Yellow or orange-based colors
- Light caramel brown
- Rich golden blonde
- Champagne blonde
- Butter or honey platinum
- Honey colors
- Really, anything lighter will look awesome
For your skin tone, never do:
- Anything ashy (that goes for both brown and blonde)
- Blue or green bases
Take the season into consideration
Seasons are also important factors. You may want to go darker or lighter, depending on the time of year.
Plus, how much sun you get can indicate what would be best for your hair.
Those that live in the sun at the beach should probably think twice about going completely blonde, or else you may wind up with a head that looks like straw.
If hair is healthy though, winter hair can go richer and warmer while during those hotter months, you can go brighter and lighter.
Unhealthy hair should never be dyed or bleached since it will never get healthy. Take care of it first, and protect it when you’re outdoors. Once it’s healthy, you can really do so much more.
Take your personality into account
Some of us dream of having a certain hair color. With all the more colorful colors out there that buck tradition (like purple or rainbow and those sorts of things), you don’t have to go for a shade that looks natural.
If you’ve always wanted pink hair, do it. On Instagram, a friend of mine used a filter to make her hair look pink. I thought she looked great, but her mom commented on it.
I said, I think everyone should do what helps them express themselves. I stand behind that.
I will say, though, if your hair is damaged and you’ve always wanted to be a blonde, don’t. At least not until you get it healthy.
Even when you go to the salon to see a professional colorist, you will need your hair healthy so that it doesn’t suffer from untold breakage. You’ll be happier in the long run if you take care of your hair first.
Hair color matters to everyone. Whether it’s time to do something extreme or something more subtle, go with what you feel you are.
You should enjoy the way you look because you’ll feel more confident and happy when you give in to that.
Bear in mind your age
Unfortunately, the older we get, the more blonde can make us look haggard, unless you’re a natural. Ease into darker colors as you make more trips around the sun.
Light blonde will only accentuate wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and other curses of aging, no matter if your skin tone is warm or cool. It just washes you out, and we can’t have that.
If you’re young though, go have some fun as my mom always says. But if you’re aging, no matter how gracefully, softer and less harsh looks are the best way to complement your features.
Dyeing your hair from the comfort of your own home
You can absolutely dye your own hair at home. I’ve done it, and I seriously know very few people who haven’t tried it themselves.
It’s much cheaper, and the stuff you can get for at-home use has come a long way.
If you don’t buy a kit, you will need to remember latex gloves too, but other than that, it’s as easy as reading the directions.
But there are a few rules to follow when coloring your own hair at home:
- Don’t go more than one shade lighter or darker at one time
- Never color over previously-colored hair
- Consider a semi-permanent hair color that will enhance your hair color instead
- Use permanent when you have more gray hair
These tips for coloring at home will always serve you well. And one more…if you do want to go blonde, I do strongly recommend going to a colorist first and then considering maintaining your roots on your own.
You’ll minimize the damage that will occur and be able to keep your hair healthier.
Maintenance and aftercare
Another consideration every woman needs to make, which I started eluding to above, is the maintenance and aftercare.
Can you afford to go to the salon often to keep up your look? Can you maintain it in a healthy way at home without frying it out? Think about these things before you color your world.
Highlights also pose problems for keeping the lookup. For a dark hair base with lighter and brighter highlights, you’d better be ready to get touch-ups at least once a month.
Got grays? If you have more than a few, you’ll need to fix up your roots every 2 or 3 months, depending on how quickly your hair grows.
Ah, but if you want something on-trend, you may want to check out that ombre-balayage look.
It works with your natural color with highlights at the ends, so it complements your skin tone while making it far easier (and more affordable) to maintain.
There’s something else you should be sure to do, especially if you get your hair colored professionally (but you shouldn’t skip it if you do it yourself either).
Find a good deep conditioning mask to help nourish your hair and keep it moisturized inside and out. Lighter hair should really try not to wash as often either. You want to make use of the natural oils from your hair.
Over-washing can strip it and cause your hair to produce more sebum, which will lead to an oily scalp and more frequent washing, which just goes right back to the start.
A repairing hair mask that is made for color-treated hair will also do wonders to protect and boost the brilliance of your new shade, so make sure to treat your hair to what it deserves!
After you determine your skin tone and see what colors will make you look your best, you’ll need to decide on one.
And you’ll need to decide if you’ll be having it done by a pro or doing it yourself.
While a colorist will always know what’s best, you can still manage your own dye job at home as long as you’re not going too light or too dark.
Upkeep is something else to think about but so is fun. Let your wild side show if you want and enjoy yourself with a whole new color for a whole new you, or check out the colors that will suit you to keep a more natural look that will boost your self-esteem above and beyond!