What hair color goes with my skin tone?

Updated April 17, 2017

Choosing the right hair colour for your skin tone can make your hair pop. Taking care of your hair and protecting the colour will keep your hair shiny, vibrant and attractive. Skin tone and wardrobe colours come together to complete your look. Whether your skin is warm, cool, pale or olive, there is an eye-popping shade for you.

Warm Skin Tones

Skin with a yellow or gold undertone signals a warm skin tone. A peaches-and-cream complexion is created when reddish undertones mix with gold or yellow. Without red tones, the skin takes on a creamy complexion.

Like skin, hair also has warm tones. Matching warm skin with warm overtones will create the best hair colour for warm skin. Warmer highlights or lowlights will also flatter your skin tone. In addition, when applying make-up, accessories or clothing the warm tones rule applies.

For example, a peaches-and-cream complexion would be best matched with a copper blond hair colour. This colour combination creates a natural look. A cool-toned hair colour on a warm skin tone will result in draining of the skin colour and a mismatched hair colour.

For those with darker complexions and warm skin tones, darker colours will look better on you, but avoid jet black, as it tends to wash out your natural colour. Consider warm highlights such as red or golden blond, which will bring out your warm skin tones.

Cool Skin Tones

Having pink or blue skin undertones creates cool-toned skin. Fair skin tends to fall into this category with its colourless skin. Freckled faces also fall into this category. For this skin type, cool overtones would look best. Just like a warm skin tone, this rule extends to make-up and fashion. For example, a cool hazelnut brown colour makes the skin tone pop. The colour completes the natural look against the cool skin.

A warm toned hair colour matched with cool toned skin will often make the skin appear to be more yellow or red.

For a darker skin type with cool skin tones you can opt for a light brown colour, or a very dark blonde. In addition, consider honey highlights and lowlights for this skin type.

Identifying Your Skin Tone

Some skin tones may be difficult to decipher. To decide which skin undertones you have, wash your face and drape your neck with an article of clothing. Which under tones do you notice in your skin?

A sheet of white paper held under your chin will also help you decipher your skin tone. Cool-toned skin has pink or blue undertones. Your skin has warm undertones if you see more yellows or golds then. Consider visiting your local salon for a consultation if you still cannot figure out your skin tone.

Jewellery can also help you decipher your skin tone. Gold jewellery normally flatters warm skin tones while silver, white gold or platinum flatter cool skin tones.

General Rules

For a general rule, pale skin is suitable for most hair colours. Olive skin looks more natural with darker hair colours.

Always consider your natural hair colour when choosing a different colour for your hair. Which category does your natural hair colour fall into? This is also an indication of what type of colour you should choose. For example, if your hair is normally a dark, brunette colour and you have olive-coloured skin, you would most likely want to darken a few degrees or lighten only a few shades to a medium brown.

Highlights and lowlights

When matching highlights and lowlights, always consider your base hair colour first. When highlighting strands of hair, go two shades lighter than your base hair colour, unless you want extreme contrasts. In addition, the thicker you go with highlights the less natural it will look. Highlights do not always have to be blond in colour. Highlights are generally placed on the top layers of hair and around the face, so be careful if you have dark skin and warm tones and want to do platinum blond highlights; you may want to ease up the colour around your face so you do not wash out your skin tone. Some hair dyes have built in highlights that give your hair a multifaceted look.

Lowlights will make strands of hair two shades darker than your base colour. Lowlights will help blend your base colour in with your highlights. Lowlights only have to be touched up every third time you dye your hair.


Stay away from blond colours that will make your skin appear an unnatural shade of pink, if you have very pale skin and reddish undertones. In addition, avoid light red colours. Stick to ash colours that will neutralise your red undertones.

Avoid very light blond colours with yellow overtones, if you have a darker colour skin. This colour skin usually works well with blacks and dark browns, unless you are looking for a vast contrast.

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About the Author

Bailey Granger has been a military journalist since 2006. She also has an extensive professional background in computer repair, performing arts and social sciences. Granger holds a Master of Science in strategic intelligence from American Military University and a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from Bridgewater State College.