How to determine the best hair color for your skin tone

Written by susan mcfarland
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How to determine the best hair color for your skin tone
Determining skin tone helps when selecting a new hair colour (dye image by Orlando Florin Rosu from

When contemplating a new hair colour, consider a colour that will enhance your complexion and not overwhelm or wash out your skin tone. The right hair colour can bring out your sparkling eyes and healthy skin. A hair colour on a celebrity or your best friend may not look as good on you because of your different skin tones. Determining skin tone before choosing a hair colour will help you select the perfect hair colour.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Mirror
  • One piece of gold jewellery
  • One piece of silver jewellery

Show MoreHide


    Determine Skin Tone

  1. 1

    Hold a piece of gold jewellery and a piece of silver jewellery against your skin. Whichever stands out the most or appears the brightest against your skin determines whether you are cool or warm skin toned.

  2. 2

    If the gold jewellery was the brightest against your skin, you are considered "warm" and hair colours with bases of red, red-orange, orange, yellow and gold best suit your skin tone.

  3. 3

    For silver types, best hair colour choices are cool tones such as those with bases of blue, blue-violet, violet, green and neutral.

    Select Hair Color

  1. 1

    Warm skin tones should avoid too much ash in hair colour to avoid appearing pale and washed out. Colours that work best are light honey blondes, medium strawberry and golden blondes, warm chocolate browns, ginger or orange based reds and dark browns with a hint of rust or cinnamon.

    How to determine the best hair color for your skin tone
    Red hair looks best on warm skin tones (a mannequin with long red hair and red dress in outdoor setting image by David Smith from
  2. 2

    Cool skin tones should avoid hair colour with too much added yellow or the hair and skin will begin to blend. Colours that work best are light ash-blondes, coffee, fawn medium blondes, flat browns, wine, mahogany, burgundy-reds, eggplant, cool dark browns and blue/green blacks.

    How to determine the best hair color for your skin tone
    Cool skin tones can wear dark brown hair (female with healthy hair image by Leticia Wilson from
  3. 3

    Those who are naturally a light blonde should not suddenly change to a dark colour or it will look abnormal. The same is true for lightening hair. Staying within a few shades lighter or darker of your natural shade will look the most natural.

Tips and warnings

  • Warm skin tones often have eyes that are golden brown, green, green blue, hazel, reddish-brown or eyes with gold or brown flecks.
  • Cool skin tones have eye colours of deep brown, black-brown, grey blue, dark blue, or hazel with white, grey or blue flecks.
  • Warm skin tones should avoid brassy blondes. They tend to look harsh. While blue, violet, white and jet-black hair will wash them out.
  • Cool skin tones should keep blondes on the ashy or sandy side and avoid gold, yellow, red and bronze tones, which can make skin appear sallow.

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