How to select a hair colour to compliment your skin's undertone

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Main Image Credit:
Nick Matthews, The Chapel Tunbridge Wells

Despite what we’d love to believe, not every hair colour suits every skin tone. Though you can dream of strawberry blonde or are convinced you’ll cut a striking figure in a raven black, it might not be the right colour to fit your skin tone. Matching your hair colour and skin tone doesn’t take an exact science- so long as you understand your skin’s natural undertone is and which colours compliment it the most naturally.

Your skin undertone

The most important thing to do is identify what kind of skin undertone you have. Finding this out is a very simple test. Firstly, make sure that you wash your face thoroughly and is free of make-up. Then, choose a well-lit room, preferably one with lots of windows to let in natural light. Your skin will have a different undertone dependent on the light you stand in, so it’s important you do this test in as natural a place as possible. Once you’re in the right light, do a colour test.

Hold up a piece of clothing or fabric against your face in a variety of warm and cold colours, like blue and green or red and yellow. If your skin looks better next to the cooler colours, it’s more likely you have a cool undertone. If it looks better next to the warmer colours, you have a warm undertone. If you’re still not convinced, take a look at the veins on your hands and wrists. People with warmer skin have greener veins, while cooler skin has blue or purple.

Colours for warm undertones

If you have a warm undertone, you might want to choose a hair colour that is a little cooler to compliment your dynamic features. Women with lighter skin should consider paler blonde shades in platinum or champagne colours that frame the naturally strong undertone of the face. Alternatively, a fashionable silvery-blonde colour will also compliment your skin tone nicely. If you’re leaning towards darker colours, then you want ones that have a little pop to them, like a chocolate brunette, auburn red or even as vibrant as amber. Celebrities like Jessica Chastain and Kerry Washington are great examples of this trend.

Colours for cool undertones

For those with a cooler undertone, a similar message resounds- pick a colour that will compliment your undertone. Something warm and rich will emphasise the dewy glow of the cooler skin tone. You want to avoid a colour that will wash out your complexion. For those wanting to go blonde, head more towards honey or beachy blonde colours that veer towards the ‘bronde’ colour, rather than whiter shades. For darker hair, look for rich brunette colours but stay clear of totally black hair- it may wash you out rather than compliment your complexion. Cool skin tones are also great for experimenting with brighter pastel hair colours like lilac and pistachio but stay away from anything too grey or silver.

The right hair colour can transform your look completely, so consider this helpful guide before you book your next appointment at the salon. Happy hair colouring!

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