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For Better Colour Results, Know Your Starting HairColour & Tone

START WITH THE BASICS

Getting the haircolour you really love starts with two basics: your starting colour, which is your current colour, and your tone. Here you’ll find an explanation of both to help you find your perfect shade for gorgeous colour results.

YOUR STARTING COLOUR

Knowing where to start anything is half of the proverbial battle, especially when it comes to haircolour. Like the way we sort our make-up application into steps, haircolour can be divided into similar categories, making what seems like a puzzle that much easier to put together.

To determine where you can take your hair in terms of colour, the most important factor is what your haircolour is right now. If you already colour your hair, this means that you need to go with the current colour as your starting colour, not the one you were born with.

For instance, you may be medium brown naturally, but if you’re currently colouring your hair to a light brown shade, light brown should be the colour you use as your starting colour. So what does all this mean in terms of changing your haircolour? The general rule of thumb in regard to haircolour is that if you have not previously coloured, you can successfully change your haircolour up to two levels lighter or darker than your starting colour.

If you currently have medium brown hair, for example, you could lighten it to a light brown, or a dark blonde, or go darker to a dark brown.

However, if your hair is previously coloured, you can go two levels darker, but only up to one level lighter to avoid off-toned results.

As always, if you have highlights or desire to go more than two levels lighter or darker than your current colour, we suggest that you call 1.800.777.1052 for expert Clairol advice, or visit a salon.

YOUR TONE

Tone has different meanings in different contexts. In music, when the tones of a composition are harmonious, when they are written in the same key, the resulting sound is pleasing. Conversely, when unharmonious tones are heard in unison, the sound could be less than pleasing.

We can use this as an analogy to discuss tone in haircolour. In terms of hair and skin tone, there are warm and cool tones. The way to determine if you are warm or cool is by your skin tone and eye colour. A good place to begin is to think about the colours you feel really great in—the ones that garner many compliments when you wear them. Chances are that those colours are in the same family as your own tone.

As you will see below, setting the tone to be in harmony with your colouring, whether cool or warm, is crucial to the composition of your look.

Warm Tones

People with warm colouring look best in warm tones, which are based in the gold/copper colour family. Warm colouring includes a variety of skin tone and eye colour combinations, including golden brown hair with fair skin and hazel eyes, golden blonde hair with fair, peachy skin and blue eyes, and golden olive skin with black hair and brown eyes. Redheads generally fall into this category. Skin will have a yellow undertone.

Do you look better in peach than pink? Do you look better in gold jewelry than silver jewelry? Then you are probably warm. Some words that will help you determine if a shade of haircolour is warm and will work with your colouring are “golden,” “bronze,” and “copper.” Warm tones in hair colour will add warmth to your haircolour, which is often seen as red or gold.

Cool Tones

People with cool colouring look best in cool tones, which are based in the blue/violet colour family. Cool colouring includes a variety of skin tone and eye colour combinations, including dark hair with fair skin and blue eyes, blonde hair with fair, rosy skin and blue eyes, and very dark to black skin with black hair and deep brown eyes. Skin will have a pink undertone.

Do you look better in navy than camel? Do you look better in silver jewelry than gold jewelry? Then you are probably cool. Some words that will help you determine if a shade of haircolour is cool and will work with your colouring are “ash,” “platinum” and “champagne.” Cool tones in haircolour will decrease the warmth of your haircolour and are often used to tone down brassiness.