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How To Choose The Right Hair Color To Match Your Skin Tone

Your natural hair color and skin color are the same tone. Put simply, warm skin tones look best with warm hair colors and cool skin tones look best with cool hair colors.

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Did you know your natural hair color tends to be neutral in tone if you aren’t a natural redhead?

Your natural hair could also be warm or cool in tone, which is an important factor to consider if you’re thinking about changing up your look. Learning which skin tone you have is the first step to understanding what hair colors will suit you the best.

But what does it all mean, really? Put simply, the color tones we choose for our hair should be in harmony with those of our skin. Warm skin tones look best against warm hair colors, and cool tones look best in cool hair colors. Sounds simple, right? Well, kind of, once you’ve figured out the undertones of your skin - and that's where we come in.

How do you find your skin undertone?

There are three types of skin undertones that most people fall into:

  • • Cool-toned - Cooler tones are defined by blueish or pink hues in the skin.
  • • Warm-toned - Warmer undertones are usually peachy, yellow or golden in color. 
  • • Neutral undertones - If your skin is neutral, your undertones are similar to your natural skin - with a combination of both warm and cool tones. 

If you have an olive skin tone, you can have any of the above colors below the surface of your skin with the addition of green, gray or yellowish hues characteristic of this skin type.

It's important to differentiate these undertones from the natural color of your skin - which has no correlation to your skin's undertone. Pale skin doesn't automatically mean cool undertones, for example. Light skin can have a warmer skin tone, while medium and darker skin can have cooler undertones, and vice versa.

Why is this important, you ask? Well, your undertone will determine what color clothes, jewelry, make-up and hair color suit you best. Use the following methods to find yours...

1. Check your veins

One of the quickest and simplest ways to determine your skin tone is to check your veins. Purple and blue veins indicate a cool skin undertone, while green veins indicate a warm skin undertone. See both? You’re most likely neutral.

Those with fair skin or more prominent veins will find the vein test easier. If you're struggling or are still unsure, you can try a combination of methods to determine your tone.

2. The paper test

All you need for the paper test is a mirror and a piece of white paper. Look in the mirror and hold the white piece of paper up to your face (or alternatively, wrap a crisp white sheet around your shoulders).

  • • If you see a hint of yellow or orange on your skin against the paper, you have warm undertones.
  • • If your skin looks blueish, red or pink, you have cool undertones
  • • If you're somewhere in the middle, you've got a neutral skin tone

3. The window test

Stand near a window with a mirror and peer into your eyes. Does the skin beneath your eyes look yellowish green (indicating a warm tone) or more purple-y with blue undertones (indicating a cool tone)?

4. The blusher test

Dust pink blush onto one cheek and peach blush on the other cheek. Apply it heavier than you typically would (don’t worry, you won’t be walking around like this!). Stand near a window and look into a mirror.

Does the pink blusher pick up pink tones in your skin? If so, you’re most likely cool-toned.

If the peach blusher brings out yellow-gold tones, that means your skin is warm-toned.

5. Try on some jewelry

Trying on gold and silver jewelry can be a good indication of your skin tone. Typically, those with cool undertones will suit silver jewelry better, while those with warm undertones will pop in gold jewelry. Looking good with both? You're most likely a neutral skin tone - lucky you!

6. Finally, do you tan easily?

If you come home from a sunny vacation with a tan, you're most likely rocking a warm skin tone. Those whose skin easily burns or goes pink in the sun are cool-toned. If you can tan but notice pink tones in your skin, you're most likely neutral.

So, how does all this help me pick the right hair color?

Once you've identified your skin's undertones, you can determine the best shades of hair color to suit your complexion. Typically, cool skin tones match cooler hair colors, like a platinum shade, cool brown, or ashy hue. Warm skin tones, on the other hand, are complemented by warmer hair colors like golden brown or blonde, bronze, and copper-red hair dyes.

Of course, you have to consider both your natural skin tone and your undertones to know what will complement your full complexion - as different skin colors favor different hair colors (as well as clothes and makeup colors).

So, let's break this down...

If you have…

You should go for…

We recommend you try…

Light skin with cool undertones

A striking cool, icy platinum blonde or ashy hue beautifully complements this type of complexion. You could also try cool shades of purple and red for something darker.

Ideally, you want to avoid yellow or brassy hues if you have pale skin and cool undertones. These shades can make your skin look dull - and we don't want that!

Nice'n Easy Light Ash Blonde

Nice'n Easy Ultra Light Cool Blonde

Nice'n Easy Lightest Auburn

Blonde It Up Crystal Glow Toner Luminous Pearl

Natural Instincts 8A Linen Medium Cool Blonde

Light skin with warm undertones

Those with naturally light hair and fair skin against warm undertones are best suited to warm blonde hair colors — like honey and golden hues — to complement the warmth in your skin. Anyone with this complexion and naturally darker hair look great with warm brunette shades like silky chocolate brown, caramel brown, and golden brown.

Nice'n Easy Light Golden Blonde

Natural Instincts Golden Honey Dark Golden Blonde

Natural Instincts Golden Cappuccino Dark Golden Brown

Light skin with neutral undertones

Those with fair skin and neutral undertones are lucky! You will look radiant with lighter colors of any tone. Reddish-blondes, caramel hues, cool, neutral or light auburn shades are all flattering hair colors you can try.

Nice'n Easy Medium Copper Blonde

Natural Instincts Autumn Bronze Light Caramel Brown

Color Gloss Up Rose All Day

Medium skin with cool undertones

Cool tones in a darker shade will suit a medium complexion with cool undertones to perfection! Rich brunettes and darker blonde shades will balance out any redness in your skin - and will complement your deep brown or blue eyes beautifully.

Natural Instincts Clove Medium Cool Brown

Nice'n Easy Dark cool blonde

Natural Instincts Bold Violet Passiflora

Medium skin with warm undertones

Get that tan poppin' with honey-brown hues, warm reds, or caramel colors that will look radiant against your warm, medium skin tone.

Looking for something lighter? Avoid super light or platinum blonde and opt for a warm shade that will complement your bronzed complexion. Alternatively, try a balayage technique for a beautiful blend of warm colors.

Nice'n Easy Medium Auburn

Nice'n Easy Medium Golden Brown

Natural Instincts Hot Cocoa Medium Bronze Brown

Nice'n Easy Dark Blonde

Medium skin with neutral undertones

A neutral complexion paired with a medium skin tone can opt for warm or cool colors. A golden chestnut brown hair color or deep red hue is our color of choice for you - but there's truly a range of flattering colors you can try to make your skin glow. Why not explore our Color Gloss Up range to try something bright and bold?

Nice'n Easy Deep Burgundy

Nice'n Easy Medium Warm Chestnut Brown

Nice'n Easy Truest Red

Color Gloss Up Hot Pink

Dark skin with cool undertones

You've probably picked up on a pattern now: cool undertones are best suited to cool hair colors. For cool, deeper skin colors, a cooler dark brown or black hair color is stylish, sophisticated and oh-so-flattering - especially if you already have naturally dark hair.

Natural Instincts Nutmeg Dark Brown

Textures & Tones Dark Brown

Textures & Tones Silken Black

Nice'n Easy Darkest Burgundy Violet

Dark skin with warm undertones

If you've got deep skin with warm undertones, you can play around with many warm hair colors - from honey-blonde hues to warm reds and golden brunette shades. If your hair is naturally dark, an ombre or balayage technique is an excellent choice to help enhance your golden undertones while keeping your dark roots natural.

Textures & Tones Honey Blonde

Textures & Tones Light Golden Brown

Nice'n Easy Medium Reddish Brown

Clairol Balayage For Brunettes

Dark skin with neutral undertones

Darker skin tones with a neutral complexion can try anything from ashy tones to fiery reds and golden shades - though we recommend choosing a color that's close to your natural shade if you're only looking for a subtle lift.

Textures & Tones Cocoa Brown

Textures & Tones Blazing Burgundy

Textures & Tones Bronze

Natural Instincts Bold Dragon Fuchsia

Looking for more hair color inspiration? We've got a range of at-home hair dyes to suit all your hair needs. Choose from permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary and find your perfect shade match today. Plus, get more inspiration, tips and tricks by visiting our blog.

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