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Match Your Hair Color with Your Skin Tone!

by Nancy, Marketing Director

What Is Skin Tone?

Skin tone is the term used to describe your skin's warmth or coolness. For example, warm colored skins have yellow, red or peach undertones, while cool skins have undertones of pink, blue or violet. Although complexions can range from dark and olive to fair and light, basically skin tones are grouped into two categories--warm and cool. While many people can easily determine whether they have a warm or cool complexion, others may not be certain until they consider a few factors.

How Does Color Affect Skin Tone?

Color can affect a person's skin tone dramatically. When a person is fair-skinned and she wears a light color, such as white or light pink, it can make her skin tone look even lighter or blend into the shirt, not showing any contrast. That will also have the same effect when a person with a dark complexion wears a dark color. The wrong hair color can make you look tired, older, or even unhealthy. But the right cut and color can make you look younger and slimmer and can even appear to alter the shape of your face. The main trick to finding the right hair color is to complement, not match, your skin’s undertones.

When you have a light complexion, wearing a light color can really wash a person's skin tone out completely. You can actually look like you have lighter skin, or your skin can look like it is the same color as the shirt you are wearing. For example a person wearing a white t-shirt, while having a light complexion will look washed out and look as if the shirt is actually their skin, because they are so similar.

Wearing or using certain colors that contrast with your skin tone can actually help your skin tone look more flattering and it won't wash out the color of your skin. For example, if you have dark or tanned skin and you wear a white tank top, your skin will give the illusion of looking even tanner. In comparison, if you have fair skin and you wear a dark cobalt blue color, your skin will show up more and not blend directly into the color you are wearing.

Determine Skin Tone!

Besides considering your original hair color and skin, another method to decide skin tone is by examining your arm veins. While veins appearing blue go with cool skin tones, veins with a greenish tint belong to people with warm skin tones. People with cool skin tones have arms that appear bluish when held next to white paper. If they look green, then you have a warm undertone. Women of color (Indian, Black, Latino, Middle-Eastern, and Asian) generally have a warm undertone.

For those after a more thorough confirmation you can try wrapping a white article of clothing around your neck after freshly washing your face and looking in a mirror to see if your skin looks yellow (warm) or blue (cool). Holding a white piece of paper up to your face also does the trick, as does seeing if a bronze/orange (warm) or a hot pink (cool) colored piece of clothing looks better up against your skin. The same goes for silver (cool) or gold (warm) jewelry. You take a piece of gold jewelry and a piece of silver jewelry and place the jewelry against the skin. Whichever metal appears brightest (or stands out the most) against your skin is the type you are. Gold types are more suited to warmer colors. In hair color, these are the colors with bases of red, red-orange, orange, and gold (yellow). For Silver types, the color choices are cool tones. In hair color, these are the colors with bases of blue, blue-violet, violet and neutral (also called drab or green).

Look closely at your hair as the sun is shining on it. Look for the underlying base color that reflects off of your hair. If you see glints of red, orange or gold (yellow) you can choose hair colors with those base colors and feel safe. If the color glinting off your hair is bluish, purplish or greenish you will want to choose hair colors with the blue, violet, or neutral base colors.

Obvious Hints That You Are a Warm Color:

-Eye Color: Golden Brown, Green, Green Blue, Hazel, golden-brown or reddish-brown eyes or eyes having a gold or brown fleck
-Skin Tone: Brown with pink or golden undertones, Pale with peach or gold undertones, Freckles
-Natural Hair Color: Deep brown with gold or red highlights, Red, Strawberry Blonde, Golden Blonde

Obvious Hints That You Are a Cool Color:

-Eye Color: Deep brown or black-brown, Gray blue or dark blue, Hazel with white, gray or blue flecks
-Natural Hair Color: Blue black, Deep coffee brown, Medium ash brown, Medium golden brown, Salt n pepper, White

Skin Tones

For warm skin tones, consider these questions: Do you have skin that's mostly tan, gold or peachy? On the other hand, does your skin have greenish or cinnamon undertones? Did your childhood hair color range from strawberry blonde or brown to red or deep brown with golden or red highlights?

If so, then your skin tone is considered warm. Those with a yellow or golden skin undertone have a warm skin tone. What this all means is that hair colors that have a warm overtone will generally look natural and much better on you. You’ll find dark, warm browns, chestnuts, rich golden browns and auburns, warm gold and red highlights, and golden blond shades look best on you.This may be complimented by red, cinnamon, or copper streaks. Golden shades such as caramel and bronze in a darker shade than your skin are also recommended. Highlighting is a great way to add warm tones to your hair.  Highlight with golden blondes, copper streaks, and golden brown shades.

Warm Tones Avoid: Brassy blondes should also be avoided since they tend to look too harsh. Naturally warm people should avoid blue, violet, white and jet-black hair, which will seem to "wash out" your natural hair color.

If your skin tone is cool, then cool hair colors will make you look your best. Those with pink or blue skin undertones fall into the cool category. The most common ones include pink blushing cheeks on fair skin (where the skin is very pale/white and almost colorless, it's the blood in the skin that gives the pinkish white complexion) and where red pigments cluster together (causing what we call freckles) giving us ruddy complexions. This all means that hair colors that have a cool overtone will generally look much more natural on you. While almost anyone can look good with the right shade of red, people with cool skin tones tend to pull it off best. People with cool skin tones look best with hair colors such as intense brown, red, or blonde complimented by honey or ash highlights. The best hair color shades, depending on your skin tone, are shiny raven-wing blacks, cool ash brown hair colors, and cool blondes in shades ranging from mink to platinum and icy white. Ash blondes and cool browns work best to neutralize skin and avoid ruddiness which can sometimes be highlighted by gold, auburn, and copper tones. You're fortunate to be able to wear many exciting "unnatural" colors for lipstick try reds, burgundies, and orchids, for a more daring look.

Cool Tones Avoid: Naturally cool people should avoid gold, yellow, red and bronze tones, which have a tendency to make you look sallow and drawn.

Pink (WARM) - If you are very fair, burn before you tan, and your skin has pink or porcelain under tones you are of warm skin tone. If your skin is very pale, it's best to stick with light colors: blondes, warm blondes, gold, and coppers, natural to strawberry, also Ash brown or dark brown, or ash blonde. Avoid red or a yellow-toned blonde. If you have hazel, blue, or green eyes, anything from a light brunette to a medium blonde would look great. And, if your natural hair color is light, go with an auburn or strawberry color. Consider intense browns, reds or blonds for the base color. Pick golden, ash or honey highlights for contrast. If you are naturally a light blonde you probably don't want to suddenly change to a dark color or it will look abnormal. The same is true for dramatically lightening your hair color. It is usually best to stay within 4 levels of your natural shade, which still offers you a wide range of color choices. Look closely at your hair as the sun is shining on it. Look for the underlying base color that reflects off of your hair. If you see glints of red, orange or gold (yellow) you can choose hair colors with those base colors and feel safe.

Yellow (WARM) –You fall into this category if you are Caucasian and have beige or yellow undertones or if you are Asian or Light Mixed Race. Darker rich tones with blue tones like burgundy or deep auburn to balance out the sallow tones of your skin. For the fair girls with a healthy glow (warm undertones) you’ve got more colors to play with like a platinum blonde to the light browns. If your eyes are dark brown, black, or hazel color you should go with black, medium brown or golden brown hair. A wine or auburn color would enhance your natural color. If your eyes are hazel, blue, or green and your natural hair color is light brown to medium blonde, add light or golden highlights or choose a medium brunette color on the warm side. If your eyes are blue or green and you have naturally blonde hair, stay with golden blondes and very light brunette shades. Vivid red tones and warm reds will work well for you also. Avoid a yellow or golden hair color, which will make your skin look sallow. Instead, use a deep, rich base color like intense dark chocolate, chestnut, mahogany, or auburn. Ask your stylist for highlights in shades of cinnamon, red, burgundy, or dark copper, which will help neutralize the yellow in your skin.

Olive (COOL) – You fall into this category if you are Mediterranean, Latino, a Fair-skinned African American, or dark mixed-race. Consider a medium blonde to a dark brown. That is an extremely wide range of colors and tones you can play with, try out a few before you make a permanent decision! Stay dark, and you've got the perfect combination. You could always add a few burgundy lowlights if you like. If you have brown eyes, you should opt for dark brown or brunette shades. If your eyes are hazel, blue, or green, go with a light to medium brown. If your eyes are blue or green, chances are that you already have light hair naturally, and you can go light brunette or blonde.

Brown (COOL) – You fall into this category if you are African American, deep complexioned Indian or any other dark skin color. Your look is smooth, well polished, and you need to work with your dark tones if you're going to keep looking pulled together. For the most flattering look, stay between a medium brown and dark brown base color. Add highlights in the mid-light ranges of brown and lows in the darker more chocolaty browns. Keep the base natural or reddish. Red is your only warm option, unless you are pre lightening sections to achieve brighter colors. If your skin’s undertone color is warm, select colors that is a shade darker than your skin with a warm tone, such as a bronze or caramel color. Do not go too light gold, as you may wind up with orange hair. If your skin’s undertone is cool, stick with a light ash tone, burgundy or cool browns and avoid coppers, auburns, or any gold colors. Most women of color have brown eyes, but if your eyes are not brown, the guidelines above still apply. Yellow tint or sallow skin tones. If you have dark or hazel eyes, you will look great with shades from black to medium brown. Auburn or wine also will accentuate your own natural coloring. If you have hazel, blue, or green eyes, light browns and medium blondes will look good. If your eyes are blue or green and your hair is naturally blonde, go with a neutral or sandy blonde or opt for light brunette without a lot of warmth. And if your hair is naturally on the red side, keep the red subdued and don’t go too vibrant.

Cool Tones Avoid: Keep the blondes on the ashy or sandy side and stay away from gold colors.


If you had blonde hair as a kid, you'll likely look good with blonde hair as an adult. If you have pink skin that burns easily, and blue or green eyes, you'll look great with blonde hair, but avoid strawberry shades and deep golds.

  • Step 1: Start by asking yourself what your goal is. Subtle highlights? A dramatic new look? If you're planning a dramatic change, make sure you have the time and patience to maintain the look. Considering your lifestyle is an important part of finding the right hair color    
  • Step 2: Dark hair, lighter olive skin. The next issue to consider is light versus dark. The general rule is to make sure your hair contrasts with your skin, because if your hair color is too close to your skin color, it can you wash you out.
  • Step 3: High drama, high maintenance. Now, you might be thinking that Gwen Stefani looks great with pale skin and platinum blonde hair. But consider whether you are willing to wear the dramatic makeup that goes with her look--every day. The same advice applies to choosing an extreme contrast between hair and skin. Very dark hair and pale skin (or vice versa) can be very striking, but you will most likely need to amp up your makeup routine. If a dramatic hair color is right for you, you'll jump at this idea; if not, try something more subtle.
  • Step 4: Warm red, warm skin. The next consideration is whether your skin tone is warm or cool. Warm complexions have yellow or red undertones; cool colors have blue or green undertones. A good rule of thumb is to choose hair color in the same family as your skin. For example, honey blonde usually flatters warmer, darker skin tones more than platinum blonde would. A cooler red will look good on skin with blue undertones, while a warmer red hair color will flatter warmer skin.
  • Step 5: Once you've determined the tone you're looking for, consider hair colors in that family. Not sure about whether a hair color is warm or cool? Also, warm blondes are described in terms like honey or caramel, while cool blondes are platinum or champagne. A warm red is fiery; a cool red is closer to raspberry. Warm browns are chocolate and cool browns are ash.
  • Step 6: Cool tones, cool skin. One way to imagine hair color options is to think about what clothing colors or makeup shades look best on you. Another option is to find a style icon with a similar skin tone who changes hair color often.  At the very least, start looking at magazines to get ideas. By looking at how hair colors work on models with a similar skin tone, you will have a better chance of finding the right hair color for yourself.


Human hair extensions may be dyed; however, this is generally discouraged by most hair manufacturers. Most hair has been processed to a lesser or greater degree. Coloring the hair is another chemical process and will alter the condition, look and feel of the hair. We cannot guarantee the outcome of any chemical process. If you feel you must dye the hair piece, start by depositing color from lighter to darker using a no peroxide hair colorant. It is always a good item to test the colorant first with a small strand of hair from the piece you are planning to color.

Picture Credits:

Jada Pinkett Smith:
Rosario Dawson:
Jennifer Lopez:
Jessica Simpson:
Taylor Swift:
Masumi Max:
Alex Bledel:
Lindsay Lohan:
Queen Latifah:
Lily Allen:
Regina Spektor:
Kat Von D:
Jenny Lewis:
Alicia Keys:
Gabrielle Union:
Vivica Fox:
Jennifer Hudson:
Isla Fisher:
Nicole Scherzinger:
Lucy Liu:
Emmy Rossum:
Eva longoria:
Nicole Richie:

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