Skin Tone and Hair Color: What You Need to Know

August 17, 2017
Arron Marshall

Imagine: you’re out shopping for a new shirt and you find one with the cutest design and cut, but the color is all wrong! Chances are, you’re thinking about how the color matches (or doesn’t match) your skin. Just like any clothing or makeup you wear, the color of your hair is also affected by the color of your skin. A beautiful hair color can accentuate different colors of your skin and completely change your overall look. Here are some things you should consider when thinking about dyeing your hair!

Start with the Undertones

An undertone is what it sounds like: the color tones underneath the main skin color. Both your skin and hair have undertones, but the undertones of your skin can help you determine what type of hair color you should go for. Here are a few ways to test the undertones of your skin before dyeing your hair.

Choose Silver or Gold

Regardless of which color you like better, gold and silver jewelry can reveal the undertones of your skin! Hold up a piece of gold or silver jewelry to your face. Which goes with your skin tone better? Are you seeing more red when you hold gold up to your face? Does the silver make your face look more pale? If your skin goes better with gold, you have warm undertones. If silver is your best choice, your skin has more cool undertones.

What Happens in the Sun?

How your skin reacts to the sun is also a good indication of your skin’s undertone. If you are someone who burns then goes to a nice tan, you’re probably someone with a naturally warm undertone, since you probably have reds, oranges, or yellows underneath your skin tone. If you burn then turn back to pale, you probably have a cool undertone, with some blues, purples, or pinks mixed into your skin tone.

Naturals Tell All

Your natural hair color and eye color are also a good indication of what your undertone might be. If you’re someone with warm undertones, your eyes might be brown, amber, or hazel. Someone with warm undertones also might have blond, red, brown, or black hair with a variety of warm undertones. Someone with cool undertones could have blue, green, or gray eyes and blonde, black, or brown hair with cold undertones.

Look at Your Wardrobe

No one knows what colors look better on you than you. Look at your wardrobe. Do you have a lot of reds, yellows, or oranges in your wardrobe? Chances are, your undertone is also a warm red, yellow, or orange. Maybe you have plenty of greens, blues, and purples. These colors help show a cool undertone with a possibility of pink mixed in.

Still Can’t Decide?

Do you have a variety of both warm and cool colors in your closet? Do both silver and gold look good on you? Do you have a mix of warm and cool colors in your eyes and hair? You may have a neutral skin tone. With a neutral skin tone, you can choose what colors you want to emphasize with your new hair color!

Now What?

Once you know what your skin undertones are, it’s time to do some color matching. When it comes to hair color and undertones, there is no “one-color-fits-all.” You can choose if you want to emphasize the undertone or de-emphasize the undertone. What’s so amazing about hair dye is that the rainbow is the limit when it comes to color! If a hair dye doesn’t come in the color you need, you can work with your hairstylist to mix the color of your dreams. Here are some suggestions to help you decide your new color based on your skin’s undertones.

Warm Undertone

If you have a darker skin tone with a warm undertone, opt for a warmer hair color to bring out the gorgeous reds, oranges, browns, and yellows of your skin. Someone with warm undertones may look amazing with copper, gold, or other warm colors, as it can look like your skin is glowing and radiant.

If you have a lighter skin tone with too much of a warm undertone, find a hair color with cool undertones to lessen it. For example, if you have a kind of ruddy complexion with too much red, find a hair color with a cool undertone to lessen the red and bring out the main color of your skin!

Cool Undertone

Much like warm undertones, people with cool undertones have a variety of choices depending on their undertone and the main color of their skin. If you’re someone with extremely light skin and a blueish undertone, you can opt for a warmer color, like a warm red, to add more color to your skin.

If you have darker skin, go for a cooler black or brown to bring out those cool undertones for a gorgeous look! If you have olive skin, which is commonly thought of as warm, go for a warmer hair color to lessen the green undertones and bring out the warm colors that may be mixed into your skin!

Bottom Line

There’s no real right or wrong answer for what hair color works best for you! If you want bright pink, go for it! If you would rather have a neutral dark brown, do it! No matter what hue you choose, whether it’s a vibrant purple or a dark black, find a shade with a warm or cool tone to bring out different colors in your skin. Remember, if you don’t like your new hair color, you can always change it again. Go wild!

Do you want to learn more about what colors work best for each skin tone? Check out our cosmetologist program! Our students can learn hair coloring techniques they can use to help others achieve the hair color of their dreams.

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