How to Choose the Best Hair Color For Your Skin Tone, According to a Celebrity Stylist
New year, new color.
It's a new year and chances are you're probably thinking of a few changes you want to make to your look. For me, I've decided that I want to switch up my hair color this year.
My hair has been dark brown since I was born. Sure, I've played with a few different weave colors, and I've had extension highlights, but my natural color has remained the same.
As a teenager, my friends told me horror stories about their hair dye mishaps, and I think this is what triggered my fear of dyeing my hair. But I'm finally ready to shake things up.
To get myself ready for this momentous occasion, I spoke to a few colorists who confirmed that the key to sporting a new hair color that looks great, is choosing one that complements my skin tone.
“Anybody can wear any hair color, but you have to make sure the color is adjusted to suit your skin tone and hair type,” says celebrity colorist Rita Hazan. “I’ve made Beyoncé super blonde over the years but I use a honey blonde that works well with her skin tone, rather than a baby blonde.”
Ahead, Hazan shares more of tips to keep in mind before choosing your next hair color.
Make Sure You Know Your Undertone
To get a general idea of what hair color will suit your skin tone, it’s best to start by determining your undertone. Undertones, as the name suggests, are the colors underneath the surface of your skin. Knowing where you fall in this spectrum and choosing a hair color to compliment this tone, will give you the best results and vibrant color that enhances your overall appearance.
Most people fall into one of three categories: warm, cool, or neutral. If you're not sure what yours is, there are a few simple ways to find out.
Hazan suggests looking at how your skin reacts to the sun. “Those who burn easily in the sun usually have cool undertones, and those who tan easily usually have warm undertones,” she explains.
Another way to find out your undertone is by looking at your wrist. If your veins look greenish, then you have warm undertones. If your veins are blue or purplish, you have cooler undertones, and if your veins appear colorless or match the color of your skin, you have a neutral undertone.
How to Choose the Right Shade
Now that you know your undertone, choosing a hair color to suit your skin is a much easier task — and your colorist should be able to show you different options.
“Honey, toffee, and caramel tones work well with darker skin tones," says Hazan. "The lighter your skin the blonder or more platinum you can go.” She also suggests looking at images of people who have your skin tone and hair type, to get an idea of which colors will suit you.
“I’m Egyptian, if I look at an image of a white girl, I know the color will not be the same; a different hair texture and different ethnicity will result in a different color altogether," she continues. "Look for people of the same race and pick a color that works for them that you like.”
If you want to start with a subtle color change, Hazan recommends staying close to your natural color and going a few shades lighter. “A lot of brunettes have issues with getting brassy," she says. "If you are a brunette, it’s best to keep your natural color in a light brown category and make it blonder with highlights.”
Different seasons and where you live also play a big part in what hair color will suit your skin tone. “If you live in a warm climate like California, you can continuously be blonde and it will suit your skin tone," she says. "But if you live somewhere like New York, where there are four seasons, you’ll want to change your hair color to suit each season, this can be done by going warmer in the winter and lighter in the summer.”
Maintaining Your New Hair Color
“Make sure you use products for color-treated hair, they help to lengthen the life of your color,” says Hazan. “No matter what happens, it’s natural for your hair color to fade. It’s similar to when you first get a manicure, it starts off shiny and the color is bright but towards the end of the week, it gets dull because of natural oxidation.”
Hazan explains that she always uses Rita Hazan True Color Ultimate Shine Gloss on her client's to enhance their color, so it stays balanced with their skin tones. “Using a gloss in the shower between shampooing and conditioning is like applying a top coat to your hair, it helps to keep the hair shiny and revitalizes the color," she says. "Glossing is the salon secret to keeping your color vibrant and your hair as shiny as the day you got it colored.”
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Below, Hazan shares a few examples of how she adapted various shades of blonde on different celebrities to match their skin tone.
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“This is a great way to go blonde for more olive complexions," the stylist says. "Her base color is a bit lighter, more of a milk chocolate with honey highlights to give her the effect of being blonde without washing out her skin tone.”
“This baby blonde is perfect for lighter skin tones with brown eyes," says Hazan. "It works great for Jessica's complexion and it’s still sun-kissed to give her a beach vibe. Since Jessica has darker hair, she needs a more buttery blonde tone to look natural and pretty.”
“This color is great for a lighter skin complexion with hazel eyes," Hazan shares. "For this look I kept her hair a rich chocolate brown and added very natural highlights to add dimension, keeping her warm but not brassy brunette."
According to the celeb stylists, “This is a great way to be blonde as a Latina. She has darker roots to give her depth combined with a honey blonde color.”
“This is perfect for more of a light olive skin tone with light blue eyes and very dark natural hair," she explains. "Madonna loves to be golden blonde, with bright blonde highlights. Being more golden works for her as it brings out the glow in her skin tone.”
“This works because it’s a warm tone platinum," says Hazan. "The warmth in it works well with her darker complexion and keeps her looking glowy, not sallow.”