Choosing a Color Can Be Difficult: But Here’s How To Do It

The Importance of Choosing The Right Color

Choosing a hair color can be difficult, in fact, it’s less about the hair color you like and more about what hair color your skin likes. The perfect hair color will not only complement your skin tone and make your best facial features pop, it can also help you look years younger. Get it wrong and you could end up looking washed out, tired, unnatural and older!

This is a little known fact, even though 55 percent of women color their hair these days, and spend an average of $330 annually on hair color, according to a recent survey by Tresemme.  It’s a big point of confusion for a lot of consumers when they’re coloring their hair.

 “The biggest rule of thumb is that your natural hair color is the shade range that you should stay within if you want a natural look.” 

Go too far outside of it and you’re likely to wind up with hair that is not only damaged and dull, but fake-looking against your skin tone. Why? Because though they may be completely different colors at first glance, your skin and natural hair color have the same underlying pigments.

When you change your hair color with permanent hair dye, it lifts the outer color and reveals the natural underlying pigments—or highlights—in the hair. So for the longest-lasting and most natural-looking color, think about the color that the sun turns your hair during mid-summer months. Those tones are what comes naturally and what you should stick with when you dye your hair.

Hair color is measured in two ways: by the level and the shade. Color level runs on a scale of one to 10 with one being the darkest color, like jet-black and 10 being the lightest color, like platinum blonde. Within each of those levels are the color pigments—eumelanin (black-brown) and pheomelanin (red-brown), which control the shade of the hair.

Dark hair (levels 1-4), contains many red pigments and blonde hair (levels 7-10) consists of mainly golden pigments. If your hair shade is somewhere in the middle (levels 5-6), you’re going to have more orange pigments, a combination of the red and yellow.

Your skin tone also contains these underlying pigments. If you were born with black or brown hair, you will likely have warmer, earthy undertones in your skin like orange, brown, gold or orange-based red. If you were born with blonde hair, you probably have cooler skin undertones like blue, green, pink or blue-based red.

Those with warmer undertones in their skin will look better with a warmer hair color, like golden blondes or honey browns. Conversely, those with cooler undertones in their skin will look better with cooler hair colors, like ash blonde, black or auburn brown.

The Bottomline

Generally the makeup you are using should already tell you if you are a warm- or cool-toned person.  But if you are unsure, look at a vein in your arm under natural light. If it appears green, then you have warm tones, if it is blue then you have cool-toned skin.

A good colorist will study the overall skin tone, color of the eyes and age, according to Garrison. “The skin tone tells you what tone the hair should be.”


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