How To Choose The Right Hair Color For Your Skin Tone — And How To Figure Out What Type Of Skin Tone You Have

You know that you really should schedule an appointment with a stylist to go for that totally new hair color you’ve been lusting after, but for simpler treatments, it’s tempting to save some money and do your own color at home. But knowing what hair color is right for your skin tone is difficult — especially with all of the ombre, blonde and, unexpectedly enough, even gray hair color trends of the past few years. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Just take a peek in the hair color aisle of any beauty supply store and you’ll quickly see that the options are much, much more complicated than simply blonde or brown.

While the old beauty rules don’t really apply anymore (that is, you can really wear any hair color that you like, because it’s a free country and also becuase hair coloring techniques have advanced a ton), it is important to know the right shade of hair color for your specific skin tone. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do, say, blonde hair on dark skin, it just means that in order for it to look as flattering as it possibly can, you should choose the warmth or coolness of the color depending on your unique skin tone. In case you’re next big question is, “Um, what is my skin tone?” here are a few basic tips from stylists that will help you to zero in on your specific shade and decide how to apply that to the hair color of your dreams.

1. Wash your face completely.

In order to accurately determine your skin’s undertones, you’ll need to completely remove all traces of makeup that may be changing its natural color.

2. Choose a well-lit room.

Because your skin looks drastically different under different types of light (i.e., the awful experiences that we’ve all surely had in dressing room fluorescents), choose a room with a large window or other source of natural light before doing this test.

3. Do a color test.

Hold a shirt in a bright shade of green or blue against your face, then take it down and hold up a different shirt in a shade of red or yellow. If your skin looks better against the blue shirt, you likely have cool-toned skin. If it looks better against the red shirt, you have warm-toned skin.

4. Examine your veins.

If you’re still unsure about your skin tone, look at the veins in your wrist. People with cool skin tones have blue or purple veins, while people with warmer skin tones have greenish veins.

After you’ve figured it out for yourself, you can move on to the fun part —choosing a hair color.