How to Find the Perfect Hair Color for Your Skin Tone?

Admit it: you saw Kylie Jenner’s transition to a cool platinum blonde and you’ve been wondering if you could pull it off ever since. You found one of those online hairstyle generators, so you uploaded a selfie, tried the look…and you looked like a corpse bride. The reason this happened (besides the reality that Kylie has a whole team of people dedicated to making her look fabulous) is that shades and tones of hair can vary in appearance when paired with different tones of skin. Everyone has a different undertone, ranging from cool to warm. This doesn’t just mean your skin is light or dark, either. Some of us with fair skin have ‘warm’ tones, and some of us with dark skin have ‘cool’ tones. Keep reading for tips on how to figure out what tone your skin is, and what hair color will flatter you the most!

Determine whether you have cool or warm skin tone

This is the most crucial step to find out what tone of color will complement you the most. If you are able to accurately pinpoint your skin tone, you will be able to pull off any shade from the darkest brown to the blondest of blondes (and every shade of red in between). Cool skin tones have pink and olive undercurrents, while warm skin tones have yellow and peach. It’s also possible to fall right in the middle of the spectrum (this is called neutral, duh), and lucky you – that means you can pull off anything!

Wash off all your makeup

This is the first step to determining your real skin tone. No matter how well the specialist at Sephora matched your foundation, it’s very important to see your natural skin to understand what your tone is. For some, you may be able to tell just by looking at your skin color – especially if you’re able to compare it with someone else’s. Use the skin on your neck for the best results; it’s less likely to be pigmented from the sun, and it is the truest to your natural color.

Check your veins

Vein color is often (but not always) a quick and easy way to determine the color of your skin’s undertone. When you look at your veins, do they appear blue-ish purple? This means you have cool-toned skin. And if they appear more green? You’re warm. If this test didn’t give you a definitive answer (we honestly can’t tell if our veins are purple, blue, green, or rainbow) not to worry – there are other ways to find out – keep reading.

Try the T-shirt test

Take a bright yellow t-shirt, and hold it up to your face. Does your face look bright and vibrant, or sallow and shadowy? Next, try the same test with a solid blue t-shirt. If your skin looks best next to a yellow t-shirt, you most likely have warm undertones – and if it looks better next to blue, you are cool. If you look great with both colors? You are very blessed!

Eye Color

Which category does your eye color fall under? Black, dark brown, grey and steel blue, or green, hazel, warm blue, and golden-brown? If your eye color falls under the former category, you most likely have cool-toned skin. If it falls under the latter, you’re warm. Note: this test isn’t always foolproof (case in point: Vanessa Williams) because genetics are crazy!

Can you tan?

It’s a fabulous summer day, and you spend the afternoon poolside lounging on a Turkish towel. When you step back inside a few hours later: are you a sunburnt tomato, or a bronzed goddess? If your skin is able to tan well and rarely burns, you are most likely warm-toned. If you burn very easily, your skin is most-likely cool. A word of warning, though – even if you’re able to tan well, don’t skip out on the sunscreen! Wrinkles don’t work with any skin tone.

The paper test

We’re fairly sure you’ve probably figured out your skin tone by now, but in case you’re still totally clueless, here’s one last test. Grab a sheet of white paper, and hold it up against your face. Does the white paper make your face look uneven and shadowy? Or does it make your face look glowing and vibrant? If you’re face looks good next to the white paper, you are most likely cool-toned, and if you have some shadows, you are most likely warm.

I think I know my undertone – now what?

Color theory applies to everything from clothing, to makeup, to hair color. If you have a warm skin tone, your hair will work best with cooler colors like ashy or platinum blonds, cool chestnuts, and dark auburns. If your skin trends towards a cool undertone, you’ll look fabulous in honey blondes, golden browns, and warm reds and blacks.

Still not sure? Ask an expert

Hairstylists go through years of training so that they can understand the subtle differences between different shades and tones of every natural (and unnatural) hair color. Particularly if you feel like going for a more dramatic color change – for example, a light blonde, a dark black, or a vibrant red – book a consultation with a color specialist and put your hair in their expertise.

Strand test!

If you decide to take color matters into your own hands, more power to you! Find your color match, and purchase the right dye, toners, and bleach, if needed. At this point, it may be incredibly tempting to start slathering on the mixture – don’t do it! The last thing you really feel like doing is waiting another several hours, but you’ll thank us if there are any near-disaster mixology mistakes. Take a small strand of hair at the base of your head, and apply your dye according to the instructions. Rinse and dry it, and check out the final color next to your skin. If it looks great, carry on!

Stay beautiful!

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