In this article you will discover how to find the best hair color for your skin tone.
How do you know what color is going to look best on your skin tone. What color do you choose?
Here I’m going to break down exactly how you can know easily in three steps what’s the best color for you.
First before I jump into the steps and explain all of that, we need to understand that there’s a difference between skin undertone and skin color.
Light or dark, that’s your skin color and that can change in the summer and the winter, depending on how much sun you’re getting. So there’s a lot of variants in that.
However, your skin undertone doesn’t change and your skin undertones are what either work well with certain colors or don’t work well with certain colors.
In this article I’m going to break down the three steps that are going to help you know exactly how to determine what your skin undertones are and then I’m also going to share how you use that knowledge to determine what colors to choose.
And then I’m going to share some tips that are going to help you navigate figuring out what color do you want to do, what’s going to make the most sense for you.
Before we dive into the steps, this is gonna help you if you’re going to the salon, it’s going to help you determine what colors you should be asking for and better understand your stylist so that the two of you can determine what color you should move towards.
But also if you’re going to be doing your hair at home, it’s going to help you understand when you go to the store or when you look to determine what color you’re going to use and you’re staring at all these boxes trying to figure out what all these letters mean and what’s the difference and which one do I use, this is going to help you understand all of that.
Let’s dive into the steps.
Table of Contents
Skin Tone Test
First thing you’re going to do is you’re going to get a piece of paper and on that piece of paper I want you to write on the side of the paper warm, cool, neutral.
On the top I want you to write 1, 2, 3.
The one, two, three are gonna represent the steps and then as we walk through these steps, you’re gonna put a little check mark next to if your undertones are warm cool or neutral.
And then at the end of this, you’re gonna have a good idea of which category you fall into and then from there I’m gonna share how you’re going to decipher what colors to move towards based on that.
Now simply look at your wrist and what you’re looking for is you’re looking for colors and really you can tell this by your veins.
If you look at your wrist or if you look at your veins and you’re seeing more purple or blue or violet tones in those veins, you’ll put a check mark next to cool.
More green or yellow tones, put a check mark next to warm.
If you look at your wrist and you can’t really figure out which of those two you fall into, then in that scenario you would put a check mark next to neutral.
That is the first step.
White Paper Test
For the next step you’re going to want to grab a piece of white paper and then you’re going to take it into natural sunlight or natural light. The perfect scenario would be that it’s overcast outside, you go stand next to the window. That would be ideal.
But as long as you’re in natural lighting and not inside, like your bathroom or somewhere else, because a lot of interior lights can create different hues and tones so you might see things a little bit differently depending on how they are white balanced.
So natural lighting is key.
Now what you’re going to do is you’re going to grab a mirror, take that white paper and you’re going to put it up next to your neck. The back of your neck typically is not hit as much, especially if you’ve got longer hair or even bob length hair. That’s not hit as much by sun, so it’s a little easier to gauge.
If you’re seeing in your skin more pink, red or kind of rose tones, then you’re gonna put a mark in the cool category.
On the other hand, if you’re seeing more orange, peach, yellow tones, then you’re going to put a mark in the warm category.
If you don’t really know or you’re seeing a little bit of both or you’re still a little bit uncertain, you’re going to go ahead and throw a mark in the neutral category.
The last step you’re gonna take is going to be the easiest.
It is simply putting on your jewelry or really asking yourself which jewelry do you like the most.
Do you find yourself wearing silver jewelry the most or gold jewelry the most?
If you find yourself feeling much more comfortable and leaning towards silver jewelry, the vast majority, if not all the time, then you’re going to put a check in the cool column.
On the other hand, if you find yourself wearing gold all the time and that’s what you feel the most comfortable in, then you’re going to put a check in the warm column.
If you have a tendency to jump back and forth and you feel equally as comfortable in both, then you’re going to put a check in the neutral column.
I told you this step is easy.
How to Use Test Results
The question is, you’ve got this information, what do you do with it?
You’re going to look at those checks and see which category do the majority of those fall into.
Do you fall into more of a warm, cool or neutral skin tone?
If you find yourself in the warm category, then you’re going to want to stick to colors with a warm base or a warmer base.
If you find yourself more in the cool categories, then you’re going to want to find colors that have more of a cool undertone.
I know, rocket science, right? 🙂
If you find yourself more in the neutral category, you’re lucky. You get a kind of jump between both of them and likely most all of them are going to be strong on your skin tone.
Yes there are exceptions to every rule, but for the most part, you’re going to be able to jump a little bit back and forth.
Now that we’ve determined your skin undertones and we know what color families you should live with, I’m going to tell you how to figure out which color family these colors are and what’s the difference.
I’m going to explain to you how you take this information and then use it to help you decide on exactly what color that you should get and then I’m going to give you some questions that will help you either better communicate with your stylist, so that you can be on the same page and you can best determine together what color is gonna work best for you.
Or you can ask yourself if you’re gonna do your color at home to help you decide which direction to travel in when you start looking at inspiration photos, what do you want to start searching for.
I’m going to walk you through some questions that are going to make all of that a lot easier.
The first thing you have to understand is there is a difference between levels of color and color undertones.
Levels of color speak to lightness or darkness in color. For instance, there are levels one through ten, one being black, ten being white blonde.
That speaks to the lightness of the color, but then each level has different undertones. For instance, let’s say you picked a level six. That would be something a medium brown.
Just because you look at a level six in different colors, doesn’t mean that they all are going to have the same undertone. You might get a medium brown that is a gold undertone. That would work better for somebody with a warm skin tone.
Or you might find one that has more of a blue undertone, which is going to work better for somebody with a cool skin tone.
Regardless they’re both going to say level 6 brown on the box.
But what you need to know is what keywords you’re looking for, so that you can determine the best route to head, that’s going to work best for your skin tone.
The key words you want to pay attention to when it comes to cool are things like:
Those are all cooler tones, cooler undertones and those are going to look nicer if you have a cooler skin undertone.
that’s gonna function better if you have a warmer skin tone.
Let’s talk about some questions.
Some questions that you want to ask yourself that are going to help you decide what direction to head in or better communicate with your stylist so the two of you can decide what direction to head in.
The first question that I ask clients when we’re talking about color is what color do you want to be, meaning what level of color do you want to be.
Do you want to be darker, do you want to be lighter?
We need to first kind of figure out the rough range so that we can determine where to head in that range.
Then the next question is if you want to do highlights or low lights. And that just means do you want dimension or do you want one all over color.
If you want dimension then you’re talking about putting in highlights or low lights.
From there my next question would be how much of your hair do you want to be your base color, natural color versus how much do you want of your highlights.
For example, you may say:
I want 50% of my hair to be the darker color, the base color, and I want 50% to be highlights of a different color or low lights of a different color.
Get in your mind kind of how much of your overall color you want to be different colors.
The reason that’s important is because, let’s say for instance, you want a brown overall base color, but you want some blonde highlights.
If you add in 75% of your hair blonde highlights, it’s going to make your entire overall hair color look lighter.
So you might want to think maybe I should go a little darker with that base tone than I would be thinking because the other tones are going to make it appear a bit brighter. You want to take that into consideration.
The other question you want to ask yourself is how much maintenance do you want to deal with?
When it comes to maintenance you want to think about two different things.
First you want to think of how far is the base color you decided on, that level of color, how far is that from your natural color.
The farther it is from your natural, the faster you’re going to see roots.
The second thing you want to think of is how many highlights did you decide that you want, how much of that hair do you want to be highlighted.
If you want more of it, you’re going to see again, that grow up more dramatically. It’s going to mean that you’re going to need more maintenance or maintenance more often.
So you definitely want to pay attention to those things too.
But take those questions and ask yourself those questions and then use the answers to those questions to either better communicate with your stylist so that you guys can be on the same page or use that as motivation to start looking for inspirational pictures to determine which direction you should head.
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Samantha is a hairstylist with over 12 years of color and stylist experience. She enjoys using her knowledge to create what her clients really want when they sit down in her chair. Her passion is creating unique looks that her clients feel great in.