How to Choose the Best Hair Color for Your Skin Tone
Shopping for a new hair color? To go with your instinct is more fun, but selecting a hue based on your skin tone will ensure a color that looks good in person, on camera, and stands the test of time. Ahead, Cristin Armstrong, colorist at Ammon Carver Studio in NYC and founder of Humane Beauty, breaks down the best hair colors according to skin tone, including the shades that look gorgeous on and complement warm, cool, and dark complexions.
Warm and Gold Undertones
- Honey blonde—Enhances warmth in skin and creates a natural glow. Ex: Blake Lively.
- Caramel—It looks great on warm/medium to dark complexions that want to go lighter because it’s not too warm but contains just the right amount. Ex: Jennifer Lopez.
What to avoid: A cooler tone like ash brown will not accentuate the skin and bring out warmth, thereby masking it.
- Champagne Blonde—This blonde has cooler undertones that complements skin tones with cooler undertones. Ex: Emma Roberts.
- Chestnut—It contains just the right amount cooler pigments that create a flattering brown for people that have cool undertones. Ex: Dakota Johnson.
What to avoid: Golden blonde. If the tones are overly golden, they will not be flattering and look too yellow.
Neutral and Olive Skin Tones
- Bronde works well on neutral tones. When you have neutral under tones, you look good in most colors. Bronde is a mix of brown and blonde and can be tweaked warmer or cooler to best suit the client. Ex: Jessica Biel.
- Chocolate brown with honey highlights looks great on darker hair with an olive skin tone that needs some brightness around the face and ends of the hair. Ex: Lily Aldridge.
What to avoid: Copper isn’t flattering because it has too much orange and does not flatter their skin tone, making it too warm.
Pale Skin Tones
- Platinum blonde—Cool tones look great on fair complexions and complements the underlying pigment of their skin tone canceling out the red. Ex: Michelle Williams.
- Strawberry blonde—Works well on pale skin tones. I mix a bit of cool tone into my formula so it’s not too warm. Ex: Nicole Kidman.
What to avoid: Dark ash will wash out a person with fair skin making them look too pale.
Medium to Dark Complexions
- Caramel—Looks great if you want to go lighter and it is neutral enough to complement the skin tone. Ex: Beyoncé.
- Espresso—Also works well creating a deep, rich-enhancing brown that complements a dark complexion. Ex: Bella Hadid.
What to avoid: Light golden hair will not complement this complexion because it’s too yellow and creates too much warmth for this skin tone to support.