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How To Find Best Hair Color For Your Skin Tone

photo of woman with multiple hair colors best hair color for skin tone

Betting on a new hair color can be a scary decision. If you’re a natural brunette, how are you supposed to have any reference point about what kind of dirty blonde hair ideas suit you? How can you find the best hair color for your skin tone if you're starting from square one?

The answer, friends, lies in the help of your hair stylist. Like painters, hair experts have gone through years of training to understand color theory. In practice, that means they can glance at your skin tone and assure you that you should be a honey blonde, not an ashy shade.

According to Jackie Epperson, Redken artist and brand ambassador, the process of finding the best hair color for your skin tone requires taking into account everything from the color palette in your closet to the kind of jewelry you prefer wearing. Keep reading to learn more!

Why is it so important to pick the right hair color for your skin tone?

Any artist will tell you that there’s a visible difference when clients find the proper hue for their complexions. Like a light bulb in a dark room, your skin comes to life when it’s flattered by certain shades around your face.

When your hair color plays really well, it brings out your best features...Your eyes look brighter, your skin glows, and you feel healthier.

Think of hair color as a part of your holistic lifestyle, just the way you do for a cut. You wouldn’t ask your stylist to chop your hair into a pixie if you love throwing it into a ponytail every morning, so don’t jump to platinum blonde without a little extra consideration. 


What happens if you choose the wrong hair color for your skin tone?

Although many amateurs think they have their dream color, it’s often the case that it could stand to be a little more flattering. Don’t blame yourself! Epperson says it can be tough for the average woman to understand that colors don’t always look as good against the skin as they do on the box label or Instagram.

“Think about when you try on a lipstick that is beautiful in the tube but when you apply it, it looks completely different on you,” the artist explains. “When a color doesn’t play well with our skin tone, we tend to look at ourselves and feel ‘off.’”

Rather than fielding questions about whether or not you have a cold when you really just have a new hair color, let an expert guide your decisions in the salon. It’s time to break down some specific factors to consider before picking your new shade.

How can you find the best hair color for your skin tone?

To figure out which shade is right for you, just look around your personal space—be it your closet or studio. Chances are good you’ve been developing a flattering personal color palette without ever realizing it.

“We tend to like colors next to our skin that complement our natural features best,” Epperson says. “Is your wardrobe full of blues, silvers, and grays, or do you find yourself wanting to wear more peach, salmon, and red?”

Your eye color and jewelry metal preference are also indicators that can help guide your stylist toward a flattering shade for your skin tone.

“If you look closely at your eyes, you can see the different shades within them,” Epperson explains. “If you see more blues and gray tones, you usually have a cool skin tone. If you see more golds and chocolate brown colors, you usually have a warmer skin tone.”

Find yourself wearing some of everything? Your skin may include a mix of warm and cool tones, so there’s a strong possibility that most colors will flatter your complexion.

Here’s the excellent part about hiring a professional to help choose your new shade: If you start to veer off in a potentially disastrous direction, Epperson’s happy to gently step in. She’s been known to hold fabric swatches up to her clients’ skin for a color check. Should you be set on red but find the quick fabric trial leaves you looking blotchy, there are a few other strategies professionals can try.

“We can discuss ways to incorporate their color goals while keeping a flattering shade next to their skin—for example, keeping a natural shade close to their face while adding in the goal color in as an ombre or balayage near the mids and ends,” Epperson says.

Rest assured that a trained artist can custom formulate a shade that flatters your skin, regardless of your complexion. That’s why it’s so essential to book a salon consultation before making any drastic color changes!

“I think that with the proper customization, stylists can come up with a complementary tone for each client,” Epperson says. “Even keeping the same tone and just altering the level of the color can really change the way it will look on different skin tones.”

The only way to really find out is to take a seat in a professional’s chair. Now is the best time to find a custom hair color that makes you look radiant.

Interested in a personalized color consultation? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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