When you’re ready to switch up your look, choosing a new hair color is no easy task. There are many factors to consider: Do you want your color to be high or low-maintenance? Do you prefer highlights or balayage? What color will look best against your skin? While we can’t fully crack the code for your perfect new hairdo, we’re here to steer you in the right direction by helping you identify your best hair color if you have a warm skin tone.
First, some quick background. Skin tones refer to skin’s surface color, which can be altered by sunburn or tanning, while undertones are the subtle shade beneath the skin's surface that never changes. The three main types of undertones are cool undertones, warm undertones, and neutral undertones. Nailing down which undertone your skin falls under can be a surefire way to discover your most flattering hair color. Keep scrolling to learn how to pinpoint a warm vs. cool skin tone, then prep for your next salon appointment by browsing 16 beautiful shades for warm skin tones that we’re loving right now.
How do I know if I have warm undertones?
Identifying your skin’s undertones can be tricky, but a few hacks can help lead you in the right direction. The easiest way to determine whether you have a warm skin tone is to look at the veins underneath your wrists in natural light. If they appear more green than blue, chances are good that you have warm undertones. In addition, if your skin turns tan or golden in the sun instead of burning (after using SPF, of course!), that’s another telltale sign that your undertones are warm.
Still not sure? Your trusted salon pro can help you figure out your skin’s undertones and create a complementary shade to flatter your complexion.
Which hair color is best for warm skin tones?
A general rule of thumb is that those with warm skin should choose warm hair colors, too. Wondering what hair colors are warm colors? Think of hues with red, orange, and gold pigments in them. Envision deep mahogany, chestnut, golden brown, copper, and strawberry blonde, among various iterations of warm red.
What colors should warm tones avoid?
In the hands of a professional colorist, it’s safe to say that just about any hair color can work for a warm skin tone. That said, there are still some hues that may not be as flattering.
It’s often recommended that those with warm undertones should avoid icy, ashy tones like silver and platinum, blue-blacks, and cool colors. These shades can wash out warm skin and make it appear sallow and dull in comparision.
Now that you understand the difference between a warm vs. cool skin tone, here’s a roundup of 16 gorgeous colors to take inspiration from.
The Best Hair Colors for Warm Undertones
Whether you choose a red base with blonde highlights or blonde with subtle hints of red weaved throughout, this dimensional strawberry blonde can lean cool or warm-toned depending on what best flatters you.
Similar to the wood it’s coined after, mahogany hair color resembles the log’s reddish-brown hue. Since mahogany leans more brunette than red, it’s a perfect solution for anyone who isn’t ready to plunge into full-on red hair—not to mention that it pairs wonderfully with warm undertones.
Just like a little black dress, black hair can flatter everyone. Cool tones can benefit from a blue-black shade, while true black is best for those with warmer undertones.
We may be talking about all things warm undertones here, but the truth of the matter is that a mocha brown pairs well with all complexions. If you notice red tones creeping into your dark brown strands, pick up a toning system like Matrix Total Results Dark Envy Shampoo + Conditioner Duo. They feature green pigment to help counteract, neutralize, and get rid of the look of red undertones that pull through virgin or color-treated black to dark brown hair colors.
The reddish brown tones of chestnut hair color look stunning on warm-toned skin. Are you working with natural medium or dark brown roots? Opting for a rooted chestnut helps you avoid a hefty maintenance routine.
While lightening up hair is no easy feat, a warm-toned, golden blonde is easier and less damaging to achieve than its cooler, ashier counterparts.
Your colorist will do their best to ensure hair stays as healthy as possible throughout the bleaching process, but the service will always inflict some element of damage to the hair. We recommend incorporating strengthening hair bond-repairing treatments into your routine, like Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment and Acidic Bonding Concentrate Leave-In Conditioner.
At first glance, golden blonde and honey blonde may seem like similar hues, but honey blonde hair color features more red and brown undertones to make it rich-looking and multi-dimensional.
Slightly softer than the spectrum of red oranges found in the setting sun, ginger hair color is an eye-catching tone that can be as dark or light as you want it to be.
Red dye molecules are known for fading faster than other colors—especially if you overwash your hair. If you need a pick-me-up between wash days, we suggest arming yourself with a good dry shampoo. Redken’s Deep Clean Dry Shampoo Jumbo absorbs excess oil, dirt, and residue for up to four days, leaving hair feeling unbelievably clean and refreshed—even on day four.
Warm tones balance out the platinum nature of metallic colors. The result is a beautiful orangey ginger shade that doesn’t have to be exclusive to only fair and cool-toned skin.
Another way to refresh red hair color sans washing is with Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Ashita Supreme Intense Revitalization Hair Serum. Perfect for reviving second-or third-day hair, this easy on-the-go style enhancer doesn’t weigh down hair or make you wait to rinse out.
Interested in lightening up your same-old brunette hue? Adding face-framing golden brown highlights into hair is the way to go, giving your locks depth and shine.
If you notice your fair brown tresses taking on brassy tinges, a buildable toning leave-in treatment like Matrix Brass Off All-In-One Toning Leave-In Spray can nip it in the bud. Blue pigments neutralize unwanted undertones while the formula primes hair for styling.
Bronde is proof that you can have the best of both worlds by combining two of the most popular hair colors. Bronde, or “brown blonde,” is a blend of dark and light notes that result in a dimensional, low-maintenance hue.
Ensure your bronde spirals remain beautiful and bouncy with L’Oréal Professionnel’s Serie Expert Curl Expression Definition Activator Gel. Designed to define your curl pattern from root to end and re-active limp curls and coils, this smart gel gives each twist and curve the perfect, frizz-free definition while infusing hair with the hydration and strength it craves.
Sweeping bronzer onto our cheekbones and forehead brings out the ultimate sun-kissed glow, but why limit that effect to our makeup? Bronze hair color combines golden hues with iridescent metallic shades to give your hair brilliant luster and a subtle tanned effect that instantly enhances warm undertones in the skin.
To achieve brown amber, your colorist will blend chocolate, gold, and auburn notes onto a brunette base. It’s basically tailor-made for skin with warm undertones.
Auburn hair color comprises numerous red shades, all of which have brown and ginger undertones that range from light to dark.
Love this color? Ask your stylist about Redken Shades EQ Hair Gloss in 08C Cayenne.
The toffee tones and hints of red in champagne blonde bring this color much closer to copper than other shades of blonde, making it an ideal choice for warm undertones.
Infusions of golden and tawny tones place caramel hair color squarely into the warm category, and it looks enchanting against medium or warm olive skin.
Searching for products to keep your new hair color healthy and radiant? You’ll find everything you need on Hair.com.