How Do You Choose the Right Hair Color?

Skin tone and type are important considerations when choosing the right hair color. The best colors are determined by whether skin is warm or cool toned. Warm tones look best with golden or honey-toned hair color. Cool tones look best with black, auburn or ash-based hair color.

Skin tone can be determined by knowing a person's natural hair color. If a person has black or brown hair, they likely have a warm skin tone. If a person has lighter hair color, they likely have a cool skin tone. In most cases, a deeper hair color will look best with dark or medium hair shades, but fair hair is compatible with both dark and light shades with less risk of hair damage. This is because darker hair requires more bleach to lighten the color, which damages the hair shaft.

Celebrity hair stylist Mark Garrison suggests another way to determine skin tone is to look at the veins in a person's wrist under natural light. If the veins are green and the skin is flattered by gold jewelry and earthy colored makeup or clothing, it is warm toned. If the veins are blue and blues, greens, pinks, blue-based red clothing and silver jewelry flatter skin more, then it is cool toned.

One exception to this is hair that is going gray. Skin tones lighten and hair color darkens as people age. Staying within two shades of the current natural hair color is the best option for a natural looking result.