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Shades of black hair

Black hair is the darkest hair colour possible, but that doesn't mean you can't tailor it to your own unique style. Despite being such a dark colour and popularly considered to be available in only the one shade, there are actually a few different shades of black hair, and these different colours can really create a more interesting look.

The different shades of black hair

Although the most common shade of black hair is a flat black colour that can be called black, neutral black, or natural black, there are other shades that incorporate different dark tones or are slightly softer than the traditional black shade. Some of the hair colours you could consider include:

  • Natural black
  • Soft black
  • Blue black
  • Red black
  • Violet black

Natural black

A natural black hair colour is completely black, with a slight propensity towards the cooler tonal family due to the strong blue tone that is present in the shade. Of course, the blue tone in this case isn't anywhere near as dominant as in a blue black shade, but it does mean that this shade will best suit someone with a cooler, paler skin tone.

If you have a warmer or darker skin tone, this isn't the best hair colour for you though as it can make you look dull and appear to clash with your features, adding age and a tired look to your complexion. As for eye colour, this isn't important to the same degree as your skin tone, but green or blue eyes will really benefit from natural or blue shades of black hair.


Soft black

Soft black looks a little like natural black that has begun to fade. In this sense, it is a black shade that is somewhere between black and a dark brown colour. This means that it is less intense and causes less of a contrast between your hair and skin tone.

If you have a warmer or darker skin tone, you may find that a soft black colour suits your features a lot more than a true black. This is because the different tones present in your hair and skin don't clash as intensely or prominently. This colour doesn't suit lighter skin colours very well and should be avoided if you have cool toned skin.

Blue black

Blue black is also known as ash black. This is one of the more interesting shades of black hair but isn't as out of the ordinary as the other two non-neutral shades available. Because it contains a stronger and more dominant blue tone, this hair colour looks like a very dark blue when viewed in light.

Due to the dominance of blue, which is a cool tone, this is another black hair shade that is primarily suited to a cooler skin tone. Particularly, if you have a very pinkish skin tone and green eyes, this colour will make both of those features more vivid and dazzling.

If you have warmer skin, you should absolutely never use a blue black dye. This colour will clash terribly with your skin and make you look ragged and old in this case.


Red black

Red black hair is similar to blue black except that the intensely dark tone that is most dominant in this case is a red tone. This results in producing the warmest colour out of all the different shades of black hair available.

If you have a very warm skin tone, red black hair is a sure bet and will really enhance your appearance by complimenting the warm tones within your complexion. This colour shouldn't be applied if you have a cool skin tone though, as it won't generally work well with such a complexion.


Violet black


Violet black is a beautiful shade that incorporates strong violet and red tones to produce a very unique hair colour that not many people tend to have. This makes it a really interesting shade to try, but it's very hard to find as not many dye brands stock a violet black colour.

Violet black, unlike many of the other shades of black hair, can often be worn against either a cool or warm skin tone. It will generally suit a cooler tone best, but that doesn't mean you should discount it just yet. The red tones that are also present in the shade help it match warmer features in many cases.

Other ways to make black hair more interesting

Even with a variety of different shades of black hair to choose from, it is a dark and somewhat plainer colour in the end. Luckily, there are many different ways you can make your black hair colour more interesting.

Black hair is very dark, and as a result, any colour you add in the form of highlights will really stand out. If the highlights are a vibrant unnatural colour like blue, green, or purple, this is even more of a contrast. Try incorporating streaks, chunks, or panels of bright colour into your black hair for a great way to individualise your style.

More information:
  • Hair colouring tips -  Get better colour results at home with these application tips for salon quality results...
  • How to prevent colour fading - Find out how to slow down fading in your new hair colour and keep it vibrant for longer...
  • How to use salon dye - Salon colour gives a better result than box dyes. Find out how to use it for the best results...

Want to know more about the different shades of black hair or whether a particular shade will suit your features? Leave a comment for colour matching or more information...

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