Skip to main content

Choosing a new hair color

Dyed auburn hair
A new hair color can mean many things. It can be change, a whole new style, or even reflect the movement into a different stage of your life. What is consistent however, is that the choice itself needs to match your features and work within the bounds of what you can realistically achieve.

Choosing your new color like this is the best way to not only get a color that looks great on your hair against the other features of your appearance, but is easier to maintain and less prone to mistakes.

Matching hair color to features

The most important factor in your choice of a new hair color is the appearance of your other features like your skin tone and eye color. A color that isn't matched to these features can create too much contrast. Whilst this contrast can sometimes work in your favor, it is more often harsh and just looks odd.

Your skin tone has the biggest effect on your overall appearance, and a new hair color should be matched primarily to this. Warm hair colors look best when matched to a warm skin tone, and cool colors look best matched to a cool skin tone.
The darkness of your complexion also has a smaller secondary impact on the depth of color you can successfully match. The darker your skin is, the better it will look with a darker hair color, whilst paler skin is best matched to lighter hair colors. You have a lot of leeway here and this rule can be broken sometimes depending on how vibrant the color is or whether there are highlights or lowlights involved.

Eye color also has an effect on your hair color choices, but this effect is fairly minimal. The best color matching requires blue and green eyes to be matched to a cool hair color; whereas hazel or brown eyes should be matched to a warm hair color, but this rule can be disregarded as long as your color matches your skin.
Dyed auburn hair

How to tell if your complexion is cool or warm

Having trouble telling whether your complexion is cool toned or warm toned? One of the absolute easiest ways to identify the tonal direction is to look at the appearance of any veins that are visible on the inside of your wrist.

Cool skin has violet tones that cause it to look pinkish. This results in veins that look blue. Warm skin contains gold or peach tones though, and these colors blend with the color of your veins to cause them to look green when you look at your wrist.

Choose realistic goals

Dyed auburn hair
Even if your new hair color matches your features perfectly, this is all a moot point if your chosen shade is out of reach or just difficult to achieve.
For the easiest and most reliable results at home if you don't have a great deal of experience dyeing your hair, choose colours that are no more than 3 levels lighter than your natural color. Hair colors that are lighter can't usually be achieved with regular dye and require the use of professional high lift dye or pre-lightening with bleach.

You should also take the warm underlying pigment in your hair into account. When you lighten your hair, this is revealed. If the dye used to lighten your hair doesn't contain enough cool tone to counteract this warmth, the final color looks to warm, or can even look red, orange, or brassy.

To avoid this, use an ash tone if lightening significantly. You can also use a natural tone instead for warmer results, or mix small amounts of your desired shade into an ash or natural shade to produce the desired shade without the excess warmth as the cool tone in the other dye will drab this out.

When choosing a color that is darker than your current color, you also need to take into account the tone of the dye. If you apply a darker dye, the primary tone present becomes very intense on your lighter hair.

This means that dark ash dyes give very greyish or even blue results, while warmer tones like golden or red shades can also turn out too vibrant. Using a natural tone can help avoid this, or you can leave a comment at the end of the article detailing the color you want for specific help.

Dyed auburn hair
Dyeing your hair no more than 2 - 3 levels darker is also one of the ways you can help minimize this kind of problem and avoid it. The darker you go, the more overwhelming the primary tone of the dye can be on your lighter hair.

More information:
  • Getting better dye results - Application and color choice tips for better color results when you dye your hair...
  • The different kinds of hair dye - Discover the many different types of dye that can be used to color your hair, how long they last, and which are the most damaging...
  • The hair color wheel - One of the most useful tools for creative and corrective hair color. You can use the wheel to more accurately choose and use hair dyes...
  • Hair color ideas - Discover the different modern techniques and styles available and take dull color to amazing color...

Have a question about choosing hair colors or finding the perfect new hair color for your own features? Leave a comment for tailored advice...

Subscribe to email updates: Discover how to get professional hair at home!

Enter your email address:


Popular posts from this blog

How long does semi permanent hair dye last?

How to lighten hair without bleach

How to get platinum blonde hair

Can you bleach wet hair?

How to remove permanent hair dye