How To Choose Hair Colour for Your Skin Tone

Nothing makes a beauty statement quite like hair colour and it’s often one of the first things people will notice. With a variety of hair colour tones available it can be hard to pinpoint the most flattering hue for you, so what’s the key to finding the perfect fit? It’s all about your skin tone and your skin’s undertones. Using both to choose your colour means you’ll end up with a result that’s more complementary as it’s working with your skin’s natural colouring. 

To understand which hair colour tones are suited to you, read on.

What’s the difference between skin tone and undertone? 

Knowing how to choose hair colour hues that suit your complexion comes down to your skin tone and undertone, and it’s important to identify the two in order to correctly choose the right shade.

Skin tone is the colour that’s found on the surface of your skin and determines your depth, and most people will fall under light, fair, medium or dark. Undertones as the name suggests, is the colour that’s underneath your skin and can be a little trickier to define. 

Generally, there are three undertone colours, which are cool, warm and neutral. Those with cool undertones will have skin with a blue, pink or red tinge, while those with warm undertones will have skin that appears peachy, yellow or golden. If you fall into the neutral category, you’ll be a balance between warm and cool, and as an upside, you’ll find a wider range of hair colour tones that suit you.

How to determine your skin’s undertones

So, are you cool, warm or neutral? You can start by looking at the colour of the veins in your wrists in natural light. If your veins are blue or purple, you’ll likely fall into the cool category, but if your veins are green, you’ll generally have warm undertones. If your veins appear to be a mixture of the two then you have neutral undertones.

Our natural hair colour can also be an indicator, if your hair has golden, copper or red lights in natural light, this also indicates it’s warm. If your hair has more ash tones or is a very deep blue black, this would indicate it’s cool toned. If it looks neither, then its most likely to be neutral. It doesn’t matter how dark or light our hair is, it will have a natural tendency towards warm, cool or neutral tones.

Understanding the colour wheel 

The colour wheel is a circle that features 12 colours, split down the middle into either cool tones or warm tones. Shades that are opposite each other on the colour wheel are the most complementary. Given the variety of different hair colour levels available, using colour theory will help you zero in on just the right shade for you.

To understand which hues align with your complexion, see our undertone guide below.

Best hair colour for pale

If your skin is pale and holds pink undertones, there’s a range of hair colour tones that will work with your complexion. 

Cool undertones: If you want to go blonde look to hues such as an icy platinum blonde or soft baby blonde. Brunettes can go for blue-based, taupe or neutral browns, and for red shades, you can’t go past an auburn hue. When choosing hair colour that’s less conventional, try a pastel shade such as light pink.

Warm undertones: Blonde shades such as gold, caramel and champagne are a great match, while going brunette, you can opt for a rich brown such as Olia Permanent Hair Colour in Brown. If you’re looking for a deep red, consider a copper hue. To add colour, a pastel purple or ocean blue works well.

Best hair colour for fair skin

Finding the right hair colour for skin tone is about finding hues that will pop against your complexion. Luckily, there are some great options for fair skin.

Warm undertones: When going blonde try a gold, caramel or honey hue or a warm platinum such as Olia Permanent Hair Colour in Very Light Blonde. If you’re going brunette, consider mahogany, chestnut or toffee. For the ideal red you can’t go past a dark strawberry blonde or bright crimson. If you want to go down the rainbow hue path, you’ll find your perfect match in a soft pink.

Cool undertones: Go for ash, silver, sandy or beige tones if you’re going blonde, and if you want to go darker into brunette territory, a rich chocolate will work beautifully with your skin tone. For reds, it’s still about embracing different shades of copper. When it comes to the less conventional colour route, you can’t go wrong with a pale purple or soft blue shade.

Best hair colour for medium skin

As far as hair colour tones go, there are several options for medium or tan skin. 

Cool undertones: You’ll need a warmer tone of blonde to complement the cool undertones of your skin, so opt for a rich caramel. For brunettes, a rich chocolate brown works beautifully. If you’re going red, you can opt for auburn or burgundy shades such as Olia Permanent Hair Colour in Intense Deep Red or if you want to go lighter, try a hue such as Olia Permanent Hair Colour in Rose Gold. As for non-natural colours, it’s still all about hair colour for skin tone, and a vibrant fuchsia or magenta tick all the boxes.

Warm undertones: When it comes to the best hair colour for warm skin tones, you can’t go wrong with bronde shades, or hues such as beige and champagne. For brunettes, opt for dark mahogany, chocolate and chestnut shades. Fire up your colour with a red that falls into the copper or rust reds family. And if you’re feeling experimental, you can go for jewel-toned blue or aqua colour.

Best hair colour for dark skin

There are a range of hair colour tones for dark skin. Whether you’re choosing hair colours for warm undertones or looking for just the right hue for cool undertones, consider these options.

Cool undertones: Blondes should embrace an ash blonde, while brunettes can go for an inky black or blue-black shade. A blackberry shade would be a winning option, the same goes for Olia Permanent Hair Colour in Deep Rose. Vivid violets and bright purple-pinks are great less conventional colour choices.

Warm undertones: For blondes, try a balayage or ombre effect, while brunettes will find their best pairing with a deep brown offset by highlights in bronzes and lighter browns. When it comes to reds, opt for a violet red or go bold with a fire engine red. You can also have a little fun with hues like plum and ruby for the best vibrant shades to complement your skin tone.


Need a little extra help deciding between hair colour tones?

Try our virtual try on tool which will help you find your perfect match!

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