If you’ve ever wanted to change hair colour, you know how it feels to be totally overwhelmed with choices. Should you go lighter, darker, ombré or stick with basic highlights? Whatever route you choose, we all know that changing your hair can morph your entire look. Colour expert Marcy Cona, creative director of colour and style at Clairol, offers guidance on how to choose a new hair colour based on your skin tone. Her insider intel will help make sure you pick the hue that looks best on you. – Style United editor Lindsay Mueller
Lindsay Mueller: Why does it matter to choose a hair colour based on your skin tone?
Marcy Cona: Your skin tone is the framework to your hair, so you want to make sure your skin tone and hair colour complement one another. The right combination of skin tone and hair colour shade can define your look.
LM: How do you determine what hair colour is best? What are some important considerations?
MC: First, you need to decide what your overall skin tone is before deciding on the right hair colour. To find your skin tone, I recommend doing the following:
- Stand in natural light, wearing neutral or white coloured clothing
- Use a hand mirror to look at your face, and keep in mind you shouldn’t have any makeup on at all
- Observe the tone or hue of your skin. Does it have warm, yellow or reddish tones or do you have cool, neutral or pinkish tones?
Keep in mind your personal skin tone may have many variations. However, you should focus on the most distinct tone versus the minor variations.
LM: How does eye colour complement different hair colours?
MC: Your eye colour defines your facial features, hair and hair colour. Generally, you should select your hair colour using the same tonality as your eye hue.
LM: When it comes to hair/skin tone contrast, what are some guidelines to keep in mind?
MC: The stronger the contrast between your hair colour and skin tone, the more dramatic your overall look will appear. If you choose a hair colour that is close in tone to your eye colour, your combination of hair colour and eye colour will have a blended natural look.
LM: Should you change your makeup routine in conjunction with a change in hair colour?
MC: Yes, you should always adjust your makeup when you make a dramatic or subtle change to your hair colour. If you make a big change in your hair colour shade, you also may want to change your foundation colour and eye makeup. If your change is subtle, you could adjust with new blush or bronzer to complement your new hair colour.
LM: Is there ever a good time to rock grey or white hair?
MC: Grey hair is tricky, I feel very few women can “rock it” because as hair becomes grey, the strands of hair have a dull, flat and unhealthy look to them. If you are lucky enough to have grey hair with an overall cool tone, and a healthy shiny quality, it can work for you. If your grey hair has a dullness or yellow cast, it is really best to colour your hair with a light neutral shade to give you shine and contrast to your skin tone.
LM: What skin undertones does red hair work best on?
MC: For warm red shades like strawberry red, the best undertones would be warm, like yellow. For cool bright reds, a pink or blue undertone work best.
LM: What skin undertones does blonde hair work best on?
MC: For cool neutral blondes, the best skin tone would be pink, cool undertones.
(And the reverse is the same: If you have skin with pink, cool undertones, the best shade would be cool neutral blonde.)
For warm buttery blondes, skin tones with yellow, olive or warm undertones work best.
(Same here, the inverse is true: For blondes with warm, yellow, or olive undertones, the best shade would be a warm buttery blonde.)
LM: What skin undertones does black hair work best on?
MC: Cool undertones such as blue, or pink, are the most dramatic for black hair colour.
LM: What skin undertones does dark brown hair work best on?
MC: Cool undertones work best, however you can also have a tan and still enjoy dark brown hair!
LM: What skin undertones does light brown hair work best on?
MC: If you have golden warm yellow to your skin undertones, a light golden brown shade can work perfectly! If your skin tone is more neutral, you can choose a natural to cool light brown.
If you were to change your hair, what colour would you choose?