How to Choose Your Best Hair Color

How to Choose Your Best Hair Color

Learn what your hair color has to do with your color type - should you dye your hair and does going gray change your season? Find out here.

Does Hair Color Determine Your Color Type?

Does Hair Color Determine Color Type

Not exclusively, but it does play a large role in your overall coloring. Our hair, eye, and skin color are naturally designed to coordinate with each other. They all contain the same undertone. It is the icing on the cake, contributes to your overall appearance, and enhances your skin tone just like your eyes do. You can read more about this in my blog post about the Top 5 Color Analysis Myths.

Should You Dye Your Hair?

Should you dye your hair

The short answer is if you want to, yes. However, I would like to point out that your natural hair color is designed to coordinate perfectly with your skin tone and eye color. 

Each element of your appearance has the exact right level of intensity (brightness) and depth to harmonize with each other. None of our features are one solid or flat color but a blend of many different colors. 

Color is derived from light. The light waves bounce off on an object and in this case, the object is our skin, hair, and eyes. These light waves are then registered by the human eye and are what we perceive as color.

So, when looking at someone's hair you will see many different colors. Black hair isn't just black. It can contain blue, red, or even green. Blonde hair contains yellow. Brown hair can contain yellow, orange, red, red-violet, green, or blue. If you dye your hair you will lose some if not all of these naturally occurring tones in your hair. The colors in your palette that you use for your clothing and/or makeup match and blend with the natural tones in your hair, skin, and eyes and help bring out their best qualities. 

But, I do understand wanting to be creative with your look and that it can be fun to change things up. Hair color has always been a way to do this and is a form of self-expression in the same way makeup and fashion can be.

Another thing to keep in mind is that most commercial hair dyes contain ingredients such as ammonia and paraphenylenediamine also known as PPD, which can be highly irritating and possibly carcinogenic. They can also contain heavy metals. And like I always say - you should never have to sacrifice your health for beauty or fashion since they go hand in hand.

Does Your Undertone Change As Your Hair Goes Gray?

Does Gray Hair Change Your Color Type

Not at all! As your hair transitions, it still maintains its overall blue-based or yellow-based traits. If you are blue-based your hair will change to blue or silvery grays and bright or soft blue-based whites that match the hues in your color palette.

If you have yellow-based coloring your hair will contain yellow-toned shades of gray and white which again blend with and are in harmony with your natural coloring. You will find these hues in the neutral colors of your palette as well. My philosophy is if your hair is going gray or has gone gray just leave it be. The reality is we are not going to be 21 forever. Aging is something that is to be celebrated and embraced. 

I love people's coloring throughout every stage of life and I think gray hair looks stunning. Being "old" is a state of mind. If you don't believe me just ask Lyn the Accidental Icon.

Accidental Icon

Play up your gray hair by wearing the grays from your color palette as your main neutrals. Make these the staples of your wardrobe. Having a great haircut helps too. If your hair has started to transition early or what some people refer to as prematurely I find that it looks quite stunning so I say - leave it! But of course, it is your hair so it is ultimately your decision. I will give some additional tips on this a bit later.

Does Changing Your Hair Color Change Your Color Type?

New Hair Color New Season

Nope. If you are blue-based dying your hair an orange-red or adding golden highlights will not change your color type to yellow-based. This works in reverse as well if you are yellow-based. Wearing the wrong hair color for your undertones will just serve to detract from your overall appearance and will throw off its natural harmony.

Recommended Hair Colors

Should you decide to alter your natural hair color, I recommend sticking to these simple rules for your color type -

  • If you have predominantly yellow-based skin stick to red, copper, or golden hair colors. Cool or ashy shades will clash with your natural coloring. 
  • Keep in mind that if you are a high-intensity (bright) hair colors should be bright and if you are low-intensity hair colors should be softer.
  • If you have blue-based skin, stick to cooler hair colors. Avoid warm (golden, copper, orange) shades. 
  • Don't go more than two to three shades deeper or lighter than your natural hair color or the results will look harsh and artificial. For example - if you are naturally a light blonde dying your hair jet black will look very harsh and unreal on you.

Here are suggestions for each color type.

Best Blue-Based Blonde Hair Colors

Ash Blonde Hair Colors

If you have primarily blue undertones and naturally have light to medium-light hair, you will look best with the following hair colors -

  • Platinum blonde 
  • Ash Blonde
  • Lemon Blonde (not golden)
  • Pinkish or Rose Gold Blonde

Avoid warm, golden, reddish, and brassy shades.

Best Blue-Based Brown and Black

Cool Brown Hair Colors

Remember not to go too light or dark in relation to your natural depth level. Let the depth of your eyes be your guide.

  • Light to medium ash brown
  • Medium to dark ash brown
  • Auburn or chestnut brown (light to dark)
  • Pure black or blue-black (if your natural contrast level allows)

Avoid the following:

Golden, orange, copper, and brassy hues. 

Best Blue-Based Red Hair Colors

Cool Red Hair

Yes, red hair can also be blue-based. You can read more about it in my previous article.

  • Light to deep Auburn (distinct pinkish cast)
  • Light to deep Chestnut (more pink than orange)

Avoid - golden-red and orange-red hues.

Best Yellow-Based Blonde Hair Colors

Golden Blonde Hair Colors

Yellow-based people look best in the following hair colors.

  • Light to dark golden blonde
  • Light to dark butterscotch blonde
  • Light to dark copper or strawberry blonde

Avoid -

  • Colors that are ashy or silvery
  • The brightness and depth should match your natural intensity and contrast levels

Best Yellow-Based Brown and Black Hair Colors

Golden Brown Hair Colors

Yellow-based people look best in the following brunette hair colors.

  • Light to dark golden brown
  • Light to dark bronze brown
  • Light to dark copper brown
  • Black-brown or red-brown (not pure or bluish)

Avoid -

  • Colors that are ashy or silvery
  • The brightness and depth should match your natural intensity and contrast levels

Best Yellow-Based Red Hair Colors

Copper Red Hair

Warm or yellow-based red hair has a distinct orange tone. The depth level and brightness of the color should match your natural characteristics.

  • Light to dark golden or strawberry-red
  • Light to dark orange-rust red

Avoid colors that are pink-red or blueish in the undertone.

Best Gray Hair Color Options 

Granny Hair Silver Fox

As I promised earlier, here are my top tips for hair that has gone or is going gray. These tips are especially important for yellow-based color types.

Blue-Based Gray Hair

It’s no secret that blue-based hair tends to gray very attractively. It tends to transition more evenly to a blue-gray, silver-gray, steel-gray, or white. If your hair is currently transitioning and you aren’t fully ready to accept it, your best bet is to color it or blend it.

If you have very minimal gray, coloring it should be easy. You can either choose to stay within your natural color range or go a little lighter or darker. 

However, if you have over 40% gray hair, I recommend having your hair colorist blend it with highlights and lowlights. Here are some examples of blended blue-based gray hair colors.

Blended Gray Hair

Yellow-Based Gray Hair

If you have yellow undertones, your hair will transition to a golden gray, pewter gray, or ivory white. For some reason, this has been deemed bad and must be toned! My best guess as to why this happened is because some hair color expert somewhere had blue-based coloring, and most likely subconsciously pushed their color bias towards blue-based colors onto everyone they advised. 

If you have yellow-based coloring the last thing want to do is add blue, violet, or silver tones into your hair. Nothing will age you faster or make it appear as though you are wearing a wig than this. Sorry if this seems over-dramatic. I just see this far too often. 

Just like blue-based hair, if you have very little gray feel free to color your hair back to its natural color or go a bit lighter or darker. 

If you have a lot of gray (30-40% or more) I recommend the blending technique as mentioned above. Trying the keep your hair brown or red past this point is very challenging because your hair is less and less likely to hold the color and you can also end up with roots that show too much or what I call reverse roots (light instead of dark). 

Blending your yellow-based gray hair with golden, bronze, or coppery highlights and lowlights can look stunning. See the examples below. 

Highlighted Gray Hair

Best Ways to Color Your Hair

Best Ways to Color Your Hair

As mentioned earlier a lot of hair dye brands contain irritating ingredients that get absorbed through the scalp so if you are going to color your hair try to stick to brands that don't contain high amounts of the following ingredients -

  • PPD
  • Ammonia
  • Resorcinol
  • Phthalates
  • Nut-based ingredients or Gluten (if you are allergic)
  • Animal Ingredients and/or Testing

Many salons now offer organic and less irritating hair color options. So, talk to your local stylist to discuss your options.

Using natural henna is one of my favorite organic and zero-waste ways to color my hair. My favorite brand is Light Mountain because it is very high-quality and yields the best color results in my opinion. 

Henna is a plant that has been used since ancient Egyptian times. It stains the hair without covering up its natural highlights so you get gorgeous dimensional color.

You cannot lighten your hair with henna but you can darken it or add red or warm highlights. You can't bleach your hair if you have used henna so just keep that in mind if you do decide to use it. It is mainly for dying the hair red or various shades of brown.

Another great way to change your hair without the hassle or commitment of using a dye is to wear a wig. While wigs used to be reserved for Halloween or the stage they have come a very long way over the years. 

Lace front wigs look very realistic and are a fun and easy way to change your hair color and/or hairstyle should you feel the urge. This way you can experiment and get creative with your looks and have a lot of fun without it being permanent.

In closing, you will always look best with your natural hair color however should you choose to change it if you follow the above guidelines you will look great. 

One more piece of advice I want to leave you with is if you want to change your hair because you feel like it is looking a little dull or lackluster ask yourself - am I wearing the right colors?

Wearing the wrong clothing colors not only affects the appearance of your skin and eyes but your hair as well, causing it to lose its shine and highlights making it look dull or off in some way. 

So, before you run out and change your hair color first check what you have been wearing. Is it in the correct color scheme for your color type?

If you don’t know if you are blue-based or yellow-based, book an online personal color analysis with me today!

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