Just as some of us wouldn’t dream of wearing coral lipstick or a cranberry blouse, you need to be certain your hair color will complement—not clash—with your skin tone and eye color.
For starters, determine whether you have warm, yellow or golden undertones in your skin and eyes, which signals you’re in the warm category. This means you can wear anything from warm golden blonde to copper, chestnut and mahogany. If you have blue, pink or cool undertones, you can pull off platinum, ash blonde, ash brunette or deep plum.
If you’re not sure which one you are, try this trick: Hold a pink blouse, scarf or sweater next to your face, then an orange one. If your skin tone is pale to golden ivory, peachy, beige, golden beige or bronze, you’ll look better in orange because you’re hot. Cool beige, pink, rose or alabaster skin tones will look better with pink because they have cool undertones.
Your eye color comes into play, too. If you have cool skin tones and your eyes are neutral or cool (blue gray, green or brown), you’ll look best in light, cool blonde or brunette shades. If your skin tone is cool but your eyes are dark or intense (brown, black, hazel, blue-green or violet), choose plums and very dark, cool shades.
Warm skin tones that are paired with blue, green, amber or hazel eyes can wear anything from strawberry to golden blonde, or light warm brown. If your skin tone is warm and your eyes are more intense—either warm brown, topaz, green or flecked with amber—you can go with honey blonde, copper, chestnut, auburn or mahogany.
To add contrast, try pairing a hint of your color opposite for a striking combo. For instance, warm-toned women can combine auburn, copper or mahogany with strawberry, red or golden blonde highlights, keeping in mind that a few go a long way. If you’re cool and have platinum, ash or raven hair, complement your look with red, auburn, gold and warm blonde.
Adding contrast with opposite accents works best if you keep the highlights off your face and finely woven. You can also have flashes of color added to under layers. However, this is not a DIY project—you should definitely go to a professional colorist, unless you want to try a few clip-in strands.
Hair by Katie Mulcahy, Lisa Shepherd Salons, UK. Products: Schwarzkopf Professional & Clynol. Makeup, styling & photography by Lisa Shepherd Artistic Team.