When choosing a hair color to flatter your skin's undertone, the old rule of thumb is to match cool shades with cool skin tones and warm shades with warm skin tones, so your hair color looks natural even if it's a far cry from the shade with which you were born. But this rule doesn't apply to everyone—people with a neutral skin tone can opt for either, and of course you can always choose to color your hair with a shade of the opposite tone for dramatic effect. Bottom line: with confidence, you can rock anything. But if you're wondering “huh, what hair color matches my skin tone?” Step one is figuring out whether your skin's underlying tone is warm, cool, or neutral.
If your skin tone is cool...it will have blue, pink, or ruddy undertones. Your veins will appear bluish in natural light. You probably prefer silver jewelry. You tend to burn, not tan (so slather on that sunscreen).
If your skin tone is warm...it will have yellow, peachy, or golden undertones. Your veins will appear greenish in natural light. Gold jewelry is your jam. Your skin tends to tan, not burn (please wear sunscreen, though).
If you have a neutral skin tone...there's no obvious undertone in your skin color. Both warm and cool tones flatter you. (Similarly, neutral hair color shades are a safe bet for everyone.)
Identified your skin tone?
Great, now we can move on to the fun part. Choose any blonde, red, brunette, or black shade to complement your coolness. Or your warmth. Check out a few sample scenarios:
Say you're a fair-skinned person who wants to choose a complementary blonde shade. If you have a cool skin tone, you'll want to choose an icy platinum or opalescent shade. We like Pisa Blonde 9A.
@simplemeg, Pisa Blonde
If you're light-skinned with warm undertones, dark golden blonde is the way to go—Sicily Blonde 8NGV would look gorgeous on you.
@_kimcaldwell, Sicily Blonde
Neutral, sandy blonde shades like Ancona Natural 11VA beautifully complement either undertone (note that our high lift Bombshell shades are better suited for blondes who don't need gray coverage).
If you have a medium skin tone and want to go red, there are a whole range of choices between golden copper and cool auburn. For cool medium skin tones, we love vibrant Portofino Red 6NRR.
@beckpope, Portofino Red
For warm medium skin tones, it doesn't get prettier than vivid, coppery Carrara Crimson 7RC.
Darker skin tones choosing between brunette shades should adhere to the same rules—cool with cool, warm with warm. If you're dark-skinned with cool undertones, deep, smoky Messina Brown 4NA is a great call.
@Jen_Yeager, Messina Brown
If your skin has warm undertones, Bolzano Brown 4NMG contains gorgeous hints of gold and mahogany.
@kellysherman2, Bolzano Brown
Olive skin tone is in a lovely league of its own. Most olive-skinned women have neutral undertones with a slight greenish tint unique to this specific skin tone. Olive skin tones typically look best in either warm or neutral shades. If you have olive skin and want to color your hair black, there's no better bet than Pescara Black 2.5NNA, a deep caviar black.
@haleyandjordan7, Pescara Black
Warm, cool, or neutral, there are options in every shade for everyone. And if you want to throw this “rule” out the window—more power to you. The real best way to match your hair color to your skin tone? Choose the shade of hair color that makes you feel the most confident. After all...confident is the new beautiful.
Read more on skin tone and hair color.