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What Color Should I Dye My Hair: The Best Ways to Choose

BY Jana Russick

No matter how beautiful our natural hair color and texture may be, we all get bored with our tresses sometimes. Just like clothes, accessories, and music, we long for something exciting and new in our lives such as the perfect hair color. But then comes the hard part: “What color should I dye my hair?”

Scrolling through celeb hairstyles on Instagram and Pinterest inspires all kinds of new hair color ideas. But deciding on the best hair color can be tough. Everyone has different eye colors, skin tones, and even skin undertones. (Don’t worry, we’ll explain this later.) What looks good on one person may not look as flattering on another.

If you’re wondering “What color should I dye my hair?” look no further than this guide. Here we will dissect the best hair colors for your skin tone, hair texture, and type. And because some hair dye may lead to damage, we also have haircare product recommendations for taking care of your colored-treated hair.

What Color Should I Dye My Hair: Where to Start

Ever been asked what season you are? What people are referring to when they say this is whether you have a cool or warm complexion. The answer to this question can help you decide how to color your hair. Certain hair colors work better on warm undertones while others lend themselves better to cool undertones. There are also neutral undertones, which tend to be more versatile when it comes to selecting what hair color looks best on you. But before it gets too complicated, let’s explain more about undertones.

Determine Your Undertone

All skin tones have undertones, which are the hues beneath the surface of your skin that make up the overall color of your complexion. If you’re confused about determining what your undertones are, look at your wrist and arms to see whether you have blue veins (cool undertones) or green veins (warm undertones). If you have neither or a combination of both, you probably have a neutral undertone.

Go a step further by taking a look at yourself in the mirror. An overall warm skin tone will have peachy, gold, or yellow undertones. A cool skin tone will have hints of blue or pink undertones. If your complexion doesn’t have much variation in color and your skin tone has a pretty uniform shade, you have a neutral undertone. This means that you can choose colors in either the warm or cool color families.

Pro Tip: How a custom care routine will help your skin

Analyze Your Eye Color

Got some baby blues? Or chocolate browns? What about forest greens? Or even caramel hazels? The color of your eyes can help you answer the pesky question of ”What color should I dye my hair?” Each hue correlates with either warm or cool tones:

  • Brown Eyes: Brown eyes usually fall into warm tones but not always. It depends on the undertones within your iris, i.e. the colored part of your eye. If you can see undertones of gold, yellow, or green, your eyes are indeed warm. But if you have darker brown or almost black-colored eyes without shades of other colors, you may fall on the cool-toned side.
  • Hazel Eyes: Having hazel eyes almost always means you should go with warm color hair tones. That’s because this eye color has hints of brown, yellow, green, and gold — all warm tones!
  • Green Eyes: Green eyes are usually cool. But, as you may have guessed, not always. If your green eyes have shades of gray or blue in them, you have cool undertones. If they have yellow or golden tones, you might have warm undertones. 
  • Blue Eyes: Blue is the coolest color of all. If you have ocean-colored or even cloudy gray eyes, you’ll look best with cool hair tones.

Pro Tip: How to prevent lines under your eyes

Consider Your Natural Color and Texture

It’s important to consider your natural hair color and texture when asking “What color should I dye my hair?” Dyeing your hair is a process that can seriously damage your locks. With this in mind, how much effort do you want to put into keeping up your new hair color? If you want something manageable and easy, we’d recommend staying within a few shades of your natural hair color. That way, the growing out won’t look so severe compared to your natural color and you won’t need frequent touch-ups.

You should also consider how fragile your natural hair texture is when you want to color your hair. The locks of those with a super-thick, strong, straight texture will be a lot more forgiving to damage than those with a more fragile coarse hair texture. Everyone can dye their hair as they please, but some people have to take extra precautions to ensure that their hair dyeing journey is as safe as possible. Seeing a colorist or hairstylist who specializes in your unique hair texture is always a good idea.

Choosing the Right Hair Color and Shade

Each hair color family has cool and warm tones within them. Let’s break down the different shades within each of the color families to help you finally answer ”What color should I dye my hair?”

Red Hair

While red is inherently a warm color, there are shades of red hair that work with both warm and cool skin tones alike. If you’ve decided to take the plunge into fire-colored locks, these are the best shades to complement your complexion.

Warm Tones: Auburn, copper, and burgundy

Cool Tones: Bright red, mahogany, and strawberry blonde

Dark Hair

Want to venture over to the dark side? If so, you’ve got a whole lot of deep shades to choose from. Here are the tones that go great with each type of brown and black hair color.

Warm tones: Chestnut, bronze, and golden brown

Cool tones: Black, espresso, and light brown

Light Hair

In our opinion, anybody can pull off the blonde bombshell look — with the right shade of blonde. Using what we’ve told you about skin tone and eye color, here are the shades that fall under each category.

Warm Tones: Caramel, sandy, buttery, golden, and dirty blonde

Cool Tones: Ashy, icy, silver, and platinum blonde

Tips for Blonde Hair Care

Once you’ve found the perfect shade to make your blondest dreams come true, go for it! But when you transition from darker to lighter hair, you will have to bleach or highlight your locks. This can fade into unflattering shades of orange when not properly cared for. Using a purple shampoo will tone down harsh and brassy hues in lightened hair and helps extend the life of your color. 

Enjoy Custom Care for Your New Hair Color

You first have to take a look at your complexion when you are wondering “What color should I dye my hair?” Examining the undertones of your skin, eyes, and natural hair color can help you figure out if you have a warm or cool complexion. This will then help you choose the best shades of blonde, red, brown, or black hair for you.

Whether you are going for bright red, dark brown, or honey blonde hair, you have to make sure to take good care of your tresses. That’s why it’s important to use a shampoo and conditioner that’s formulated to preserve your hair color. To reach other beauty goals like hydration and curl definition, take our hair quiz and start creating your custom formula.