Skin Tones and Hair Dyes 101: A Cheat Sheet

Hey Curlies,

This week's guest post comes from Aubrey of girlswithnaturalhair. She's going to school us on choosing the perfect hair color to best match your skin tone.

When choosing the perfect hair color, you should always take your skin tone into account.

However, be tricky. Should you use cool colors, warm colors, light colors, or darker colors? Follow these tips, and you'll find it a much simpler process.

Which hair color best fits your skin tone? - ClassyCurlies

Light Skin

The good part about having a lighter skin tone, is that you can pull off certain shades that wouldn't fare as well on those with darker skin. For example, you can wear the pastel trend without looking ridiculous or go even brighter with colored streaks.

Want something that's more “cool” and less “Crayola”? That's fine, too. People with light skin will find that ice blonde works well for them. While it has a habit of looking silly on people with dark skin tones, people with fair skin can pull off this blue-tinted blonde.

But, just because you have fair skin, that doesn't mean you have to keep your hair a light color. Some people want their hair a bit darker. In that case, you would probably be best off going for a cool, dark brown color, such as dark ash.

Medium Skin

People with medium skin have a distinct advantage over others: They can dye their hair nearly every color, and have it come out looking gorgeous.

One trend that really shows off this skin tone is the ombré style. Have your stylist transition your hair from dark brown to a beautiful golden color for best results.

In that same vein, medium-skinned people will find that colors that bring out the natural browns or oranges in their skin will make them looking even better. For that reason, if you want to go blonde, you should choose a dark golden or a copper blonde.

But what if you want to go red? That's fine, too. You just should avoid orange shades here; it will come off as looking too artificial. Instead, you should choose a red that's on the darker side, but isn't burgundy. It will look the most natural.

Dark Skin

People with darker skin often have a difficult time finding hair color that is right for them. That's because it can frequently come across as too artificial. 

For that reason, you'll want to stick to dark colors. Black, for instance, works well in almost any case. Choose jet, which is blue tinted, for cooler skin, or raven, which is red tinted, for warmer skin.

You can, however, go a bit lighter without looking too artificial. Simply choose a darker brown, but one that has a bit of extra oomph to it. Mahogany is a good choice, because it's a dark color that also has some dimension: It's warm, but with cool tones.

Want to go red? Avoid the tomato-paste coloring and instead reach for a bottle of burgundy! If you have dark skin, you're one of the few skin tones that can pull this almost-purple red color off. Count yourself lucky!

Now that you've seen what hair colors work with which skin tones, hopefully you'll find coloring your hair an easier process than it was before. With just a little know-how, you'll be looking great in no time at all.

About Author

Aubrey Ginsberg is the co-founder and editor of She works as a professional graphic designer and blogger, but has, as most of women probably, a big passion for beauty and hair care.