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Do You Have the Right Hair Color For Your Skin Tone?

Chances are you might not.

(Source: Dana Burke/StyleBistro; Art by Tanya Leigh Washington)

Having great hair can make or break your day. Heck, it can transform your entire look. But there's more to it than just a good haircut or fresh blowout. Hair color can greatly effect your overall look more than you know. In fact, having the wrong hair color for your skin tone can bring down even the most perfect haircut. To get to the bottom of the hair color-skin tone dilemma, we sent three editors each with different hair colors and skin tones to colorist Miguel Angarita at New York's Mizu Salon. What we learned will change how we think of our next dye job.

The Importance of Skin Tone:

"Most people have a primary skin tone and an underlying tone," says Angarita. "When choosing hair color, the primary skin tone is your best choice to look at for hair color. You will see that you look most natural with it, and it gives the most complementary look. Learning your skin tones is key when choosing hair color, makeup, and textile tones. Having the wrong color can result in having to purchase new makeup, looking 'washed out' and difficult hair color maintenance." 

Don't Forget the Eyes:

"Eye color is my personal favorite aspects of coloring hair," he says. "It gives you lead way to try new tones. The eyes usually have multiple shades that provide more options when choosing new colors or tones for your hair."

How To Find Your Perfect Hair Color:

Blondes:
- Those with cool skin tones should try golden buttery sun-kissed tones to warm up their skin tones.
- Those with neutral skin tones can handle variety. They can have warm golden to cool and ashier tones. 
- Blondes with warm skin tone should go for cooler, ashier, beige or wheat tones to neutralize the warmth of the skin.

Left to right: Before and After
Left to right: Before and After
(Source: Dana Burke/StyleBistro)

On the Real Girl: Senior Associate Beauty Editor Caitlin Miller (hey, that's me!) had more of a warm, yellow tone to her skin and her brassy blonde ends were doing her no favors. To fix her problem of having a hair color that matched her skin, Angarita gave her an ashy blonde with wheat undertones to neutralize her the yellow in her skin. "These ash roots make skin shine," explains Angarita of blondes with this skin and hair combo.

Left to right: Before and After
Left to right: Before and After
(Source: Dana Burke/StyleBistro)

Red Heads:
- Red heads with cool skin tones should aim for bold copper bright tones to neutralize the cool to creamy soft skin tone.
- Those with neutral skin tone can opt for both bright copper to deep cool reds. The neutrality of their skin accepts most tones.
- Those with warmer skin tones can go for a deeper, rich, "actual" red tone to cool the skin, making it appear more natural.

One the Real Girl: Assistant Editor Dana Burke favored a deep red purple color, however, the hue just wasn't quite right for her cooler skin. To give her more dimension and to brighten up her face on all accounts, Burke got a red hue that mixed her beloved purple with copper red highlights.

Brunettes:
- Those with cool skin tones can have rich, golden earthy tones to compliment and bring warmth to the skin.
- Brunettes with neutral skin are a bit tricky with their coloring. They need to stick to a deeper, neutral chocolate tone with very little warmth to avoid the dreaded "brassy" look.
- Brunettes with warm skin tones should go for a dark, cool neutral brown or even black tone to neutralize the skin tone and bring it to a creamy brighter tone.

Do You Have the Right Hair Color For Your Skin Tone?
(Source: Dana Burke/StyleBistro)

On the Real Girl: With a more neutral skin tone, Style Editor Bethany Cantor wanted to get highlights but had to be careful from getting too brassy. To solve this problem, Angarita built on her chocolate hue with an oh-so subtle melange of lighter brown all over to give a bright touch, without all the brassy side effects. 

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