Pale or fair skin is often described as a "peaches and cream" or a "snow white" complexion. From black to red and blonde, there are hair colors out there to flatter each tone of pale skin. However, before you can choose the right hair color, you need to know if you have warm, cool or neutral-toned fair skin. Using hair color to complement the undertones in your skin brings out the natural glow and enhances your whole look.
Knowing Your Skin Tone
Pale skin generally ranges from ivory to golden, with variances in tone. Most of us are classified as having warm, cool or neutral-toned skin. Try this tip from Miguel Angarita, senior colorist at Mizu New York Salon to find your skin tone. Start with a clean face in a well-lit room with a mirror. One at a time, hold up a white, gray, blue, yellow and red piece of paper or clothing next to your skin. If your skin looks more flattering next to the warm colors, you likely have warm-toned skin, if it looks better next to blue and gray, you have cool-toned skin. If it all looks the same, you're neutral.
Blonde hair colors typically create the most flattering pairing with fair skin. For warm fair skin, try a platinum blonde, buttery-yellow blonde or strawberry blonde. These shades bring out the natural warmth in your skin. For cool-toned fair skin, stay in the middle with your blonde choices. White-blonde, ashy blonde or reddish blonde won't offer the right complement to your skin. Go for a light golden blonde or a medium honey blonde to balance cool skin tones. Neutral fair skin tones can go either way, so test shades to find what works. Add depth to your blonde with highlights or lowlights within two shades of your main color.
Rich Brunette Hues
Brown hair color can add balance and warmth to fair complexions. Be careful not to go too dark if you have very light ivory skin, as doing so can make you appear pale and washed out. Shades like bronde -- a golden light brown -- add a glow to warm-toned fair skin. Cool-toned fair skin is balanced by hues like chestnut medium brown and cool sandy brown. Add even more warmth and depth with medium golden highlights. Neutral fair skin can go either way -- just make sure to test dark chocolate or black-brown samples against your skin before going with permanent color.
Red-based hair colors are often the most difficult to match with any skin tone, but they look most natural on fair skin. Orange-red shades like copper, medium golden red, and ginger work best on warm-toned skin. These hair colors enhance the natural warmth in your skin. Cool-toned fair skin gets the best complement from purple-toned reds like auburn and cherry. Blending golden or medium-brown highlights brings balance to the overall look. If you have neutral fair skin, you can try both orange- and purple-toned red hues. Tread lightly with dark plum reds to make sure they don't wash out your fair skin.
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