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How Do I Choose the Best Hair Color for Fair Skin?

By Alicia Sparks
Updated May 21, 2024
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Choosing the best hair color for fair skin depends on a number of factors, all of which are personal to you. People with fair complexions often have cool skin tones and assume the traditional cool browns and ash colors are their best options. In reality, pale skin still has different undertones, such as pink and yellow, that make some less common types of fair skin hair colors look better than others. Other factors, such as eye color, length, and even upkeep play roles in deciding which hair color for fair skin to choose. Often time, choosing a color that is one or two shades lighter or darker than the original hair color can act as a solid jumping-off point for selecting hair coloring for fair complexions.

Traditionally, ash blonds and other cool brown colors are thought to be the best types of hair color for fair skin. Generally, people feel these colors complement cool skin tones in more flattering ways than do darker types of hair color. Too, nature often pairs red hair with fair skin, but that doesn’t mean it always works. For example, depending on the skin’s undertones, a light red or strawberry blond might be more flattering than a dark red. Natural redheads who don’t feel their hair coloring works with their pale skin might have a stylist lighten or darken the red to better suit their complexions.

Setting aside traditional opinions, there are many types of pale skin, and each one works well with a certain hair color. For example, fair skin with yellow undertones often looks good with rich, dark hair colors, whereas more neutral blonds and browns complement fair skin with pink undertones. Too, other features like eye color can help determine the best hair color for fair skin. For example, most fair-skinned people with blue eyes can get away with various shades of blond hair. Green or hazel eyes usually work well with red hair colors.

Perhaps surprisingly, truly pale skin will look good with almost any hair color. Blonds, reds, browns, and even blacks can look good against a pale complexion that lacks any pink or yellow undertones. When this is the case, it’s entirely up to your personal preference. You might choose a chocolate brown to emphasize your brown eyes, or you might choose a light blond because you think it looks better worn long. You might even choose a hair color based on where you live, your occupation, and the expected color maintenance.

A simple and usually safe experiment can help you determine which hair color will work best with your fair complexion, especially if you’re coloring your hair yourself. Choose a color that is no more than two shades lighter or darker than your own natural hair color. For example, if you have light brown hair, try a brown that is one or two shades lighter or one or two shades darker, depending on the direction you want to go. Remember, this is an experiment, so you might end up with results you don’t like. Protect yourself by choosing a temporary hair dye or a semi-permanent one that washes out after a certain number of shampoos.

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Discussion Comments

By Slashenden — On Jan 02, 2014

Knowing whether you have cool or warm undertones is crucial in selecting makeup shades, clothing colors, and the best hair colors for fair skin. I have porcelain skin with cool undertones. Blues, pinks and purples look great on me. Oranges and most browns do not. I've colored my hair for years and always stick with cool browns and ash blonde, except for the couple of times I've chosen an auburn shade. Choosing the wrong hair color can make you look like you're sick. Choose to have a professional color your hair rather than attempting it at home.

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