How To Pick The Most Flattering Hair Color For You

Celebrity Hair Colorist Kari Hill Helps Us Find The Best Hair Color

As the seasons start to change, many of us will swap out our wardrobes, switch up our makeup, and color our hair.

Whether you’re a color chameleon or a hair dye novice, figuring out the most flattering hair color can be difficult, at best.

And the stakes are high!

According to a L’Oréal Paris 2014 Hair Care Survey, the majority of American women say that “a bad hair day holds them back from their daily lives and makes them feel less confident.”  To fully realize the powerful connection between a woman’s inner confidence and her hair, L’Oréal Paris, the leading global beauty brand with a deep-rooted commitment to women, conducted a further study via Harris Poll in March 2015 that affirmed that 77% of women agree: When their hair is “on” – they’re “on.”

To help us navigate the process of choosing the best hair color to flatter our faces, we turned to Kari Hill, a L’Oréal Paris Celebrity Hair Colorist with more than fifteen years of experience coloring some of the most well-known manes in Hollywood, including Charize Theron, Zooey Deschanel and Anna Faris, among others. As she explains, “Changing your hair color can feel overwhelming. To help simplify the process, these tips can help you to choose a natural-looking shade and tone that complement your skin, eye, and hair color.” And she “couldn’t agree more” with the findings of the L’Oréal Paris studies. “When my hair is styled just the way I like it –  ‘done, but not,’ with my color freshly touched up, I feel my most comfortable and confident.  L’Oreal Paris’ #POWERON campaign is all about that moment when a woman experiences her most beautiful hair, and she harnesses her inner-confidence in a way that’s quite extraordinary.”

Kari Hill’s Best Tips For Picking The Most Flattering Hair Color For Your Face

The Beauty Bean: For so many of us, changing our hair color is a daunting task. Do you have any tips for picking the best color for our skin tone?  What if you aren’t even sure how to define your skin tone?

Kari Hill: Regardless of whether you are going lighter or darker, choose a shade that is either one or two levels away from your current hair color (i.e. what your hair looks like now, not necessarily the color you were born with or had as a teenager).

After you’ve chosen your shade of color, you next need to determine the right tone of color.  There are a few basic tricks to help you find out if you have cool or warm undertones in your skin [which you want to match in your hair color]. Your forearm can be a good skin tone indicator; this area is less exposed to the sun, so it can provide a more accurate result.  If you see yellow, you have more of a warm skin tone. If you don’t see yellow, then you have more of a neutral or cool tone. You can also look at the veins in your forearm – if your veins have a greenish hue, then you most likely have warm undertones.  If they have more of a bluish hue, then you most likely have pink or cool undertones.  

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The Beauty Bean: How does our eye color play into this? Or the colors we gravitate to when we get dressed?

Kari Hill: Eye color can often be a deciding factor in determining skin tone. Warm brown, golden, or green eyes are usually an indicator that skin has darker, olive, or yellow/warm undertones. Blue, grey-blue, or almost black-brown eyes generally indicate fair or cool skin tones. Hazel eyes can go either way, so look for whether you have cool or warm flecks in your hazel eyes– cool flecks usually indicate a cool skin tone, and warm flecks usually indicate a warm skin tone. 

If you’re still unsure of your skin tone, go to your closet and pick out two shirts in different color tones. If you have pink or cool undertones in your skin, a yellow, orange, or brown top will usually wash you out. If you have warm undertones in your skin and you put on a pink, blue-red, or purple top, it could clash with your skin. More often than not, doing a quick scan of your closet will help since the eye tends to gravitate toward clothes that make us feel good and look healthy. Simply taking notice of the types of colors you gravitate towards in your wardrobe can help answer your skin tone questions.

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The Beauty Bean: What about highlights/lowlights?

Kari Hill: One simple tip when deciding on highlights or lowlights is to think about what color your hair is naturally lightened to by the sun – by doing so, you can figure out how light you should go and the tone you should choose.  However, avoid the temptation of coloring more than two shades darker or lighter than your current hair color. 

The Beauty Bean: How do different hair colors affect our skin-tone (bringing out the rosiness, etc.)?

Kari Hill: Once you land on your skin tone, mirror it in your hair color tone. A warmer skin tone means you should be choosing warmer tones in color, while a cooler skin calls for cool/ash/beige color tones. If you’re looking to simplify your decision further, neutral tones work well with almost all skin hues. 

The Beauty Bean: Any closing advice?

Kari Hill: The proper after-care is what truly makes all the difference when it comes to gorgeous, long-lasting hair color. Maintain the integrity of your color with a shampoo and conditioning system like L’Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Color Vibrancy, which instantly nourishes and helps shield color from fading.