Is Your Hair Color Aging You?

Does your hair color make you look older? The color of your eyes and skin are an important consideration when choosing a hair color. Selecting the wrong hair color can add years to your real age, so it's important that you find a good colorist to help you select the color that is best for your skin tone and eye color.

Matching Up Skin Color With Hair Color

Hair colors are usually either warm or cool, and you need to match the hair color with your skin's undertone color. One way to determine your skin's undertone color is to look at the veins in your wrist in sunlight or quartz lighting, which give a truer color rendition. If they are blue, then you have a cool undertone. If they look green, then you have a warm undertone. Women of color (Indian, Black, Latino, Middle-Eastern, and Asian) generally have a warm undertone.

There are many hair color options available, depending on your skin tone.

  • Neutral or cream-color skin tones: Helga Surratt, president of About Faces Day Spa & Salon in Towson, Md., suggests that people with dark eyes stick with medium brown colors or medium reds. If you have hazel, blue, or green eyes, she says that anything from a light brunette to a medium blonde would look great. And, if your natural hair color is light, go with an auburn or strawberry color.
  • Warm/ruddy skin tones: If your eyes are dark brown, black, or hazel color, Surratt suggests that you go with black, medium brown, or golden brown hair. A wine or auburn color would enhance your natural color. If your eyes are hazel, blue, or green and your natural hair color is light brown to medium blonde, add light or golden highlights or choose a medium brunette color on the warm side. If your eyes are blue or green and you have naturally blonde hair, stay with golden blondes and very light brunette shades. Vivid red tones and warm reds will work well for you also.
  • Olive skin tones. If you have brown eyes, you should opt for dark brown or brunette shades. If your eyes are hazel, blue, or green, go with a light to medium brown, and Surratt says you should use a sandy brown to cover any gray. If your eyes are blue or green, chances are that you already have light hair naturally, and you can go light brunette or blonde.
  • Women of color: If your skin's undertone color is warm, select colors that are a shade darker than your skin with a warm tone, such as a bronze or caramel color. Do not go too light gold, as you may wind up with orange hair. If your skin's undertone is cool, stick with a light ash tone, burgundy or cool browns and avoid coppers, auburns, or any gold colors. Most women of color have brown eyes, but if your eyes are not brown, the guidelines above still apply.
  • Yellow tint or sallow skin tones. If you have dark or hazel eyes, you will look great with shades from black to medium brown. Auburn, wine, or aubergine also will accentuate your own natural coloring. If you have hazel, blue, or green eyes, light browns and medium blondes will look good. Keep the blondes on the ashy or sandy side and stay away from gold colors. If your eyes are blue or green and your hair is naturally blonde, go with a neutral or sandy blonde or opt for light brunette without a lot of warmth. And if your hair is naturally on the red side, keep the red subdued and don't go too vibrant.

The wrong hair color can make you look tired, older, or even unhealthy. But the right cut and color can make you look younger and slimmer and can even appear to alter the shape of your face. Serratt maintains that a good colorist should be a friend for life, keeping you looking as young as possible, with color.

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