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For Better Colour Results, Know Your Starting Hair Colour & Tone

START WITH THE BASICS

Getting the hair colour you really love starts with two basics: your starting colour, which is your current colour, and your tone. Here you’ll find an explanation of both to help you find your perfect shade for gorgeous colour results.

YOUR STARTING COLOUR

Knowing where to start anything is half of the proverbial battle, especially when it comes to hair colour. Like the way we sort our make-up application into steps, hair colour can be divided into similar categories, making what seems like a puzzle that much easier to put together.

To determine where you can take your hair in terms of colour, the most important factor is what your hair colour is right now. If you already colour your hair, this means that you need to go with the current colour as your starting colour, not the one you were born with.

For instance, you may be medium brown naturally, but if you’re currently colouring your hair to a light brown shade, light brown should be the colour you use as your starting colour. So what does all this mean in terms of changing your hair colour?

The general rule of thumb in regard to hair colouring at home is that it’s generally possible to change your hair colour up to one to three shades lighter or darker than your starting colour.

If you’ve never coloured your hair before, it should be possible to go up to three shades lighter or darker – if you currently have medium brown hair, for example, you could lighten it to a light brown, or a dark blonde, or go darker to a dark brown.

If you have previously coloured hair, then dependent on the amount of colour pigment on your hair, it’s generally possible to lighten or darken your hair colour up to one to three shades from your existing hair colour. Specifically when going lighter, you may need to colour your hair over a few applications to get your result up to 1 or 3 shades lighter. Remember to always wait at least 4 to 6 weeks between new applications when using permanent hair colour at home.

As always, if you have highlights or desire to go more than three shades lighter or darker than your current colour, we recommend you visit a hair salon.

YOUR TONE

In terms of hair tone, there are warm or cool tones. The way to determine if you are warm or cool is by looking at your skin tone and eye colour. A good place to begin is to think about the colours you feel really great in—for instance, the ones you receive the most compliments when wearing. Chances are that those colours are in the same family as your own tone.

As you will see below, setting the tone to be in harmony with your colouring, whether cool or warm, is crucial to the composition of your look.

Warm Tones

People with warm colouring look best in warm hair tones. If your skin is warm or olive coloured and your eyes are brown or hazel, then you should go for warm, golden, copper or chestnut hair tones. The shades you should avoid are those with ashy tones. Redheads generally fall into this category. Skin will have a yellow undertone.

Do you look better in peach than pink? Do you look better in gold jewellery than silver jewellery? Then you are probably warm. Some words that will help you determine if a shade of hair colour is warm a nd will work with your colouring are golden, bronze, and copper. Warm tones in hair colour will add warmth to your hair colour, which is often seen as red or gold.

Cool Tones

People with cool colouring look best in cool tones. If your skin is fair and your eyes are blue or green, then you should go for ashy tones. The shades you should avoid are warm, golden or chestnut colours as you want to minimise red and orange undertones, that clash with your skin tone and eyes.

Do you look better in navy than camel? Do you look better in silver jewellery than gold jewellery? Then you are probably cool. Some words that will help you determine if a shade of hair colour is cool and will work with your colouring are ash, platinum and champagne. Cool tones in hair colour will decrease the warmth of your hair colour and are often used to tone down brassiness.