After the long year largely spent in the confines of our homes, so many women were ready for that new look to make them start afresh. Changing their hair colour was a bolder step most ladies were opting for because they realised being too safe in this unpredictable world we now live in, would strip them of trying out new things.
Hair colour is a way of expressing yourself; how a person wears their hair says as much about how they want to present themselves as their fashion choices. However, it’s important that our hairstyles suit our natural appearance whilst reflecting our individual tastes.
Whilst there are no hard and fast rules, if you want some guidance, look to your skin tone and undertone as the starting point.
What is the surface colour of the skin (i.e., Fair, Medium or Dark skin)?
Are there subtle hues beneath the surface of your skin? This is the key to finding out your ideal colour pallet. This also applies to makeup, clothing and jewellery. Your skin undertone never changes, so it’s a much better way to determine which colour suits you.
HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR SKIN UNDERTONE
There are three skin undertones. They include;
- Cool undertone: They are BLUE, PINK or RED TINGE.
- Warm undertone: They are PEACH, YELLOW or SOLDEN.
- Neutral undertone: They are the balance between warm and cool (yellow, blue) and are generally closer in appearance to the skin’s surface tone.
LOOK AT YOUR VEINS
Check the colour of your veins on the underside of your arm (in natural light).
*If they appear Blue or Purple, you have cool undertone.
*If they appear Greenish, you have warm undertones.
*If they aren’t that clear or seem to match the colour of your skin, you are neutral.
CHECK YOUR WARDROBE
A wardrobe full of Grey, Blue and Purple, White or Rose Gold will be someone who likely has a cool undertone.
If most of your clothes you pick are earthy like Red, Olive green, Orange, Yellow, Cream or off white and those look best on you, then you have warm undertone.
If you are able to wear almost any colour and it looks good, then it’s because you have got a neutral undertone.
It’s another way to determine your undertone. Gold jewellery usually flatters warm undertones. Rose Gold, Silver and Platinum look best on cool undertones.
If all looks good on you and you have a mix of metals, then you are neutral.
My recommendation is to start from lighter to darker. To be safe, don’t go more than two to three levels lighter than your neutral hair colour. E.g. If you are Dark Brown, start with light brown or dark blonde depending on your undertone (cool or warm). If you want a safer start, keep a little bit of your neutral hair colour and lighten the rest of it. It is much healthier for your hair to start light, then top up with darker richer tones when you want a change than to go darker than your neutral hair colour and then try to strip off artificial colour to get lighter.
For women with dark skin tones, the sky is your limit when it comes to hair colour options. Melanin rich skin makes hair colour jobs even more fun and daring. For non-natural hues like Pretty Pastels to Bold Neon shades, technicolour hair is friendly. However, the skin tone/undertone rule still applies with these fun colours. The colour of your hair can lift your skin or leave it looking sallow, no matter how bright it may be.
Another colour to match out is Red. Red suggests confidence and boldness regardless of the shade or tone. A woman who colours her hair red understands the commitment she has made to RED. Reds run out and fade quickly. Red pigment penetrates and stays deeper in the hair’s cortex of the hair shaft due to its potency driven in further by the developer staining the melanin in the hair’s cortex.
After bonding to the hair shaft, red releases quickly due to its large molecular weight making it a hard colour to keep up. It is also very hard to remove from your hair due to its underlining darker pigments.
It suits cool skin tones and is good for counteracting warmth and beeping your blonde at its optimal appearance. The ashier the shade of blonde, the cooler and smokier the hair making the cooler look toned, crisp and silky.
ARE YOU THINKING OF GOING BLONDE?
These are things to consider before making that bold change.
*Are you willing to invest time to maintain blonde hair? If you have naturally dark hair, keep in mind that blonde hair will be high maintenance for you. You might have to endure a few visits to the salon before getting your perfect blonde shade. If you have to go light too fast, your hair can get dry and damaged. Please be patient and heed to your colourist’s advice.
*Is your hair integrity already compromised? Going from dark to blonde is no small process. Double processing can be damaging to the hair. If your hair has already been coloured or straightened, it might damage your hair even further by going blonde. You may have to cut your damaged coloured hair or poorly mishandled chemically treated hair and start from scratch.
In a nutshell, whatever hair colour you decide on, determine your skin undertone. Seek professional advice before colouring and follow up on after care to keep your hair colour looking its best.
By: Christine Kastner
Featured in Glitz Africa Magazine issue 28
I’m Christine Kastner, CEO and Master Hairstylist of Red Ginger for Hair with 20 years’ experience in the Hairdressing; with Cosmetology Education at Graham Webb International Academy of Hair, USA.
I enjoy working on my clients to create unique looks so they feel great and I love to modernise classic looks to make them fun and wearable for the woman on-the-go.
I attend continued classes so as to always be knowledgeable of the best and healthiest techniques to use.
Red Ginger is now one of the leading salons in the ever growing and competitive industry. Its specialties include; hair extensions, classic and modern hair cutting, colour expertise and corrective treatments.