Finding Your Best Hair Color In Just 5 Steps
The history of hair dying can be traced back to Ancient Greece, when it was done with plant-based pigments. Pigments which, from the early 20th century onwards, became available in synthetic hair dyes too.
This turned our quest for our best hair color into a $$$multi-billion industry!
At the same time, all of these extra possibilities and options in terms of formula, colour, durability etc. has proven to be as counter-productive as having none.
And when it comes to our quest for the perfect look and style, we often spare little expense (mental, time-related or financial). Which means decision fatigue is a real thing!
So if you want to cut all that effort & expense, and still be able to find the best hair color for your own individual needs, keep on reading! I’ve listed the 5 most important things you need to consider:
(Psst! If you want to extend these benefits to your entire style, make sure to check out You and Your Personal Style!)
Your time, lifestyle & budget
This is something that not everyone considers when choosing their newest ‘do or color. But these factors will dictate whether you keep your new hair for a long time, or you end up switching to something easier to maintain.
Are you in high school or college, with quite some time to spare, but maybe not a lot of money? Then you probably don’t want to go to the salon every 3-4 weeks for a touch up. You might instead be better of with a temporary dye that you can apply at home.
My top recommendation has to be Overtone-it’s the absolute best semi permanent hair color I’ve tried! It’s super vibrant, and doesn’t ruin your hair since it’s a pigmented conditioner/hair mask. I credit it for keeping my locks fiery red in between dye-jobs 🙂
Or are you maybe…
A young professional? A new mom? An entrepreneur just branching out? Then probably wasting precious time is the last thing you want.
So your best hair color might end up being a “bronde” balayage instead of a full-on blonde.
Or chocolate lowlights carefully interspersed with your natural chestnut.
These options will keep looking amazing even when you’re growing them out.
And of course, if you still want a full on change and are very handy, you can go to the salon at first, and then do 2 rounds of dying just your outgrowth.
This should still save you around 4 months until you need to redo your whole head of hair.
If I had to pick the best at home hair dye, it would have to be L’Oreal Inoa. It used to only be for salons, but now it’s more widely available. The color is amazingly deep once applied, but it does need to be massaged a bit into your tresses for optimal results.
Better yet, it’s ammonia-free- and it’s the best hair dye for grey hair, as far as I’ve tried!
Your face shape
Yup, you read that right!
It’s not only the coloring of your complexion that can influence how well your new dye-job suits you. The actual shape of your face can play just an important a role, especially in terms of highlights and lowlights.
A quick example:
If your face is heart shaped, your forehead will be visibly wider in comparison to your cheekbones and chin. Which means that if you want to visually emphasize these narrower points, you could opt for placing highlights around them.
Lighter hues optically widen areas they are on/near to, and generally make them pop out more! And in this case, they can be used to help balance out the shape of the face.
They’re also great for drawing attention to killer cheekbones, btw! #justsaying
Similarly, darker shades will usually make areas they are closest to seem smaller and narrower.
So for example if you want to visually diminish your forehead area in comparison to the rest of your face, you would be best served by an ombre balayage look.
These are just very simple examples, sure.
But it’s worth noting that in general, any area of your face you particularly like showing off (be it eyes, eyebrows lips, cheekbones) will benefit from having a few highlights placed nearby.
Think of them like highlighter-but you know, for your hair!
If you’d like to learn more similar tips, tricks and helpful insights, make sure to join my course, You and Your Personal Style! There I go into detail about your face shape, dimensions and how you can best flatter them in your own individual case (+much, much more valuable info on finding and owning your personal style).
Your skin, eye and natural hair color
There’s a generally accepted rule when it comes to beauty. It states that your best combination of eye, hair and skin color is usually your natural one. However, as we are people with personalities that we choose to reflect in our personal style, our preference will often differ from what nature gave us.
A natural blonde with blue eyes and pale skin may feel like dark chocolate locks frame her face better, thanks to the contrast.
A fiery brunette might see her personality better reflected in a deep, rich cherry red.
And so on, and so forth…
Lucky for us, the palette of options currently available to us in terms of creating our very own, personalized hair hue is more than generous.
Unlucky for us, we are subjected to so many options and #hairspo ideas that our aesthetic often becomes muddled, and we simply can’t pick.
Which is where this rule comes in handy!
Because the truth is, you can never go wrong when staying within 2 shades (lighter or darker) from your natural hair color. Going from there afterwards, you can always adjust for more dramatic effects!
Your current wardrobe
As I was saying in my article on which colors look best on redheads, a change of hair can often mean a change of wardrobe.
You might find that previous favorites now don’t make you glow anymore. And hues you’d never considered can become your new go-to’s!
So have an honest assessment of how your clothes and intended hair tone will fit together (ideally before committing to it). If you feel you need to change too much, with too high a tab, consider adjusting.
You can start with a semi-permanent dye, to see if you even like and intend to keep that specific shade. Or have a few highlights placed in, which you can then color in with Overtone and other such pigments.
Another solution- once you are indeed dedicated to your new shade- is to start refreshing your wardrobe with accessories, scarves, hats and hair accessories. They sit closest to your face, and will therefore be the most noticeable in how they work with your hair.
Consider keeping items in tints that clash with your new hair tone to the mid and lower part of your body. This way, you can still keep a much loved color in your wardrobe, without it taking away from your overall appearance.
Your reasons for dying
When I was really young, I was convinced I would never dye my hair! I loved my natural color. Then I started getting grays around 18… a lot of them!
So I started dying my hair in a similar shade, eventually getting highlights, to mitigate the outgrowth. That lasted very little, as I couldn’t be interested in maintaining a highlighting schedule (this to my point above, on time, lifestyle&money).
My initial reason for dying my hair was clearly hiding away the grays. Only many years later did I discover how much fun you can have with a color that’s so different from your natural one!
You may choose to dye your hair to try out a trend (opal hair, hidden rainbow, cotton candy pink etc.). Or you may do it to look younger (or older), to add more dimension to your existing natural hair. Or just to have fun with a completely new look!
Because in the end, I think we want to see our personality reflected in our hair look. That’s what makes a certain hue our very own best hair color. It’s as much a means of self-expression, as it is a practical way to reverse time-inducing changes.
And it’s something we can use to take a step back and reflect a bit on how we see ourselves, and what we want to project to the outside world.
Either way, different reasons call for different products and techniques to be used. So make sure to talk to a professional before starting your hair coloring journey! It will save you loads of spilt tears and split ends in the long run.
But if not, then remember: it’s only hair 😉
Thanks for reading my article! I hope it will help you with selecting your best hair color, with minimal damage and maximum smiles in the mirror.
P.S.: To help you out further with expressing yourself through your personal style, make sure to sign up for The Style Club! Then you can receive my free printables as well as the most stylish updates directly in your Inbox.
Happy Great Day
What was your script to talk to a professional? Do you mean at a beauty supply store or a salon? …… I’m scared to do it but would love to go Mad Men red.
~ Suzana Barton
Hey, Suzana! If we’re talking major changes, I’d definitely seek a salon hairstylist’s advice. I asked if I’d need to have my color lifted first, how that would impact my hair’s texture and health, if the coloring could be done with ammonia free dye, how to maintain the color afterwards etc.
Maybe you can also find a beauty supply store member of staff who is very knowledgeable about these things, but so far, I’ve relied on salon stylists.
Good luck, and if you do go red, I want to see pics! 😀