Watch CBS News

The Right Hair Color Can Do Wonders

When choosing a hair color, the trick is to complement your skin tone in order to minimize flaws and bring out the best in your complexion. Picking the wrong shade can be a disaster for your overall appearance. It can make you look tired, sickly or unnaturally ruddy.

Visiting The Early Show on Monday, stylist to the stars David Evangelista brought tips on hair coloring, which he demonstrated on three models.

He says the first step is to determine if your skin tone is cool or warm. In general, you will have a cool skin tone if your hair is naturally bluish-black, dark brown, medium ash or golden blonde. Your skin will be pale, with pink or no undertones; medium, with pink, golden or no cheek color; very dark brown (some Latinas or African Americans); or true olive (Asian). Evangelista says "cool blues" do well with blue-red hair shades, such as burgundy, ruby, garnet, cherry or bordeaux.

You will mostly likely have a warm skin tone if your natural hair color is red, reddish or golden brown, deep brown, strawberry blonde or natural golden blonde. Your skin will be pale, with peach or gold undertones; brown, with pink, butterscotch, copper, caramel or golden undertones (some Latinas or African Americans); or freckled. "Warm yellows" do best with copper, cinnamon, ginger, russet and strawberry shades of red hair color, according to Evangelista.

Quick tip: Another way to figure out if you have a warm or a cool skin tone is to look at the veins in your arm. If they look blue, chances are you are a cool; if they have more of a greenish tint, you're probably a warm.

Warm/yellow/golden skin tone
The first model, Jackie, appeared with hair in a pretty shade of deep brown. Evangelista and Parvin Klein, head colorist at the John Barrett salon, thought the color looked flat and that it gave her skin a yellow tint. They decided to even out Jackie's skin with a flattering chestnut shade, and to add a few cinnamon highlights to bring a little red into her coloring, neutralize her yellow/sallow skin tone, and add some rich depth.

The result: Jackie's skin looks rosier and her hair looks rich and healthy.

General tips for warm/yellow/golden skin tones

  • Try deep, rich base colors like dark golden brown, chestnut, mahogany or auburn
  • Highlight with red, cinnamon or copper streaks

    Cool/blue-red skin tone
    The second model, Paige, looked fantastic when she came into the salon, but there was a definite blue/red tint to her cool-tone skin, especially under her eyes, and her hair color was a little drab. To counter the blue and red tones in her skin and to make her blue eyes stand out even more, the stylists decided to go with a deep, minky base color, which would cool off the pink in her skin. They also opted to add a slew of golden highlights to warm up the blue tint to her skin.

    The result: Paige's skin looks more ivory or peaches-and-cream than red/blue, and her blue eyes stand out.

    General tips for cool/blue-red skin tones

  • Try intense shades of brown, red or blonde for base color
  • Highlight with wheat, honey, taupe or ash shades that contrast base

    Red, ruddy skin tone
    When Abigail walked into the salon, two things stood out: her bleached blonde hair, and her ruddy skin tone. The platinum hair over-accentuated the rosy cheeks and looked artificial. Klein decided to weave a slew of deeper colors like honey and caramel throughout Abigail's hair and to add a few bright blonde highlights for pops of color.

    The result: Abigail's new hair color dramatically cools down her skin tone and, though she's still a light blonde, it's a far more natural color than before.

    General tips for red, ruddy skin tones

  • Avoid bright red tones, and don't over-bleach
  • Cool ruddiness with beige, honey brown, golden or light coffee colors
  • View CBS News In
    CBS News App Open
    Chrome Safari Continue
    Be the first to know
    Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.