How to Choose a Hair Colour that Best Suits You

Beauty | 0 comments

When consulting clients about hair colours, I always make it a point to highlight to them that it is not about what colours they like or what is trending at the moment. The most important to discuss is your skin’s undertone, your style direction and last but not least, the maintenance. It’s time I walk you through some basic knowledge about hair colouring – What are the key ingredients in a hair dye, how a good consultation process would look like, how to identify a flattering shade for your skin tone and my two cents worth on some of the better quality products in the market.

Basic Science of Permanent Hair Colour

Two basic ingredients found in all permanent hair dyes are hydrogen peroxide and ammonia.

Hydrogen peroxide is also known as the developer or oxidizing agent. This ingredient, in varying strengths, aids in initiating the colour-forming process and administers long-lasting colours. The larger the volume of the developer, the greater the amount of sulfur is removed from the hair. Which is why the brighter the choice of colour, the dryer your hair gets.

Ammonia is an alkaline that allows for lightening by acting as a catalyst when the permanent hair colour comes together with the peroxide. Like all alkaline chemicals, ammonia tends to separate the cuticle and allows the hair colour to penetrate the cortex of the hair. Without ammonia, it is impossible to deposit colours permanently onto hair.

Consultation is Key

An experienced colourist listens to the client’s desires, thoughts and concerns. After digesting the information, the colourist would attempt to paraphrase the information to make sure they are on the same page and provide some suggestions based on their expertise.

Crucial things to discuss are your skin’s undertone and narrowing the choices to those that match you. Some questions to ask regarding your style direction are – What are the colours that compliment your hair and personal style, for example, full head colour or highlights, how can the colours accentuate your features?

The maintenance – How often should you schedule an appointment with your colourist to maintain the colour? Which home care products to use? Lastly, what is the cost and time involved that best fit your schedule and budget.

What Are Your Skin’s Undertones?

Colours can be categorised into warm, cool and neutral.

For Face and Body:

–  Warm-toned: Yellow or gold

–  Cool-toned: Pink or olive

–  Neutral: Combination of the above

Veins in your wrist:

–  Warm-toned: Green

–  Cool-toned: Blue or purple

–  Neutral: Combination of the above

Eye Colour:

–  Warm-toned: Brown or gold

–  Cool-toned: Blue or green

The basic rule is choosing a tone that is opposite your skin’s undertone. If you have a neutral skin tone, however, then you are in for a treat as you will find that almost every colours look flattering on you! There will be some variations depending on the choices of colours. Nonetheless, it is a good guide to follow.

A Picture Tells A Thousand Words

My last tip, research colour inspirations from celebrities and influencers. Pick out those with similar skin and eye colours like yours. By doing so, you get a clearer picture of how each colour will turn out on you and also help your colourist tremendously during the consultation process.

Katherine’s Favourite Products:

1. Nouvelle Lively Ammonia-Free Hair Colour Cream

Pros: Ammonia and parabens free, which keep the hair nourished. The product also pampers with luxurious ingredients like sweet almond oil and lotus flower.

Cons: Longer processing time and not very good coverage for stubborn grey hair.

2. JOICO Vero K-PAK Hair Colour

Pros: Great coverage, repairs and protects hair while colouring with award-winning K-PAK technology.

Cons: Not ammonia free.

3. TIGI Creative Cream Colour

Pros: Excellent coverage, high shine, easy on the scalp.

Cons: Not ammonia free.

Talk to your colourist about their favourite professional hair colouring products!


This article originally appeared in Vanilla Luxury.