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Choosing your hair colour

Published by Sarah Horrocks
Published on 18 March 2008

After a new hair colour? Although it’s technically possible to go from black to platinum blonde, think about it carefully as this is obviously a radical change and there’s no room for error! Here’s some advice to help you get it right.

Make the right choice
The right colour should suit your personality, your skin tone and your eye colour.

If you are fair, have pale-coloured eyes and are naturally blonde, choose different shades of blonde and ash blonde all over, or highlights and streaks for a natural look.

For more effect, intensify the colour with touches of dark chestnut or warm tones that create a contrast between your complexion and hair. Be wary of very intense golden tones that can make your complexion look washed out.

If you are dark, with dark eyes, natural chesnut, brown or black hair, choose brown/chestnut or try highlights in mahogany, auburn, chocolate to intensify your colour evenly and achieve a natural look.

For more effect, dare to go platinum blonde, but only if you have very short hair to play with the contrast. Avoid golden copper and orange tones that can look too 'sunny.'

If you have pink and white skin, hazel eyes, natural light chestnut or auburn hair, for a natural look, warm browns and copper will accentuate your pink cheeks. For more effect, enhance your natural colour with lighter streaks such as golden blonde, or darker streaks such as copper.

Avoid colours that are too noticeably lighter, such as ash or platinum blonde, which can look cheap and out of place.

If you're redheaded with light eyes and natural red/blond or chestnut/copper hair, for a natural look stay with blonde (strawberry, golden, copper and reddish blonde) and variants of red. For a more dramatic effect, go for chic red highlights. Avoid black that weakens the features of the face and makes you look pale.

Good make-up
A new hair colour also means a change in make-up!

With light blonde, keep your complexion pale (light pink make-up and fruity lips). Avoid tones that are dark or gold, and red lips which break up the harmony of your new colouring.

With golden blonde, go sunkissed, with pink/orange lips.

With dark chestnut, your complexion should be peachy, with copper/apricot lips. Avoid sunkissed tones and orange blusher!

With ginger/red and auburn, choose apricot tones for your face and bronze/copper for your mouth. Avoid ivory tones and red lips - the contrast is too noticeable.

With black, keep your base light, but go with red lips for a strong look. Avoid pink and pale lips, which look too plain.

Guide to dying your hair
- If you want a radical change, choose a permanent salon hair dye. It won't fade, so if you want your natural colour back, there is only one solution: make an appointment with a hairdresser who has the means to strip the colour without damaging your hair too much.

- If you want a discreet change to try out or get used to a new look, semi permanent colour is for you. It fades in 6 to 8 weeks.

- If you fancy a fresh new look just for fun, then a very temporary colour change is the order of the day. It fades in 6 to 8 shampoos.

Plus: see our practical guide to colouring your hair.

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