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Key Considerations to Make Choosing Hair Colors Easier

Updated on May 5, 2012

Choosing the right hair color can be challenging, and the hundreds of hair color products on the market these days adds so much variety that it’s often hard to know where to start. When choosing hair colors, there are a few key considerations that can make the process easier and help you find the perfect product. Let’s look at where to start to avoid getting stuck in the hair care aisle at your local supermarket.

Intended Use

This is one of the first things you should ask yourself. How you intend to use the color will affect which type and shade of hair color you should purchase. You might want to use a hair color product to enhance your natural color, to hide gray hair, or to highlight your hair.

Enhancing Your Natural Color

If you want to enhance what Mother Nature gave you, then it’s best to stick to a color that is as close to your natural hair color as possible. A shade lighter or a shade darker may give you a slightly different result, but it should be fairly subtle.

Hiding Gray Hair

Covering grays requires a permanent hair color product, and you should choose the color wisely. Hair color tends to show up rather brightly on gray hair, so anything with a reddish undertone could turn orange.

Completely Changing Your Hair Color

Changing your hair color completely means purchasing a color that is very different from your natural color. If you decide to do this you should just match the tone of the hair color you purchase to your natural skin tone. If you’re cool toned, go for cool toned hair color. If you’re warm toned, opt for warmer or golden shades. An easy way to see whether you’re warm or cool toned is to check your wardrobe and the clothes you wear every day. If your clothing lean more toward warmer colors, chances are you’re warm toned, and vice versa.

Highlighting Your Hair

If you want to highlight your hair at home, the best course of action is to buy a hair color that is only a shade or two lighter than your natural hair. This will help you get a more natural-looking result. A color that is too light could seem harsh or unnatural.

Choosing the Right Permanence Level

You should also decide whether you want permanent, semi-permanent or color rinses when choosing hair colors. If you want to cover gray hair or make a permanent change to your hair color, you should opt for permanent coloring products. This type of hair dye never washes out completely. Semi-permanent color tends to last for up to three months but may still leave some color behind. For a night out or a special occasion, you could choose a color rinse. These hair dyes wash in and wash out in one or two washes, so they are perfect or short term color changes.


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