How to choose the right hair colour

By: Andrea Karr

Photography by Keystone Press Author: Canadian Living Credits: Photography by Keystone Press


How to choose the right hair colour

By: Andrea Karr
1. Discover your natural shade.
Find a mirror at the drugstore and put the box's "natural" swatch next to your roots. Once you've found your natural hue, you'll know what you can realistically expect from each dye. (PS Your natural colour is not the colour of your current dye job.)

Sienna Miller hair colour
Sienna Miller; Photography by Walter McBride/Getty Images

2. Start with realistic expectations.
In other words, don't expect to go from dark brown to platinum blond. Stay within two shades of your natural colour, whether you're going lighter or darker. For the most foolproof transformation no matter your natural hue, go darker, richer or redder.

Julia Roberts hair colour transformation
Deepening your shade from medium reddish-brown to a deep chocolate, à la Julia Roberts, is a realistic colour change; Photography by Dan McMedan/Getty Images (left) and Keystone Press

3. Choose a tone.
Most boxed hair dyes are categorized by tone: W or G for Warm or Gold; N for Neutral; and C or A for Cool or Ash. If you have warm golden skin, you'll need a warm hair colour. If you have a cool pinkish complexion, you'll need a cool colour. Look at the skin on your inner arm to decipher whether you have golden or pink undertones.

Sofia Vergara hair transformation
Whether she's blond or brunette, Sofia Vergara chooses warm caramel tones to complement her golden complexion; Photography by Keystone Press (left) and Steve Granitz/Getty Images

Read more: 
How to dye your own hair at home
Lighten up: 4 hair colour techniques, from ombré to balayage

This story first appeared in the July 2015 issue of Canadian Living magazine.

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How to choose the right hair colour