Best Hair Colors: Which One is Right for You?

How to Tell if You'd Make a Better Blonde or Redhead

Hair dye swatches
Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

When it comes to hair colors, you may wonder if you'd make a great blonde or redhead. If you're a brunette, you may wonder what your options are for jazzing up your blah brown. And as for the grays, you may be curious what the best ways to cover them up may be.

Choosing the right blond, brown, black or red should always be based on your natural hair color and your skin tone. I always recommend trying on wigs to determine if a color would look good on you, and then research and fine-tune the color from there with the help of a professional. 

Here's your basic guide to finding your best hair color.

Brunette? No More "Blah Brown"

Ever since Kate Middleton stepped into the spotlight, brunette hair color has become more popular than ever, rivaling the always popular blond. Gone are the days when brunettes dyed their hair blond just because they felt it was the most popular color. In fact, many of the most famous women today keep their brown locks brown. 

"Blah brown," however, is never gorgeous. The key here is to kick your brown hair up a notch. You can do this a number of ways, including:

  • Coloring it a gorgeous auburn color. Auburn is the hottest brown hair trend of the moment (think Kate Middleton).
  • Copper highlights are gorgeous via the balayage method. Face-framing color can really flatter your skin tone.
  • Try out the trendy "sombré" trend or become a kinda blonde — a trend known as the "bronde." 
  • If you have super pale skin and brown hair, consider going lighter or at least having some highlights painted or foiled in. Super dark shades can wash you out and even make you appear older.

How to Tell if You'd Look Better with Darker Hair

In her book "Eva Scrivo on Beauty," the expert gives a great tip on how to tell if you'd look better with dark hair. Since wet hair is naturally up to three times darker than dry hair, you can do the wet hair test. After you wash your hair in the shower, do your makeup and then comb your hair so it falls along both sides of your face. Take a picture. Once hair is dried, take another picture. You should instantly see if your face looks brighter with darker hair, says Scrivo.

So You Wanna Go Blond? How to Tell if You Should

Very few adult women have naturally gorgeous blond hair. As we age, even natural blondes will turn darker, ending up with a version of "dishwater blond hair."

The good news is dishwater blond makes a great base for highlights or balayage. If you aspire to blond but have darker hair, keep in mind you may have to make a couple trips to the salon to fully lighten hair. And not all brunettes are like Linda Evangelista and look great as blondes.

Time to Go Platinum? 

I'm talking hair here, not records. Platinum blond hair is more popular than ever as blondes are opting to go even lighter, losing the golden honey tones for more icy, lighter shades. Keeping hair this blond is high maintenance, however, and won't suit all skin tones. Platinum hair, for example, looks best on women with cool skin tones.

Find out what cool skin tones mean plus how you can tell if this is a good look for you in Can You Get Away With Platinum Hair?

Can I Go Red?

Almost everyone can go red; what's most important is finding the right shade of red. If you want to go red, try not to do it on your own. Get a professional consultation. You wouldn't believe the number of women whose hair turns out orange when they go the box route.

Gorgeous Black Hair

African-American women have many options when it comes to coloring hair. You can tint your hair, add highlights of color or try wigs and weaves to change it up without having to opt for permanent-never-washes-out color.

Gray Hair

Many women with gray hair choose to dye their hair. If you are all gray, you may choose to go blond because blond is easier to achieve (and maintain) than going dark. More and more women with gray hair are actually learning to embrace the grays. And it's no wonder. Grays and silvers are gorgeous colors, so much so that a few years ago, young models were coloring their hair gray and it was a trend of the moment.

Should You Do it Yourself?

Home-color kits have come a long way in the past few years. They are perfect for busy people and those who want to cut the cost of professional colorings. (We know of a couple top fashion editors who color their hair themselves). But if you plan to color your hair more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural shade, you should head to a pro.

Should I Get Highlights or Full Color?

When it comes to hair color, you basically have three options: highlighting, single-process color or double process. Sort out which is best for your hair.