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Things to consider when choosing the right colour for your client’s skin tone

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

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Colourists need to have a clear understanding of undertones when deciding on a new shade for their clients.

So says expert stylist Laura Elliott, head of Education at professional hair care specialists, Neäl & Wølf, in an article on She continues: “An in-depth knowledge of the variety of tones that sit within the hues of blonde, brown and red and how they work with clients’ skin tone is important and can be the difference between the most flattering hair colour or a colour that washes them out. There are some clients who have a neutral skin tone and suit both warm and cool tones. When it comes to these skin tones, mixing colours that are both cool and warm whether it’s brunette, red, copper or blonde, really works.”

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She notes that when looking to warm up their hair colour, red tones such as strawberry blonde, are becoming increasingly popular with celebrities. Strawberry blonde is an ideal shade that flatters light skin tones as the light, warm red hues counteract the cooler tones found in pale skin creating a warmer look.

“This hue also works especially well if your client already has light blonde hair. Adding a tint of strawberry will help to switch up your client’s style and isn’t a huge commitment for those not sure about the full red look. This is the perfect shade for a rosy complexion as it brings out a youthful pink shine.”

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Honey blonde is a perfect combination of a warm, golden shade with hints of amber, blonde, chestnut, light brown and even a little bit of red which work together to create a warm and shiny blonde colour, most suited to those with medium skin tones and darker eyes as the lighter tones of honey brings out a healthy glow.

“Generally speaking, if your client has medium toned skin with olive undertones, try opting for warm hues like honey blonde – the gold will bring out the warmth they already have,” says Laura. “Those with cool undertones will suit more cool toned shades such as an ash-based brunette. Too dark of a shade risks washing them out.”

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Caramel brown is a colour that complements deep complexions. For those with warm undertones including golden, yellow, peachy, or honey, this shade works well by bringing out the undertones creating a youthful look. There are many variations to consider from beachy and sun kissed to deep brown with hues of chestnut giving it warmth for a spring look.

Laura explains: “Caramel brown is a really flattering colour for dark complexions as the golden undertones work with the toasty caramel colour for a brighter look. Adding caramel highlights to the hair will also create the illusion of shine, making the hair look healthier.”


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