Olive Skin Tone HaircolorQ: I want to color my hair, but can't decide what colors. My skin tone is Olive and I have deep blue eyes. I want my hair color to match theses. What colors would be best for me? And should I get a solid color or highlights?
A: One of the best ways to determine a good haircolor choice is by looking at your natural hair color. With a mirror, examine your hair while you are standing in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight offers full-spectrum light which will let you more accurately see the base color of your hair. Many people make the mistake of using indoor lighting, which can often mask the true color of your hair.
If your hair appears to have bluish, purplish or greenish glints from the sunlight, you want to stick with cooler haircolors. If the glints of color are reddish, orange, or yellow, you need to go with warmer haircolor. Given an olive skin tone, the odds are good that you are a gold color type and that you will find reddish, orange or yellow base tones in your hair's color. You may not find any discernable color glints, in which case you most likely have a neutral base color naturally.
The next thing to look at is the current level of color in your hair. Haircolor Level is ranked on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the darkest possible and 10 being the lightest pale blonde color. Visit your local beauty supply store, look at the swatches of haircolor and compare them to your natural color. Find a color that is as close as possible to your natural color and check for the Level of that color. That will tell you the Color Level of your natural hair color. For natural-looking color, you generally want to stay within 3 levels of your hair's natural color level.
Now comes selecting the color you want. All hair colors have a base color upon which the color formulation is based. The cooler shades of haircolor have base colors that are blue, blue-violet, violet, and green (also called Drab). The warmer shades use base colors of red, red-orange, orange, and gold. You should only use warmer haircolors on warm-toned or neutral natural hair, and only use cooler haircolors on cool or neutral natural colors. There are also neutral haircolor bases that can be used for those with naturally neutral hair.
Whether you choose lighter or darker haircolor is a matter of personal preference, just remember to stay within 3 levels to keep a natural-looking change. Select the haircolor you want following the above guidelines and then choose a developer based on the level of the color you chose. If the color level is the same as or darker than your natural color, you want to select a 10-volume peroxide developer. If the level of the haircolor you chose is 1 or 2 shades lighter than your natural color, use a 20-volume developer. For haircolor that is 3 levels lighter use a 30-volume developer.
When coloring your hair, always wear gloves, mix the color with the developer in equal parts, and apply it to the hair being sure to cover the hair evenly. Cover the hair with a plastic cap and use a hair dryer to heat the hair through the cap and help facilitate the color process, especially when lightening the hair.
You specifically asked about choosing a haircolor that will bring out the color of your eyes. If you need to use a cool color, try a haircolor with a violet base. For warm colors, use a haircolor that has an orange base. Depending on how bright, or dark the color you chose is, the effect will be more pronounced.
As to the choice between overall color or highlighting: this, too, is a personal preference issue. Sometimes simply adding highlights to the hair's natural color can completely change your look, and is much less noticeable as it grows out. As with choosing color for other situations, do try to stay within three levels of your natural color for highlighting.
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