Hair Color Ideas – Frumpy to Funky

I love dyeing my hair. It’s like adding a whole new personality to my style. For just a few dollars we ladies (and men) can go from our normal, drab selves to the fiery red-head or bombshell blond that we’ve always felt ourselves to be.

I’ve gotta admit it. Every time I go to pick out a hair color, it is a little overwhelming. There are so many colors to choose from and so many shades of colors and so many brands – each with their own variations of colors.

Which leaves me asking (just like you are) “What is the best hair color for me?”

Before we discuss different hair color ideas, lets take a moment to review some of the key components to picking your best hair color.

Match Your Natural Hair Color:

We all have friends who have gone from a natural platinum blonde to a Gothic black. And, depending on their skin tone, some of these people seem to be able to pull off about any color.

But, generally speaking, it is recommended that you keep your hair color changes within just 3 to 4 shades of its natural color. (For men, it is recommended that they stay within 2 shades.)

There’s a few reasons for this. Basically, if you get too far away from your natural hair color, the new look is going to look odd against your natural skin tone. Additionally, doing a major hair color shift, such as from something dark like a raven black up to an ash blonde is going to take a lot of bleaching and chemicals which are harmful to your hair and will leave it looking haggard and drab.

Match Hair Color To Your Skin Color

You want you hair to match you skin tone. Otherwise, it will wash out your eyes and your cheeks, creating an unimpressive look. We’ll cover some of the primary principles here, but your best bet is to hold a color card of your ideal color next to your face while in natural sunlight (don’t let the light of the beauty salon fool you!). Make sure its a good look for your skin.

Warm or Cool Skin Tone

A lot of hair websites divide the skin colors between “warm” or “cool”. And that classification is excellent because it is simple and easy to implement:

Warm Skin Colors:

Your skin has a yellow or golden undertone to it — peachy and freckled skins also fall in this category, and your eyes are golden, green or hazel.

For warm skin colors, it is suggested that you try to stick with “rich” colors, such as chestnut,  mahogany, auburn golden blond and deep golds. For more spark, you can mix in some highlights such as cinnamon or copper.

Avoid blue, violet and ash undertones. The blue tint to these colors over-accents your skin’s undertones and washes it out.

Cool Skin Colors:

Your skin is dark brown or olive. Pale white skin also falls into this category for the purposes of matching hair color. The key thing is that the skin will have a pink or blue undertone to it. (Generally speaking, Latin, Asian and African American skin tones fall under the “cool” category — with exception. There will be some that definitely have more warm / yellow undertones to their skin.) Your eyes will be dark brown or blue.

The hair color idea for “cool” skin tones is to focus more on browns, reds or blondes as the base color and then add highlights of honey, wheat, ash or taupe that will contrast with the base color and help the hair stand out better

Avoid colors such as gold, yellow, red and bronze which can cause the hair to blend into the undertone of the skin color and create a “washed out” look.

Knowing your skin color can also help you better pick out make up and clothing that properly complement your skin.

Clothing choices that we tend to feel most comfortable in are those that naturally accent our skin tone. So whether or not you know whether your skin tone is cool or warm, you can generally guess by the colors that look good one you.

The general test for determining whether your skin color is “warm” or “cool” is to look at the veins in your arms in natural sunlight. A “warm” skin tone will make your veins appear greenish while a “cool” skin tone will make them appear blue.

Good Hair and Skin Color Combinations

While determining whether your skin tone is warm or cold will help give you some great ideas on the general principles of what hair color you should go with, to better match your hair color to your skin color, you should follow some of these color combination principles.

White/ Ivory / Pale – These skin colors are a ready palette for your hair colors and are very flexible. Do avoid overly dark colors.

Rosy/Pink/Peaches – Avoid red hair and going too gold with your blonde. (also see tips above about “cool” skin tone)

Yellow – You will want to avoid the oranges as well as the lesser orange colors such as gold and yellow. Deep reds , burgandies, auburns and, in some cases, deep golds.

Olive – Despite your desire to experiment, you will probably want to focus on darker colors to better complement an olive.

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Universal Beauty an excellent, all-in-one reference on beauty. It follows the Miss Universe beauty pageant and shows you exaclty what you need to do to create your own, winning, look today.

I was impressed by many of the tips in the book, such as how to create beautiful, well-styled hair without leaving it oppressed with hair spray — as well as things like the right way to use fake eyelashes.

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Here is the International Hair Color Chart that hair dressers use to describe the different shades (or “depth”) of hair color, as well as the underlying tones each color may include.

It runs from 1 (darkest) to 12 (lightest).

International Hair Color Chart

Color Tone
1 Blue-Black 0 Natural
2 Black 1 Ash
3 Dark Brown 2 Cool Ash
4 Medium Brown 3 Honey-Gold
5 Light Brown 4 Red
6 Dark Blonde 5 Purple
7 Medium Blonde 6 Violet
8 Light Blonde 7 Brunette
9 Very Light Blonde 8 Pearl Ash
10 Extra Light Blonde 9 Soft Ash

Ok, enough about those boring hair color principles. We need to come up with some great hair color ideas you can rock!

Granted, some of these hair color ideas are strange enough that I am not apt to try them, but I wanted to include them to give you an idea of what is out there.

Funky Hair Color Ideas

Ok, so if you want to make a statement, this is the hair color section for you. Some of the major rock artists such as Lady Gaga, Brittany Spears and Katy Perry have set the trend in funky hair colors.

Courtesy of Aunt Owwee on Flickr

The idea with funky hair colors is to choose colors that are bright and contrasting. All colors are part of the design, whether it is something “mild” such as running red swatches in blonde hair, or something crazy such as pairing green and purple together.

Funky hair colors are all about expressing yourself. And, if you are hesitant about dyeing your hair, you can also try hair extensions in the color you like to see how it looks.

Scene Hair Color Ideas

Courtesy of scene_queenz on

Scene hair colors revolve around the scene hair cuts. Most scene girls either go extremely light blonde, or very dark black.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t rock out your own style! Scene cuts, with their non-uniform style makes them perfect for adding any color and watching them add some “pop”.

Ombre Hair Color Idea


We have a more in depth article on the ombre hair style. This two-toned color had a huge following a year ago when it seemed that all of Hollywood was trying it.

It is still a great way to lighten your hair and create a unique look, and is a style that isn’t leaving anytime.

Two Tone Hair Color

The two-tone hair color is a great way to combine more than one your favorite colors. Often you have two (or more) colors that you know will look great on you and is a challenge to decide between the two of them.

There are several ideas for two toned hair colors. For a natural look, you might try a darker color underneath a lighter top color, or the ombre look mentioned above.

The two-toned look is also great for working in subtle swatches or splashes of bright colors such as a small amount of teal worked into a length of otherwise black hair.

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