Here's Why Your Hair Color Is Washing You Out

If you've ever taken a brave deep-dive into changing your hair color, only to find that it washes out your complexion, you're not alone. Getting the right color for your skin tone is much more difficult than it seems, so finding an expert hair colorist is crucial. If you feel that your complexion is looking dull after a salon visit, there are countless reasons your hair color might be wrong for you. Thankfully, there are tons of ways to fix it too, so you can make sure your highlights or baby lights are doing you all the favors they should.

According to New Beauty, one of the top reasons your hair color might be washing you out is that you didn't change it slowly enough. Color ambassador AJ Lordet told the outlet that a change of season might be inspiring your hair color change, which makes many of us go too far too fast. She recommends, "Adjusting your shade slowly over time rather than making huge color jumps," to avoid getting it wrong. Lordet says that drastic hair color changes, "Can look unnatural or unflattering against the skin."

A washed out complexion isn't just due to going too far. Lordet says the problem might just be too little dimension in your hair color: "It can also happen when you don't add in multidimensional shades and tones when you switched it up," making the style look just a bit drab.

How to get the perfect hair color for you

Another perpetrator? Not knowing your skin tone in the first place. Lordet told New Beauty that the best way to find your skin shade is comparing it to a white sheet of paper. "If your skin looks yellow or golden next to the paper, you have a warm skin tone. If your skin appears red, pink, or rosy, you have a cool skin tone." Stylecraze suggests checking your wrist in the sunlight — green veins mean your are warm-toned, while blue veins signify cool tones. So, now what? Lordet says to pick a hair color undertone that's the opposite of your complexion.

Spending too much time in the sun can also affect hair color, "Because oxidization from the sun strips away the richness" of the shade, according to hair expert Peter Oon (via New Beauty). Thankfully, this can be fixed by a gloss or conditioning treatment in between your appointments, or wearing a hat next time you venture outdoors. 

Moreover, going too light or too dark can be just as bad: Lordet warns against going overly light, recommending a darker base color for balance, even proposing a three-shade rule for going darker (via New Beauty). "In general, I like to stay within three shades of the natural hair color," she says, as going too far will add to dullness. If that's the case, she recommends a clarifying shampoo. Whether darker or lighter, following these tips will ensure a long-lasting, vibrant hair color.