The Best Red Hair Colors For Your Skin Tone

The decision to go red isn't for the faint of heart. Redheads, along with having magical powers, never have the option of fading into the background especially when a bad ruby dye job can be spotted from a mile away. The biggest mistake most wannabe hair chameleons make is choosing the wrong shade for their skin color. Alas, have no fear. Finding the right crimson tone for any complexion is easy as long as you take the time to learn about your skin tone (via Byrdie).


To do that, you must determine whether you have cool, warm or neutral undertones. Professional makeup artist, Daniel Martin, shared an easy trick with Byrdie that can help you figure out your skin tone, right now. Simply hold your wrist out under natural light. If your veins appear blue you've got cool undertones. Green veins mean warm. And if you can't really tell between the two, congratulations, you have a neutral tone and can pull off next to anything. Now that you've established your skin's tone, it's time to choose which scarlet hue works best for you. 

Copper shades pair well with cool skin tones

Celebrities like Madelaine Petsch, Sophie Turner and Emma Stone are the reigning queens of the Pale Hollywood Redheads club, aka they have cool undertones (via InStyle). The reason these dusty and copper tones pair so effortlessly with fair skin is because they minimize contrast, therefore appearing more natural. Celebrity colorist Rachel Bodt told Allure that she always recommends redheaded newbies to try this shade first, "Because of how soft the tone is, it's great for someone who is nervous to try red." 


Stars like Bella Thorne, Christina Hendricks and even Amy Adams launched their careers sporting red tresses, but they weren't born with it and it certainly wasn't Maybelline (via Wonderwall). Moonlighting as a natural redhead with cool undertones is totally doable by sticking to muted oranges and rosy gingers. Who among us hasn't been tricked by Alyson Hannigan? However, warm-undertone ginger goddesses are encouraged to make more of a bold statement with their choice of hue.

Warm skin tones can pull off striking colors

Bright, contrasting colors are the key to pulling off a carrot-top with warm undertones. But unlike their cool-toned peers, warm undertones should avoid gold at all costs. A natural, golden undertone already exists in dark skin tones, so there's no need to add it to your 'do. If you want to take the risk anyway, prepare to be accused of skimping on salon costs. Hair colorist Jenna Perry explains to Allure that "Gold hues on darker skin can look very DIY but not in a good way." 


Opting for a red with blue undertones, like a cherry or raspberry, is the best way to pull out your skin's natural sparkle. Other colors that perfectly complement warm undertones are darker shades of red, like wine, burgundy and berry (via L'Oréal Paris). It's safe to say, warm undertones allow more room to play than cool. 

However, no tone has more versatility than neutral. 

Neutral skin tones can play around

Neutral skin tones get free range in the red-head canon. From russet to merlot and even scarlet, there is no undertone more forgiving than neutral. A good example of a neutral undertone is Ariana Grande. Grande's olive skin tone was key in seamlessly sporting the signature red coif from her "Victorious" era (via Variety). However, celebrity colorist Aura Friedman warns that the one mistake even neutral undertones can't correct is going too purple. "A red that's auburn with a balance of warm and cool will work for medium skin with both warm and cool undertones" (via Allure).


If you have neutral undertones but want to work up to a bold look, stick with a darker root. It will create a smoother transition between your natural color and brightened ends, plus it helps your dye-job last longer (via TrendSpotter). 

Whichever color you choose, be sure to thank a natural redhead for the inspiration.