September 23, 2010

Tickled Pink ( and other colours )

The Basics Of Choosing a Colour for your Hair.

Hello again everyone. Sorry for being a bit late this entry. Crazy craziness happens in my life sometimes and my brain cannot sort itself out. But after a few days of hot yoga my mind is clear. This one will be a continuation of my last post answering part of Amanda's question. If you have not read the previous post or are not sure of her question, you can check it out by clicking on my blog archives to the right of your screen.

Today we talk about colour and colour choices for you and your skin. There is a related article recently posted by an awesome make-up artist whom I have the pleasure of knowing. You can check that out here And now, onward and upward.
The Colour Wheel!!!

Let's start with a bit of basic colour theory. The first thing you need to know about is this, The Colour Wheel! The colour wheel is the foundation of all hair colour choices that we make, be it what works best with your skin or how to go about getting you to that awesome colour. The colour wheel I have here is a very basic one, just to illustrate what I am talking about. There are much more complicated ones, but lets stick to this one.

There are three Primary Colours: Blue, Yellow and Red. From these colours comes every other colour we know of (black and white are not colours, they are shades). The Secondary Colours, which are the most immediate colours the Primaries make are Purple, Orange and Green. From these colours you get the blue-greens, the purple-reds, etc. Colours opposite each other on the colour wheel are call Complimentary Colours. If we look the colours wheel, we can see that yellow and purple are opposite and so they could be Complimentary Colours.

What does that mean? There are two thinks that complimentary colours do. The first is obvious from the name, they compliment each other. In the hair world, we use these to make enhance features( mainly the eyes ) That is why green eyes on a person with red hair are so intense and are the first thing you notice. The second thing that complimentary colours do, and is the most often used when working with hair, is they cancel each other out when put together. Hairdressers use this a lot when choosing colour formulations.

Alright, we all understand out basic colour theory now. We are moving on into how this directly affects you when trying to choose a colour for your hair. Grab a white piece of paper, stand in front of the mirror and and hold the paper up to your cheek. Look at your skin and find out what the predominant undertone is. The white paper will help make the background where you are looking neutral so you can truly see you skin tone, not darkness or lightness, but tone. You may have an underlying tone of yellow as many people of Asian decent do or you may find that a pink is the colour that you notice, or even a blue. These all very much affect how a colour will look on you.

Me without make-up : D
For example, the two panels of colour above are both red. ( The one could be argued to be orange but it is considered red) The one on the left has an underlying tone of blue while the one on the right has a tone or yellow (or orange). This is what we are looking for in your skin tone, the underlying tone. I will use a photo of me as an example. I have quite pale skin but as you can see, next to the white paper, a good amount of pinkish tones seem to jump out. So, my underlying skin tone is pink/red.
Once you have found your skin tone, you are ready to figure out colour.

Choosing the right colour

To choose the right colour for you, a few things need to be taken into account. First, we'll start with skin tone, which you just figure out. You need to ask yourself this question first: Do I want to enhance my skin tone or not?

If the answer is not, then you do not want to use a complimentary colour on your hair, that is, the colour that is opposite your skin tone on the colour wheel. For myself, with a pink/red undertone, not wanting to enhance that, I would not choose anything with a green tone to it and probably not a yellow or orange tone either as they are both on the same side of the wheel as green.

Secondly, you need to ask yourself this question: Is there something on my face ( ie. Usually eyes ) that I want to enhance? If the case is yes there, then you will want to choose a colour that is opposite the colour of your eyes on the colour wheel.
Katie Holmes has a great colour in this picture. Not only does it make her eyes stand out but it also looks great with her skin tone, being on the same side of the colour wheel as her underlying tone but not too similiar as to make her skin show too much of that tone. ( Her skin tone has a reddish tone to it )
Katie Holmes' eyes pop.

Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz, on the other hand, does not look great in this colour. I love Cameron, but this colour is not for her. The colour of her hair does nothing for her eyes, being that it is very close to their colour on the colour wheel. ( Blue eyes, ashy toned colour ) But the biggest issue here is the skin tone/hair combo. Cameron, I believe has got a slightly yellow tone to her skin ( although it is hard to tell based on this picture because she has a lot of make-up on ). The ashy colour ( usually blue or green based ) in the colour pulls all the colour out of her skin, making her appear very pale.  The make-up here does not help either.

A few more things need to be kept in mind when choosing hair colour. The general rule is that darker, more matte hair colour, like Cameron's, makes a person look older and will define and enhance any lines or wrinkles you may have. The different between Katie's colour and Cameron's is that  Katie's has a warm glow to it and is super shiny, while Cameron's is very matte and one dimension.

If you wanting to go dark with very light skin or light with very dark skin, you need to keep in mind the general rules for colour as mentioned above. When moving drastically one way or the other from your natural colour, the more these rules need to be considered.

This has been a very basic break down of how to choose a colour for your hair. There is a lot more things I could say on the subject, but I will leave that for tonight and let this sink in. It is always best to talk to your hair stylist/colourist about the colour or colours you are thinking of going. They will let you know what will work or not for you.

Until next week, keep those questions coming and happy hair days.

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