How Hair Colors Affect Your Personal Image

Your hair color is just as important to your overall image as the clothing you wear and sometimes even more important than what comes out of your mouth! We’ve all seen teenagers with the ‘style of the moment’, be that a Mohawk haircut, a lot of spikes, streaks and gel that makes the hair stand on end, and wild colors including fire engine red, jet black, royal purple and lots of others.

semi shaggy style updo with golden gray highlight
Photo courtesy of London DuBose
Article: Dianne M. Daniels Certified Image Consultant

First impressions being as important as they are, at a distance, your hair color can either make you stand out (and not necessarily in a good way!) or can enhance your overall appearance. The fact that most hair colors are semi-permanent or permanent makes the decision even more important.

Warm Hair Colors

Warm hair colors will be those with a yellow, golden or amber cast. The first hair color usually associated with warmth in coloring are the golden blondes. Not every blonde needs to be golden! There are cool and warm blondes in hair color, and the wrong one can throw your entire appearance off kilter.

We know that warm colors on a cool-toned person will cause a drag and dullness to appear in the face. Imagine the impact and multiplication factor that your hair will have on this effect, since your hair is closer to your face than most anything you wear.

short wavy red hair

Another set of warm colors are the red colors. True redheads often have subtle shadings of red, gold and even blonde in their hair, which is very difficult to duplicate.

If you are determined to have red hair, make sure that the red you choose will work with your skin tones. There are cool reds, but they lean toward the burgundy end of the hair color range and may not be suitable for lighter skin tones.

The difference between your skin tone and your hair color creates the drama and interest in your appearance. Changing your hair color changes the level of contrast in your appearance and can make you seem washed-out or overly harsh. Your natural hair color is the best possible color for you, and the one that will be the most flattering.

Children who start their lives with white-blond hair (“towheads”) often see their hair darken with age, and seek to reclaim that bright color of their youth. This may be a mistake, because often, to gain a hair color that light, your hair must be subjected to multiple chemical processes. This leaves your hair much more susceptible to damage and breakage.

Cool Hair Colors

Cool hair colors run the gamut from ash blonds to the brown and black families. There are few reds that can be considered cool, and they are primarily dark as well. The same problem occurs when placing a cool hair color next to warm toned skin. The skin will look washed out and unhealthy, and will lose that characteristic glow.

Darker cool hair tones are also those that create drama and interest in your appearance. Think of the drama contained within Snow White’s appearance. Picture that alabaster skin, night-dark hair and red, red lips. Now picture her with blond hair…not the same impact, is it?

Covering Gray Hair

short blond hair with golden highlights To cover gray hair, consider using a color that is the same shade as your natural color, or a little bit lighter. This will give you natural-looking highlights instead of a false-looking solid color that couldn’t possibly be real.

Though gray hair shows more obviously on darker cool hair colors, covering that gray should be with a color that matches or is slightly lighter than the color you were born with. For those of us who have been coloring our hair for years, the natural color may be lost to the annals of time. The solution: take a look at the hair at the nape of your neck as it grows out. That is one of the most protected areas on your head, and one area where a truer representation of your natural color will be shown.

If you are confident with your gray hair, by all means, let it grow out! There are specially formulated products for use with gray hair that will keep it’s shine and color natural, with no need to resort to the blue hair colors of our grandmother’s days. That is not a natural or desirable hair color!

Trendy Bright Colors

Save the trendy, bright or neon colors for clip-on hairpieces or braided-in fibers or synthetic hair for a quick look change without the permanent commitment. To get the best results with these bright colors, hair must often be “lifted” to a near-white stage, and then re-colored. This is extremely hard on the hair, and can be detrimental to your professional appearance as well. Your hair is indeed your crowning glory, but be careful not to make it the object of unwanted attention.

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cherry red blonde full image
Style:Tony Anders, Photo:Tom Carson, Makeup:Betty McKennon

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