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Blonde Hair Color for Your Skintone

Blonde hair is beautiful, but one shade definitely doesn’t fit all. With a little help from science and color theory, you can choose the perfect blonde hair color for you.

Want blonde hair? You’re not alone. Nearly a quarter of women over 18 have blonde hair—by birth or by bottle.

But enhancing those light locks or exchanging your darker roots for something fairer is not as easy as opting for the hottest blonde hair color on the red carpet or the shade your BFF is rocking.

Instead, you need to consider your skintone.

On a scale of one to 10 with one being the darkest possible hair color and 10 being the palest, if you’re born a natural blonde, you are a level six (dark blonde) to a level 10 (platinum blonde). If you want to change your hair color or add highlights, stick with this basic rule of thumb: Don’t go more than two levels—or shades, above or below your natural color.

Jon Furniss/WireImageReese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon

For example, a level six can go darker or lighter—to a four or an eight—because this is the most versatile shade. Levels seven to eight have the perfect scenario to add highlights or lowlights and become more of a golden, strawberry or pale blonde. If you’re a nine to 10, meaning a very light blonde, you shouldn’t use an all-over color because you don’t want to contrast your natural tones with anything too dark. If you choose to do anything, add lowlights for dimension and contrast.

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“No matter what level you are, always stay within two shades when coloring or highlighting,” advised Kelly Van Gogh, creator of Kelly Van Gogh Hair Color. “Any more than that and you run the risk of looking fake, damaging the hair and having a lot of maintenance.”

According to Ludovic Audesson, senior colorist at Pierre Michel Salon in New York City, choosing the right blonde tone goes hand-in-hand with your skintone. Here are his recommendations:

Blonde hair color for light skintones
Opt for a golden, strawberry or light blonde. Warming up your hair with highlights can add some color and interest to your locks and your face. But because you are fairer skinned, stay away from shades that are white, ash and reddish.

QUIZ: How Healthy Does Your Hair Look?

Blonde hair color for medium skintones
Because your skin has more color to it, you can add more color to your hair. A golden hue is beautiful, as is a beige-blonde or even a light blonde. Just be sure to maintain some warmer tones to match your skin. Ashy or orange-based tones will make you look washed out.

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