How to choose the right shade of red
As a professional stylist who specializes in haircolor, helping clients choose the right shade of red is one of the most common haircolor conundrums I face on a daily basis. The reason why it can be so tricky to choose the right shade of red is because there are dozens of different shades or red from which to choose, ranging from reds which look natural to reds which are as bold and vibrant as the color of a fire engine.
The most important factor in choosing the right shade of red is to match the tonal qualities of the haircolor with the tonal qualities of a person's skin color. Tone refers to the amount of warmth or coolness in a particular shade of color. Reds that are considered to be warm tones contain a certain amount of gold or yellow pigment. These shades range from copper reds to fiery reds and comprise the majority of red shades and even some blonde shades, such as strawberry blondes. Cool reds, on the other hand, contain a certain amount of blue pigment. Adding blue pigment to a red base produces shades that are violet in appearance. Some examples of cool reds are burgundy, eggplant, and aubergine.
There are fewer shades of cool reds than warm reds, and cool reds are best suited for those with a cool complexion or skin tone, such as those of Mediterranean origin, and those whose skin tone may be described as "olive'. Generally, people with cool skin tones do not sunburn or bruise easily, and they tend to look better with silver jewelry rather than gold. Those with cool skin tones tend to avoid wearing clothing colors like yellow, red, or orange, and tend to look better in colors like blue, green, or black.
Warm reds, naturally, look better on people with a warm complexion. If you blush, bruise, or sunburn easily, and if you prefer to wear gold jewelry over silver, then you probably have a warm complexion. Those with warm skin tones should avoid cool red shades of haircolor because these shades tend to make the face appear very rosy. Unless you want to walk around constantly looking embarrassed or "red in the face", avoid shades which appear violet.
Those who have an ivory complexion can often wear either warm or cool shades of red. Those with a very pale complexion or an ivory skin tone can get away with the most vibrant shades of red. Shades like bright copper and pure red (the color of a red crayon) will not look out of place on people who have a fair or pale complexion.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. However, if you are unsure which shade of red color to choose, simply match the tonal qualities of a red shade of haircolor to the tonal qualities of your skin and you will never end up with an unflattering shade of red for your hair.