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Best hair colors to minimize the look of acne

Everyone has breakouts and pimples now and then. To help your skin look its best and reduce the appearance of acne, you need to maintain a hair color that doesn’t wash out the appearance of your skin.

Hair color swatches

By choosing the right hair color, you can look younger and healthier while minimizing the look of acne.

Choose a hair color that complements your skin

You’ll often see a fair-skinned person who wears a pale shirt and looks completely washed out. The problem is that the shirt matches her skin tone too closely, not showing enough contrast. The same can happen with hair color. The key to making your skin look its best and reducing the appearance of acne is to find a hair color that complements your skin’s undertones — not exactly matching, but not causing a stark contrast either.

Read about how to avoid at-home hair color disasters >>

Determine your skin tone

There are some general signs to determine whether your skin tone is warm or cool.

Warm skin -- Jessica Biel

Warm tones

  • Eyes: golden brown, green, green-blue or hazel with brown or gold flecks
  • Natural hair: golden brown, reddish brown, red, strawberry blonde or golden blonde
  • Skin: pale with peach or gold undertones, deep brown skin with gold or red highlights or those with freckles
Cool skin -- Anne Hathaway

Cool tones

  • Eyes: deep brown, hazel with gray or blue flecks, true dark or gray blue
  • Natural hair: deep chocolate brown, dark golden brown, ash brown or blue-black
  • Skin: pale with blue or pink undertones, olive or deep complexioned, African American or Indian

Hair color for warm skin tones

If you have warm skin tones, you should generally avoid brassy, reddish shades of blonde because they’ll look very harsh against your skin. You should also avoid platinum blonde, jet-black hair and hair colors with blue and violet tones — they’ll make you look washed out.

Instead, look for rich colors with warm overtones. Great choices are chestnut brown, rich golden brown, auburn or golden blonde. Consider adding copper streaks, cinnamon lowlights or caramel highlights that are darker than your skin tone, along with a rich base color. If you have a warm skin tone and are very fair, avoid going too dark and stick with warm natural blonde, strawberry blonde, ash blonde or ash brown.

Hair color for cool skin tones

Avoid shades that make you look completely washed out or that offer too much contrast. If you have cool olive skin (generally those who are Latino, Mediterranean, fair-skinned African American or mixed races), then choose hair color that ranges from medium blonde to dark brown. Look for multi-tonal shades and consider burgundy highlights.

For those with deeper cool skin tones, the most flattering colors are medium to dark brown with a natural base color. Avoid coppers, auburns and all shades of gold.

Keep in mind

If your eyes are light and your complexion is cool, consider a sandy or ash blonde with slightly red highlights — avoid gold shades altogether.

Read more about the best hair color for your skin tone >>

More about acne

Coping with adult acne breakouts
Dos and don’ts for acne-prone skin
Best products to treat acne

Photo credits:, Adriana M. Barraza/

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