Dye planning

Plan your next hair colour masterpiece.

Browse our articles

"What Colour Should I Dye My Hair?"

Published on 28th June 2016

Anyone who loves dyeing their hair will find themselves asking this question frequently. I’m going to help you figure out what choice is right for you.


First it’s important to factor in any limitations you have on dyeing your hair. Do you need it to look somewhat “normal” for work or school? Has your hair already been coloured or chemically treated? These things will affect your choice of hair colours.

For example, let’s say your hair was previously bleached and later dyed brown and you want to go brighter again. You’ll need to do some strand tests to see whether you can get rid of the dark brown with colour remover. Will the resulting colour be light enough for colours like blue or violet or will you have to use a colour that will show over a darker blonde? Maybe your hair is already damaged and can’t take another chemical process. You’ll have to work with what you have.

Generally reds and deep colours like plum work best on hair that’s not the perfect pale blonde that we strive for when colouring with bright shades. If you’re unable to lighten your hair then go for warm tones or deeply pigmented dyes.

No matter what your starting point, I’d always advise doing a few strand tests to see what’s possible.

“How do I know what colours will suit me?”

Your first step is to figure out what colours you like and whether you think they look good on you or not. Some people refer to colour “seasons”, but almost everyone looks good with most colours. The easiest way to find out what colours are going to suit you is to look in your wardrobe. What colours do you get compliments when wearing? If like me, you tend to wear neutral tones like grey, black, and white, try finding fabrics in various colours and holding them against you to see how it looks. I find certain colours make my skin look too red so I avoid those shades. Experiment to find what works for you. Whether a colour suits is really subjective so don’t get too hung up on it. If you like a colour then go for it!

Should you be asking “what colours should I dye my hair”?

Rather than “what colour should I dye my hair” I think you should be asking “what colours should I dye my hair”. Why limit yourself to just one shade when you can have multiple colours at once? Multiple colours add interest and can create a really unique look.

“What colours go together?”

I’ve written an in-depth article about finding colours that go together. Have a look at it for some inspiration. Getting 2 colours to work together is really easy, just pick 2 colours that are near each other on the colour wheel. The further apart colours are on the wheel, the more contrast you’ll get. However, it’s important to consider what happens if the colours bleed into each other. Shades that are close to each other on the colour wheel blend well, but those on opposite sides of the wheel will always produce muddy shades. For example, yellow + turquoise blend into green. Yellow + Violet (which are opposite colours) blend into brown.

A tetradic hair colour scheme with warm colours dominating.

“What dyes should I use?”

It’s a tricky question but every brand has its stand-out shades. Are you looking for vibrant, neon colours or something softer and more pastel? Do you want something that’s ultra long-lasting or do you like to change colours often?

The most important first step is making sure you have a good base to apply the colour to. For vibrant shades, particularly blue and violet tones, you’ll ideally have hair that’s been lightened to pale blonde, which is essential if you want to try silver or pastels. Darker blondes can be covered with reds and deeper hues but having a light blonde will give you the greatest scope of colours.

Here are a list of my own favourites by colour:

Where to find ideas

I thoroughly recommend a look through our galleries! If you’re still undecided on colour or want inspiration on colour combinations then a good starting point is our multi-coloured gallery and our Photo of the Month gallery. All the photos in our galleries have been hand-picked. Check out the timelines page where you can see what other members are doing with their hair at the moment. There are more than 40,000 photos for you to enjoy! When you find something you want to save, just click on the top right-hand corner and you can add the image to your personal collection (you’ll need to register and sign into your account for this).

Where do you find colour inspiration? Let me know!

Leave a comment

You must Log in or Register to comment.

Read on...