How to: Skin Tone Analysis


It’s happened to all of us at one time or another.
We try out a new hair color and we enter the salon (or open the box, EEK!) full of excitement. We’ve seen this color everywhere and can’t wait to rock it ourselves… and then… we gasp as we look in the mirror. Our hopes deflating like a parachute that has just landed.

… But. The color is perfect. It’s just what I wanted… and yet.

Our skin tone and coloring determine so many factors in choosing the right color for ourselves. I always tell my clients, yes you can be blonde red and brunette, it’s just about what TONE of blonde, what TONE of red, what TONE of brunette that will determine whether it will compliment you, or not.

I’ve had an intense color journey personally. My sweet fair german skin has been misread by a million stylists. Stylists look at my fair skin and freckles and assume that I’m a natural red head, or should be. They put me in bright red, brilliant coppers and strawberry blondes. U G H . Not my finest moments! Pair a bright copper with a really wide (temple to temple) fringe and I officially have the absolutely most unflattering hairstyle possible! I’d add a photo to show you, but I don’t want to cry.

Thankfully, take a deep breath, and realize that science is now on our sides! Your skin tone is scientific. It’s broken down into sweet categories to be easily analyzed and easily hypothesized over. You can improve even your wardrobe tones and change your life (or at least brave the day with confidence in knowing you’re wearing your most flattering outfits).

So without further ado, here’s two ways to do it.

The at home skin tone test # 1!

Cut a small circle/square/parallelogram in a white piece of paper and place on your arm. Close your eyes for a minute and open them, looking directly at the paper, what tone do you see? It’s going to be either blue, pink/red, or yellow (a primary color).

If you are blue/pink then you are cool and tend to have blue/purple veins, and typically have blue, green or gray eyes.
If you are yellow, you are warm and tend to have blue/green veins, with black, brown or hazel eyes.

The at home skin tone test #2!

I prefer this test over the first one, only because you can really see how dramatic the differences are, and how powerful color is.

With Redken, we are given all kinds of neat tools to help us analyze skin tone. At home you can replicate the following exercise. All you need is:

A red-orange or orange toned shirt/cloth/piece of paper.
A red-violet or violet toned shirt/cloth/piece of paper.
A silver foil.
A gold foil.

One at a time, go through these items and place next to your face in natural sunlight. I always prefer taking a picture, because sometimes it’s easier to see these things when you’re comparing them side by side.

Here’s how it went for me.
((Side note: the following photos are not altered at all! They are taken within minutes of each other, in the same light, with the same filter. It’s just science!))


The orange washes me out (it’s hard to see here) and adds like a yellowish tone to my face; while the violet red makes my skin look bright and refreshed.

Here’s the next.


Haha, seriously! I look all green and weird next to the gold! Like I have food poisoning or something. It makes me upset because I’m pretty sure I “rocked” a mustard yellow sweater for a whole year! WHYYYYYY!!!!! …it’s okay Sara, take a deep breath and just… move on…

So now that we’ve taken time to discover our skin tones, how can we translate this information into our wardrobes and MOST IMPORTANTLY, our hair color.

The Analysis


If your skin was like mine and enhanced by the violet and silver tones then you are in the Cool family. If it’s the opposite and your skin is enhanced by the orange and gold, then you are Warm.

How it works is that cool tones are complimented by cool tones, and warm tones with warm. This is why the most beautiful and well done GOLDen highlights will never look good on me! I will always look at them and wonder where it went wrong, and then discover that it was with my skin. Color matters and color plays such a powerful role.

If you’re cool toned you need to be an ashy or sandy blonde, and a more blue/violet toned brunette.
If you’re warm toned, go with the golden and buttery blonde, venture into the brilliant coppers and deep reds and stick with more of an auburn tone when you’re a brunette.

The same goes for your clothing, in the photo above, the left colors are warm and the right are cool. And the lighter your skin, the most complimentary colors will be lighter, and darker skin the most complimentary will be the deeper tones.

Also keep this in mind when choosing your make up!
After doing the research for this I started wearing a light violet-based blush and I’ve never felt like my skin has looked better.

Get ready for so many compliments!


Now we can brave dressing ourselves and choosing our clothes and hair colors with complete and utter confidence! We can know that we’re walking out in our best and how to make even smarter investments of our income.

Cheers to science and being the best version of ourselves despite the color wheel!


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