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What hair color is good for medium tan skin?

Choosing the right hair color to complement your skin tone can be tricky. When you have medium or tan skin, not every shade will look quite right. Certain colors can make your complexion look washed out or too ruddy. So which shades will make your skin glow? Here’s a guide to finding your best hair color match.

How to Determine Your Skin’s Undertone

Before you choose a hair color, it’s important to understand your skin’s undertones. Undertone refers to the subtle hues that lie beneath the surface of your skin. It’s one of the key factors that determines whether a color will suit you or not. Here are the three main undertone categories:

  • Warm – a golden, peachy, or yellow undertone
  • Cool – a red, blue, or pink undertone
  • Neutral – a balance of warm and cool undertones

You can figure out your undertones by looking at the color of your veins. If your veins appear more green, you likely have warm undertones. If they look blue, you probably have cool undertones. Can’t tell? Neutral undertones it is.

You can also do a jewelry test. Gold jewelry looks best on warm skin, while silver stands out against cool skin. Neutral skin looks great in both metals.

Once you know your undertones, you can use them as a guide to hair colors that will complement your skin, rather than clash with it.

Best Hair Colors for Medium or Tan Skin

Here are some top hair color recommendations for medium to tan complexions:

Warm Undertones

  • Golden blond – Avoid platinum or ash blonds, which can make warm skin look sallow. Instead, go for golden honey and buttery shades.
  • Red – Opt for warm, orangey reds like copper and auburn over cooler reds like burgundy.
  • Brown – Medium to dark chocolate browns add richness to tan skin. Avoid dark ash browns, which can look dull.
  • Ombré – Transitioning from a medium brown base to light golden ends flatters most warm complexions.

Cool Undertones

  • Ash blond – The subtle gray/blue tones in ash blond complement pinkish undertones in fair to medium cool skin.
  • Dark red – Burgundy and darker, cooler reds make an impact on cooler complexions.
  • Black – For a high-contrast look, go for blue-black over warm black on cool-toned medium tan skin.
  • Ombré – Start with cool espresso brown at the roots and lighten to ash blond ends.

Neutral Undertones

  • Caramel blond – Buttery, multi-dimensional shades of blond flatter neutral skin.
  • Auburn – The mix of warm and cool tones in auburn complements neutral undertones.
  • Chestnut brown – Neutral brown with golden highlights is universally flattering.
  • Bronde – Combining brown and blond shades gives dimension to neutral skin.

Hair Colors to Avoid

While many shades can look gorgeous on warmer skin tones, there are a few that are better avoided:

  • Platinum/icy blond – Very light ash shades can make tan skin look lifeless.
  • Jet black – Stark black can be too harsh and create too much contrast on medium toned skin.
  • Mousey brown – Flat, muddy browns do no favors for a warm complexion.
  • Dishwater blond – Gray or greenish undertones in dirty blonde can make tan skin appear sallow.

Stick to shades with gold, red, or caramel tones to play up your skin’s glow. And stay away from colors with very cool, muddy undertones.

Tips for Finding Your Most Flattering Hair Color

Beyond your undertones, here are some other tips for choosing hair colors for medium or tan skin:

  • Go two shades lighter or darker than your natural color for a low-contrast look.
  • Add warm highlights and lowlights to give dimension to dark hair.
  • Try on colored contacts before coloring your hair to preview how shades will look.
  • Opt for balayage or ombré highlights to make grown-out roots less obvious.
  • Add some temporary hair color before committing to a permanent shade.

The most foolproof way to find your ideal hair color is to work with an experienced colorist. A pro can guide you through options to choose shades that brighten your eyes and complement your complexion. With professional expertise and a listening ear, they can create a look you’ll love.

How Different Lighting Affects Hair Color

It’s important to keep in mind that your hair color will look slightly different depending on the lighting. Here’s how:

Lighting How It Affects Hair Color
Sunlight Brings out lighter highlights and warmer tones.
Indoor/Yellow Light Warms up hair color, minimizing cool ash tones.
LED/White Light Shows the most true-to-life hair color.
Candlelight Adds warmth, like sunlight.
Fluorescent Light Tends to make hair look cooler, paler, or washed out.

To get an accurate sense of how your hair color looks, view it in natural sunlight and LED/white light. What you see in those conditions is likely closest to reality.

Hottest Hair Color Trends for Medium Skin Tones

Some of the top hair color trends that look fabulous on medium and tan skin include:

  • Bronde – A seamless blend of brown and blonde shades. The multi-tonal look flatters a wide range of skin tones.
  • Autumn colors – Warm shades like cinnamon, copper, and strawberry blonde pop against tan skin.
  • Golden highlights – Strategically placed sunny streaks brighten up medium brown hair.
  • Chocolate brown – Rich chocolate browns complement deeper complexions.
  • Face-framing highlights – Subtle lighter pieces around the face add dimension.

The most popular looks use strategically placed highlights and lowlights to add depth and movement to the hair color. Pieces that frame the face also help brighten the complexion.

How Hair Color Can Enhance Your Look

Beyond just complementing your skin tone, the right hair color can enhance your entire look in these ways:

  • Can make teeth look whiter and brighter
  • Help eyes stand out more
  • Minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Make skin glow from within
  • Define and flatter facial features
  • Boost radiance and vitality
  • Renew style and give an instant pick-me-up

Subtle highlights around the face, in particular, create a luminous halo effect that makes the complexion the focal point. The boost of confidence from an ideal hair color also improves the way you carry yourself.

How to Maintain Your Chosen Hair Color

Once you find a hair color you love, you’ll want to take steps to make it last as long as possible. Here are some tips:

  • Use color-safe shampoo and sulfate-free products to prevent fading.
  • Rinse hair with cool water and limit washing to 2-3 times per week.
  • Apply a weekly hydrating hair mask to keep color vibrant.
  • Use leave-in conditioner and heat protectant when heat styling.
  • Trim ends regularly to keep hair healthy and color fresh.
  • Use a tinted dry shampoo between washes to refresh color.
  • Avoid chlorine, saltwater, and sun exposure to prevent color stripping.

You should also schedule occasional gloss or glaze treatments with your colorist. These will deposit pigment to keep your hair color looking rich and glossy.


Finding your ideal hair color when you have medium or tan skin comes down to determining your undertones and choosing shades that complement them. Warm undertones look best with golden blonds and coppery reds. Cool undertones shine with ash blonds and bold wine reds. And neutral complexions suit multidimensional caramel and auburn shades. Stay away from colors with muddy undertones. Work with a professional colorist and use protective products to keep your hair color vibrant.

When you find the perfect color match it can liven up your entire look. So take the time to choose shades that enhance your skin tone and natural beauty. Your ideal hair color is out there waiting for you!