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What skin tone does reddish brown hair suit?

Reddish brown hair is a beautiful hair color that can complement a variety of skin tones when done correctly. The key is finding the right shade of reddish brown that will enhance your complexion instead of clashing with it. This guide will examine how to determine if reddish brown hair is right for you and provide styling tips to make the most of your new hair color.

What is Reddish Brown Hair?

Reddish brown hair, also known as auburn hair, is a blend of red and brown tones that results in a rich, warm hair color. It ranges from light copper to deeper burgundy shades. Generally, reddish brown hair has low to medium contrast with skin tone and brings warmth to cool or neutral complexions.

Here are some examples of different reddish brown hair shades:

Shade Description
Light Auburn Has a higher concentration of red tones with some brown mixed in. May appear coppery.
Medium Auburn Balanced mix of red and brown. Often described as true reddish brown.
Dark Auburn Deeper, more brownish red with subtle burgundy tones. May also have some black blended in.

Skin Tones That Can Wear Reddish Brown Hair

When considering reddish brown hair, your natural skin tone and undertone play a big role in determining if it will be flattering or not. Here are some general guidelines for which skin tones can typically wear reddish brown hair:

Skin Tone Match Level
Fair/Light with Cool Undertones Good match. Adds warmth to skin.
Fair/Light Neutral Undertones Good match. Brings vibrancy to skin.
Fair/Light Warm Undertones Can work, but should avoid shades that are too red or coppery.
Medium with Warm Undertones Great match. Reddish brown adds vibrancy.
Medium Neutral Undertones Good match. Makes skin glow.
Olive Skin Usually a good match, especially with warm olive skin.
Darker Skin Tones Deep reddish browns with subtle burgundy/black tones can work well.

People with very warm undertones or ruddy complexions may want to avoid light, bright coppery shades of reddish brown, as it can make skin appear more reddened. But shades with subtle burgundy and brown blend nicely. Cool-toned people with pinker skin should look for shades with more red rather than orange.

How to Determine Your Skin’s Undertone

Figuring out your skin’s undertone is crucial for finding a reddish brown hair color that flatters your complexion. Here’s how to determine if your skin is warm, cool, or neutral:

  • Cool undertones: Veins appear blue/purple, skin appears pinkish with a ruddy or reddish complexion, may burn easily in sun. Silver jewelry is most flattering.
  • Warm undertones: Veins appear greenish, skin appears peachy, yellowish, or golden. Gold jewelry is most flattering.
  • Neutral undertones: Veins appear both blue and green, skin appears more even-toned light beige to tan. Silver and gold jewelry both look nice.

There are also visual charts online that can help you identify your skin’s undertone by matching your inner wrist to swatches.

Best Reddish Brown Shades for Different Undertones

Here are some recommendations for shades of reddish brown hair that tend to suit different skin undertones:

Skin Undertone Best Reddish Brown Shades
Cool Cherry cola, deep auburn, burgundy
Warm Golden copper, ginger, cinnamon
Neutral Medium auburn, chestnut, mahogany

Having your hair colorist do a personalized consultation is also hugely helpful for determining the most flattering reddish brown tones for your individual skin tone.

Styling Tips for Reddish Brown Hair

In addition to choosing the right shade, styling and makeup choices can also help maximize how reddish brown hair complements your skin tone. Here are some tips:

  • Enhance eyes and lips: Play up brown or hazel eyes with coppery eyeshadow. Pink or berry lips also offset the warmth of reddish hair.
  • Brighten complexion: Use peach, pink, or coral blush sparingly to add a glow and keep skin from looking washed out or ruddy.
  • Warm up foundations/concealers: Cool-toned bases will clash with warm hair. Opt for yellow/golden foundation for a seamless blend.
  • Define brows: Fill in and shape brows to frame face and offset richer hair color.
  • Boost dimension: Add subtle warm highlights around the face to prevent monotone color.

How Lighting Affects Reddish Brown Hair

The way reddish brown hair appears can transform under different lighting conditions. This is something to keep in mind when evaluating hair color:

Lighting Effect on Reddish Brown Hair
Natural daylight Shows the truest color. Red tones appear brighter.
Warm indoor light Enhances warmth, can make red/coppery tones look more intense.
Cool fluorescent light Mutes redness, brings out brown tones more.

View hair color in different lighting before deciding if it suits your skin tone or needs adjusting. This will give you a more accurate impression than just assessing it in one setting.

Maintenance for Reddish Brown Hair

To keep reddish brown hair looking its best with your skin tone, regular maintenance is crucial. Here are some tips:

  • Use purple shampoo 1-2x a week to prevent brassiness
  • Deep condition weekly to add shine and vibrancy
  • Use heat protectant when heat styling to maintain condition
  • Get a gloss or glaze treatment every 4-6 weeks to refresh color
  • Use an anti-frizz serum or oil if hair appears dried out
  • Get a trim every 6-8 weeks to maintain ends and remove dullness

Without proper maintenance, reddish brown hair can fade unevenly or take on orangey tones that may clash with certain complexions. Invest time into keeping hair healthy and shiny to allow the color to complement your skin tone in the most flattering way.

How to Transition Your Hair to Reddish Brown

Want to go reddish brown but not sure where to start? Here are some tips for transitioning your current hair color:

  • From blonde: May require pre-toning to avoid orange tones. Gradual highlight placement can help ease into reddish shade.
  • From black/dark brown: Multi-step lightening process is needed to lift hair enough to achieve red tones. Should be done slowly.
  • From light brown: May be able to go reddish brown in one color appointment. Warm gloss first can prep hair.
  • From red: Adjust tone and intensity by adding brown and/or reducing vividness of current red shade.

Consult a colorist to develop a personalized plan. Dramatically altering your hair color should be a gradual process. Going too light/red at once can damage hair and lead to an unnatural result.

How Short Can You Go with Reddish Brown Hair?

The length of your haircut can impact how reddish brown hair pairs with your skin tone. Here are some considerations:

  • Short crops: Can be very flattering by showcasing reddish tones against the skin. May require increased styling.
  • Bobs: Tend to be universally flattering at bringing out facial features with reddish hair.
  • Shoulder length: Allows you to pull hair back to lessen color intensity if desired.
  • Long hair: Provides versatility in styling from vibrant to muted looks.

The most important factors for short reddish brown hair are ensuring the shade complements your skin tone and creating dimension with face-framing and layers if going very short. Proper coloring techniques for darker roots and lighter ends are also key.


Reddish brown hair can be stunning on a wide range of skin tones when the shade is professionally selected to complement your complexion. The key factors are determining your skin’s undertones, finding the right balance of red and brown tones, and maintaining the color properly so it continues to enhance your look. While cool-toned complexions can wear reddish brown beautifully, avoiding too light or coppery of shades is key. Warm and neutral skin tones have more flexibility in shade options. Go for a personalized consultation and enhance with proper stylist techniques to achieve gorgeous, skin-tone matching reddish brown hair.