How To Choose The Best Hair Color

by Sienna Fantozzi

If you color your hair, then you probably know that finding the right color can be really tricky. "Blonde" isn't just "blonde" and "brown" isn't just "brown" — there are so many different shades of each, and choosing the most flattering one for you can be overwhelming. Luckily, Bustle spoke to a celebrity colorist to find out how to find the best hair color. If you color your hair or are contemplating doing so, you definitely want to listen up.

Looking at a picture of a celebrity's hair is great for inspiration, but there's a lot more you have to consider when choosing a color than what you find pretty, because what works on one person may not work on another. Hair color is a very individual process that requires taking many things into consideration, and if you're doing it yourself, you definitely need to know what to be paying attention to. Conversely, if you go into a colorist and specify exactly what you want, they may do it for you, even if what you're asking for isn't going to turn out the way you envision it to look.

Bustle's West Coast Fashion & Beauty editor, Sara Tan, spoke to Matrix StyleLink Celebrity Stylist, George Papanikolas, to find out exactly how to choose the best hair color, so that it looks natural and fits with your coloring.

1. Look At Your Coloring

It's not just about your skin tone — you need to look at your overall coloring. Your natural hair color, your skin color, and your eye color are all important when choosing a hair color. "You want to stay within a few shades of your natural hair color — you want to stay within the family [of colors for] where you started," Papanikolas tells Bustle.

2. Don't Lighten Your Base Too Much

There is a limit to how light you should go, and it depends on your natural color. According to Papanikolas, "If you want to lighten your base, it shouldn't be more than two shades or else it's guaranteed to be brassy."

3. Highlight With Caution

If you highlight your hair, your goal is to be lighter, of course, but be wary of how light you go. "With highlights, stay about four shades within your natural hair color, otherwise, it'll look really harsh," Papanikolas said.

4. Never Force It

As I said before, we're all individual and unique. Just because Jennifer Lawrence rocks a certain shade of blonde, doesn't mean that's right for you. Embrace what you were born with and enhance it — don't try to completely change it. "I could use a lot of highlights to make someone with darker hair and skin tones blonde, but it's probably not going to be the most flattering and the condition of their hair is going to suffer. People try to force [an extremely different hair color from their own], but no matter how good your colorist is, they just want you to be realistic," Papanikolas said.

5. A Consultation Is Important

Before making any major changes, start by having a consultation with a colorist. That way, you minimize the risk for miscommunication, you know exactly what's going to happen, and you can have some time to think about it before you actually make a change. "As a colorist, I want to know that whatever we do, you are going to be happy. That's why consultations are super important to me," Papanikolas says.

Now that you know everything you should before a major hair color change, go forth and pick your new hue with confidence, ladies and gents!