Hair color is now so multifaceted that it's impossible to settle on a shade anymore. To make it more complicated, instead of straight up brown hair, now there's tigereye, deep sable brown, and even chocolate mauve if you're vying for a tinge of rose gold. But the balayage, highlights, and smatterings of color are just part of step two. It's step one you need to settle on first: the base color. Although, trying to decide on that can keep you up at night too.
To help make the selection process a bit easier, we spoke with master colorist Gio Bargallo of Rita Hazan Salon in New York City to compile the ultimate hair color chart for brunette, red, and blond shades. Peruse the colors below, study up on their undertones, and bring your new hair inspo to the salon. Keep scrolling to get started!
Platinum blond is the lightest of all the blond shades. It has a white/yellow base, but you'll need to work closely with your colorist to make sure you're a good candidate. (Avoid trying to achieve this color on your own—doing so can yield more yellow than you bargained for.) Because this color is so prone to yellowing, be sure to use a toning shampoo like Beauty Protector Protect & Blond Toning Shampoo ($23) to keep it looking fresh and lustrous.
Macadamia nut has a bit more of a golden tint to it than platinum blond does. It works beautifully with skin that has blush undertones and is especially striking with light eyes: green, blue, and hazel (or like Kate Bosworth's, a combo!).
Champagne blond is exactly as you'd imagine—it's got the slightest hint of rosé, which is almost undetectable, except for when the light hits it just right. This shade works exceptionally well with fair skin and light eyes, as evidenced by the lovely Amanda Seyfried above.
Beige blond has a bit of a darker base with lighter highlights worked in throughout—Bargallo describes it as "ginger ale and cream soda," adding, "It complements medium and olive skin tones and both light and dark eyes."
With a darker base than beige blond, dirty blond has similar facets: caramel and golden highlights against a deep blond or brond hue.
Strawberry red is great for fair and neutral skin tones, but if your skin is deeper, aim for a red hue with hints of brown (see below). Otherwise, your skin may appear a bit green with this color.
Bronze hair color has warm red and golden undertones. This color works well with dark eye colors and pink and olive skin tones.
Auburn leans more toward brown than strawberry red locks. It's quite versatile, too, in that it works well with both fair and olive skin tones.
While sangria or pomegranate hair isn't a natural red, it's fiery, warm, and daring. Because of the purple undertones of this hair color, it works especially well with dark skin tones (but we'd argue fair skin like Ashley Greene's above also stuns in this hue).
Light Natural Brown
Light natural brown has a bit of ash to tone down the golden hues. It's a neutral color, so it works well with all skin tones.
This spicy hue is a rich brown shade with a hint of copper and earth tones (think acorn)—beautiful for caramel and deep skin tones.
Medium brown hair is similar to light natural brown in that it also has a bit of an ash, neutral undertone, making it wearable for any skin tone.
Bargallo says this rich brown hue has "a shimmer of a cocoa bean or an espresso feel." This hue is striking on olive/golden skin tones and dark eyes à la Mila Kunis.
Though it goes without description, Bargallo dresses up jet-black hair's namesake by comparing it to "black licorice polish." Keep it looking sleek and shiny with an Olaplex treatment ($28) once a week.