Delicious olives
The rules for colouring hair are not as complex as you might imagine and they're all based on a single premise: your skin is calling the shots. Because it is. It does. Your skin, particularly your complexion, is the biggest single factor to consider when choosing the best hair colour for olive skin. Every professional colourist takes skin colour into account, and so should you when using colour at home. Today's home hair colour ranges are vastly superior to those of a few years back, but even they can't argue with nature, or with light.

You are olive, aren't you?
If you have olive skin you probably know it. It's fairly unmistakable – that tell-tale greeny-yellowy-golden tinge, the fact that you tend to tan quite easily (but hopefully always wear sun protection), the fact that your natural hair colour is likely to be quite dark and you probably, but not necessarily, have brown eyes to match. Sound about right?

No? Still not convinced? Then think what colours look best on you clothes-wise? Do you suit whites, greens and blues rather than pinks and reds? You do? Then you almost certainly have an olive skin tone. Alternatively, a little trick is to look at the veins in your arms under natural light. If they look more greenish, then welcome to olive town!

So far, so good. You're the envy of many women. But having Cleopatra-like olive skin doesn't mean you can play fast and loose with the colour chart. There are some colours that will back quickly out of the room when confronted by olive. The important thing to remember is that the ultimate objective – regardless of your genetic makeup – is to aim for a shade that makes your skin glow and your eyes pop (in a good way!), by complementing the natural undertones of your complexion.

Sounds easy, right? Well yes, and no.

Think about those undertones
For a start, it's a common misconception that olive-skinned women should always opt for honeyed tones. True, brown and chestnut are two of the best hair colours for olive skin, but choosing a hair dye is rarely a case of 'one size fits all'.

The thing to remember is that olive skin, like all skin, comes in a wide range of shades, with underlying tones from cool to warm. The best hair colour for olive skin is the one that plays off your undertones and makes the most of them. The rule of thumb is to team warm with warm and cool with cool. By pairing warm olive skin with warm hair colours and cool olive skin with cool hair colours, you can achieve a whole spectrum of beautiful combinations. Yes, even at home.

So are you warm olive or cool olive? What tones are you seeing right now? If you can detect hints of red or gold, you're in the warmer olive spectrum; if you're seeing ivory, silver, maybe even violet, you're most certainly a cool olive. Nothing wrong with that. Cool is cool.

Brown and beautiful
If you have more warm tones, you can't really beat the classic golden browns, auburns and chestnuts that pick out your sun-kissed glow. Try our Garnier Nutrisse Crème 5.3 Golden Brown Hair Dye for a natural, warm golden hair colour. You might think you can't go wrong, but it's important to remember that cool shades are simply not the best hair colours for warm skin tone. Even in the mid-brown range, a cool ash brown could simply make you look washed out. If you're thinking of going darker still, stick with a rich mahogany or chestnut and avoid the blue or violet-based dark browns or blacks.

Cool olives are much more suited to those ashier browns and you can go much darker without the fear of overpowering your complexion. If you’re tempted for a new natural ash brown shade, try our Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color 4.15 Iced Coffee Brown . If you're someone who likes to push the colour envelope, you can even dare to wear a blue-black to heighten your natural cool. Go on, we know you want to.

Ladies in red
Is there red in your hair? You might be surprised, but quite often with olive skin, it's there naturally, so emphasising the red is a good move. Again, though, consider your underlying skin tone first. Cool olives can easily wear darker coppers and cinnamons, and with their cool blue complexion undertones in mind, can even experiment with striking purple-reds and burgundies. Those with warm olive complexions usually look great in light coppers, golden reds, corals and pale terracotta reds.

Yes, you can be blonde
Many olive-skinned women are aghast at the idea of going blonde – perhaps haunted by a teenage bleaching experiment that went horribly wrong – but we're here to tell you, to reassure you, that it can look very striking when subtly done. While those with dark and warm olive skin tones should avoid pale or platinum blondes that can make them appear sallow, golden and honey blondes look fantastic with this skin tone. For those of you in the cool olive camp, ash or strawberry blondes are a great choice.

Whatever you decide, there is no one best hair colour for olive skin. If this is your first time using colour at home, play safe to begin with and don't stray too far from your natural colour. There's plenty of time to experiment.

GARNIER TO THE RESCUE!

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