If you've ever experimented with hair colour – a mad teenage whim perhaps, or a wig you wore to a party just for fun – you'll know that some colours suit you and some definitely don't. Every professional colourist knows that complementing your complexion – your natural skin colour – is the key. You can't just pick a colour and make it work. Sorry, life isn't fair, even if your skin is, but you can be clever about how you use the best home colour products to achieve some achingly cool looks. So, let’s answer that burning question, how do you find the perfect hair colour for pale skin.

Skin tone is everything

It's always best to work with your natural colouring, not against it. Warm tones in your face will suit warm hair colours like rich chocolate browns, cherry reds and honey blondes. While cool colours, such as ash or platinum blondes, or purple-tinted browns, will always look better on those with cooler complexions. It's not rocket science, it's colour science.

But, we also need to remember that all complexions, whether dark, olive or milky white, differ in terms of tones. You might have warm, pinky tones underlying the overall shade of your skin, or cooler, more yellowy hues.

Now, take the colour test

So go on, take a good look at yourself. What colours can you see in the mirror, mirror on the wall?

It's not so easy, is it? You've looked at yourself thousands and thousands of times but probably have never properly thought about it or analysed it – other than for lines and spots, of course. Very few of us have an artist's eye for colour. Vermeer had a talent for it and probably could pick the right hair colour for pale skin instantly.

If you're not sure, one way of helping you work it out is to think of the clothes that suit you. If you have a warm skin tone, you will more than likely suit warm colours, like reds or oranges, and look fabulous in gold jewellery. If you look best in greens and blues – to bring out the green or blue in your eyes, perhaps – the chances are you have cool, pale skin.

Another trick of the trade is to check one of the veins in your arm under a natural source of light. If it looks greener under the light, you've got a warmer tone, and if it looks bluer, you've got a cooler tone.

Got it? Great. We're going to focus on those of you with cool skin for now.

You're so cool

The first bit of good news is, you're on trend. In the last decade, pale skin has definitely become the complexion du jour. We can't get enough of your ethereal beauty. Some put it down to the rise of vampire chic – the first Twilight film was released in 2008 – but it really doesn't matter. The fact is, the fashion editors think your pale skin is to die for, you lucky thing.

Of course, not everyone has Kristen Stewart’s bone structure, nor the team of hair stylists and make-up artists to work their magic, so you still need to choose your colour wisely.

As a general rule, pale complexions look best with light hair colours. Most professional colourists will be reluctant to push you too far away from your natural shade, so bear that in mind when colouring at home.

With cooler skin tones containing more yellows, you can get away with paler, sharper blondes that are undercut with cool hues like blue or citrus. Ash blonde can look stunning, especially if you have piercing, ice blue eyes.

If you can see traces of pink in your skin, you'd be better off opting for a warmer, more golden blond. Holly Willoughby pulls it off – and so can you. If you’re not sure where to begin Garnier Nutrisse 9.0 Light Blonde is a brilliant place to start when trying to find a solid hair colour for pale skin.

Go beyond blonde

But, you don't have to be blonde. Reds are definitely an option, but again, consider those underlying tones before plunging headlong into a fiery copper red.

Those with super-cool skin tones will usually suit more orange-based coppers, like spicy Garnier Nutrisse 7.4 Intense Copper that really complements the yellow in your skin, while a more auburny shade would look fantastic with pinky pale skin. So, either channel your inner Demelza and unleash those dangerous, Poldarkian desires, or do the Highland fling and imagine you're wandering winsomely in swathes of tartan across windswept, heather-clad moors, even if you're only wandering down the high street.

Discover your dark side

If brown hair is your dream, make it a reality. You can go quite a bit darker than you'd imagine if you soften it with a balayage style, dyeing your base a lush mahogany and your tips gradually blonder and more honey-hued, for example. The general look is brown, but the lighter touch keeps it from washing out your pale skin.

Can you go even darker? Yes, you can, and we like your style. One of the hottest recent trends is midnight black shades undercut with blue, which can look amazing with cool, deep freeze complexions. Think Snow White with attitude, and without Grumpy. Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work we go – to be the talking point of the office, no doubt.

Good luck!

GARNIER TO THE RESCUE!