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Behind every fabulous hair color, there's a base color that sets the tone for that particular hue. There are a multitude of available bases for hair color, which are divided up into three separate categories: warm, cool and neutral. Knowing the difference between a warm, golden base and a neutral base can make all the difference between a hair color that suits your skin tone and one that makes it look like paste.
A neutral color base walks the line between warm and cool. A neutral base can be in any level of color, from the darkest black to the lightest of blonds. In the dark shades the neutral base, when applied over a warm hair color, will help mute any red tones. In the mid-level colors, the orange undertones will get the boot, and yellow will be mellowed in the light blond tones.
Who Should Wear It
If you've got a cool skin tone--yet aren't looking to sport an overtly ash-based color--a neutral-based color is the perfect choice. A neutral brown or blond shade can also be an amazing canvass for bold-color highlights. The neutral base won't clash with your highlights, and the absence of warm or cool tones makes getting a true tone from your highlight color a little easier.
If you want to warm up your tresses reach for those sunny, golden-based hair colors. A color with a gold base is a shade that is typically a level six or lighter; it allows the natural yellow/gold pigments of those shades to shine through. That's because no drabbers or neutralizing tones have been added to these bases in an attempt to squash the gold. A gold-based color can be a shade of dark brown, all the way up to a light golden blond.
Who Should Wear It
Those with warm, yellow-based skin tones should always gravitate toward gold-based hair colors. They'll bring out a healthy glow in your skin, while ensuring you don't look overly pale or sallow. Just keep in mind, that a gorgeous golden hue shouldn't scream yellow pigment. The gold should be a subtle, underlying tone that enhances--not dominates--your hair color.