If you’ve decided to dye your hair, chances are you’d like it to look as natural as possible … assuming you’re not going for candy pink, that is. Even then, there are a few rules of the road when it comes to choosing a color that will work for you. Follow these steps, and you’re much likelier to walk away from the salon without regret.

Match Yourself to a Celebrity

The A-listers know what they’re doing. Not only do they dye their hair like it’s their job (oh wait, it is), they have the best aestheticians in the industry to help them do it. You can start by looking through pictures of your favorite actors and actresses to find the colors you like.

Understand Your Skin Tone: Warm or Cool?

Once you have a clearer idea of the hue you’re looking for, it’s time to do a little skin tone research. Hold a piece of white printer paper up to your face and check out your skin. If it looks yellow, you have a warm complexion. If it’s rosy or bluish, you have a cool complexion. If it looks gray, your complexion is neutral.

Pick the Opposite Temperature

Now it’s time to pick the color, which should be in the opposite direction on the temperature scale. If you have warm skin, go for a cool tone – ice blond, bluish-black or reds with a lot of purple in them. Cooler skin tones do well with rich hues such as honey or espresso. If you have a neutral complexion, the world is your oyster!

Get a Professional Makeup Artist’s Advice

Last but not least, always ask a stylist for advice before coloring your hair, then set up an appointment to have it done professionally. Many people will need to bleach their hair before adding color, and that’s not something you want to do at home. Plus, your stylist can warn you away from any colors that might not suit.

That’s all, folks! Your brief mini-guide to complexion-friendly hair color. Make sure you whip this out next time you’re considering switching hue.