Here's a little secret I love sharing with people: Even top beauty editors sometimes skip the salon for a little do-it-yourself hair color. Whether you are a future do-it-yourselfer or stick to the salon, here are the hair color tips you should know about:
You've heard the old adage that gentlemen prefer blondes. "Blondes are sexy, brunettes are sophisticated, and redheads are born attention-getters." I tend to disagree. I think blonde hair can be sexy, sophisticated AND attention-getting A sleek bob that follows the sharp line of the jaw on a woman can be incredibly sophisticated no matter the color, just as a platinum pixie can grab the attention of both men and women. What I do know for sure about blonde hair, is it is expensive to upkeep.
The rule of thumb to follow when it comes to blonde hair is this one: If you had blonde hair as a kid, you'll likely look good with blonde hair as an adult. You'll also look good blonde if you have pink skin that burns easily, and blue or green eyes. If your skin has yellow undertones, you may look jaundiced or washed out with hair that's too light. Contrast between your face and hair is important when going blonde. If you have fair skin, the biggest hair color mistake you can make is to go too light. I'm pale and have had my hair too lightened so that my face and my hair looked like one big wash of the same color. The best hair color allows for contrast and shows off the face.
The Right Way to Go (or Stay) Brown
If you have super pale skin and brown hair, consider going lighter. Super dark shades can wash you out and even make you appear older. I love the uber-trendy "bronde hairstyles" for brunettes for the perfect sun-kissed look.
Almost everyone can go red, what's most important is finding the right shade of red. If you want to go red, I suggest not trying it on your own. Get a professional consultation. You won't believe the number of emails I get from women whose hair turned out orange when they went the box route.
To Color or to Highlight, That's the Question
If you have a great base hair tone, you're better off with highlights. You don't want to mess with nature; what you want to do is enhance it. If your base color washes out your skin tone or is "bland," consider single-process color. Single-process color is cheaper than highlights. Highlights look best when the stylist uses at least two different shades. Ask for more around your face, they can brighten your complexion. Keep in mind that due to root growth, all-over coloring will need to be touched up every four to eight weeks, while highlights can last up to two or three months. Ask your stylist about a gloss treatment following your color. Gloss boosts color and makes hair shinier.
So You Want Highlights, But Which Kind?
There are basically 4 types of highlights: basic foil highlights, baliage or "hair painting," chunking or "piecing" and lowlighting.
Foil highlights add strands of color to hair. You can get up to 5 different shades in hair for a more natural look. Baliage, or "hair painting," allows the stylist to add natural stripes of color to hair in large or smaller swaths.
This is best for women with a great base color who want to go just a couple shades lighter. You won't need to get roots touched up as much with baliage as you do foils. Lowlighting allows the stylist to add darker shades to hair. This gives color more contrast.
Should You Do It Yourself?
Home-color kits have come a long way in the past few years. They are perfect for busy people and those who want cut the cost of professional colorings.
If You're Going With a Box, Stick With Semi-permanent Color
Semi-permanent colors wash out after a few washes, whereas permanent colors have to grow out. Some home hair coloring tips: rub Vaseline around your hairline as a protective measure before applying color. To remove after coloring, rub a small amount of cream cleanser and wipe off with cotton balls. Always wear gloves.
You can expect your color to last about 6 to 8 weeks before roots begin to show. If your hair is colored, get your roots touched up or do them yourself with a store-bought kit.
If you have highlights or lowlights, avoid having your whole head colored by asking your stylist to do your hairline, crown and part. A word of warning: Foil highlights require precise application and fixing dark roots is nearly impossible. Consider baliage, which looks more natural.