Find Your Perfect Hair Color
Dealing with brassy blond or bland brown locks?
Knowing which hues will enhance your look are key to getting your best hair ever. And if you're considering a change, we have some expert tips on how to find your perfect hair color.
READ: New Hair Color? Change the Makeup
Get ready to show off a new, gorgeous you!
Coloring For the First Time?
If you’ve never had your hair chemically treated or if you’re going for a completely different shade, it’s crucial to go through a transition phase. “The general rule of thumb is not to go two shades lighter or darker than your natural hair color,” says Sara Meddick, celebrity colorist at Nelson J Salon in Beverly Hills. If you’re still not sure which hue is right for you, she recommends going to a wig store and trying on different colored wigs before meeting with your stylist. This "playtime" will give you an idea of how the color will look on you without the commitment.
Drop the Box
For any type of color job, experts say it’s crucial to set up a consultation appointment with a professional colorist or hairstylist who specializes in hair colors. He/she will have the experience to better assist you in really finding out which shade will best enhance your looks. In addition, seeing a professional will save you time, prevent an unwanted bathroom mess or worse, a hair disaster.
Whether you’re a brunette looking to go blonde or vice versa, leave the dramatic transformations, in particular, to the professionals. “At-home hair color has the potential to go horribly wrong, and stylists know how to color correct, as well as bring out the most perfect shade for every client,” says Los Angeles-based stylist Julia Papworth. To ensure that you’ll be completely satisfied with the results, always bring a photo of the color and/or style you have mind to the colorist during your consultation.
It’s Not Just About Your Hair
You may want to go sun-kissed blonde or vibrant red, but is the color you’ve been eyeing on right for you? Make sure to take note of your skin, as experts say is key to enhancing the hue. “Your skin tone is the most important factor when picking out the right shade,” explains Meddick. “Cool toned skin should also be cool toned in hair color, just as warm toned skin should opt for warmer toned hair color.” How do you know which one you fall under? “One way is to ask yourself which looks better on you, gold or silver jewelry,” says Meddick. “If you say gold, then you will most likely fall in the warm family and silver in the cool family.”
Keep Your Eyebrows in Mind
An easy trick to find out if your new hair color will appear natural? Check out your eyebrows as a tell-tale sign. “The perfect hair color for you is usually no more than two shades lighter or darker than your eyebrows,” says Papworth. “Varying too far from this can lead to an unnatural looking hair color.”
No Need to Follow the Crowd
Just because everyone is going lighter during the summer, doesn’t mean you should do the same. “It’s best to find a color (regardless of what it is) that will good for your skin tone, eye color and current cut,” says Kitty Greller, senior colorist at Ted Gibson in New York City. “For instance, if you have a bob or a shorter cut, ombre might not be your best option.” However, Greller does note that certain colors, which happen to be in season, are flattering for many. Currently, she likes honey-hued blondes and natural-looking reds. But if you’re unsure whether these colors will suit you, pick a safer choice, like a gloss, which will enhance your current color.
“Never go too dark,” warns runway stylist Luigi Parasmo. “Always go one shade lighter than your desired color first. If it’s too light, it’s easier to darker. If it’s too dark, though, it’ll have to be bleached, and that process tends to dry hair out.” In addition, bleaching a bad black dye can be an extra (and unwanted) cost.
Consider the Alternatives
Nervous about taking the color plunge? Parasmo suggests trying other alternatives before going all the way. “Highlights or lowlights will subtly enhance your look, whereas an overall color will add dimension and/or depth to your present one,” he explains. "If you’re coloring your hair for the very first time, I’d recommend very subtle highlights or a semi-permanent color. I’d also recommend this if you’re seeking a natural style or want to cover some gray.”
Hair in a Fritz?
If you mane is already suffering from split ends or breakage from over-processing, you may want to consider putting your dye dreams on hold as adding chemicals can cause more harm to tresses at risk of damage. Experts suggest trying a series of conditioning treatments to get your hair in better shape, along with an appropriate trim to promote even growth. And if you’re really in dire need of a change (and the damage isn’t severe) you could try adding a few highlights in front of the face to better frame it.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
A major event in your life could prompt you to make a visit to the salon, but before you undergo a treatment, first consider why you need the color change. “Don’t make emotional decisions,” says Greller. “I have had clients that want to change their color after a breakup or a big life change. I always advise less is more during these times.” More importantly, you don’t want a makeover, which should be a welcoming occasion, be associated with a negative experience.