As found in Marie Claire Magazine:
Is Blonde Right for You?
If at least two of the following apply to you, it may be time to look on the bright side:
You were blonde(ish) as a child. “If your hair was fair when you were small, especially by summer’s end, you probably have the right skin tone to pull off blonde as an adult,” says Brad Johns, global color director for Clairol.
You can afford regular maintenance. “Being blonde is not cheap,” says Johns. “Think of blonde hair as the ultimate accessory — the one you never take off! You must keep it in excellent shape with regular touch-ups and proper products.”
You’re okay being a man magnet. “It’s no coincidence that blonde is the most popular hair color in Los Angeles — where it’s all about getting noticed,” says Jennifer J (Cate Blanchett is a client). Johns adds, “I can assure you it’s the shade men prefer.”
How to be the best blonde:
1. Keep it cool when coloring. “If you elect to lighten your hair, opt for a cool or neutral shade rather than something warm [often marked ‘golden’ or ‘honey’],” says Julia Youssef, executive director of L’Oréal Paris’s Hair Color Technical Center and Product Evaluation. “Lightening naturally warms up your hair; if you choose a warm-colored dye, you may end up too [orangey] gold.”
2. Avoid alcohol. “Bottle blondes may suffer from dry, dull hair, and using products that contain high amounts of alcohol can make the problem worse,” says Johnathan Gale, a colorist at the Sally Hershberger for John Frieda Salon in Los Angeles (he’s responsible for Charlize Theron’s gilded locks). Common alcohol-containing culprits: hairspray, gel, and mousse; check the label.
3. Leave the whitening to your teeth. “Many women equate cool, white strands with elegance,” says Johns, “but the reality is that having overly platinum hair can leave you looking tired.” A better approach? Ask your colorist to create a golden base, then add cooler highlights.
4. Let a pro handle the hard stuff. “If you want to take your color more than two shades lighter than your natural hue, visit a salon,” says Jennifer J. Attempting a job this delicate yourself is risky — and you may end up more banana than honey-blonde.
5. Have a few tricks up your sleeve. Inevitably, there will be times when you need to get to the salon but just can’t spare the time or money. Rather than surrendering to long, dark roots, try this trick from Jennifer J: To combat visible roots, pick up a box of dark, ash-blonde hair color at the drugstore. Apply it carefully to just your roots with a toothbrush and leave it on for no longer than three minutes. This will take the edge off dark roots and will buy you a few more weeks sans salon.
Makeup tips for blondes:
Peach tones are universally flattering to blondes, says Dorf.
If you opt for red lips, keep them sheer and limit the hue to evenings, says Dorf.
Opt for brown mascara rather than black; it contrasts less with your hair color.
Is Red Right for You?
If at least two of the following apply to you, it may be right to go ruby:
Your skin is on the pink side. There is a “right” red out there for most women, says Jennifer J, a Matrix celeb colorist and owner of Juan Juan Salons in Southern California (she colors Julia Roberts’s auburn mane), but women with cool or pinkish skin pull it off best. Conversely, women with golden or olive skin have a tougher time finding one that’s flattering.
You’re no wallflower. Red is a head-turning hue, and you have to be self-assured enough to accept the stares, says Tasha Forgash, color specialist at Shag Salon in Boston. Colorist Sarah Gold, the guru behind Lindsay Lohan’s formerly flame-colored hair, concurs: “Remember, red hair is like a sequined dress — it walks into the room before you do.”
Your hair is in fairly good condition. If your strands are very dry or damaged, they will have a hard time holding on to small, red color molecules (which seep out of even the healthiest hair fairly quickly). Your mane has a better chance of becoming radiant red if it is well cared-for (read: you deep-condition weekly, get regular trims and don’t heat-style every day).
How to be the best redhead:
1. Wash your hair as infrequently as possible. Ideally this would mean twice a week, says Parvine Klein, a colorist at the John Barrett Salon in New York City, but every other day will suffice if your hair is oily or very fine, says Jennifer J. On alternate days, you can rinse your hair with tepid (never hot) water if necessary — or dust your roots with a dry shampoo.
2. Avoid harsh shampoos. Most dandruff treatments are tough on colored hair, says Jennifer J. But they are death to redheads, accelerating the fading process by weeks.
3. Ask your colorist for a “to-go” kit. Jennifer J gives her redheaded clients a small vial of their hair color (at $45 a pop) to apply two weeks after their salon visit. This keeps the color looking bright and fiery all month long.
4. Cover up. Red hair color oxidizes faster than any other, says Forgash. So, if you’re going to spend a lot of time outdoors, use a styling product that contains UV filters — or throw a hat or scarf over your strands.
5. Don’t be tempted by eggplant tones. Purplish-reds don’t look natural and are rarely flattering, says Jennifer J. Choose a color that can be described as “coppery,” “auburn,” or “strawberry” instead.
Makeup tips for redheads:
Avoid dark, smoky eyes. They compete with your attention-grabbing tresses, says Paula Dorf, a celebrity makeup artist.
Do think pink. Pink lip color and blush look gorgeous on redheads, despite outdated advice to the contrary, says Dorf.
Don’t match your brows and hair; it looks bizarre, says Danilo, a celeb colorist.
Is Brown Right for You?
If at least two of the following apply to you, you are probably best brunette:
You’re mousy brown now. Your natural color lacks the vibrancy of richer browns and virtually begs to be deepened.
You want a low-maintenance regimen. Unless you are naturally very blonde, the upkeep for brown hair is fairly easy — and at-home coloring is close to goof-proof, says Julia Youssef, executive director of L’Oréal Paris’s Hair Color Technical Center and Product Evaluation.
Your hair is damaged and dull. Dark hair color reflects light best, hides breakage, and minimizes the flaws of abused tresses.
How to be the best brunette:
1. Match your brown to your haircut. To maximize the impact of your chocolaty color, go deeper and monotone if your hair is nearly all one length. If it’s shorter or very layered, make the ends slightly lighter, and weave in high- and lowlights to emphasize the texture of the cut, says Marie Robinson, a colorist at the Sally Hershberger Salon in New York City (clients include Natalie Portman).
2. Go to the extreme. The most striking brunettes today are very dark or quite light, says Robinson. If your hair color is medium in tone, you blend — in a bad way.
3. Coloring at home? Go half-and-half. One of the most common at-home haircoloring errors, according to Robinson, is a brown that’s gone orangey, often the result of applying a dye that’s too “warm.” If it’s golden brown you’re after, says Robinson, buy one box of golden brown and one box of neutral brown. Mix the two, then use the combo on your hair.
4. Steer clear of hairspray, if possible. Nothing takes the sheen off shiny brunette strands faster than dousing them with hairspray, says Robinson. If you must shellac, follow with a spritz of shine serum.
5. Beware of black. If you want to deepen your brown to anything beyond dark chocolate, visit a professional, says Youssef. Once you go blue-black, there’s almost no going back. The only way to lighten up is with a pricey salon procedure that involves lots of damage — to your hair and wallet.
Makeup tips for brunettes:
Pile on the mascara and make it black. You need dark fringe to balance your dark strands, says Paula Dorf, a celebrity makeup artist.
Play with jewel tones on your eyes. Brunettes can get away with dramatic eyes.
If your dark hair makes your complexion appear too pasty, shimmery bronzer is your ticket, says Ross Burton, Lancôme’s national artistic director.