From the top of your head to the tip of your toes, fashion has gone for color in a big way this spring. Enough of the dull, the drab, and the neutrals that saw you through the winter. It is time to refresh your wardrobe and your hair color, too!
Untreated hair is rarely all the same solid color, because of the effects of the sun and the most popular trend in salon coloring takes its cue from nature. While pure silver or platinum blonde is an eye-catcher, it takes a lot of upkeep and can look harsh. Multidimensional color, on the other hand, can look just as nature intended it, with depth from dark to light and highlights galore.
The French technique called balayage, for example, involves painting on graduations of color that can go from warm brunette tones blended with gold, amber, and honey shades. It is done free-hand by a stylist, with no foils or caps, as are used in traditional highlighting methods.
Color melting is another technique that combines tones of the same color. It is an evolution from the ombre look that has been so popular, with its darker hair on top bleached to a much lighter shade on the bottom. Melting is prettier, because it softens the transition between the base color and the other hues. Done properly, you cannot tell where one color ends and the next begins — it is just like a fine watercolor painting!
If you want to try one of these looks without investing the time and money in going to a salon, there are great ways to test it out temporarily. Tape-in extensions come in every texture from straight to kinky curly to match your own hair, and with proper care can last for six to eight weeks. You can have them applied at a salon, but if you are adept, you can even apply them yourself.
Tape-ins come in colors that you can blend in with your own, ranging from baby blonde to chocolate brown and true copper all the way to jet black, and including beautiful blends of blondes, golds, honeys, and strawberries that add highlights and lowlights to create a beautiful depth of color.
They are also available in fun colors including dark, sexy purple, bright and shiny violet, bold fuchsia, and for the most adventurous, ocean blue, fresh spring green, and shades of rose and pink from the purely feminine to the playful and vibrant. Aside from being cost effective and changeable on a whim, tape-in extensions add body and volume to you hair, even if you are not using them to add length. They can be kinder to your hair as well.
The Right Hair Color For You
Unless you are going for a fashion-forward look, the way to select a new hair color is to consider your skin tone. Hair color is measured in two ways: its level on a scale of 1 (platinum blonde) to 10 (jet black), and the pigment that controls the shade. Your skin tone contains similar pigments, whether its warm and earthy or cool and peachy, so the hair color you were born with will generally be in a range that looks natural with it and the key to coloring is to keep your color within two levels of lightness or darkness of its current natural color.
- Want to go blonde? Light skin tones call for golden, strawberry, or light blonde. Medium skin tones are flattered by warm honey shades. Darker skin tones can look unnatural with totally blonde hair, but do not let that stop you from adding gorgeous caramel or golden highlights.
- Want to try brunette? Almost 25% of women over 18 go blonde, so you will stand out in the crowd with brown hair. If brown is your natural color, you have probably got red undertones, so choose a rich dark auburn, or warm red, or amber highlights.
- Thinking of black? Unless you were born with it, jet black hair is likely to look harsh. If your skin is light toned, try dark brown instead. If your skin has an olive darker tone, anything goes except a blue-black.
- What about red? Red is a hair color unto itself, and has its own levels and tones. Fair skin looks best with a golden strawberry blonde, while medium-tone skin can stand up to a copper hue. If you have dark skin, medium auburn will be more flattering than a redder shade.