6 Things to Consider Before a Major Hair Color Change

Emma Stone, a natural blonde, looks just as fabulous if not more so as a stunning redhead. (image credit: Google Images)

Emma Stone, a natural blonde, looks just as fabulous if not more so as a stunning redhead. (image credit: Google Images)

Looking for a drastic hair color change? Before you hit up the color-bar at your favorite salon, be sure to have a thorough consultation with your colorist and consider the following:

1) Your Skin Tone / Eye Color

I’m a strong believer that your hair should always compliment and enhance your natural features. With that being said, it’s important to understand which colors will bring out your favorite features, while simultaneously camouflaging your least favorite ones. For example, those who have green eyes with golden flecks are generally great candidates for vibrant red hair color. Prime examples of fierce redheads would be Emma Stone for medium to fair warm skin tones, and Sharon Osbourne for cooler, fairer skin tones. If you’re worried about fine lines, wrinkles and under eye circles, avoid very dark, ashy colors as those tend to draw attention to shadows and lines in one’s face. Instead, opt for a lighter chocolate brown, or richen up dark locks with warm caramel face-framing highlights.

2) Makeup & Wardrobe

If you’re going for a major hair color overhaul, chances are you’re going to need to stock up on some new makeup colors as well. A general rule of thumb is: The lighter the hair color, the lighter the makeup; the darker the hair color, the darker and more dramatic the makeup – in particular, the lip color. Many other factors go into finding the perfect makeup/hair/personality combo so often times I will refer my salon guests to an on-staff makeup artist following their hair transformation.

Just as you wouldn’t want your makeup to clash with your newly colored coif, you also want to keep your wardrobe in mind. If you’ve recently added jewel-toned violet accent pieces, avoid wearing a violet top which can make your accent pieces look dull or “off” in some way.

3) Your Emotional Status

If you just broke up with your significant other, lost your job, or if you are really, really angry, sad or upset in any way, STOP. THE. BUS. Permanently changing your look while in a temporary state on mind can be bad news bears. If you’ve already pinned photos of your new desired look, don’t delete them. Just save them for another day when you’ve had time to cool off and feel like your normal self again. Reexamine your pins later and see if that is still a look you want to go for.

4) How Healthy is Your Hair?

Healthy, virgin hair is every colorist’s “dream canvas”. But of course, most of us are well aware that virgin-haired clients are hard to come by these days and that most people have some sort of chemical baggage in their strands whether it’s just a few face-framing highlights, an all-over color, chemical waving, or everything in the book. What is already present in your hair can greatly affect the results of your next color job. So be honest with your colorist. It’s important for us to know the chemical history of your hair and decipher how many layers of color we need to go through and what type of old color (even if was a year and a half ago) is hidden underneath your current color. A good colorist will be able let you know if your strands are healthy enough to get you to your desired look, as well as offer alternative solutions if your hair’s current state won’t allow it.

5) Commitment and Maintenance

Will it take multiple appointments to achieve the results I want? Will it need to be toned and how often? How many appointments will it take to get me there? What are my long-term hair goals (ex.: Are you getting married next year and need your hair to look a certain way by that date?)? How often do I need to visit the salon to maintain this color? What products do I need to maintain it at home? These are all questions you should be asking yourself before any major color change. Sure, Gwen Stefani’s fierce platinum-blonde may sound like great plan, but only if you are aware that you’ll need to get your regrowth touched up at the salon every three to four weeks, tone it once a week, and since lightening one’s hair to platinum-blonde is generally more aggressive on the hair, expect to invest lots of money into conditioning treatments and masques to keep your hair looking shiny and healthy, and not to mention a GOOD HAIRCUT is an absolute must (i.e.: I hope you’re not attached to your length unless you’re looking into installing hair extensions.). On the exact opposite end of the maintenance spectrum, balayage or ombré highlights require very minimal, if any maintenance. Many balayage clients can go 6-12 months between touchups. So be very sure you know exactly what you’re getting into before any major color change.

6) Shock Value

You’re going for a change. Which means you’re going to look different. Which means people will notice. This is an obvious one but so often overlooked. Just remember to mentally prepare yourself for this. Prepare yourself not only to do a double take every time you walk by a mirror, but to get an “OMG your hair!!!” from just about every single colleague, friend or family member you run into for the next few weeks. Prepare yourself to get all sorts of feedback whether it’s asked for or not. If you have a super opinionated grandma, prepare yourself for her reaction; whatever it may be (hopefully good!). If you have small children, mentally prepare yourself for the possibility that they might freak out when mommy comes home looking almost unrecognizable. If they don’t freak out, that’s great! But if they do, just know it’s normal and don’t let it hurt your feelings. Rest assured, no matter what type of reactions you get (and you will get reactions), many will come to love the new you soon enough – including those freaked-out small children =) .

If you’ve done your homework on your desired new ‘do and feel confident with your colorist, then go right ahead and enjoy your glamorous transformation! After all, our hairstyle is that one accessory we wear every single day so why not switch it up every once in a while?

Wishing good hair days to all,

Emily Chen