POST/GRAPHIC DESIGN: KRISTIN ESS
Next up in our “Hair Color Guide” series is the good ol’ neutral family. The name may sound boring, however, the unique beauty of this perfectly balanced shade is anything but boring. The way I like to describe neutral to my clients is by telling them it’s “nearly toneless”. I tell them to think of “sand at the beach” to picture the right hue. It’s not gold/warm and it’s not cool/ashe. It’s still shiny but it won’t give off any particular tone. That being said– don’t confuse the word “neutral” with the word “natural”! Someone’s natural hair color can be a neutral tone, and another person’s natural hair color can be a golden tone so natural doesn’t mean neutral. (A confusing statement I know, but read it a couple times if you need to and hopefully it will make sense.) A few things to keep in mind when considering a neutral tone:
- It may take some time. Neutral hair doesn’t always happen in one color application, especially if you’re coming from a warmer color. Cutting underlying warm tones can take a couple rounds. Be patient whether you’re doing this yourself or going to a colorist. Know that it will happen with repeated application.
- Go in for a gloss. Ask your colorist if you can come in to get a color gloss in between color appointments. It’s a quick process and will help keep unwanted tones away.
- It’s a thin line between ashe and neutral. Ashe is jusssssst over the fence from neutral. If you really desire that perfect neutral tone, you may have to overshoot into ashe and live with it for 2-3 shampoos. I know– nobody wants to leave the hairstylist and wait 2-3 shampoos for the perfect color to surface, and with most tones you shouldn’t have to but with neutral tones you just might. Mentally prep yourself for that (aka: don’t schedule a hot date for the next evening). If you don’t have the patience for that, stay tuned for our next post.
- Purple shampoo every other time. You just have to. It’s the law. No but really, if you don’t the likely hood is high that warm tones will work their way into your hair.
- Conditioning treatments are important. Just like ashe colors, if this starts to look dull, it can look bad. Keep it shiny and keep it clean.
- Who can wear neutral tones? Almost anyone! The most important thing to think about, however, is “Is this my most flattering color?” Sometimes just because you can pull it off doesn’t mean it’s your best color. I was platinum blonde for 8 years and it looked good but nothing compared to how I felt when I went bright red. So ask yourself, is this my best/most flattering color?
Hope you’ve enjoyed the first two (neutral + ashe). See you next week for gold tones, warm golds and hints of red!
post/graphic design: Kristin Ess
For my next several hair posts, I’m going to be posting on color tones. In fact, I feel like we have a lot to talk about with color in general. A lot of you have asked in emails and comments if I could help you get a better understanding of color tones, so we’re going to do just that. We’ll start with ashy tones, then we’ll go into neutrals, warm neutrals, golds, warm golds, subtle hints of red, and then all red tones.
ASHE TONES: First thing I want to tell you is that tone has nothing to do with lightness or darkness. Look at the grid of photos above. Do you see what they all have in common? It’s the smoky-looking silver-y sort of color. That’s what tone is. Doesn’t matter if the hair is super light or super dark because it’s just about the hue that the hair gives off. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind if you ever want to try ashe tones:
- Who can wear it? The girl who’s skin is completely clean and clear! Any hints of redness from acne or rosacea will clash with ashy tones. If you have redness but you cover it well, you can still wear an ashy tone. Just know that when you wash your makeup off it may not be your favorite look. (Sorry, that’s real talk.)
- Wait, ashy?? On purpose?? You’re probably wondering why anyone would want their hair to look smoky or muddy… some people hate it, some people love it. It’s just a personal preference. If you have the right skin tone, style your hair well and don’t let it look like a rat’s nest, ashy hair can be really beautiful.
- Talk to a pro. Seriously– putting a warm glaze over your hair at home is one thing, but making an ashy tone look nice requires some mad skills that only a great colorist will have.
- What can you wear with ashe toned hair? Monocromatic looks are my favorite with ashy hair. Try wearing all different shades of grey.
- Makeup must: a pop of color on the lip. Icy hair color paired with a bright matte pink or orange lipstick can be stunnnnnnning. And it will keep you from looking too drab.
- Be polished. With ashy hair you’ll want to put a little effort into your hair, styling-wise. If you have beautiful air-dried waves, that’s great, but if you don’t make sure to put a little effort into your hair. Ashy can tend to look dull so you have to OWN it! Become best friends with your curling iron.
- Maintenance: Purple shampoo and a deep conditioner. Purple shampoo will help you maintain those silvery tones. And you must deep condition at least once a week to retain some shine on ashy hair.
Up next… Neutrals (it’s more exciting than it sounds!) xo
photos/post/graphic design: Kristin Ess
If you’re planning on hitting the gym tonight after work, you might want to try one of these variations on lady-boxer-inspired braids. These are great on any length hair (EVEN SHORT!) because as long as your hair reaches up into those braids, the bottom part can be anything!
For regular boxer braids, part the hair down the center. Do a regular French braid on each side. Use this video as a guide if you don’t know how to French braid. I like to start with really small sections and keep the hair tight as I go so it doesn’t fall out while being active. Clip one section at the nape of the neck while you do the other side. Once you’ve done the 2nd side, merge your braids together!
Also– love these braids for anyone with bangs! You know we suffer.
Boxer braids + ballerina bun is simple. Just create one braid on each side and then tie both together at the nape of the neck using a thick ponytail holder. Twist your ponytail tightly, let it coil, then add another ponytail holder (and large bobbypin or two if needed).
Boxer braids + a pumped up pony! Love this look. Part your hair down the middle, do regular french braids on both sides stopping behind the ear. Pull the rest of the hair up to meet the braids in a pony. Use this “Pumped Up Pony” trick I showed you guys last week to make it look fuller and to stay off your neck!
Boxer braids + fun bun. If you’re not planning on working out THAT hard, you can do this combo (hey– sometimes a girl’s gotta look cute in class, ya know?). Part your hair down the center, french braid both sides and stop behind the ear and tie them off using a small elastic. Bring the rest of your hair up to meet your braids and do a messy fun bun. Tutorial for a messy fun bun can be found here!
photo + post: Kristin Ess
Listen up brides + bridesmaids! Our own hair guru, Kristin Ess, has teamed up with everyone’s favorite wedding wonderland Style Me Pretty to bring you monthly hair posts! You can check out this first beauty right here…