POST/GRAPHIC DESIGN: KRISTIN ESS
The best thing in the world is when a client walks into the studio and says “I think I want to go red.” It’s hard to keep from jumping up and down. First thing you have to do as a colorist is find out what kind of red your client is attracted to. And if you’re doing the color at home, you have to figure out what tones you want to have. I made this chart to show you the 4 main red families. It’s important to know because there are so many different names for red– colorists, am I right? One person’s chestnut is another person’s auburn, and one person’s copper is another person’s strawberry blonde. This guide gives you a clearer understanding and something to take with you when getting your color done or shopping for the right box to use at home. Below I’ve listed the 4 main families of red and some helpful info about each one…
- Ginger. This is the kind of color you see on someone who is a natural redhead. Think of Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Isla Fisher, Jessica Chastain, etc… Gingers are typically a lighter shade because as this tone goes darker it leans more toward “a hint of red“, which we discussed in the last color guide post. Ginger is not an intense red so the darker you go, the less you see the red. I suggest you go for this if you have fair skin and light eyes.
- Copper/Orange. This is one of the most popular reds on earth thanks to Christina Hendricks and Taylor Tomassi Hill. Admit it! You’ve definitely wondered if you could pull of that sparkling shade of Joan. It’s vibrant and rich and reflects so much light. The good news is it can be done on almost any skin tone as long as it’s done right. A true copper will have a very “orange” tone to it so you’ll have to work hard to keep it from fading but it’s so worth it. Bright copper/orange tones are stunning. I tend to put this on the girls who love a very vintage vibe and have great style.
- Blue Reds. Don’t let the blue part scare you. It just means this is more of a true red. Think koolaid, think red velvet cake, think Jessica Rabbit. Just like the copper/orange family, I vote you can put this one almost anyone who’s willing to try it. It looks great on any skin tone if it’s done right. I’ve put this on girls with every skin tone and I can tell you it works, but you have to have a very special attitude to pull this off. I like to discribe this as decadent, rebellious and glamourous. This color isn’t for the shy girl.
- Purple Reds. We’re talking merlot, black cherry, plum and berries. These are my favorite for girls who have naturally dark hair and want to dip into the red family. It tends to go well with a more olive skin tone. I usually like to stay away from putting purple-reds on girls with redness or pink tones in their skin. The purple tones can bring out the redness. Purple based reds aren’t supposed to look natural! Shine and intensity is what this color is all about. When I do this on someone, I encourage them to wear their hair wavy because it really helps give it a little dimesion and keeps it from looking wig-like.
Fading: Synthetic reds (as in anything you use color to achieve) are known for fading fast.
- Use a color shampoo. Either one that deposits color or one that is intended to keep the color longer. (Stay tuned for the color shampoo round up! I’ll spill my favorites for keeping color in place next week.)
- Start strong. I always formulate my color so that it’s extra bright for the first week and then fades out to a perfect shade by the second week, then it holds that color for weeks to come. Try going a slightly brighter color so it settles where you want it!
- Give it some time. With red, you have to apply it over and over and over in order for it to really stick– especially if you’re going red from a lighter color. My red faded out so much for the first year, but once I got into the second year there was a major decrease in fading. Think about it– if you put red dye on a white towel and wash it, it will be pink. When you dye it over and over it will start to keep the color more. Give it time.
- It’s easier to keep the color in if you’re going from a darker shade to red vs. a lighter shade to red. Natural dark hair color has so much red under it already that it supports the red and keeps it from fading so fast. Lighter hair doesn’t have the same underlying red tones to support. Just know it may be a little harder. (Talk to your colorist if you want a more indepth understanding of this.)
Hope you guys have loved these color guides! If you missed any, see them here: ASHE, NEUTRAL, GOLD, WARM GOLD, HINT OF RED.
post/graphic design: Kristin Ess
We’re back with the rest of our hair color guides! The rest of these tone charts will be warm, warm, warm! We’re starting with warm golds– such decadent tones. They’re rich and sparkly and who doesn’t like that?? The best thing about warm gold tones is that they reflect a ton of light, so you often get a lot of shine when you go to a warm gold. The difference between gold and warm gold is subtle but definitely visible. Gold has more of a buttery yellow tone while warm golds are much richer. A lot of my clients want to go super light for the summer, so we go a little richer and a little darker and allow those highlights to hybernate during the winter. Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying out warm gold tones…
- Your colorist can get you there with a gloss. Many of you may already have nice highlights that you paid a lot for an don’t want to get rid of. If you want to keep the pattern you have but just go a little darker and richer, ask your colorist if he/she can do a warmer gloss to kick off your “fall color”. Glosses are not permanent colors– they should be semi-permanent or demi-permanent, meaning they’ll fade out. Try glossing first to see if you like it and then move to a more permanent color if you love it!
- Cut out purple shampoo. I always push for purple shampoo to keep gold tones in check… but this is where we draw the line. When you go to a warm gold tone, it’s time to pause on the purple shampoo. These gold tones are intentional and you don’t want to wash them away. Consider a color-preserving shampoo instead!
- Who can wear warm gold? I’ve never seen a warm gold I didn’t like. There are various skin tones in the images above and they all manage to pull it off well. The only thing I would suggest is that if you have pink tones in your skin, try to minimize the pink and up the bronze! Bronze is much more complimentary to warm gold toned hair.
- How light or dark? Warm gold tones can be done on the lightest and the darkest hair colors. Even over blackest color of hair! If your hair is super dark, you’re going to notice it more when you’re in the sun than when you’re inside but it will definitely show up.
Next ones will be hints of red, and then the full range of reds!
POST/GRAPHIC DESIGN: KRISTIN ESS
And the award for most desired tone on the planet goes to… you guessed it. Gold hues are at the very top of everyones wish list when visiting their colorist or buying a box. Gold tones are just plain flattering to almost anyone with any skin tone. Gold tones don’t give off any red or orange tones. They’re perfectly warm but never brassy. Look at the photos above– you don’t see “yellow”, you see sun kissed golden tones. It should look as though you’ve been on a long vacation or perhaps as though you surf a lot. Good gold tones look like what I like to call “kid color”. Children often have these golden, natural highlights that are uneffected by years of hair coloring. Here are some things you should know if you’re wanting to be a golden girl…
- Be clear on what you’re after. Everyone has a different idea of what gold means so if you’re going to the salon, take a bunch of photos for reference. Use words like “not brassy” “natural-looking” and “surfer girl hair”.
- Do some good research! Speaking of reference photos, try looking up kid hair color for gold tone inspiration. When you search “kid hair color” on Pinterest and scroll, you get images like THIS, THIS and THIS, all of which show perfect gold tones.
- Purple Shampoo once a week. You don’t want to cut all warm tones, but you definitely want to keep the brass out. If you generally shampoo every other day, then use purple shampoo once a week. If you’re a daily shampooer, do it every 3rd shampoo.
- Gloss it up! Keep it shiny by glossing in between colors. Gold toned hair should sparkle! It will reflect so much more light if you gloss or glaze in between.
- Who can wear it? Honestly, I’ve never met a girl who didn’t look great in gold tones as long as the color is not too light or dark for your skin tone.
- Box Dyes. This is tricky. I’m going to try to keep it simple. We all have warm tones underneath our natural color– even ashy girls (there’s yellow + orange under there even though your don’t see it). If you put a box of color on your roots that says “gold”, you’re probably going to get a brassy result. Instead try using a neutral box color. It will bring out those warm tones hiding inside and leave you with golden tones. Always account for the color that you don’t see inside the hair shaft. I think I should do a whole post on this…
Stay tuned for warm golds and then reds!
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!