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First, consider your complexion and your eye color. "The human eye is naturally attracted to light colors," says colorist Joseph Caron. "Dark hair brings the focus to the skin, whereas lighter hair brings the focus to the hair. You want to find a balance and draw attention to your best features."
When explaining what kind of look you want, think about your lifestyle. Are you more conservative or more creative? Are you looking for something more on the bold side or something more sophisticated? How often can you return to the salon for touch-ups? All of this information will help your colorist. It's also a good idea to bring a picture to use as a reference so your colorist can see what look you are going for.
Your colorist should be able to discuss whether or not the look you are hoping for is suitable for you. If he or she is not willing to take the time to answer your questions and can't give you a straight answer on what you can expect, move on. The key to a great color experience is choosing "someone you trust," according to Edita.
If you decide to do a cut and color on the same day, be sure to get the cut first. Colorist Edita Robertson believes the color should follow the cut so they can compliment each other. Colorist Andrew Reyes suggests, "the hair color should accentuate the cut and should add movement to the overall finished appearance. Highlights and lowlights are the means to add depth and dimension."
What should you do if your hair is damaged? Give it a rest! A good colorist will advise you to let your hair heal before attempting to color it. Trust me, you'll thank him or her later. Conditioning and strengthening treatments are a must to bring moisture and thickness back into the hair. And remember -- no color is going to look great on split ends or broken strands.
My salon team believes you can judge good color by whether it improves your confidence and ability to go out and be who you want to be. "It's just like clothing," says Colorist Sam Rivinov. "When you wear a suit or evening gown you feel classy, so you act classy. When you're in sweats around the house, you feel more relaxed and carefree. Your hair is the same way. It's like a new outfit. It should always suit the person you are, or the person you want to become."
Originally published on LHJ.com, August 2008