The Intel on the Chicest Highlighting for Your Shade

The Intel on the Chicest Highlighting for Your Shade


The Intel on the Chicest Highlighting for Your Shade

Feel like it’s time to add some pizazz to your hair color? Here, the intel on the chicest shades.


Unless you’re a natural blonde, avoid getting a single process. Women think that going one shade all over is better than highlights, but a single-process blonde often ends up looking brassy. Highlights help keep your hair from looking too yellow or orange.

WHAT’S MODERN NOW: Pros are buzzing about baby lights, a highlighting technique in which fine, natural-looking color is placed around the hairline. They freshen everything up in a soft and subtle way. To get this look right, ask your colorist to start blending the color an inch from your roots. This allows it to grow without a line of demarcation.


SKIN-TONE SECRET: Fair complexions look best with a medium-to-dark-blonde base and baby-blonde highlights. If your skin is medium with gold undertones, consider caramel blonde lowlights, to richen up your color and add depth. For dark tones, stay away from anything too light. Go for deep caramel and keep the brightest hues far from your face.

STYLE TIP: Don’t attempt to go platinum unless your hair is collarbone-length or shorter. It will damage your hair, and it can look cheap.  Also use caution when highlighting short blonde locks. It can easily look like you have tiger stripes in the back where the hair is shortest. The longer your hair, the more dimension that’s required, so ask for highlights or lowlights. Also, be advised that heat styling and blonde hair don’t mix well. Rough-dry your strands thoroughly, since cumulative damage from hot tools can fry lightened hair. Hydrate your tresses a couple of times a week.

MAINTENANCE: Blonde hair can go brassy when everything is lifted too high, so keep your base darker, and add lightness with highlights to maintain depth. If the sun is the culprit, tone down brassiness with an in-salon gloss. Warning: The blonder you go, the higher the maintenance. Think of blonde hair as a white T-shirt, the more you wash it, the more discolored it becomes from absorbing things in the water.


The ombre trend is here to stay, but these days there’s less contrast between the roots and the end color, with more of a melding tone-on-tone colors from the mid-lengths to the tips of the hair.

WHAT’S MODERN NOW: Lighter ends are still on-trend, but keep them refined to showcase more natural-looking color. To do this, your mid-lengths to ends should be no more than two to three shades lighter than your roots—a technique some pros have dubbed “sombré.” This is a softer, more blended version of the traditional ombré, which spans up to seven shades from root to tip. Low-maintenance hair color has been coming back into focus, and sombré is a much more wearable take on ombré. It’s flattering on everyone, especially brunettes.


SKIN-TONE SECRET: For fair complexions with hints of pink or red, avoid warm tones like gold, copper, mahogany, and red, as they can look brassy on pale skin. Instead, go for deeper caramel or cool ash browns that won’t make you look washed out. On medium tones, vibrant light and medium brown shades are flattering, while deeper complexions can go as rich as dark brown to black. Shine is crucial: The darker you go, the shinier it should look.

STYLE TIP: Chopped your locks above your shoulders?  When you’re brunette with short hair, the shape of your cut becomes the statement. Skip highlights or lowlights and leave the color rich but subtle. Nothing looks chicer than a well-cut bob that’s really sleek, shiny, and all-one-color brunette. On longer hair, consider softening your look with varying shades of brown to avoid a heavy block of color and to see the movement of your haircut.

MAINTENANCE: Brunettes face three basic problems: going too ashy, too brassy, or becoming inky or monochromatic (i.e., wig-like). To prevent your color from looking ashy or flat, ask your colorist to add lighter brown bits rather than highlights from mid-lengths to the ends of your hair to perk up an ordinary brown to a sexy brunette.  If brassy tones are your concern, request a demi-permanent gloss to keep your color vibrant.


It’s well-known that red is the hardest color to keep looking natural and glossy. Too much red can appear pink or give you hot roots, but too much brown, and it won’t be red enough. It’s a very fine line.

WHAT’S MODERN NOW:  The more dimension and layering you do, the better red hair will look. A mix of everything from mahogany to strawberry blonde to gold and copper brown,  finishing with a coppery red gloss to mute everything, and blend it all together with tons of shine. Bottom line: Stick to shades found in nature, and avoid blue-based reds, which can turn burgundy or eggplant.

SKIN-TONE SECRET: Those with fair complexions with pink undertones may want to try an icy strawberry blonde by adding neutral copper tones. Pale but warmer-skinned? You’ll look best with golden apricot. For medium skin, go mahogany instead of copper. Think of Irish setter red—it’s not too light and contains more red. On darker tones, try deep mahogany or rich marsala.

STYLE TIP: Unlike brunettes, it’s crucial for those with short red hair to have multitones and dimension. For longer hair, one color looks sophisticated and chic.

MAINTENANCE: The biggest issues for redheads are dull ends and looking washed-out. Maintain luminosity with an in-salon demi-permanent gloss every four to five weeks to replenish color.

No matter what shade you are, and where you want to go with it, save money in July with our “Half to Have Summer Highlights?” special:  50% off Highlights when you buy Color Care or Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner. Good July 1st through July 31st, 2015, at both our Highpoint, NC and Kennesaw, GA locations.  Come get your kiss of sunbeams on!

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