Hair colour: your top 3 questions answered
Choosing the right shade is by no means an exact science, but we’ve rounded up the experts to help answer your biggest hair colour queries.
Q: How do I know what colours suit me?
Looking to lighten up your locks? Cool skin tones should try ash blondes – the light shades enhance pale skin. If you’re naturally grey, mask with platinum for some flattering silver tones. Warmer skin tones should opt for honey blondes, as they will complement sun-kissed complexions. Golden caramels also work, lifting your natural colour with warm highlights.
Turning to the dark side? Deep shades of chocolate enrich eye colour (if brown, hazel or amber) on warmer skin tones. Ash-based brunette looks best on cooler skin tones – think bitter chocolate or black coffee, to contrast with your eye colour (if blue, grey, or green).
If you fancy being a fiery redhead, violet or blue-based reds counter skin redness, whereas mahogany reds even out yellow-toned complexions.
Q: Can I keep my grey hair?
It’s been having a fashion moment for some time now, but how wearable is grey hair? ‘People are changing the way they think about it,’ says Jamie Stevens [LINK], a recent nominee for British Hairdresser of the Year. ‘Rather than covering it up, I’d use a toner to cleanse away impurities caused by product build-up for a new polished look.’
Only have a few silver strands? Semi-permanent dyes conceal for around 20 washes and fade naturally, avoiding an obvious root line. Look for dyes with low levels of PPD (p-phenylenediamine), a potential irritant chemical, to minimise your risk of an allergic reaction.
‘If hair is mainly grey, you can disguise 75% with a mix of low and highlights,’ says Sally Brooks, artistic director of Brooks & Brooks, London. ‘On darker sections use lighter shades, and in lighter areas, warmer shades.’ And remember, grey hair requires extra TLC. ‘Mature hair can get coarse, so always use a moisturising shampoo and conditioner.’
Q: What about colour trends?
Don’t shy away from fashion-led looks, such as sweetshop pastels (á la Helen Mirren’s pink BAFTA hairdo) or ombre, ‘dip-dyed’ hair. ‘You’re never too old to experiment, just be clever about how you approach it,’ says Brooks. ‘Acid green may not sit well on a mature skin, but a flattering shade like lavender could alleviate hair boredom.’ Catwalks these days are awash with natural reds. ‘A soft copper, like Christina Hendricks (of Mad Men), feels very modern right now,’ says Stevens.