Photo: PDN/VILLARD/REX USA.
Ever wonder why, of all the hair-color trends in the world, ombré became such a thing? According to hair-color expert Christophe Robin of L'Oréal Paris, it all has to do with blonde. "Many women want to go lighter, but they're worried about how it will frame their faces," he says. "Ombré is the next best thing to blonde because you can get that lighter shade without seeing it next to your face."
But, what about those of us who do want to go blonde — all the way? Now that spring is in the air, it's time for our annual yearning for sun-kissed tresses. Before booking a color appointment, though, we thought we'd figure out the best way to get blonde hair. In other words, how the French are doing it.
According to Robin, whose salon is inside the Meurice Hotel in Paris, the first step is acknowledging that unless you already have light hair, there's no way to go abruptly platinum (the blonde hue of the moment) without damaging your locks. "We can do it, but we do it over a few months. You have to come back once or twice a week to get it gradually lightened, and you might not like the in-between color."
Another reason to think twice before going platinum? According to Robin, if you're trying to look younger, platinum's not going to help. "It's basically a white frame around your face that will enhance dark circles and discoloration in your skin," he says. "The best color is more of a caramel or a light gold."
Contrary to popular belief, the warmth in a golden-hued blonde is actually super flattering on many people. "People always fight against the brassy tones in hair dye and say they want cool tones. But, gold always works — it warms up any skin tone." Robin hypothesizes that there's a fundamental misunderstanding of what brassy tones actually are. "When hair turns yellow-orange, it's because of oxidation, and that's true brassiness, which you don't want. Brassiness from golden tones is intentional and ideal."
So, now that we're pumped for golden-hued fabulousness, we're ready for something more advanced: beachy highlights. Hey, it'll be summer someday, right? Robin says the best way to get that day-at-the-beach vibe is to make sure your highlights are where the sun actually hits. "Just do around your face, on top, and a little bit at the ends," he says. "Not throughout. Don't get highlights inside of your hair, only do them where the light actually hits."
Okay, everyone, got all that? Golden blonde with sun-kissed highlights. It's not going to magically turn us into chic French women, but maybe it'll take us one step closer to faking it.
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