Though we're still in the thick of winter, we can't help but be entranced by warm weather's siren song and the imminent arrival of new spring hair color trends. In theory, there are a ton of shades to choose from, but in practice, this really means variations on blonde, red, black, and brunette. (And realistically, you have to take into account your skin tone before making a dramatic color change.) In terms of trends, ombre and balayage were two of last year's hair color bywords, and they're back for 2011, but with a fresh, toned-down take. And don't forget that your hair texture plays a role in hair color, too. According to colorist Eva Scrivo, if you have very textured or curly hair, highlights become more noticeable and can look stripy, so think strategically about where to place your highlights—subtly around the face is best. If you want to change your hue, lift your hair color one or two shades for an overall sense of vibrance. Whether you're going back to basics or flipping the switch on your natural shade, here's how to revamp your locks by adding blonde, brunette, or red in a fresh way. Lighten Up: Want to go blonde for spring? Say goodbye to platinum locks and hello to luxurious gold.
From left: Carlos Miele Spring 2011 image courtesy of Cutler; Calvin Klein Spring 2011 image courtesy of Wella; Band of Outsiders Spring 2011 image courtesy of Bumble and bumble.
The Tips: "Blondes are getting warmer overall, while still staying within lustrous metallic tones from 24k gold to rose gold—any kind of goldeny tone," says Aura Friedman, Wella Professionals Color Ambassador. "We'll still have the ombré look but it won't be quite as extreme. We'll be warming up the roots a little more."
To maintain your color, Friedman recommends using cool water to rinse your hair at the end of your shower: "It closes your cuticle and gives your hair shine and locks in the tone. You should not use hot water at all. You can also extend color by scheduling a Wella Color Touch Relights gloss treatment in between appointments, which refreshes color and boosts shine in just five minutes."
The Dark Arts: The weather may be warming up, but brown and black shades are staying cool this spring.
Lacoste Spring 2011 image courtesy of Redken; Rachel Roy Spring 2011 image courtesy of Redken.
The Tips: "The palette for brunettes and black hair has been changing," says Eva Scrivo of colorist and owner of Eva Scrivo Salon. "We were focused on caramels and honeys, but now it's pale, milk chocolate shades, peanut buttery taupes, and violet-based brunettes. The cooler brunettes for spring means a lot of single-toned, solid darker shades that are healthy and full of shine. In terms of ombre and balayage highlights, the look is richer at the roots with a lot of shine, so you get more of a natural, grown-out look instead of the obviously delineated line of color."
Revved Up Red: From pop culture—think Mad Men, Florence and the Machine, and Rihanna—to the runway, warm red locks are here to stay.
Badgley Mischka Spring 2011 image courtesy of Moroccanoil.
The Tips: Ursula Stephens, Motions Celebrity Stylist and the superstar responsible for Rihanna's daring hair choices says, "When adding red through highlights, you want to focus on adding the undertone of that shade to create the highlight, which helps you choose the right color match and, ultimately, bring dimension to your overall look. For example, if your hair is a dark plum or cherry, the undertone is a pinky/red (which is what you'll want to draw out). If you are going for an overall color change, you should definitely sit down with a professional first. Together, pick a color that goes with your skin tone. Darker skin and darker hair can get away more with a plum/orange base. Lighter color skin-tones can try brighter reds and be more risky like Rihanna's new look. Fire-engine reds also tend to go better will fairer skin tones."
"And for at-home coloring, the key is to look closely on the back of the box and find which natural color hair is recommended for that color. Just because there's a fire-engine redhead on the box, doesn't mean you will end up with that color. If your hair is a natural light brown, it will more likely be closer to the picture and darker hair will likely have to go brighter. The ultimate outcome definitely depends on your natural hair-color and undertones."