Good hair color can be so much more than, well, just color. It can play up your features, give you a healthy glow, and even slim your face. Find your do-it-all shade.
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Benefit #1: Color enhances any cut
Turn a good haircut into an amazing one by choosing a color that complements your style. If you have long layers (like Kristen Bell), add highlights throughout. "They accentuate each individual layer and add definition to the varying lengths," explains Marie Robinson, colorist and co-owner of Marie Robinson Salon.
If you sport a more structured style (like Salma Hayek’s blunt cut), use a rich, single-process dye, such as U Color by Umberto ($12; ulta.com). "The solid color reflects more light, and the shine puts the focus on the cut, not the color," Robinson explains.
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The beauty of bangs
Got bangs like Bryce Dallas Howard? Keep them one color so they look as if they are lying smoothly, with no zebra-like, stripey effect.
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Benefit #2: It plays up your features
Strategically placed hair color—like makeup—enhances what you’ve got. If you want your face to look less round, ask your colorist to weave lowlights that are slightly darker than your base color all along your hairline. "This adds depth that helps to accentuate your facial contours and make your features seem more angular," Robinson says.
Hair that’s colored slightly lighter than your natural shade will add a glow to your face that can minimize the appearance of fine lines, says Aura Friedman, lead color ambassador for Wella Professionals and a colorist at Serge Normant Salon. Ask your colorist to add highlights to the front of your hair, placing some at cheek level.
6 of 8Todd Huffman
Benefit #3: Color can make hair smooth and super-shiny
If your strands are dry or frizzy looking, Robinson suggests using a clear gloss treatment. "It helps to seal damaged hair’s roughed-up cuticle layer, making strands look smoother and shinier," she explains. We like L’Oréal Paris Colorist Secrets Shine Gloss ($10; drugstores), which you apply on dry hair, leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse.
If split ends are your issue, the only way to eliminate them completely is a trim. However, asking your colorist to add lowlights throughout and subtly deepen the color at the ends can minimize their appearance, Friedman explains.
7 of 8Todd Huffman
Get pro results (at home!)
Somewhere between the ease (and inexpensiveness) of at-home dyeing and the expertise of the salon is newly launched eSalon.com. Log on to the site and answer detailed questions about your hair-color history, the hue you want, what your natural texture is—everything a stylist would ask—and a professional colorist will analyze your answers and create a customized kit ($22; esalon.com).
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Eighty-nine percent of women fear they’ll mess up if they color their own hair, a recent L’Oréal study reveals. But there’s no reason to skip out on all the benefits of a new hue: L’Oréal Paris Healthy Look Sublime Mousse ($10; drugstores) makes it virtually impossible to make a mistake.
The permanent formula is a creamy mousse you massage in (the foam expands to wrap each strand in dye so you can’t miss spots). Plus, if you have a smartphone, you can scan the box’s QR code (it looks like a square bar code) to view a how-to tutorial on your phone.
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