Gone are the days of harsh roots that seem to need a touch-up almost as soon as you step foot out of the salon. The hot hair trend of the moment: A subtle, lower-maintenance look that takes your natural hair color and turns it up a notch. From baby blond to smoky brunette, here's how to bring out your mane's natural beauty.
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As the name implies, this hue takes its inspiration from fair-haired tots. "It's a great option if you have a blond base but want higher impact with little commitment," says New York City and Los Angeles celebrity hairstylist Paul Cucinello. Ask for pale flaxen highlights focused on your hairline, ends and natural part. Because the streaks are fine, not chunky, expect natural-looking regrowth and minimal salon visits (every eight to 12 weeks, versus the usual six to eight). Use a violet conditioner like R+Co Sunset Blvd Blonde Conditioner ($29; birchbox.com) to keep hair from getting brassy.
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Want to spice up your natural color but afraid of resembling Red on Orange is the New Black? Add a touch of copper, advises Tracey Cunningham, a Redken celebrity colorist in Beverly Hills. "It adds warmth and vibrancy without looking too intense," she says. Every four weeks, book an appointment for a demipermanent gloss in copper or auburn; you'll get a soft veil of pigment that shines bright (and, starting at $30 a pop, is less expensive than permanent color). At home, use a shadeboosting conditioner like Pureology Reviving Red Copper Reflect Enhancer ($40; ulta.com) to prevent fade.
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For multidimensional color without the distinct line of demarcation that ombré gives, try the tortoiseshell look, aka Ecaille. This new highlighting technique layers shades like honey, caramel and amber over a deep base. "The mix of light and dark tones can be customized to flatter various hair colors and skin tones," says New York City celebrity hairstylist Rita Hazan. A stylist paints highlights on the ends and gradually lessens the intensity as she moves to the roots, so it's subtle. You'll only need touch-ups four times a ear, max (unless you have grays to cover). Apply a deep treatment like Nuance Raw Honey Color Protect Hair Mask ($28; amazon.com) once a week to preserve shine.
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"If your color is starting to lighten with age or show gray, ask for an ash-toned semipermanent dye a few shades darker than your natural hue to add depth and shine," says Hazan. Bonus: Hues with cooler undertones like iced coffee and ebony brown also make skin look brighter. If hair is graying all over, go for a permanent process—you need that full coverage. To amp up shine between visits, use an at-home clear glaze like Shu Uemura Color Lustre ($46; shuuemuraartofhair-usa.com)
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