I have a complete photo album on my Iphone devoted to celebrity hair I love. By my own admission, I’m pretty much obsessed with Drew Barrymore, Hillary Duff, Krystin Wigg, and while I’m ashamed to admit it, Kim Kardashian (say what you will, she does have some stellar hair). Within this album I have whole sections dedicated to blondes, another devoted to various shades of red-heads, and it never fails that every time I go in for a color treatment of cut I find myself skimming over the photos, wondering if maybe this time I should dye my hair the rich auburn shade, or cut in an an asymetrical, clavical skimming bob, or get extensions.
Sounds all over the place, right? Because it is. Much like a new purse, or pair of earrings, or scarf, hair is a wonderful accessary. Unlike the purse of the earrings, it is an accessary that can’t be changed on a whim, meaning that before it is changed dramatically, a few items should be considered. You can return a scarf, but you can’t return that six inches you cut off in an attempt to rock your own version of Jennifer Lawrence’s pixie cut.
I completely understand that desire to change your look; my hair has been every color and length available. That being said, do I wish somebody would have told me “no” my first year of college when I cut my long, golden hair into a chin-skimming blunt bob with bangs? The answer, sadly, is “yes.” My desire to look “edgy and cool” with a slightly gradual bob resembled Katie Holmes, and it took a year and a half to fully grow out. So, what went wrong? I showed my stylist the picture, wasn’t that enough? Why didn’t I look like the girl from the magazine?
This is the statement I hear far too often. I didn’t look like the girl in the magazine for a variety of reasons, of course none of that made sense to me at the time. All I knew then was that I didn’t look like the picture, and I had wanted so desperately to look like the picture.
To avoid heartache for yourself and your stylist, here are eight questions to ask yourself prior to sitting in the chair. The following are items that your stylist should go over with you, but unfortunately, in the case of my Katie Holmes bob fiasco of 2007, that isn’t always the case.
1. What do I like about this picture?
It’s easy to see a picture of a made-up model with beautiful hair and think, “ Dang, I want to look like that!” When examining the model’s hair- ask yourself, “what do I really like about this style?” Is it the color? Is it the texture? Is it the length? Knowing exactly what you like about a style helps your stylist better understand the result you have in mind.
2. Does the color match my current skin tone?
Does the model in the photograph have a fair, medium, olive or dark complexion? Are the undertones cool, warm or neutral? If the model’s skin tone is dramatically different from your own, speak to your stylist about suggesting a different level in the same color family that may be more complementary to your skin tone. Not sure what I mean by skin tone? click here.
3. Does the color match my current eye color?
Yes, eye color matters when coloring hair! From a biological standpoint, blondes typically have brown or blue eyes, brunettes are often brown or hazel, and red-heads are usually green or blue. Going too far away from one’s natural eye color can cause a washed-out appearance. I typically ask my stylist to hold a strand or two from the sample book up to my face just to make sure the color still looks natural.
4. Does this color work well with my current makeup?
If make-up routines changes when one tans, why wouldn’t it change with a lighter or darker hair color? If the color is a drastic change, be sure to budget in new makeup into your total expense- you will need to update your cosmetics to compliment the new shade. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true. When I was a raven-haired brunette I rocked baby-pink lips and a bold, mauve/rose blush. The same make-up as a blonde made me look like a hooker. It does matter.
5. How many sessions will it take to attain this color?
If making a dramatic change, it’s good to ask your stylist how many sessions it will take and what to expect from your initial session. That way you have a good estimate of how much money/time you’re actually looking at. It is impossible to dramatically lift color from hair in one session without severe damage and potential discoloration. As long as you and your stylist both share the same expectations, go for it.
6. Will this style work well with my face shape?
Unless you have the coveted oval, there are certain styles that work better than others. Remember that nobody looks great in a bowl cut…..thanks mom.
7. Will this style work well with my hair texture?
This is especially important if you’re looking at a model who’s hair is already styled. If you never style your naturally curly hair, but the style you’re craving is pin-straight and layered, that may not be a practical choice. Discuss with your stylist your natural hair texture and your typical hair routine. He/she will be more than happy to help you find a cut that works and offer advice on daily styling.
8. Will I regret this tomorrow?
I get overly impulsive. Lucky for me I have an amazing mentor stylist that always talks me “off the cliff” whenever I want to do something crazy to my hair. If you are considering a dramatic cut or color change, give it two weeks. If at the end of two weeks you still want to be a red-head- GO FOR IT. If not, you’ve saved yourself money and weeks of trying to get back to your desired shade.
A good stylist will walk you through these questions with honesty and tact, so that you leave happy and confident. Remember, you will never be the girl in the magazine– you’re unique, beautiful, and much more interesting that a two dimensional page. Remember that.
Happy Hair Discovering!