Break Out of Your Hair Rut
At HomeYou Want: A Subtle, Sun-Kissed Boost
The Technique: Balayage, a paint-on method of highlighting that gives hair a soft, sun-lightened look. This surfer-chick style "is the big trend in hair color right now -- lighter pieces just around the hairline and only on the ends," says Ashley Javier, color and style expert for Herbal Essences.
Best For: Those with hair that hasn't been chemically treated who want low-maintenance color.
Get It: "Balayage is great for do-it-yourself highlights because precision is not an issue," says Kyle White, a colorist at the Oscar Blandi Salon in New York City. (Try Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing Multi-Lights, $7.29, drugstores.) Stay within three shades of your base color and just paint a few strands around your face. When choosing a shade, let your skin tone guide you. If you're fair, go for cool shades (platinum, beige, ash); if you're olive-skinned or darker, pick warm hues (gold, caramel, bronze). Then blend away any mistakes with a gloss (such as John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze, $9.99, drugstores) that matches your base, suggests Kim Vo, of the Kim Vo Salon at The Mirage in Las Vegas.You Want: Anti-Aging Vibrancy or Gray Coverage
The Technique: Single-process permanent color delivers a solid, even, glossy shade with great shine. It's most commonly used to cover gray -- especially on women who are more than 25 percent silver.
Best For: Hiding grays, going lighter, or transforming your existing hue. Whatever your color, permanent dye can create a richness that the shades we're born with rarely have, says Vo. But since permanent color grows out (rather than rinsing away or fading), you'll need to touch up your roots every four to six weeks.
Get It: This process is pretty easy to tackle at home. (Try Revlon Colorist, $15.99, at drugstores.) If you're going lighter, stay within two shades of your existing color. Going darker? Use a color that's one shade lighter than you think you want. "You can always go deeper, but if you go too dark, you're in trouble," says Ryan Finch, a colorist at the Cutler Redken Salon in New York City. Then simply follow the directions on the box. "All permanent color stops processing after 45 minutes, so you really can't leave it on too long," says Vo.You Want: Healthy Shine
The Technique: Semipermanent color -- including glosses, glazes, and vegetable dyes such as henna -- lasts three to six weeks and slowly fades over time, so roots aren't an issue. "Semipermanent products coat the hair with emollients and silicones, delivering amazing shine," says White.
Best For: Livening up faded color or if you're just starting to go gray and can't deal with the upkeep that comes with permanent dye. "When a gloss fades, your grays will appear translucent, giving hair a highlighted look until it completely washes out," White says. Mild semipermanent formulas are also safe for pregnant women, those with sensitive scalps or allergies, and anyone trying to cut back on chemicals.
Get It: Stay in your color family -- brunette glaze for brown hair, blond glaze for fair hair -- and choose a hue that's a little lighter than you think you want. (Again, you can always go darker next time.) We like L'Oreal ColorSpa Moisture Actif, $7.99, at drugstores.
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