January 29th 2018
What hair colour options are available if you have a darker skin tone and dark hair and want to go lighter? Ayesha Muttucumaru asks celebrity hair colourist Louise Galvin for her hair dye dos and don’ts.
Beyoncé at hers and Jay-Z’s On The Run Tour and Jennifer Lopez at the World Cup.
Who suits blonde hair best?
“Golden hair tones look great if you’ve got coffee or golden-coloured skin,” says Louise. “Think of Jennifer Lopez as well as Beyoncé in terms of her golden, sunny blonde locks.”
The hair colour process
“If you want to go lighter, you can normally get it done in 1 day,” says Louise.
“It’s made up of 2 stages: 1) Lifting the base first, (if it’s very dark) and 2) carefully placing a few lights in. Make sure to book in for a consultation first to see what would be best.”
Louise’s top hair colour tips
“I would always seek professional advice if you’ve got very dark hair. The last thing you want is to end up with orange tones. If your base is very dark, a professional colourist may lift it by 1 or 2 shades. The lights will provide the more golden colour. This process is too complicated to be done at home.”
Rihanna at the 2011 Grammy Awards.
The different hair colours you should try
“If you’ve got black hair and darker skin, I think you just look amazing just the way you are in my opinion - Naomi Campbell comes to mind for example," says Louise. "However, darker skin tones look phenomenal with gorgeous blackberry tones such as plums, damsons and deep red fruit colours.”
What should you ask for?
“This depends on what you want to achieve," says Louise. "If you want a light colour, you’ll need to lift the base by 1 or 2 shades and then put feathery lights in. This way, there won’t be a hard line left between the new colour and the original colour and it’ll blend in for a natural look.”
Nicole Scherzinger performing at G-A-Y Club.
“If you have medium-toned caramel skin and dark hair, go for some golden Mediterranean lights for a golden beach look that will look great all summer long,” recommends Louise.
“If you have Japanese or Chinese Asian hair types, try red tones that aren’t so much plum-based, but brighter, cooler red fruit colours instead.”
Halle Berry at the Extant Premiere.
Why you should mix it up
Still as beautiful as she was at 27, the 47 year old actress still looks better than ever. A pro at subtlety, her choice of brunette and black mixed together proves that you can experiment with different hair colours at any age. Natural with a contemporary twist, the combination of light and dark instantly lifts her face and gives her soft features a modern edge.
Beyoncé at the Golden Globe Awards 2007. (“Bow down bitches” – for those glossy locks? Most definitely Sasha Fierce).
“If you’ve got a build-up of all sorts of product in the hair due to silicone styling products, sun, chlorine or sea salt, try a detoxing treatment such as Vitox, £25,” suggests Louise. “It will help to clear the cuticle and make it shiny and ready for the new colour to be put through.”
In salon hair colours
“We use hair colours from L’Oréal and Wella in the salon,” says Louise.
“Use a shampoo without sodium or sulphates as they strip the hair," recommends Louise. "In my blog, I’ve written an article about a magazine editor friend of mine who was asked if she was cheating on her colourist, as her colour hadn’t faded since they’d last seen her. She said it was because she was using my silicone-free products and as a result, her colour had lasted twice as long. As the hair’s not laden down with silicone, the colour lasts longer.”
“A lot of brunettes tend to go grey early – from their late 20s to their early 30s. It’s a lot harder to maintain the richness of their hair colour compared to blondes. Therefore, it’s very important that they avoid using stripping shampoos. A build-up of silicone can make hair look really dull.”
“I’d recommend regular hair masks to really nourish the hair such as Sacred Locks Treatment Masque for Thick or Curly Hair, £26. It contains ximenia oil from the African Savannah and natural silicone [which doesn’t leave a residue].”
Beyoncé at the 2000 MTV Movie Awards.
Words of warning
“The biggest mistake you can make is going too light,” says Louise. “It can end up looking brassy and bleached and the condition of the hair can look dreadful. Go for a colour that enhances your skin tone and eye colour – a good colourist will give you a good consultation before allowing you to make such a big decision.
“Beyoncé looks best when she has caramel tones and when she doesn’t look too blonde as it can end up looking yellow. There’s a big difference between going caramel and going bleach blonde in tone.”
Naomi Campbell at the CFDA Fashion Awards.
Embrace your inner dark brunette
“Naomi Campbell is a fantastic example of looking beautiful with natural hair colour – there’s something to be said for embracing your inner brunette,” says Louise. “As brunettes turn grey earlier on the whole, you should just enjoy it when you’re younger and think about hair colour when you actually do go grey.”
Hair colourist caution
“When you have a few greys, some colourists will tell a new client to colour their hair all over,” warns Louise. “I would never do that and instead would recommend a bit of colour through those greys only and that’s it. They should only need to be touched up every few months.”
“By colouring just those areas, it prevents regrowth. If you’re colouring solidly all over and haven’t got that much grey to begin with, the natural base of your hair will be lifted and you’ll notice a harsher demarcation line between your new and old colour."
“The minute chemical is put on dark hair, the sun will lift the red pigment in the tint and cause it to glow red,” says Louise.
“The less is more approach is best and will protect the condition of your hair in the long-term too.”
Even J.Lo must suffer from greys, so don’t feel disconcerted if you start to spot more than the odd one here and there. If you do choose to book in for a hair colour appointment, opt for an all over colour instead.
Choosing the right natural hair colour for you
“It’s important to take into consideration your age, skin tone and eye colour,” recommends Louise. “If you hate red tones in your hair, it’s important to stick to ash tones that won’t lift your colour too much and will draw the red out. Extra care should be taken around the hairline.”
At-home hair colour
“I wouldn’t recommend at-home colour kits if you want to go lighter, as people generally don’t necessarily understand the colour that they are beforehand and the colour they want to be. This can end up with their hair becoming a colour that is completely different to the one they envisaged.
“If you’re going for a drastic hair colour change, you need to learn what colour you are naturally, in technical terms. You might think you have medium blonde hair for example, but the technical name for it would be dark blonde instead,” advises Louise.
Destiny’s Child may not be planning any more reunions in the near future, (much to my dismay), however we can still take inspiration from the above blast from the past when it comes to finding a new hair colour. Whether you’re hoping to channel your inner Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland or Michelle Williams, stick to a colour that suits your particular skin tone and eye colour and refuse to follow trends.
“A big hair colour change can be quite life-changing in some respects,” says Louise. “As long as it suits your skin tone, it can definitely boost your confidence. It’s important though to look after your hair’s condition to ensure that you don’t change it to such a degree that it will affect its integrity.
“Use regular masks, try to stay away from silicone and book in for regular trims. Treat your hair as you would your finest cashmere sweater. You wouldn’t wash that in washing up liquid, so you shouldn’t do the same with your hair.”
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