Seeking hair color inspiration
August 21, 2012 1:54 PM   Subscribe

So after bottle-dying my hair a few times, I'm at the point I think I want to take the plunge and get my hair colored by a professional. Yay! Except I'm not sure exactly what I want...

Beside covering up (premature!) greys and making my hair look more "lively" how do I come prepared for an appointment? How do I know whether I should get a single process or something else if I'm not entirely sure what I want?

On top of any tips you might have to be ready for the experience, do you know any specific websites that have hair color inspiration? I've tried searching Pinterest and hair style websites and they are just not specific or well organized enough.

And in case you have more specific advice -- I'm a late-twenties brunette with wavy, shoulder-length hair in NYC.
posted by thirdletter to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you want gray cover-up and more "lively" hair, a good suggestion would be to go with ultra-fine weave of highlights and low-lights. A decent salon/stylist would be able to lighten up your base hair color without an all-over dye, which would be great for grow-out and a more natural all-over look.
posted by banannafish at 2:15 PM on August 21, 2012

Depending on how long since you bottle-colored your hair and how much it has grown out, you might mention it to the colorist when you make the appointment. My colorist actually wouldn't do my hair until most of my drugstore dye had grown out because she "didn't know what was in it". I don't know if that is common or if she was just being cautious/persnickitty.

I second the highlights + lowlights suggestion.
posted by krix at 2:44 PM on August 21, 2012

You want to talk to the colorist who's going to have experience doing what you want. Usually, you can book a 10 minute consult appointment. That's really good idea and helps you sort your options without the pressure of having the colorist waiting to mix dyes.

Do you want to add depth (lighter and darker colors) in your current color? Alternatively people sometimes mean they want to add some red when they say they want lively. Are you thinking 100% covering gray entirely or blending it in? Depending on how much gray you have a highlight/lowlight combo may not give you full coverage.

You should certainly tell the colorist you've used another dye product. However, I'd just bail on any colorist who insists you grow out existing color unless they have a specific reason (it did huge damage to your hair and it's snapping off).

tl:dr - go for a consult appointment.
posted by 26.2 at 3:46 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you have an iPad or other device to look at pictures while you're in the chair? Whenever I want something new, my colorist knows I want some combination of all-over color (to hide grays) with highlights--but she doesn't know what I'm in the mood for at any particular visit. So we sit at the computer together and I might say, "I was thinking of more auburn this time". Then we'll Google Image something like "brunette red highlights". We'll go through the thumbnails and she'll say, "Do you like the way these look? These?" And I can say, "these are a little wild for me, these are a little stripey, I like the way those ones look but not as coppery" (on that last one, if your hair 'pulls' red and you want it a bit cooler, say if you're really fair, you can have it toned to be more neutral or blue-toned). This usually takes about ten minutes, but it's a lot easier to say "yes" or "no" to a picture; if we go through enough a common theme usually emerges (on preview, this would work at a consult too--that's a great suggestion).

So together we get a good idea of the colors (cool-toned), weaves (ultra-fine with a few chunkier pieces placed strategically), and placement I like (all-over with a few more face-framing pieces). And YMMV but I really like Aveda salons for being a bit more committed to improving on what you're already working with, in a natural way, as opposed to really dramatic, high-maintenance color.

Oh!! And also--price out how much you're willing to spend on color per visit/month before you commit to any color, with regard to to what you'll be willing to pay for in upkeep. My colorist knows that I'm only willing to get my hair colored three or four times a year, so there's no way she's going to let me go platinum, no matter how much I may want to, because I would never be able to (or afford to) keep it up. You want a color and highlights that will grow out naturally if maximizing time between color visits is a concern.
posted by stellaluna at 4:02 PM on August 21, 2012

These are all great answers!
But much like going in for a cut, I'd like to be armed with a picture of someone with hair I love. Since I don't have a colorist yet I'm not sure about the plausibility of going through pictures with them... Beyond Google Image search, does anyone know good websites with a wide range of women with great hair color?
posted by thirdletter at 6:39 PM on August 21, 2012

It's not the same as getting a haircut. Coloring is complicated and has a lot to do with skin tone and the color wheel and other stuff that colorists are specially trained in; I wouldn't bother trying to pick out your own color beforehand. When you meet the colorist, she (or he) will have a big color board with little snippets of each shade arranged by warm/cool, etc. She'll go through and explain the shades to you, probably hold different snippets up next to your face, and make suggestions based on your coloring. She will also explain the difference between semi-, demi-, and permanent color and single-process vs. highlights and lowlights, and will make recommendations for your hair type and budget and so on. This is an expected part of the initial consultation, and your colorist will be ready for it. It's part of her job. You really just have to show up.
posted by désoeuvrée at 10:58 PM on August 21, 2012

Please be sure to look at Yelp (or wherever) for reviews of the colorist(s) you'll be going with. I've had my hair devastated on more than one occasion by shoddy work.
posted by getawaysticks at 6:27 AM on August 22, 2012

« Older Fastest thumb drive for less than $100?   |   Best iPad musette for keyboard and ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.