Q: I've always had darker hair, but I want to try something new and go blonde.
I'm just not sure which shade would look best with my complexion. My hair is naturally brunette, but I've been dyeing it dark red for nearly six years.
It's somewhat thick, and is damaged from heat and chemicals—so it's very hard to work with. It also won't hold a curl and doesn't stay straightened for very long. What would you suggest? — Katelynn
A: Katelynn, your skin is actually quite stunning for blonde hair.
Since you have a yellow-pink skin tone, you have to stay far away from anything yellow. I recommend going to a light golden blonde.
But I think you should have two tones in your hair, not just one. Your base colour needs to stop being red, and you should go to a warm honey, towards the gold side. Then let the highlights be a very light gold blonde.
To get there, you've got two choices.
Option one would be stripping the red out of your hair. But since you said that your hair is already damaged, it should not be your first choice.
I would do option two, which is a lot of highlights. This is another way to get rid of the red. But you're going to need about two to three sessions for your hair to look as I would like it to look, so it's going to take about a year.
The first application will have the biggest effect. Your colourist has to stack your highlights for you to get a lot of blonde. A stacking formation means that they are very tight next to each other, all over the head. Some are thinner, and some are thicker. You only want to do the gold blonde highlights at this visit. Relax with the base colour for now, and just let the red fade out a little bit.
By the second time you go to your hairstylist, which will be in about a month and a half, you should only have about 20 to 30 percent red left in there. Another round of highlights should get rid of most of the red. Then, on the rest of your hair, you can do a Level 8, probably half natural pigment, half gold, for your base colour. Your colourist will understand what this means.
The third time you come in for base colour and highlights, it should be flawless.
To counteract the damage, you need to be moisturizing on a weekly basis with a mask for colour-treated hair (I like Kérastase). You can also do liquid protein treatments at your hair salon.
One more thing. Once you go lighter, with all the golden highlights, you'll want to change the colour of your lipstick. Dark lips are going to look even darker and harder with your new blonde hair, so consider a softer pink shade.