1. Don’t Try This at Home…
Many women choose to color their hair at home to save money.
It’s a viable option—but only if you know exactly
what you’re doing.
“I don’t recommend this unless you’ve already
had lots of experience with the use of these chemicals and do
not have damaged hair,” writes Dr. Susan C. Taylor, a Harvard
University-trained dermatologist, in her book, Brown Skin: Dr.
Susan Taylor’s Prescription for Flawless Skin, Hair, and
Nails (HarperCollins Publishers Inc., New York).
“To avoid damaging your tresses, it’s worth it to
see a licensed and experienced hair stylist,” Dr. Taylor
2. Henna Hazards
Henna is a natural vegetable stain that has been used for more
than 6,000 years to color hair, but perhaps it’s time to
take full advantage of modern technology.
“I love the idea of using a nature-made color on my hair,
but I must confess, henna scares me,” writes New York City
beauty and health journalist Stephanie Pedersen, author of the
K?I?S?S Guide to Beauty (Keep It Simple Series, DK Publishing,
Inc., New York). “That’s because, while henna generally
produces some shade of red, you won’t know exactly what
shade until after you’ve completed the treatment.”
And you’re truly stuck with the color, she warns, because
henna cannot be removed or combined with conventional hair color
(your hair will turn green or greenish-black and quite possibly
break off altogether).
3. Sexy Silver, Gorgeous Gray
Even if you choose to go gracefully gray (or, shall we say, stylishly
silver), your color can use a boost to avoid flatness and yellowing.
“Any shade of gray, or any stage of graying, can benefit
from the boost of a special color process,” writes former
Vogue marketing director Diana Lewis Jewell in Going Gray, Looking
Great! (Simon & Schuster, New York).
With salt-and-pepper hair, “the effect will be subtle,
emphasizing natural light and shadow,” she notes. With completely
white hair, tone will be enhanced and become more dimensional,
without adding streaks. And with hair that Jewell describes as
“just plain blah,” it will take on a silvery sparkle
and be revitalized. Your hairstylist can advise you on specific
options that meet your needs.
4. Hair Guacamole
Colored hair can become brittle and damaged if exposed to too
much sun—so what do you do when you’re on vacation
at some secluded island resort and your hairstylist is a thousand
Turn to Mother Nature, advises British Hairdresser of the Year
and product manufacturer Charles Worthington in The Complete Book
of Hairstyling (Firefly Books, Buffalo, New York).
“Mash up an avocado and work it into your hair after shampooing,”
he writes. “Leave it on for at least five minutes to let
the moisturizing oils penetrate the hair shaft, then rinse it
5. Chemistry Set
Never have two chemical processes—such as coloring, perming
or relaxing hair—performed at the same time, according to
Drs. Fran Cook-Bolden, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology
at Columbia University in New York City, and Dr. Jeanine Downie,
director of Image Dermatology in Montclair, New Jersey. Together,
they have penned Beautiful Skin of Color: A Comprehensive Guide
to Asian, Olive and Dark Skin (Regan Books, New York).
Drs. Cook-Bolden and Downie quote New York hairstylist Dale Edgehill
on the critical importance of following this advice: “You
must wait at least two weeks between each chemical process to
avoid breaking or damaging your hair. African-Americans should
never use bleach.” Is a color change really for you?
Regardless of your race or ethnicity, be sure to use a shampoo
and conditioner designed for color-treated hair, which provides
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