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Go Out in Style

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How to get the best cut and color for your particular lookWhen it comes to hair, women and men want to look natural with a little flair. “People like hair that is whimsical, loose and slightly unfinished in a good way. They like it not so straight but not so Barbie and baby-doll-curled. They want it beachy and dirtier,” says Quinn Richard, a stylist at Paris Parker Salon. It is almost as if the seventies have come back. People want to look polished but not professionally styled.

You can do it yourself, too. “With a little bit of education, listening to your stylist and using some products, you can take the time to do one of those unfinished looks at home,” says Richard. For guys, the Aveda’s Light Elements line is popular. Aveda’s Style Prep Smoother and Smooth Infusion Gloss and Straightener are also big hits because they help battle the humidity. “Our products tend to be a little lighter and have good movement so if the wind blows, your hair blows,” he says, emphasizing that you don’t have to worry about having every hair in place.

Protect Your Hair

Hair can get damaged from the humidity and sun, especially if it’s colored. “Our most popular items are the color-protection hair spray that has UV protection,” says Leslie Almeida, guest services coordinator at Spa Atlantis. Taking a few extra seconds to spray can benefit you in the long-run. “If you spend the money on getting your hair professionally colored, you want to be able to maintain the freshness and shine of the color. When you spray this on your hair, the color is able to last longer if you spend a lot of time outside,” says Almeida. Paul Mitchell’s Hold Me Tight Finishing Spray is a popular hair spray with a medium hold that does not give stiffness.

Color Me Beautiful

When it comes to color, what looks good on one person may not be the best choice for another. “Skin tone is important to take into consideration with the color, but it also depends on your lifestyle. Someone who is fashion-forward can make the commitment to wear bright red lipstick if they are going to have white skin and black hair, whereas if they wear more neutral colors and are more conservative, that is not the look they want to go for,” says Vicki Assardo of Paris Parker Salon. Based on lifestyle, clothes you like to wear and your skin tone, a stylist can tell you what color might be appropriate.

Within each color, there is a range of hues. The stylist may do a color analysis based on your skin tone and eye color, similar to how makeup is selected. “You can have red hair, but it might need to be toned up or toned down, or a little bit cooler or warmer, depending on the person and what they want,” says Richard. The options are endless, but people with light skin need to be cautious. “If you get too dark on a fair-skinned person, all you can see is their hair and it will not look great,” warns Richard.

Some products can add a little jazz to your hair. “There is a Paul Mitchell product called Color Shots that is a bright shot of pigment. We can blend red with blue to make purple or we can do a straight red. They are wild, vibrant shades and are a permanent color,” says Almeida. Another brand called Special Effects offers vegetable-based coloring products that are temporary.

Define Your Style

Finding a look that you like should involve a style that permanently fits you. “You cannot wear it for the day, you have to own it. If you are an attorney and want to have an asymmetrical haircut and bright red lips, it is not going to work for you,” says Richard. Some of the classics will stand up, such as well-cut bobs with the right hair texture. “Having long hair is a classic look that will never go out of style,” says Almeida.

What about curly hair? “Girls can be a little loose and a little bit more fun and sexy so their hair does not have to be curly. It can be a beachy, wavy curl with a mixture of different textures as opposed to just curly or straight,” says Richard.

If you have naturally curly hair, that’s okay too. Savannah Blue of Rocket Science Salon says, “We are doing a lot of Brazilian keratin treatments, which are smoothing, strengthening treatments that field out the humidity, decrease blow-drying time and let your style last longer.”

Long hair with layers is what is in. “Everything is real organic, real lived-in and real natural,” says Eric Coyle, a stylist at Steven Sobel Hair Salon. Warm tones as well as standard blond highlights are the thing right now. The color red has also increased in popularity lately. “Braids are real big too. Usually people do one long braid in their bang to go into their length in the back to make sure there is no hair in their face bugging them,” says Coyle.

Dare to Be Different

Get daring. “We are doing a lot of human hair extensions for length,” says Blue. Most match the clients’ hair. “We do some that are color effects, like brighter colors such as purple or pink. It is a great option because you do not have to bleach out your hair, they do not fade and you do not have upkeep,” says Blue. Do not be afraid of trying something different from your natural appearance. “In the summertime, women like to look like mermaids,” says Blue.

For special occasions like weddings, brides are getting more adventurous as well. “A lot of brides have a light wave in their hair. What is popular is half up and half down. It is a little more fun but still sophisticated and neat,” says Almeida. Sparkling accessories are a fad of the past. “Even a low ponytail is beautiful. If you have long hair, you can do a simple side ponytail and add a wave or curl. It is very pretty and you can brush the bangs to the side,” says Almeida.

Just for Men

Men, though not always talked about, are the most loyal customers yet tend to be the hardest hair critics. “With the heat here in New Orleans, it is usually clean-cut off the neck and as cool as possible. On the styling, you still see the textured, dapper low-pompadour look with heavy products and grooming creams,” says Richard. Short hair remains the men’s go-to hairstyle. “The grungy ’90s are gone and the men’s long, dirty hair is definitely out,” says Richard. Men who color their hair resort to their natural color to add brightness and look youthful.

Have Reasonable Expectations

In order to get your best hair style, come with a picture but be prepared to compromise. “If you do not have thick hair, do not come in with a Kim Kardashian picture,” says Richard. Be prepared to work to maintain your ’do. “The more style we cut into your hair, the more style you have to put into it,” says Richard. Ask questions and know what you will need to do. “If you are laid-back and want it to look great but not do anything to it, that is difficult with the humidity but some products will help maintain frizz,” says Richard.

Build a relationship with a stylist that you like and trust. “How often you come in depends on the length and maintenance—six to eight weeks is normal,” says Richard. Know that the stylist is there to do what makes you happy rather than what he finds attractive. “Our goal is to listen to the clients and make sure we give them exactly what they need,” says Blue.