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Beauty: Color Theory


Luscious hair color is a basic human right.

BeautyAug2014Whether you want to augment your natural hair color, or go for a completely different look, there’s a right way to achieve beautiful results. Jamie Gandy, manager and stylist at Fifi Mahony’s Salon, and Skip Bagley, owner and stylist at Salon Senoj Day Spa, share their expertise for getting — and prolonging — pure, gorgeous color.

Fifi Mahony’s is often recognized for its selection of colorful wigs and playful wig styling, but its hair salon is one of New Orleans’ best-kept secrets. Along with serving those looking for more conservative styles, the salon samples all shades of the rainbow for color-loving clients. “We specialize in a lot of the crazier colors,” Gandy says.

Those who want a fun summer look can try out a bright color (or two, or four) on the tips of their hair. “A lot of people opt for a dip-dye, or an ombre, in a crazy color, because they can just trim it off,” Gandy explains. Fifi Mahony’s has recently begun offering a service that the salon is calling “sombre,” or some ombre. “It’s a lighter, more natural ombre,” Gandy says. “Sometimes, we mix our pastels in with it. You can have light brown hair with peach and butterscotch pieces all through the ends.”

Not ready for a big color change? Bagley suggests trying out highlights. This low-key service is a great way to brighten up your locks for summer. “Usually, everybody likes to have a little bit more lightness [in summer] — a bit more of a sun-streaked look,” he says.

To keep things looking naturally gorgeous, Bagley will opt for caramel-colored highlights on darker hair. “There’s not such a contrast,” he says. “I don’t think anyone’s head should have highlights that look striped.”

At the end of the day, what matters is finding a colorist worth their salt. “People need to choose wisely with a colorist,” Bagley says. “Get someone who’s really knowledgeable about color.” fifimahonys.com; salonsenojdayspa.com

Lighten Up – When going blond, pick a shade not too distant from your natural color. This will avoid drawing out the hair’s natural red tones, which can make blond shades look brassy.

“I think, so often, people pick a shade that’s maybe three or four shades lighter than their own color,” Bagley explains. “They usually draw a lot of red from that. If you want to keep more to the cool tones, go about two shades lighter.”

Base Bright Colors on Blond –  “The key to doing really good, strong color is getting a good blond first,” Gandy says. “You get the platinum first — and then the creative part starts.”

Get Glazed – Lock in healthy-looking hair by adding a glaze treatment to your permanent color service. “It adds sheen to the color,” Bagley says.

Play Around – If you want a pop of color without the permanence of dye, don’t forget hair extensions. “We do custom-colored extensions,” Gandy says. “If you only want streaks, we can definitely do that all through your hair. Our extensions are reusable and made of real human hair.”

Want an even more ephemeral option? Try hair chalk to add quick, easy streaks of color.

Schedule Your Service – To avoid unsightly root grow-out, Bagley says, you should update your all-over color every three to four weeks. “If you have a lot of gray that you want to cover; if you have dark hair and you’ve lightened it three, or four or five shades; if you wear your hair flat, parted in the middle or on the side, it’ll be more obvious,” he says.