Looking to switch up your hair color for your wedding? Or just enhance your natural (already gorgeous) hue? Here's how to make sure your hair color looks its very best on your wedding day.
Build a Better Blonde
Along with growing your hair to Rapunzel-esque lengths for your wedding, you may want to lighten up the color. But if you're not a natural blonde, how far can you push it? And when should you start? Sophie Georgiou, colorist at Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger, in NYC, says the goal should be just a sunnier version of your true color—no more than two shades lighter. That way, hair stays healthy, full of bounce and shine.
As for timing, aim for at least six months in advance of the big day. And if you've got your heart set on an extra-bold move, (e.g., Gwen Stefani-style platinum), start a year out.
Just in the market for pretty highlights? Find a colorist who specializes in the balayage technique. An alternative to standard foil highlights, which are applied in a grid pattern, balayage is hand-painted individually for a more sun-kissed effect. "I use balayage to accentuate," says Georgiou, "so there's extra life in the wedding pictures."
Rock Your Red
If you love Jessica Chastain's radiant red color, just bear this factoid in mind: Because they're ultra-water-soluble, red dyes fade more quickly than blonde and brunette shades. But that doesn't mean you need to be chained to the hairdresser's chair. In addition to using hair care crafted for colored locks, Jeni Thomas, Ph.D., principal scientist for Pantene, suggests two tweaks to the way you wash your hair: One, "rinse with only the amount of water needed to remove shampoo and conditioner; don't let your head just hang there." And two, use cool water. By dialing back on piping-hot H2O, you'll seal in that rich, vibrant red.
Score Brownie Points
"The right shade of brunette can really make light eyes glow and will also keep you from looking washed out when you're not getting color from the summer sun," says colorist Kyle White, Maria Menounos's mane man. Another major point in a brunette's favor: "Brown hair hides damage and always looks healthy, even when it's not." Still, glass-like shine is essential for chocolate-hued tresses. And it's also important to keep brassiness—that tendency for dyed brown strands to oxidize and turn reddish—at bay. The fix for a case of the brassies? "Do a coffee rinse," says White. "Let a cup of coffee cool, pour it on your hair, run a comb through it, and rinse. Then shampoo as you normally would. You'll be amazed how well it works."
Highlights can also add a pretty dose of brightness and dimension to brunette locks, especially for a wedding. As long as you stay within two shades of your base color, says White, "highlights can help show off the intricacies of a cut or an updo. As far as I'm concerned, they're always a good idea."