Dye it your way

There’s nothing like a great dye job to turn back the clock. Hair colour not only covers grey but also boosts volume and shine, makes fine lines less noticeable, and brightens a dull complexion.

That is, unless you’re still colouring the same way you did in your 30s.

“What worked then might be aging you now,” says colourist Kim Vo of the Mirage Las Vegas.

To the rescue: the new rules for do-it-yourself dyeing that can make you look and feel a decade younger (no salon required!).


Extremely light or dark hair looks harsh against mature skin. For the most youthful effect, lighten hair about two shades from your current natural colour (for instance, from medium brown to light brown or dark blonde; dark blonde to medium or light blonde), while selecting a cool or warm undertone that complements your skin.

“Going lighter softens your face, so fine lines and age spots look less noticeable,” says Gary Howse, creative director of Seattle’s Gary Manuel Salon. Besides being more flattering, it also minimises the possibility of mistakes and avoids noticeable roots.


The vibrancy of youthful hair comes from the subtle contrast of colour – a mix of highlights and lowlights against your base colour.

“Nothing is more aging and looks more unnatural than hair that’s flat and all one colour,” says Brad Johns, Clairol’s global colour director.

Here are two easy ways to re-create this radiant effect:

Use a multi-tonal dye Both semi and permanent formulas of this type feature a combination of dye molecules that mimics the nuances of younger hair – dark strands will be deepened and greys washed into lighter glints.

You can tell when a dye delivers multi-dimensional colour if the product name contains words such as shimmering, blended, or tone-on-tone.

To hide a smattering of silver, choose a semi-permanent dye; if you’re more than 40% grey, opt for a permanent colour.

Add highlights If you want more visible contrast than a multi-tonal dye delivers, frame your face with a few strategically placed highlights.

Bonus: These winning streaks make eyes look brighter and give skin a healthy glow.

“Go two to three shades lighter than the rest of your hair,” says Mary Button, a colourist at Philadelphia’s Adolf Biecker Salon.

Opt for a warm shade to compensate for skin sallowness – look for words such as golden, honey, or amber in the product’s name. Stick with hues that are closer to your hair colour; for example, brunettes use light brown, not blonde, and redheads use copper.

Remember, less is more: Aim for about 10 quarter-inch streaks on each side, beginning about 1/8 inch back from your face and spaced 1/2 inch apart until just past your ears.

Perfect your technique by “sketching” your pattern beforehand with conditioner, which has a similar consistency to hair colour.


For foolproof home colouring that delivers salon-worthy results, try these tips:

Concentrate on your roots When we’re younger, our hair is naturally lightest at the ends. To re-create this effect, apply dye to your roots, but not your ends (as some kits instruct) – they soak up colour the fastest because they’re so porous.

During the last three minutes of processing, splash water onto the crown of your head and then comb the colour through from top to bottom.

“That shot of water dilutes the dye, creating a more natural-looking hue,” says James Corbett, owner of James Corbett Studio in New York City. Rinse hair until water runs clear. Then apply the kit’s conditioning treatment, and rinse well. Wait at least 24 hours before shampooing.

Employ heat Because heat opens hair’s cuticle, warming an old towel in the dryer and wrapping it around your head after applying the dye allows the formula to soak into gray’s more stubborn hair shaft.

Try a gloss There’s now a host of at-home glosses (once only available at salons), including tinted formulas that help intensify a fading shade. “They contain silicones that coat and smooth the cuticle, allowing light to reflect evenly,” says Vo. Use monthly to maintain shine and vibrancy.



The silicone in Fekkai Salon Glaze makes hair gleam.


Ammonia-free Revlon Frost & Glow Highlighting Kit allows you to create subtle or dramatic streaks with less damage.


With specially formulated dyes, UV filters, and conditioners, L’Oreal Paris Superior Preference Dream Blonde Complete colour & Care System neutralizes harsh hues to keep blondes bright.


Available in six permanent shades, Garnier colour Breaks can be used immediately postcolouring to add lighter or darker tones.


A fast-acting lightener in Clairol Perfect 10 by Nice ‘N Easy delivers permanent colour in 10 minutes – reducing hair’s exposure time to harsh chemicals by 50%.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved by New York Times Syndication Sales Corp. This material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner

Hair Today: L’Oreal Colour Trophy

Penny Ainsley

Supreme Award Hairdresser of the Year, 2003

What salon do you work for?

My own salon, Ainsleys Hair Design. When I won the award I was working for Bettjemans.

What did winning the award mean for your career?

Career-wise it opened up huge opportunities to work with L’OrĂ©al. I’m currently on the L’OrĂ©al Professional Creative Team, which is a group of stylists selected from salons across New Zealand to help put together the latest looks and trends in hairdressing. The award also enabled me to set up my own salon.

What is the best thing about the L’OrĂ©al Colour Trophy Awards?

Probably that everybody knows you overnight! The connections made simply by winning this award are phenomenal.

What do you love about hairdressing?

To be in the industry you have to be passionate. For me, it’s about people and about making them look beautiful inside and out. I love that aspect of hairdressing.

Terry Whaitiri

Young Colourist of the Year, 2003

What salon do you work for?

Servilles Mission Bay.

What did winning the award mean for your career?

Winning the award gave me recognition from my peers and within the industry.

It was also a really good boost to my self-esteem and confidence.

What is the best thing about the L’OrĂ©al Colour Trophy Awards?

L’OrĂ©al is one of the bigger, more prestigious competitions, so if you win, your name is really put out there.

What do you love about hairdressing?

I love the creative side of hairdressing; the ability to have a lot of fun with it and to make people feel and look amazing.

Grant Bettjeman

Supreme Award Hairdresser of the Year Runner-Up, 2004

What salon do you work for?

My own salon, Bettjemans.

What did winning the award mean for your career?

Being awarded runner-up was just like winning, really – my speech sounded as if I had anyway! Career-wise it’s great for your own profile and it’s a wonderful industry award.

What is the best thing about the L’OrĂ©al Colour Trophy Awards?

Having your name in the press and being able to use the win as a branding exercise is fantastic. And when you’re putting clients’ hair in your hands, it’s important that they know you’re up there with the best. I also like the way it makes you be creative and current.

What do you love about hairdressing?

For me, the reason I’ve been in the industry for 30-plus years is I love being creative. But also for me, a big part of it is making people feel good. I love finding out what people are doing, what they think and what their dreams and aspirations are.

Jan Waite

Team Award, 2005

What salon do you work for?

My own salon, Jan Waite Hairdressing.

What did winning the award mean for your career?

It was a fantastic award for the salon to win. I used it as a marketing tool for my business, as the awards are advertised in a lot of publications and industry magazines, so our name was heavily publicised. Being part of a winning team also helped encourage the young ones in my salon to understand the formula that it is needed to create a Colour Trophy look.

I guess you can say it raised the standards.

What is the best thing about the L’OrĂ©al Colour Trophy Awards?

In my mind, the L’OrĂ©al Colour Trophy is the most prestigious award in the industry, so to win is just fantastic.

What do you love about hairdressing?

I love people and I love to make people feel amazing.

Jayne Thomas

Supreme Award Hairdresser of the Year, 2006

What salon do you work for?

Servilles Newmarket.

What did winning the award mean for your career?

I’ve been in the industry for more than 30 years and, for me, winning was the pinnacle of my career, and still is.

What is the best thing about the L’OrĂ©al Colour Trophy Awards?

The awards are without doubt the best in our industry. I think L’OrĂ©al is such a professional brand and the company presents the competition so well.

What do you love about hairdressing?

Hairdressing is my passion. My philosophy about hairdressing is I don’t feel as if it’s work and I feel very blessed for that. It’s a job that makes others feel good and the fact that I contribute to that is a big deal for me.