Hair Headlines: Celebrate with Color

Enhancing your natural beauty with a new hair color
By Diana Dudas, Razzamatazz.Net

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You should always celebrate your inner beauty and exude that confidence in your everyday lives. However, it is always exciting to enhance that natural beauty with the use of cosmetics, fashion and hair color. Whether it be the vanity of covering gray hair or changing your color, it will always make you feel more beautiful. It does not matter what you are wearing, or where you are going -- if your hair looks good, you feel GREAT!

Inside your hair's natural color

Before you leap head-first into buying your new hair color, there are a number of pointers of which to be aware. Professionals determine which colors are suitable for your hair by determining your depth of color using a color swatch that has a devised numerical code. This scale starts at number one (being the darkest) up to a very blonde number 11.

Selecting a Shade

Your choice of color will depend on:

> Your lifestyle, job and fashion sense

> Your natural hair color

> Your skin tone

A general rule of thumb here is to take into consideration your complexion and eye color. You will need to choose a color that will compliment your skin tone. To make this easier to understand, decide on whether you are best suited to cool or warm tones.

Cool - Skin that is olive, ruddy brown or fair, and eyes that are blue, gray or green. Complimentary colors will start or end with the words neutral, ash, beige or pearl in their descriptive color name.

Warm - Skin that is golden, golden brown or darker, and eyes that are brown or hazel. Complimentary colors will start with the word, red, copper, gold, or chestnut.

Enhancing your natural color

Temporary colors are used to add tone to the hair, and will not lighten the hair. Color mousses, lotions or sprays are used. The color molecules of this type of color are too large to penetrate into the hair shaft, unless the hair is overly porous due to relaxing or bleaching. The color will adhere to the cuticle (outer layer of the hair) and is water-soluble. so it will wash out the next time that hair is shampooed.

Semi-permanent colors are applied as creams or rinses, and normally last 6-12 shampoos. Demi-permanent or quasi-colorings are applied mainly as creams, and last up to 24 shampoos. The pigments of these two types of color penetrate partially into the cortex (second layer of hair), and will camouflage up to 50% gray. Gorgeous gold tones and ravishing reds may be used effectively to enhance the natural dark tones of Afro hair.

Going all the way!

If you are ready to make a commitment, and are able to spare the time for regular salon visits, you will be able to enjoy the effectiveness of permanent colors. You will then you have a huge spectrum of colors to choose from.

When a permanent color is applied to the hair, a chemical reaction called oxidization will occur. This takes place inside the hair, creating a change in color this lasts until the hair grows out. Your choice of color may be as subtle to lighten by just a couple of shades, or you may want to aim for a more dramatic makeover with eye-catching reds or blondes.

Red with an attitude

You can have lots of fun with reds, but make sure that you use a red complimentary to your skin tone. Secondly, red colors do tend to fade more quickly. It is therefore vital that you use aftercare products that are especially formulated for colored hair.

If you have more than 25% gray, reds have to be mixed with a base or natural color; if not the gray can appear pinkish.

Large splices of reds can be achieved by pre-lightening the hair to a gold tone and then adding reds. This is not recommended if you relax or perm your hair.


Do blondes have more fun? Whether you decide on a natural sun-kissed blonde or a more dramatic chunky highlighted effect, blonde will always get you noticed.

You will need a specially formulated hi-lift blonde tint for black hair. If you use a blonde color formulated for Caucasian hair, you will find the results disappointing, as they are not effective enough to lighten black hair and your hair may appear brassy.

There are various kinds of bleaches that can be used to lighten hair such as powders, creams or oils. It is not advisable to use bleach on previously relaxed or permed hair, and you should get a consultation with a professional before doing so. Oil-based bleach is the best for Afro hair, as it is the least damaging.

Hazards of Henna

Henna is a vegetable dye prepared from the powdered leaves, roots and stems of the thorny henna bush, known on botanical terms as lawsonia alba, spinosa or inermis. This plant is grown mainly in the Middle East, and is also used to decorate hands and feet at Middle Eastern weddings.

Henna is very often used, as it is considered to be natural and non-damaging. However, beware of compound henna, which is henna combined with metallic salts. This makes the hair incompatible with most other chemical treatments.

Protect your hair color

Having gone to great lengths to improve your image, you will want to keep your new color looking beautiful for as long as possible. The key here is to use shampoos and conditioners that are especially formulated for color treated hair; these will give your hair extra shine and keep your new colors vibrant.

Condition your hair every time you shampoo, and use a leave-in conditioner to give your hair thermal and sun protection. Refresh your hair color regularly, for optimum results. Use styling products that contain sunscreens, are pH balanced, and avoid styling products that have high alcohol content.

Diana Dudas is an expert with more than 28 years experience in the beauty industry. She has answered over 2000 questions for and has had her work published in many well-respected beauty magazines both online and off. Diana invites your e-mail hair care questions: .

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Copyright 2004 Diana Dudas, posted with permission