Courtesy of Prevention
There's nothing like a great dye job to turn back the clock. Hair color not only covers gray but also boosts volume and shine, makes fine lines less noticeable, and brightens a dull complexion. That is, unless you're still coloring the same way you did in your 30s. "What worked then might be aging you now," says celeb colorist Kim Vo of the Mirage Las Vegas. To the rescue: 3 rules for do-it-yourself dyeing that can make you look and feel a decade younger (no salon required!).
RULE NO 1: Choose an Age-Defying Shade
Extremely light or dark hair looks harsh against mature skin. For the most youthful effect, lighten hair two shades from your current natural color (for instance, from medium brown to light brown or dark blonde). "Going lighter softens your face, so fine lines and age spots are less noticeable," says Gary Howse, creative director of Seattle's Gary Manuel Salon. Besides being flattering, it also minimizes mistakes and avoids noticeable roots.
Gareth Davies, Getty Images
RULE NO. 2: Go Multi-tonal
The vibrancy of youthful hair comes from the subtle contrast of color--a mix of highlights and lowlights against your base color. "Nothing is more aging and looks more unnatural than hair that's flat and all one color," says Brad Johns, Clairol's global color director. Next are two tips to re-create this radiant effect:
Gregg DeGuire, WireImage.com
Tip 1: Use a multi-tonal dye
A tip-off that a dye delivers multi-dimensional color: The product name contains words such as shimmering, blended, or tone-on-tone. To hide a smattering of silver, choose a demi-permanent dye; if you're more than 40% gray, opt for a permanent color.
Joe Kohen, WireImage.com
Tip 2: Add highlights
Face-framing highlights make eyes look brighter and give skin a healthy glow. Perfect your technique by "sketching" your pattern beforehand with conditioner, which has a similar consistency to hair color. Face-framing highlights make eyes look brighter and give skin a healthy glow. Compensate for skin sallowness by using a warm shade--look for words such as golden, honey, or amber in the product's name. Stick with hues that are closer to your hair color; for example, brunettes use light brown, not blonde, and redheads use copper.
Jon Kopaloff, FilmMagic.com
RULE No. 3: Apply Like a Pro
For foolproof home coloring that delivers salon-worthy results, try these next three tips:
Tip 1: Concentrate on 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 color the fastest because they're so porous. During the last 3 minutes of processing, splash water onto the crown of your head and then comb color 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.
Steve Granitz, WireImage.com
Tip 2: 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.
Tip 3: 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.
For amazing at home color, try:
Revlon Frost & Glow Highlighting Kit ($9; www.drugstore.com) for subtle or dramatic streaks with less damage.
Clairol Perfect 10 by Nice 'N Easy ($14; www.drugstore.com), delivers color in 10 minutes--reducing exposure time to harsh chemicals by 50%.
Available in six permanent shades, Garnier Color Breaks ($7.30; www.drugstore.com) can be used after coloring to add lighter or darker tones