You might have a cupboard full of anti-wrinkle remedies, but the suppleness of your skin means nothing if you don’t pay attention to your hair too. “I had a client come in once who looked well beyond her 42 years,” says Claude Hachache, style director and salon manager at Toni & Guy DIFC. “She had a fair, red-undertoned complexion and sleek dark hair. It made her look pale and unhealthy. I lightened it to a medium golden brown, which instantly took years off her face. She looked sun-kissed and her eyes suddenly stood out, making her look not only younger, but healthier too.”
As we age, our skin tone changes along with our hair porosity and texture, so if you still have the same shade you did ten years ago, you could be trying to match a complexion you no longer have – making yourself look a decade older in the process. Updating your shade every couple of years is the answer, even if that just means a few highlights or lowlights. One youth-promoting strategy that applies to all skin tones is to opt for a multidimensional finish rather than block colour, says Claude. “It gives your face a warm glow and softens your features and imperfections for a natural look.” And even if you’re dark-skinned, blonde is the most forgiving colour for every complexion – the shade runs the whole spectrum, from Marilyn Monroe’s platinum, to Jennifer Aniston’s dark honey, to Beyoncé’s warm caramel.
Here’s how to be creative with black hair if you have…
Light-toned skin: Make sure you don’t go for jet black, but rather a deep brown. Frennie says, “The contrast between dark hair and fair skin could make you look washed-out.” Dark hair will highlight any pigmentation and other flaws, making you look older. Instead infuse a warm dark-brown colour with golden highlights to add warmth to your skin.
Medium-toned skin: A deep dark brown, bordering on black, works really well on sun-kissed skin. Stay away from reddish tints as they bring out too much of the yellow undertone. We suggest rich shades that aren’t a true black as these will accentuate your best features.
Dark-toned skin: You can definitely experiment with darker shades as you have darker skin. Avoid the blue-black tone as it brings out too much of the olive in your complexion. Instead, a dark bold mahogany or rich black shade gives great depth and the illusion of thicker looking hair.
Here’s how to make a style statement with fiery locks if you have…
Light-toned skin: When your skin is the fairest of them all, try a strawberry blonde shade with pink undertones to spice up your locks – this adds colour
to your face. Steer clear of high-contrast burgundy and dark reds because they tend to make you look paler.
Medium-toned skin: The warmer your skin tone, the darker you can go with the red. Satisfy your lust for rust by mixing in a little brown with the red for a woodsy, copper shade. Keep away from deep aubergine tones as they bring out the yellow in your skin.
Dark-toned skin: It’s time to bask in your radiant red-hair glow – this colour looks great against darker skin tones. A bright auburn shade works well with the blonde elements, adding a glow to your face, whereas darker, richer tones like burgundy complement your skin colour for a natural finish. When it comes to scarlet-hued shades, try to avoid the ruby reds as the underlying blue tone runs the risk of making your hair look mossy and green.
Here’s how to enhance your light lustrous locks if you have…
Light-toned skin: For fair skin, try shades that add warmth to your face. Go for golden highlights, or a strawberry hue to bring in colour – think a blush-blonde finish. Stay clear of lighter shades that wash you out because they can age you. “A blonde tone looks great if you have bright blue eyes,” says Frennie.
Medium-toned skin: If you’ve got a sun-kissed glow, try a melange of colours that complement your warm skin tone. Opt for a multidimensional hue using golden tones and beigeish blonde shades and finish off the look with light highlights around the face to brighten up your skin. Stay away from ashy or orangey tones as they wash out your bronzed skin.
Dark-toned skin: If you’ve got a darker skin tone, then it’s best to steer clear of lighter blonde shades as they will look unnatural. Try going for a shade or two lighter than your natural hair colour, with caramel or golden highlights. Avoid anything with ivory or platinum hues, which create a washed-out effect.
Here’s how to explore your range as a brilliant brunette if you have… Light-toned skin: Flatter your pale complexion by keeping close to your natural hair colour. A darker hue looks harsh and ageing against pale skin, highlighting fine lines and imperfections. Instead, go for a golden brown shade with subtle highlights that are lighter – think caramel or honey tones for a natural look that brings out your features. Medium-toned skin: You can have the most fun playing with different colours. Go for a richer brown shade to add more warmth to your face, but avoid black as it can be harsh. If you have dark brown or hazel eyes, Frennie May Seier, founder of Seier Salon, recommends a blonde or copper tone to make them a focal point. For a lighter look, try caramel tips or a honey-blend gloss, but a richer, chestnut colour with auburn highlights is better for more depth. Dark-toned skin: Opt for a smoky brown shade that has deep undertones like dark red highlights. It’s best to stay away from very light shades as they create a harsh contrast and can be tricky to work with. But if you really want to go lighter, try blending in honey-toned shades with dark browns for a rich, textured finish that complements your skin and adds a golden glow.
Your glossary to gorgeous locks
Balayage: A free-hand French technique that colours thin strands of your hair. It was first introduced in the Seventies and is one of the most requested techniques at salons. The appeal? Its low-maintenance look lasts for weeks and has no obvious signs of fading.
Chalking: If you’ve got colour-commitment issues, this new trend is perfect for you. “We’ve seen this technique on Chanel and Marc Jacobs runways,” says Claude. “Special colourful chalks were used to get a dyed effect without the permanency as it
simply washes off.”
Double glazing: This acts as a refresher for tired, dull-looking locks. Much like a nail varnish top coat, a clear or coloured glaze is brushed or sponged on to hair for long-lasting mirror shine.
Finger painting: A technique using fingers instead of foil to give a natural, ombre effect
Glossing: Think of this as a top coat for your hair. The semi-permanent treatment lasts only a few weeks and it helps hair stay soft and shiny, while also boosting your colour and reducing any brassiness in highlights.
Highlights vs lowlights: Both are applied to certain strands of the hair to add definition, but the simple difference between the two is that strands of the hair are made lighter for highlights and darker for lowlights.
Hot fringes: A solid fringe in a contrasting colour to the rest of your hair.
Ombre vs dip dye: “Ombre is when you blend your colour from the root to midway and then dye a lighter brighter shade towards the ends, to give it that low-maintenance grown-out-roots look” says celebrity colourist Kelly Van Gogh. Dip-dye, on the other hand, is when a brighter or lighter tone is strategically applied to the tips of the hair.
Tie-dying: Wrapping elastic bands of colour around the hair. A single complementary tone will create a shine-enhancing, warming effect or a contrasting shade will create a bolder statement. Or you can choose as many shades as you like for a dramatic look.