We dare say hair color done right is among the best accessories a person can add to her personal style arsenal. It can instantly update a look, make skin appear fresher and help eye color pop. As you might expect, we prefer to take our hair advice from local experts. For that, we turn to expert San Francisco colorist Robert James.
A veteran of Vidal Sassoon Beverly Hills, James brings his Hollywood know-how and experience treating the tresses of such stars as Gwen Stefani to San Francisco, where his eponymous studio re-opened in February in a new, 1,600-foot Sutter Street space decked out with hardwood floors, avocado-hued walls and paintings by LA-based pop artist Nelson De La Nuez. Along with color and natural hair extensions by James, the salon offers hair cuts and services such as Brazilian blow-outs and shine treatments for men and women by stylists Debra Fallon, Jason Lund and Keller Sechrest.
We recently caught up with James to get the lowdown on achieving stylish summer hair, Hollywood-worthy locks and, perhaps most importantly, making our color last as long as humanly possible. Read on for his tips:
When we’re sick of the same old highlights we’ve been getting for years, what are some more adventurous ways we can brighten our hair up for summer?
o Baliage is a great alternative to foil highlights. This process is done by painting on highlights and allows the colorist more creative freedom in placement. It will look like you’ve been vacationing on the beach.
o If you want to stick with foil highlights, ask your colorist to add some brighter pieces around the face for more of a pop of brightness.
What do you think of the whole ombre trend? Is that something you do in your salon? If so, anything we should know before trying it out?
o Ombre (otherwise known as baliage) is a fantastic look for ladies who don’t want to commit to the upkeep of traditional highlights. Baliage is a great natural look that only commits you to coming into the salon every 6 months. But be aware – the two tone trend is on its way out as the recession ends. Recently, Drew Barrymore traded in her ombre look for allover red. Still, Baliage is always a great choice for a more natural look.
o Before trying the ombre trend be realistic about the look. You will only get the two tone look if you have previously been doing foil highlights and have a build up of color on the end. Also, know that it will look like you have roots because that is what the whole look is about.
You’ve worked with some serious stars, such as Gwen Stefani, Alyssa Milano and Kelly Osborne. What’s the best way to add a little Hollywood glam to our look these days?
o Try a feather in the hair like Jessica Biel. It is a quick way to add some glamour to your look.
o Another great option is to come into the salon for a cellophane shine treatment, which will instantly make your hair shiny like a Hollywood starlet. The treatment last 6 weeks. Gwen Stefani and Alyssa Milano always have super shiny locks.
o Come into the salon to get your hair colored. Your colorist can formulate the perfect color to bring out your beauty. No starlet would ever do her hair at home.
o If you have a special occasion or just want to glam it up for the night, come in for a blowout or curl set. You will look red carpet-ready and not have to lift a finger.
What’s new in the world of hair color (or hair in general) that you find really exciting today? Any killer new products, tools, processes or treatments out there that we should know about?
o I am loving the new Wella Professional line. It is great for all hair types, especially colored hair. The price point is great, so you can mix and match to achieve your desired look.
o We also love the new feather trend that is going on. For $40, you can put a feather in your hair that you can wash and style however you like. It’s a super fun way to add a new dynamic to your hair.
If we could, we’d color our hair every four to six weeks like clockwork. But sometimes life (and our wallets) get in the way. Any tips for making color last longer? And are there different tips depending on the color process we’ve used?
o To make your color last longer use a color safe shampoo and conditioner such as Wella Professional Brilliance line. It moisturizes while protecting your color. Also, use a color protecting spray. Try to only wash your hair twice a week. Shampooing dulls the color. If you feel like you need to wash your hair, do a rinse and just use conditioner through the ends.
o Be sure to wear a hat when outdoors because the sun can fade your color and damage your hair. These rules apply to all color services, but especially for single processes.
o To make your haircolor last longer, do a color close to your natural so that you won’t see a line as it grows out.
When we’re ready for a change, do you have any advice for choosing a new hair color before we take the plunge?
o Flip through magazines and find pictures of hair colors you like. Be realistic about what you are wanting. The color in the picture is not always achievable. It may take several visits to the salon to get the end result you are looking for. Also, really think about the color. Are you willing to commit to this color? Once you go dark it is hard to go back to blonde, so make sure this is what you want to do.
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