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Hair Talk

The Pro's Guide to Changing Your Color

The Pro's Guide to Changing Your Color

Sometimes, there’s nothing that invigorates your look quite like a dash of fresh new color for your hair. But it’s always wise to gather the facts before you take such a dramatic plunge.

Sometimes, there’s nothing that invigorates your look quite like a dash of fresh new color for your hair.

But whether it’s infusing naturally dark tresses with highlights…

...enhancing your blonde locks with platinum shimmer…

...or a radical change, with flashes of pink, orange, or even blue hair…’s always wise to gather the facts before you take such a dramatic plunge.

“Even when you’re taking a daring color risk like this… it pays to know how to make it looks its best”

That’s why we checked in with top hairstylists with this question:

“What are your top tips for color-treating your hair?”

Their responses will help you ensure your hair-coloring journey results in just the shade you crave!


Naturally, when considering what colors to try, you’re only limited by your imagination.

Still, according to Sean Gallagher, senior colorist at the Serge Normant at John Frieda Salons in New York, to get the most satisfying results, think about your look’s other attributes before you color.

“Every client needs to take into account her skin tone and eye color,” says Gallagher.

He suggests looking to celebrities with similar eyes and skin to your own for inspiration.

“They tend to change their hair color a lot, so you can see which shades of red, brunette, and blonde flatter you the best.”

“Celebrities with hair and skin like yours can be a great source of hair coloring ideas”

Cassondra Kaeding, a colorist with LA’s Sally Hershberger salon, says you also want to consider your own natural hair color when selecting a shade.

For example, when you’re darkening your hair, Kaeding says you never want to go more than two shades darker than your natural color.

She also recommends visiting a wig shop, to literally try on color options before you make your decision.1


If you decide to trust your new color to a specialist at your salon, there are a few tips to keep in mind to get the most out of your color-treatment experience.

First and foremost, according to New York stylist Rita Hazan, is clarifying for your colorist the shade you’re after...and that means pictures.

Hazan says a photo of exactly the shade you seek will clear up any confusion about coloring terms the two of you may use differently.

A skilled colorist, she says, will either be able to match your chosen shade precisely, or alter it to better suit your complexion and skin tone.2

And speaking of coloring terms, Mark Garrison, owner of his own self-named New York salon, says “it helps to know the lingo” in order to tell your colorist exactly what you’re hoping for.3

Common hair coloring words and phrases include:

  • BASE COLOR - A color your stylist applies all over your hair before working with other colors or highlights...think of this like a primer coat when you’re painting a room
  • GLAZE / GLOSS - A lustrous liquid color treatment that typically lasts for about two weeks
  • PARTIAL HIGHLIGHTS - Highlights that are usually only applied to the hair framing your face, or the top layers of your hair
  • TORTOISESHELL - Colors ranging from chocolate brown to gold are blended through the hair for a subtle dark-light shift; also known as “ecaille”
  • BALAYAGE - Color highlights applied freehand to the surface of your hair; a similar technique called Pintura is used for women with curlier hair
  • OMBRÉ - An in-vogue look where the balayage technique is used on only the bottom half of your hair4

“The richly textured ombré look is one of the most requested styles at salons nationwide”


Of course, if you’re confident in your styling skills, you may decide to use an at-home color treatment.

Fortunately, our pros have several suggestions to help out the home hair colorist. 

Theo Bambacas of Grip Hair & Body, Wimbledon, says the “strand test” is essential before applying any treatment to your full head of hair.

This will not only ensure you’re satisfied with the will also test your hair or skin for sensitivity to any of the treatment’s ingredients.

Bambacas also believes unwashed hair is better for applying a new color treatment.

That’s because your scalp’s natural oils will offer a further layer of protection from any harsh elements found in the color treatment.5

For applying your treatment, Austin-based stylist Pepper Pastor of ROAR Salon recommends a mixing bowl and brush, rather than the wands frequently packaged with the treatment.

“[This] gives you more control when applying color,” explains Pastor.

She also suggests special focus on the hair around your face, as this is the area of your appearance your hair will most dynamically offset.

Finally, Pastor says you always want your roots darker than your tips. So, if you’re applying a touch-up treatment, do not re-dye the ends of your hair. This will keep them looking “naturally” lighter than your roots.6


And of course, once your treatment has been applied and set, it’s vital to know proper techniques for keeping up your chic new color.

Loren Miles, a stylist with London’s punky Bleach Salon, likewise advises that an effective heat protectant is essential when styling, especially for temporary or semi-permanent colors.7

Another great tip for keeping your color vibrant is to not wash your hair every day. On the days between washes, make sure to use a great dry shampoo that will absorb excess oil, sweat and odors to keep you feeling fresh. 

One thing is for sure:

Whether you’re applying your own at-home color treatment…or collaborating with a stylist…

...using the tips shared by these pros is bound to create color that will stand out in any crowd!

Don’t forget to submit to us your most urgent hairstyling questions.

We’ll be sure to pose them to our stylists...for a future round of “L’ANGE PRO TIPS”!


  1. Peng, Chelsea. “60 Epic Hair Tips, Tricks, and Secrets.” Marie Claire, Marie Claire, 29 Mar. 2018,
  1. “Expert Tips on Hair Coloring.” Real Simple,
  1. Mann, Avery. “Hair Color Lingo.” American Profile, 6 Oct. 2011,
  1. Fiorito, Roberta. “Every Hair Coloring Term You Might Need to Know.” PureWow, 18 Feb 2016,
  1. “Professional Stylist Colouring Tips.” Herbatint, 3 June 2015,
  1. Dunlap, Lizzie. “How to Dye Your Hair at Home Like a Pro.” Marie Claire, Marie Claire, 12 Oct. 2017,
  1. Epstein, Leonora. “22 Hair Color Tips No One Ever Told You.” BuzzFeed,