This post was created in collaboration with Clairol.
I asked Kendrick to take this photo the morning I left for New York, because I knew I was going to need a “before.”
Because for real, you guys: something had to be done. My hair was seriously not good.
See, what happened was I went to this random place a friend of a friend recommended for a cut and some highlights when I was visiting Canada, and what I left with was…
I mean, I think we can agree that this is a mess. Brown in the back, bleached-out in the front, and oh, did I mention the uneven, vaguely Kate Gosselin-y effect going on?
So I had this plan, which was to go to New York and get my hair cut and try out a new color, because fall is for change and change is fun, and then come home and surprise my husband with his Brand New And Improved Wife. Woooo!
Except I forgot that I have a blog. (…Surprise, honey?)
On Wednesday morning, I stopped by James Corbett Salon to talk all things color with James, who’s also the Color Director for Clairol. I love the idea of flirting with color every so often – people get so attached to their shade, but I think color is just another opportunity to play. I’ve always been attracted to the idea of switching to a rich, warm brown shade for the fall, but I have a shoot coming up in about a month for which I’ll need to be blonde again, so I asked for James’ opinion. What he suggested: Clairol Natural Instincts in Amber Shimmer. The formula contains no ammonia, so it’s less damaging and very conditioning.
I’ve tried temporary color a couple of times over the course of the years – because since I’ve had kids, it’s become harder and harder for me to get to the salon every couple of months for a touch-up, and I find at-home coloring a nice way to save on both time and money in between visits – but this is the first time I’ve tried to make a dramatic change using an at-home kit, so I was (understandably, I think) nervous.
I was shooting for Sarah Jessica’s color up there.
My big questions: 1) Will I actually get the color I see on the box? And 2) Will it actually wash out?
The answer: Sort of. Because I have highlighted (and damaged) hair, my strands are especially porous, so I’m likely to see additional color deposit, and the color may fade out more quickly than I expect. The solution: go for a shade that looks slightly lighter on the box than the color I’d actually like, and be prepared to recolor my hair every few weeks if I want to maintain the effect.
For the non-overbleached blondes among you, though, these are the general rules for at-home hair dyeing (all from James, so you can be sure they’re good ones):
- Take a minute to give yourself a mini color consultation before selecting your color. Consider how much grey you have and what you’re trying to achieve, and be realistic about your expectations (in other words, don’t try to take yourself from deep chestnut to white-blonde at home, please).
- For the best results, stay within 1-2 levels of your natural hair color (check your roots to find out what this is if you color your hair).
- Err on the side of a lighter shade; it’s easier to go darker than it is to remove color.
- If you feel like your present color is brassy, go for an ash shade – the word “ash” tends to scare women off, but all it means is that the shade will cut brassiness.
So I got a cut to even out my bob, applied the Amber Shimmer, and?
I love this.
What I love the most, though, isn’t the color, but the fact that this change – small and temporary though it may be – made me feel like a whole new person. You know how when you went back to school and got a new L.L.Bean backpack with your initials on it, and all of a sudden felt inspired to reorganize your Trapper Keeper and keep your pencils sharpened and such? That’s how I feel. I literally walked out of the salon and straight into Sephora, where I picked up a few fun new products to suit my brand-new coloring, then wandered over to Banana Republic and tried on burnt-orange and celadon things (because if there are two things that blondes probably should not wear, it is burnt orange and celadon).
New season; new me.
P.S. If you decide you’d like to do a fall color switch-up yourself, I’d love it if you’d share the results on Instagram using the hashtag #FlirtWithColor so I can check them out!
Photos by Lydia Hudgens.