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A Guide to Achieving Your Best Hair Color

RED


“Red fades faster than any other hair color, so a good colorist will apply three separate formulas (to the roots, mid-length and ends) to create dimension rather than one flat hue,” explains Ionato. Fair complexions look best with an Amy Adams copper, while olive-skinned gals should mimic Debra Messing’s mahogany hue. Oh, and look to Davines shampoo and conditioner ($25) to keep your red vivid for at least six weeks.

PLATINUM


If you want to go platinum--as blond as chemically possible--be prepared for multiple visits to the salon in one week. “Heavy bleaching weakens the hair, so I always tell clients to chuck their flatirons and cancel their Drybar memberships afterward,” says Ionato. When it comes to sudsing up at home, Olaplex (from $29), an additive that re-bonds strands, is the holy grail of platinum maintenance. “It’s not a conditioner, so it doesn’t cause protein buildup, which can snap bleached hair.”

OMBRÉ


The secret to Leto-worthy ombré is subtlety. Ionato uses dyes that are just a shade or two lighter than clients’ natural hair color, then delicately applies highlights with a paintbrush so that strands grow out without the aid of touch-ups. (“I’ve done a good job if my client goes several months between appointments,” she says.) As for maintenance, hit up the drugstore. “It’s so old-school, but Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo in Blonde & Silver ($13) is truly the best product out there for ombré hair.”

BRUNETTE


According to Ionato, the best shade of brown is your natural color kicked up a notch. “If your hair is prone to frizzing, going just a shade or two darker can be almost as good as finding a new anti-frizz product,” says Ionato. She typically takes brunette clients just slightly lighter or darker than their natural color, with a few highlights around the face and lots of gloss for extended shine. Keep that rich, chocolaty color going with a good UV-ray protector, like Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil ($28).

SALT ’N’ PEPPER


Warmth is crucial for believable gray, so Ionato uses an array of ash and neutral tones instead of traditional black and white. The first thing a good colorist should address with a salt-and-pepper client is her lifestyle. For swimmers, Ionato will remove reds to prevent fading. For frequent travelers, she’ll weave out a section of natural gray hair to diminish outgrowth. At home, follow up with Klorane Shampoo with Centaury ($15): The violet-tinged formula neutralizes naturally occurring yellow tones, which make gray look brassy.

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