Brad Johns, Clairol Global color director and artistic director ofAvon Salon & Spa, tells how to keep this summer's hottestshades looking fresh through sun, sand and salt.

Summer is almost here, so it's time to start updating your clients' haircolor once again. When it comes to blondes, the shades you should go for this season are: honey blonde, like Madonna; buttery blonde, like Nicole Kidman; and baby blonde, like Gwyneth Paltrow. Another great shade is beach or surfer blonde, which is bold and exciting.

Shades you can go for, under certain circumstances, are champagne, white, pearl, silver and platinum blonde. (Think: Gwen Stefani, Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield.)

Brad Johns
Brad Johns

Shades you should avoid are ash, drab and frosted blonde. I won't list anyone in this category to protect the guilty—you know who you are.

I'm always inspired by the different shades of blonde on children who have been at the beach for a month during summer. A beautiful color is always made more so by a week in the sun, because sunlight naturally lightens the pieces you've already highlighted. Ocean water combined with sun gives color a further boost.

My preferred technique for summer color is to take whatever shade you have and make it brighter, highlighting some pieces in an even lighter shade. Here's a rule of thumb: the more lightweight the fabrics you wear in a season, the lighter the haircolor should be.

As for brunettes, I recommend bringing up the shade of brown by adding golden, caramel-colored highlights. On redheads, I would go to a more copper color, placing strawberry pieces where you need them.

Caring for color-treated hair in the summer is important. Preventing brassiness requires clients to do two things: use the right cleansing and styling products for their shade of haircolor, and avoid chlorinated water, because it will discolor the hair. Here are some other tricks of the trade for saving haircolor during the summer months.

  • If your client swims in chlorinated water, recommend that she rinse her hair immediately with fresh water or club soda if she is not able to shampoo and condition immediately afterward.

  • I love using a shine or glazing treatment at the salon because you'll get silky hair that better reflects light. Try using several different shine treatments to see which one you prefer.

  • If your client is in corrective-mode after a color disaster, always recommend that she cover her hair with a hat, in addition to using sun block.

  • Never stop learning to apply and use blonding products differently, more safely and more artistically. I learn every day about a new technique from my assistants who have just begun their craft. Sign up for a blonding class at one of the trade shows, or check out other classes on haircolor you might be interested in. Enroll in them anywhere you can find them.