Mad About Hue

One of the great and not-so-great things about living in Los Angeles is that the weather is pretty consistent. We don't experience the dramatic seasonal transitions that are common in other parts of the country. To compensate and keep from getting bored in this fashion-forward metropolis, we create those changes on our own. If it's a 75-degree day in July, we wear T-shirts and flip-flops. If it's a 75-degree day in January, we wear boots and scarves. You get the idea. So even though we're not feeling the crispness of early fall days, we're slipping into our autumnal heads, which means hair is getting darker.

Kim Vo
Kim Vo

For fall, many of my clients are opting for vegetable-based colors made with soy products and ammonia-free dyes. Celebrities who embrace this solution include Rihanna, Megan Fox and Katy Perry. Veggie colors are a surefire way to impart brilliant shine and fabulous depth. They're also a great way to combat the hair oxidation that takes place over the summer, when clients have exposed their locks to the ravages of sun, surf and chlorine.

Instead of stripping then depositing color, vegetable dyes simply add rich shades and conditioning. The colors you get from veggie-based hair dyes are deep, rich and shiny. They never look dull or flat, and frequent applications don't "gang up" on the hair and make it appear to be saturated with one lonely, lifeless shade. My favorite fall formula uses L'Oréal Dia color in the following combination: 20 ccs of medium brown, 10 ccs of chestnut and 60 ccs of developer. The result is a rich, warm, light- to medium-brown color that covers highlights beautifully.


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Since this issue of American Salon focuses on curly hair, I'd like to share a hair-darkening solution that I've developed just for my clients with waves and curls. Here's how to do it: Weave out sections of summer-oxidized hair as if you were going to do highlights. Saturate these sections with a heavy-duty conditioner to breathe life back into the follicles, then wrap them in foil. Apply a darker vegetable-based dye to the rest of the hair and process. The newly conditioned lighter strands of hair will appear to be highlights, giving your curly-haired clients lots of dimension without using a second process.

Pop star Rihanna is a fan of vegetable-based haircolor made with soy products and ammonia-free dyes.
Pop star Rihanna is a fan of vegetable-based haircolor made with soy products and ammonia-free dyes.

If your clients want to hold onto their highlights into the fall and winter, remember to keep them subtle. The obvious stripes that were around for so long are now history, and an understated look is more contemporary. Think chestnut on darker brown, caramel on medium brown or soft gold on light brown and blonde. Highlight the hair in tiny sections instead of chunks, so the lighter color blends in with the base color and merely hints at a different shade. —E-mail Kim Vo at [email protected].