The phrase “New year, new you!” has gone from being a quippy social media hashtag to a driver of change and sole point of focus for many of us, come the first day of January.
As the new year kicks off, with so many unknowns and possibilities for change, it’s only natural that we start thinking about transformation and nowhere is that more evident that with hair color.
Besides just being a fun way to change up your look, a dramatic hair color transformation can give you a whole new perspective. A shift from dark to light—or vice versa—can impact your personal style and even highlight different aspects of your personality. Since it’s something that we do fairly often in more subtle ways, few people realize exactly how much changes when you make a big change to your hair color. From your eyeshadow to your outlook, let’s explore a few ways to prepare for a dramatic hair color transformation.
One important note, before we get into the nitty gritty of what to expect after a big hair color transformation is to remind you to consult with your professional hair colorist throughout the process. Dramatic color changes (which are characterized by being more than 2 shades from your natural color) are best left to the professionals. They can go wrong very quickly and are VERY expensive to correct. Do yourself a favor and DON’T try this at home.
1. Your Hair Care Routine Will Change
We are going to start with the most immediate and obvious impact that a dramatic hair color change will have on your life. The products and routine that you use to take care of your hair, will be completely different, if you drastically change your hair color.
Just as there are care products designed for color-treated versus virgin hair, there are specific care products meant for blondes, brunettes, red-heads, and vibrant colors. If you are a current brunette who is contemplating going platinum, know that you will need to stock up on the necessary products needed to care for your new hue. Dramatically lightened and even darkened hair is hair that needs a lot of love and care post transformation, so be sure to educate yourself before you head in to your appointment.
2. Your Skin Tone Will Change
It’s no secret that our skin tone and hair color are inextricably linked. The under tones of our skin are often mirrored in our natural hair color. For example, if you have warm tones in your skin, it’s likely that your hair will have yellow, orange or red undertones. The same rules apply for those of us with cool undertones and even neutral tones (yes, that is a thing).
Determining what type of undertones you have naturally can help a lot during the research phase of finding your new hair color. While you’re combing social media in search of your new hue, it can be helpful to narrow down your choices based on people who have the same undertones as you. There are many different ways to determine whether or not you have warm, cool, or natural undertones. One of the easiest is to look at your eye color:
• Brown, amber, or hazel eyes= warm undertones
• Blue, green, gray, or violet eyes = cool undertones
The undertone of the hair color that you choose, will either highlight or downplay your skin undertones. If you have a ruddy complexion that you are looking to counterbalance, it is best to choose a hair color with cool undertones. This will visually neutralize the appearance of rosiness in your skin.
The same effect can be applied if you want to “warm up” a naturally pale complexion. Choosing a new hair color with warm undertones can help to bring out rosiness in the skin. Want to highlight a naturally warm skin tone? You can bring out those gorgeous rosy, yellow, and orange skin tones with traditionally warm hair colors like copper, bronze and gold.
Olive tones, while traditionally considered on the warm side, often have a green undertone. This can be neutralized with a warm hair color that will help to highlight the natural warmth in your skin tone.
3. Your makeup will change
Many people don’t think about the impact that their hair color has on their overall look. One thing you will definitely want to take into consideration when deciding to drastically change your hair color is how your makeup look will be impacted.
Besides likely needing to adjust base products like foundation and concealer (due to the impact of hair color on skin tone), we may want to reconsider eyeshadow, lip color and even how rosy we want our cheeks to be. Depending on how dramatic your hair color is, you may want to either tone down or amp up your makeup look, depending on what you are going for.
If your hair color is a stark contrast to your skin tone (think cool, dark colors on pale skin or bright vibrant colors on dark skin) it provides a visually dramatic backdrop. You can play this up with dramatic eyes or lips, or downplay it with something more neutral. The important thing is to give yourself time to play with new colors and techniques until you find the right overall look for you.
4. Your wardrobe will change
Much like the impact to your makeup regimen, a dramatic hair color transformation is going to have serious impact for your clothing choices. Colors that looked fantastic with your warm blonde highlights may look completely wrong with your new cool, chocolate locks. If your previous mainstay was black, you may find that your new hair color looks better with softer naturals.
In general, the clothes that we look best in tend to match the undertones of our skin. That means that those of us with warmer undertones tend to look best in gold, red, and orange while cool undertones tend to gravitate towards blues, greens and purples. Keep in mind that your new hair color may impact those undertones, which could render your favorite sweater obsolete (at least until you change back again, that’s the beauty of hair color!)
5. Your attitude & behavior will change
This may sound like a reach, but think about it for a moment. If you are used to moving through the world as a neutral, ash-blonde and sudden emerge from the salon with glossy, mahogany locks it’s highly likely you will feel a little different about the way that you look. It may even take a little getting used to. After all, it can be a little jarring seeing an entirely different version of ourselves starting back at us in the mirror. After the initial shock wears off, we are able to see ourselves in a new way and that can change how we feel about ourselves.
Feeling more confident about the way that we look can have very real implications about the way we feel about ourselves in other areas. Even if the hair color transformation itself isn’t the catalyst for a confidence boost, just stepping into that sense of control—that we get to determine how we look and also how we feel about it—can be enormously empowering.
There are also cultural implications for certain hair colors that come into play. Who hasn’t heard that blondes have more fun? Believe it or not, the exposure to that saying over time can have subconscious effects on your behavior, if you choose to travel the flaxen-haired path. The association between sunny dispositions and lighter-hair tones is so engrained in our cultural consciousness that is perfectly natural to start to embrace a more carefree and flirtatious way of life as a blonde. The same associations exist for other hair colors and it’s likely that you may start to embody those stereotypes without even realizing it, as a result of a dramatic color change.
The way that others treat you, will also likely change which has a very real impact on your behavior. There have been many academic studies that show a difference in how people respond to different hair colors. A study from 2011 shows that women in particular are treated differently based on the color of their hair in relation to the different settings that they are in. Meaning, it’s not just whether you have dark, light, or red hair that determines how others may treat you, it’s also whether you are at work or in a social or dating scenario.
All things considered, a drastic change in your hair color can have a truly dramatic impact on your life. So, if you are looking to impact your look, personal style, attitude, and behavior this year, maybe the best place to start is at the salon.