Inevitably after a breakup, one of the first things to happen is a trip to the salon, (after inhaling a tub of ice-cream, bottle of wine and watching the Notebook on loop of course). But the drastic chop is just a little bit too cliché. Rather than reach for the scissors, what about mixing it up with some colors and highlights? As a novice in the world of hair coloring, I had the good fortune of sitting down with the incredibly talented colorist Kim Vo, who runs his namesake salon at the Montage in Beverly Hills. We spoke about the different ways you can use color to spruce up your look and what to think about before deciding on dye.
Before we get into Kim’s tips, let’s talk about what hair color can do. Hair is inextricably linked to confidence. How you choose to invest in yourself, and maintain yourself shows. If you don’t feel worthy, people pick up on it. Conversely, self-respect and confidence always shine through. Kim says “I honestly think hair color can highlight your features, your personality and bring the real you out. It’s not just color. It’s an attitude. It’s your biggest accessory and weapon.” The way Kim sees it, hair color gives you the opportunity to dream a little bit. You can get creative and use it as a tool to rebuild your confidence one step at a time. When thinking about just how bold you want to be with your color, Kim likes to think of colors that either Whisper, Talk or Shout.
This is the tippy-toe and beginner’s introduction to hair color. It’s subtle, natural and effortlessly elegant. Think using highlights to lighten your hair a shade or two. Kim believes, “everyone has an inner blonde, even if you’re the deepest brunette you can do caramel highlights.” Kim advises brunettes to lighten softly to become a ‘blondette’, blondes to turn it up a notch with additional; highlights and for those with really dark hair to add notes of amber or honey. The goal here is to give a sun-kissed look, and lighten around the face. Kim says that when hair has got movement, it’s your biggest feature and explains that light tones tend to catch the sun better than dark hair. At the end of the day, you want to look like you have been out and about and are full of vibrancy, even if you have just been sitting at home.
When to do it: when you’re in a really delicate place, just whisper. Take time to imagine how you want to feel, then ease yourself into a lighter change. That’s what whispers are all about.
If you want the world to know you are here, it’s time to use your hair to Talk and start conversations. This is really about going a shade darker. If you’re a blonde, think about becoming a sultry chocolate brunette, brunettes can go a few shades darker and those with really dark hair can go lighter, in a more obvious way. If you are going down this route, Kim recommends co-creating the look with your stylist. Bring in lots of pictures that covers the range of change you’re interested in, and then get a professional’s opinion on what works best for your skin tone, style and also what works with your lifestyle. If you don’t have time for maintenance, this look isn’t for you! Kim says Talks are all about discovery. “They allow you to experiment with style, and inspire you to be stronger, bolder and become a talking point for conversations.”
When to do it: if you’re in a discovery phase and ready for something different, this is for you. Take time to source opinions from friends, trends and stylists and think of yourself as an artist, in exploration mode as you do your homework. This process alone will help open your eyes to a whole new world of possibility, and boost your confidence at the same time.
As Kim puts it, this is like your hair dropping the F-Bomb! You can go for Blonde Ambition, and change from really dark to really light. Or purposely add roots for some bad girl edge (Kim insists on “flirty roots, not dirty roots”). For the boldest of the bold, Kim suggests trying “Festival Hair” and adding some real colors like pink, (for a warm, bubbly, playful and light look) or blues and purple (moody, broody and sultry vibe). If you’ve still got to look on point when you head into the office, Kim suggests going for ‘peek-a-boo’ colors. This involves swatches of color on the bottom layers of your hair. By day, it’s easy to hide with your hair out, but when you braid it, that wild streak shines through. Hair extensions can also offer the same look, but without the commitment.
When to do it: This is the look to go for when you’re out for blood! You’re ready to turn heads and you want the world to know you are here. You don’t even need a selfie…. You will be snapped in all your friends pictures! If you’re thinking of doing this, Kim suggests giving yourself 24 hours to think about it, and then if you really want it, go for it.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you put yourself first and make rebuilding your confidence a priority. Even though sometimes you have to fake it ‘til you make it. “Sometimes you have to let someone else hold the hope and confidence for you. You’ll get it back, but give it your alter-ego to hold it until you grow into it and you’re ready to take it back”. And remember to ask for opinions and ideas from friends and professionals. Kim’s final tip sums it up beautifully, “There’s nothing worse than feeling bad to begin with and then thinking you made a bad choice… you cant even get your hair right!”.