Although it's been said that this year's iconic look is the Hitchcock blond, I would be content to settle for my original hair color. After a series of highlights several years ago which left my hair damaged and unnaturally blond, I went the darkest shade of chocolate brown to repair the "situation."
Like a lot of women who read a recent editorial by a beauty editor who wanted to know if it was possible to go from brunette to blond, I marveled not at the technological feat, but that someone would pay $800 on three separate occasions to get their desired result. After taking a look at some old baby pictures, I saw that my hair had once been a beautiful shade of reddish brown with lovely streaks of blond--a look that could easily run into thousands of dollars should I try to reproduce it at a reputable salon.
I had a hunch that I was not the only woman in America hesitant to spend eighteen to twenty-four hundred dollars to regain my original hair color. On a whim, I asked Robert Craig, voted America's top hair colorist by Allure Magazine, if he thought it would be possible to go back in time. Robert has helped over 2 million women on his hair care site at www.robertcraig.com and developed an amazing line of surprisingly affordable gentle permanent hair color which contains no peroxide and no ammonia. I had tried out his color at home and achieved great success covering (a few) errant grays with his system.
Robert advised me to chose a photo from my adolescence, as this was more realistically the color I should aim for since our hair changes color as we age. He kindly agreed to coach me through his simple system and felt that I should have very little difficulty getting the approximate hair color of my early teens. I had faith in Robert's products and was willing to try the experiment. Having used his color before, I was sure I could handle that aspect, but was a bit intimidated by using Colorfix, a system developed to fine tune color. Colorfix is a gentle dye reducer not a hair stripper, but I was still nervous. Using the gentlest application possible, I chose to follow the "Slight Color Correction" method with easy instructions on the inside of the box. It mixes up into a shampoo-like lather and you leave it on damp hair for 20 minutes. Robert had warmed me to expect the color to be in the red/orange direction. I shampooed my hair to find it brown with red highlights and noticeable roots because of my old hidden highlights.
Colorfix is gentle enough to use several times, so I mixed up what remained and coated my roots first for five minutes before adding the rest of the mixture for another 15 minutes. Robert had advised me that if there were still some areas that were dark I could just reapply Colorfix to those areas, even if I had used the Colorfix once or twice. After the second go-round, there were still slightly darker roots, so I added the tail end of the mix to my roots only and waited another 15 minutes. This time, the result was perfectly even, but overall, not as light as I had hoped. Several days later, my hair had turned dark brown again. Apparently this is common during the color correction process.
I tried another application of Colorfix a few days later and this time my hair lightened to a medium brown and stayed. I mixed up Robert's Light Ash Blonde and left it on 15 minutes to reduce the red. I now had a pretty medium brown color as a base, but was definitely in need of highlights and a good cut. Colorfix and Color by Robert Craig can be ordered at www.robertcraig.com or by calling 1-800-917-2566.
Having interviewed Billy Yamaguchi for "The Slow Burn Woman," my forthcoming book on inner beauty and style, I'd been impressed by his feng shui philosophy and accomplishments, so I was anxious to see him in action. Billy is phenomenally energetic and talented and he uses the principles of feng shui not only to style women's hair but also as the guiding principle to run five incredibly beautiful and serene salons and spas, not to mention develop a line of fantastic hair and beauty products. Discovered by Oprah's producers a few years ago, he wrote "Feng Shui Beauty," which explains his unique take on hair. Depending on whether your personality is dominant Earth, Fire, Water, Wood, or Metal, Billy harmonizes your hair by adding in whatever element may be missing and balancing your Yin and Yang.
The Yamaguchi salon nearest me is situated in Spa Mystique at the Century Plaza Hotel. I arrived and changed into a robe in his tranquil salon that smelled sumptuously like grapefruit and vetevier, not knowing exactly what to expect. Within seconds I had a quick and simple consultation with Billy, who gave me an amazingly accurate feng shui reading based on the colors I used to describe myself. He went on to evaluate the best style for my face and hair. Before I could finish my bottled water and cookie, he placed his forefinger at the center point of my hairline at the top of my forehead and extended his little finger to the corner of my eye. This base measurement represents the first third and according to Billy, replicating that space twice more will take you to your ideal hair length. Billy actually added a tiny bit on to that since I have wave in my hair which makes it a little shorter after it's been cut. All I know is that within minutes I had one of the best hair cuts of my life.
Taking into account that my personality was dominant water and earth, Billy somehow knew that I needed a sassier cut so that I wasn't so weighted down. This may sound like gibberish, but if you've ever seen a woman with a great haircut that just doesn't suit who she is, then you know what I'm talking about. Basically the cut that you end up with after Billy Yamaguchi applies the principles of feng shui reflects who you really are. Using the same concepts of balance and harmony, Billy's in-house makeup artist quickly added some blush and lipstick to my face and I left glowing. To find the Yamaguchi location nearest you or to order products, go to www.yamaguchifengshui.com.
As any brunette will tell you, getting highlights is a tricky thing. There's just too many things that can go wrong. In fact, highlights-gone-wrong was how I ended up in this color correction situation in the first place. I figured chances for disaster would be a lot slimmer if I went to see Michael Canale, who's renowned for his sun-kissed highlights on stars like Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Renee Zellweger, Denise Richards, Faith Hill, and model Carolyn Murphy. Yes, I know these are all blondes, but word of mouth is that Canale Salon offers the best highlights a brunette can wish for. I wasn't disappointed. In his surprisingly low key salon tucked in a quiet section of Canon Drive in Beverly Hills, I had a color consultation with Michael. Edna Quezada, who specializes in color correction put me at ease and warned me that this wouldn't be my last time at the salon after I experienced her highlights. Using foils like the master color whiz that she is, she worked magic--not to mention a secret gloss technique at the end--on my locks and hands down, I now have the best, most natural looking highlights since I was a twelve years old.
Before my friend, photographer Luther Gerlach could snap the "After" shot, Tabatha Willard, who reminds me of a young Jane Fonda and styles many up-and-coming young Hollywood starlets, expertly blew my hair out. I asked her to make my hair "big, but not too big" and think she did a great job. Canale Salon is located at 214 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA (310) 273-8080. For more information go to www.canalesalon.com.
Going back in time doesn't have to be an impossible dream. If you need color correction, solutions like Robert Craig's Colorfix can work miracles. Finding the right cut and highlights may prove more difficult, but it's good to know that great stylists do exist. With a little research you can find the right people to make you look as fabulous as the day you turned twelve.