Day-glo hair hues aren’t just for celebrities like Demi Lovato and Nicole Richie. We’ve long admired our own Senior Photo Editor Katrina Symonds’ perfect platinum blonde shade, so when we heard she was thinking of going blue, we sent her to hairstylist Roxie Darling with a camera to document the process from start to finish — and even picked up tips from the hair pro along the way.
“A few weeks ago, at the salon, I felt like trying some color out,” Symonds, who visited HairStory Studio in New York City, tells us. “I’ve wanted to do it for years, but never had the guts to go all the way. Roxie added a little blue highlighter to my blonde hair, and it felt so good that I asked her if she could dye my whole hair the following week!”
A creative environment like InStyle is the perfect place to try out such a daring look, but if you work in a more conservative place, Symonds assures us that bold hair trends are quickly becoming accepted in the mainstream. “I feel as if colored hair is becoming socially acceptable and feeling a little more ‘fashion driven,'” she adds. “Ultimately this NY winter has been so brutal. I am Australian and I miss the beach, and feel like there is a strong surfer moment happening in fashion — the pastel Cynthia Rowley wet suits, the Philip Lim agate stone tops, and all the neoprene.” The pale pastel tone merged her need for summer with the blue streak also spotted on the runways of Kenzo and Alexander Wang.
Trying out a fashion-forward hair color is easiest with a light base like Symonds’, so your strands will need some lightening if you’re on the darker end of the hair spectrum. “Creative colors look best on already lightened hair as they appear more vibrant,” Roxie tells us. “Think of hair as a blank canvas and how the colors will look once they’re placed on top.” Consider the health of your hair before you decide to make the change, and if you’re afraid of damage, look into environmentally-friendly options, which can be less stressful than traditional methods.
“HairStory Studio is based on the idea of chemical-free healthy hair,” Symonds says. “The studio is brand-new and founded by Michael Gordon, who also founded Bumble and Bumble. He also encourages the artists to use hair color as if it’s water color.” The next step comes in picking your vivid hue. “Unique colors can often be a great enhancement to a person’s overall look, but it has to be right for the individual. For Katrina, the blue worked extremely well with her skin tone, it made it more creamy, and really brought out her eye color,” says Roxie. Have your hairstylist determine your undertones, but keep in mind that the dramatic effect will also prompt changes in your makeup and wardrobe to complement it.
Because creative colors tend to fade faster than their natural-looking counterparts, you should also consider after-care. “When a client comes to me and is considering creative color, they have to be ready for the commitment that comes along with it,” says Roxie. “I always ask the person if they are prepared to wake up every day and consider their hair color before they go on with their lives.” She recommends swapping your current shampoo and conditioner for a more gentle product like the Purely Perfect Cleansing Creme ($40; purelyperfect.com), which uses a mix of aloe vera and other essential oils in place of harsh detergents. “Traditional shampoo will remove color within two to three washes, but washing with the Cleansing Cream prolongs the color,” she adds. “I also recommend not washing your hair as much — just twice a week should suffice.”