This summer's highlighting trend will be very soft and real looking, which requires more than one process to mirror the effects of the sun. "Think back to the way your color would change as a child in the summertime - that's the look I love to recreate," says Paul Cucinello, color specialist at Christopher Stanley Salon in New York City, "I recommend making an appointment for a half head of highlights and a demi-permanent single process."
Here are Cucinelli's summer hair tips for all hair colors and situations:
BLONDES: Cucinelli says to ask your colorist to weave fine strands of lighter blonde on top of your existing color. Then, after the color has processed, run a demi-permanent gloss over all of your hair in a lighter, neutral tone such as Butter, Caramel, or Honey to meld the highlights into your base color. If needed, you can add specific lighter blonde streaks just at the hairline as your skin color warms up over the summer. Remember to always maintain a natural looking gradation from light in the front to at least two or three shades deeper underneath. Cucinelli suggests adding a couple of streaks to the nape of the neck. This way, when you wear your hair up, the highlights spread over the deeper sections and soften the look.
BRUNETTES: If your hair is dark brown, Cucinelli recommends highlights to break up the solidity of the base color with shades like Toffee, Caramel, Honey, or Auburn. Make sure your colorist lifts the highlights past the brassy stage and then adds the desired tone with a demi-permanent color so that it stays true to tone. Cover your hair when you're in the sun so your color doesn't turn too artificial-looking. Lighter brunettes might want to add some lighter streaks with a high-lift color to create a sun kissed effect. Always remember that you can never use any type of at-home, spray-in sun-activated lighteners without creating a brassy disaster.
REDHEADS: For the most part, Cucinelli suggests redheads focus on keeping their color uniform and rich. The summer sun can wreak havoc on red tones; adding Strawberry Blonde or Copper Blonde streaks to your hair will help keep it looking radiant. Keep the strands very fine and place them around the hairline and into the crown. Avoid highlighting underneath since it will only create an unnatural look.
SUNCARE: Always try your best to keep your hair covered with a scarf or hat. If you insist on letting it all hang out, try using a sunscreen specifically created for hair. Cucinelli loves Goldwell's Outdoor & Sun Care Line. It keeps hair color safe from damage and was designed specifically for color treated hair. In a pinch, you can use an aerosol sun block like Coppertone's Continuous Spray Sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher). Slick hair into a ponytail and lightly mist your hair. If you hair is thicker or curly, try scrunching a small dollop of tanning lotion into your hair before you dip in the water. It will protect your color and give you perfect beach hair.
POOLSIDE: Always keep in mind that pools contain chlorine bleach that will ruin your hair if you aren't extremely careful. Keep your head above water or, if you must submerge, slick you hair back with a thick, deep conditioner. Don't forget to rinse your hair when you get out of the pool.
FOLLOWING UP: Cucinelli strongly recommends having a deep conditioning treatment as a follow up to coloring. He also recommends scheduling haircut appointments every 4 - 6 weeks to keep sun damage in check. Also, remember that whatever color disaster you or the sun creates, a professional is the person to see to fix it.