Haircolour for your Wedding Day
Here’s a topic that has been nagging at me for some time, and I finally decided to put together a post about colouring your hair for your Big Day. I frequently tell brides to stick with their usual colour for their wedding; the reason for this is that you want to feel and look like yourself, so that your photos turn out perfectly. However, there are always exceptions to this rule.
My main goal when working with a bride is to have her photos turn out. “Turning out” means that the bride feels comfortable and natural throughout the day (so her smiles are genuine), and the hair style must look perfect all day and in all types of light. Unfortunately, the details of your hair style can be completely lost in photos if your colour is boring and one-dimensional.
At the right is one of my brides (and her groom, whose haircut I also did for the wedding!). Great photo, right? I applied blonde highlights to give dimension to her hair, especially for the ‘puff’ at her crown because at the trial we decided a sprayed, solid style would work best. I chose to give her thicker streaks to soften the puff and make it look more dramatic in photos. The golden tone also looked unbelievable with her colouring!
Did you ever notice that the majority of wedding hair styles are modeled by girls who are blonde? This is because blondes have the greatest range in the dimension of their colour, and therefore all the intricate details of the hairstyle are easy to see. You’ve probably also noticed that there are virtually no dark-haired updo models…without much effort you can figure out that the style ends up as a black blob unless the photographer is a master of studio lighting. It’s the same deal with candid and portrait shots, in or out of doors, but the photographer will have little to no control over the lighting. They will need to edit your photos, and once you photographer has adjusted the images for tonal balance, dark hair usually ends up as a cool-toned (bluish) black blob.
My solution is this: If you are NOT blonde, I highly recommend some soft highlights to help your style show as clearly as possible. The best option is to go with the ‘sweet’ colours such as chocolate if you have black hair, caramel if you are a mid-brunette, honey or vanilla if you are a light brunette. These are flattering because they don’t contrast – they simply enhance dimension.
Staying within your natural colour levels is especially tricky if you are of Asian or Indian descent. At the left, you’ll see an example of a beautiful bride who came to me for a root touchup on her blonde a few months before her wedding. Her natural hair is a warm black. The light blonde was so high maintenance and did not really suit her skin, so I urged her to correct the blonde and go for a rich coffee tone with warmer chocolate highlights. You can see how her new dark colour looks ultra rich in the ‘after’ photo, but in the professional shot it’s quite toned down. Generally, this is the case with wedding photos; if you’re a natural dark blonde, you’ll look mid-brunette in your photos…just something to keep in mind! Anyway, her wedding portrait turned out splendidly, don’t you think? It was shot by Leslie from Sakura – please visit her site for more stunning work! but you can see the warmth of her highlights matching the richness in her eyes and a soft shine on her hair from the tinted glaze that I applied 2 days before her wedding.
Furthermore, if you ARE a blonde, you can opt for some blended lowlights to really punch up your style. The trick is to avoid the stripy look! Lowlights also help to ‘heal’ your hair and add shine if you are a chronic highlighter. Another option is to get a clear glaze to laminate your hair for insane glittering highlights and mirror shine. If you go “too blonde” it can actually photograph as a receding hairline, especially if you are of a paler complexion, and in some light sources it can look weak and thin.
And as always, I’ve remembered my redheads! Please please PLEASE do not get highlights that are too yellow! I see this way too often. My own sister, a strawberry blonde, got yellow highlights for my wedding and I was heartbroken. Yellow always shows up with redheads, since they lack eumelanin (blue) pigment in their hair which generally counteracts the warmer tones. In all honesty I would much rather see redheads get auburn lowlights instead of highlights UNLESS you trust your colourist to give you a lighter strawberry for your highlight. Just…keep it RED, okay? If you must have blonde, you could go with a vanilla or champagne colour.
A few extra tips:
– Make sure your colourist highlights a couple millimeters back from your entire hairline (forehead, over the ears, nape) because otherwise, people will ask you if you got married in the mid-90s! It’s all about subtlety, shimmering and blending highlights nowadays. You want to make sure that there aren’t clear visible re-growth stripes around your hairline. Balayage is a great technique for achieving this!
– The best time to colour your hair is 2 weeks before your wedding. You want to give your hair a while to settle into the colour. Also, if your hair is too recently coloured, your hair may not curl or hold style properly for as long as you need it to!
– Make sure you remember to let your hair ‘air out’ by not washing for 2 days after your colour. This helps the pigment to seal itself in through air oxidization (as opposed to the chemical oxidization with peroxide). Also, ask your colourist to emulsify the colour out without shampooing – professional colour is not meant to be shampooed out or conditioned afterward. Conditioning, can push out the colour molecules and fade your hair out faster. If you must have a conditioner, choose a post-colour treatment such as the Kerastase Pixeliste.
– If you plan to wear extensions, please have them coloured to match your hair if you can’t get the exact shade. This goes especially for multi-toned hair (highlights or lowlights). They do show up in photos and can look especially frightful in all-down styles if the colors are not matched to blend in. For example, you can see Scarlett Johanson’s clip-ins in the famous ‘red dress’ paparazzi photos.
-For the love of all that is holy…if you spend the money to get your color done professionally, get some professional colour-protecting shampoo and conditioner, and throw away that Pantene and Aussie crap because it does NOT do anything for you or protect your colour! My favourite luxury line is Kerastase Bain Miroir, and you can get great value from the mid-range Bonacure Colour series by Schwarzkopf.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific colour questions, or visit my website for more info and TONS of photos!