As many Asian women know, it’s hard to dye thick hair that tends to resist color. Plus, unless it’s done properly, coloring Asian hair can sometimes result in an unappealing brassy effect, especially if you’re going blonde. Your best bet is to seek the help of a professional hairstylist, but if you decide to try it at home, here’s what you need to know to choose the right hue.
Overall color: Sleek, black hair against a pale complexion can look striking. However, Asian hair naturally tends to lack depth, since there’s little color variation. If you’re looking to add some dimension, you can get a boost from colors like copper and dark brown, according to Vietnamese hair stylist Ngoc Huynh. One of her clients’ faves is Joico’s moss brown, but she also gets many requests for rich chocolate and cinnamon tones as well. The pros at hairhighlights.org recommend avoiding violet, white, platinum blonde, and blue-tinged shades because they tend to clash with Asian skin tones.
Layered color: Double-sided coloring, which involves dying the underside of your hair a darker shade while using a lighter color for the top layer, is another option for adding intensity to your hair. The benefit is that the two colors offer contrast while allowing for two completely different looks, depending on whether your hair is worn up or down. Adding to the appeal, when the hair flows, a shimmering effect occurs, which will add luster to your locks.
Highlights: Asian hair gets a huge boost from highlights. Benefits range from improved depth and texture to more visible movement and the illusion of fullness, according to Kyle White, senior colorist at Oscar Blandi Salon in New York. Huynh agrees, recommending that you choose tones that are in the eggplant, mahogany, or burgundy family, but she warns against overly chunky effects, because they look fake. It’s best to keep your look low-key; remember that less is definitely more.
Don’t be deterred from dyeing your locks — just proceed with caution, especially when you’re opting to lighten your hair. White recommends seeking the help of an expert stylist — specifically, one who is accustomed to coloring Asian hair — since properly lifting (or bleaching) color before dyeing prevents that dreaded red and orange tinge. Don’t go to the extreme; instead, consider warm tones, specifically, ones that mimic how sun naturally lightens hair.
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