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How To Choose the Right Hair Color 2009-04-02 08:00:14

Johnny Ramirez Shares Five Tips For Choosing Hair Color

Recently, colorist Johnny Ramirez shared with us his tips for achieving the impressive, gradiating color tones he creates for The City's Whitney Port. And now I've got the lowdown from Whitney's resident colorist on choosing the most flattering shades for your skin tone.

Ramirez, who keeps his main base at the Chris McMillan Salon in LA, now also moonlights at Serge Normant at John Frieda in Manhattan. While the celebrity colorist avoids dishing out advice on using box color ("I end up fixing it," he says.), he did give us the scoop on choosing a shade. Check them out when you


  • Baby pictures: "You can't go wrong with your natural color when you were a little kid," says Ramirez. "That color goes away, and as you get older, that's the color you keep going back to," he adds. See if you can find pictures of yourself from when you were around six or seven years old. "Your skin's glowing, and everything complements each other — your eye color, your skin color, your hair color," he advises.
  • Think seasonally: Along with using skin tone and eye color as a guideline for choosing what tones he uses on his clients, Ramirez uses the seasons to find the right shade. He recommends warmer shades to avoid the dreaded washed-out look. And in the summer? Golden and caramel tones work beautifully with a tan.
  • If you're getting highlights: Ramirez cautions against leaving them raw. Make sure your stylist gives you a toner, gloss, and conditioning treatment for "natural, beautiful, and healthy" results, he says. Your highlights will look more pure, and they'll last longer, too.
  • Do your homework: That's right. Ramirez actually dispenses homework. "I tell my clients to show me a picture of something that you want, that you've always dreamed of," he said. "And then take a picture of something that you hate, that you never want." These pictures help your stylist determine what you're truly looking for.
  • Take it up a notch: While Ramirez obviously looks to his client's personality, skin tone, and eye color for inspiration, this summer he's going to take it up a notch with the blond tones. Always the optimist, he explains that he'd like to "change up whole energy right now with the economy," with this lighter, brighter color.

Is he on to something here? Even if blond is just not for you, perhaps some brighter, face-framing highlights or a shift in color tone just might provide us with sunnier, economy-stimulating dispositions, eh?


RoSsB RoSsB 8 years
I got highlights two years ago but toned it down a bit last year. Now I would like to give my hair some rest for all the years of coloring. (I've been doin it since college)...maybe next year..hmmm..
Jess8902 Jess8902 8 years
I had my hair colored yesterday and it's holding alot of warm tones, my colorist sent me home with Paul Mitchell Platinum blonde shampoo, which has purple in it to help tone down the brass, but I'm going back next week to give my hair a break. I'm looking for that awesome Alessandra Ambrosio beachy thing.
NYKitty NYKitty 8 years
I just got my hair colored - today! I have a ton of trust in my stylist, the only person who has ever colored my hair (I started late). I wanted to go from an amber/auburn to a honey blonde. My stylist was totally honest that I was going to get a lot of the red in my hair if I tried it AND the color I was looking for was too light. She gauged it all by the lightest part of my eyes. My result is awesome and very natural. Leave the final decisions to the good professionals!
juliarose23 juliarose23 8 years
ooh this was very helpful, i really needed help deciding about getting highlights, and what colours to choose.
emalove emalove 8 years
My hair was super dark brown when I was a kid, but as I've gotten older, it's lightened A LOT and has some coppery-red to it. I accentuate those red tones by using a semi-permanent hair dye.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I used to go lighter with the summer but over processing my hair killed it. Now I keep it natural and let the sun do it's own thing. :)
miss-malone miss-malone 8 years
Great tips! I do get a little more blonde colour in the summer time. I always have. It's very subtle though. More golden and sun-kissed, like he said. Very natural looking. :)
dmartinxoxo dmartinxoxo 8 years
I got highlights a couple of months ago to help me get through a tough family issue and they ended up making me more upset because they were so terrible! I am now back to my natural shade of espresso dark brown. Lesson learned, don't fix what's wrong on the inside with physical change on the outside.
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