This Hair Color Faux Pas Could Make You Look Older

Ramirez-Tran Salon

Broken hearts are the worst. Broken hair cuticles may be just as bad, though — at least that's how LA-based colorist Johnny Ramirez approaches things.

Johnny is known by most of you beauty junkies as one-half of Ramirez-Tran Salon (his partner is Anh Co Tran). Just follow his Instagram account and you'll find yourself down a rabbit hole of dye inspiration. Johnny and Anh have perfected the beachy, lived-in look that so many women covet IRL and on social media.

Talk to anyone who has gone to see Johnny and they'll tell you: it's a process. This isn't your pop-in, pop-out hair color appointment. When I visited him with my shoulder-grazing bob, I spent five hours in his chair. But the finished look is what keeps us coming back . . . every six months, that is.

After my appointment, I picked his brain on how hair can age you, what products every woman should own, and why you should avoid platinum blonde at all costs. Plus, keep reading for some serious color inspiration!

Lived-In Color Lasts Half a Year
Allyson Spiegelman

Lived-In Color Lasts Half a Year

First off, let's clarify what lived-in color is. Sure, it looks beachy, but in terms of the actual service, it seems like a double process. Having Johnny as my colorist, I know that I am in-and-out of his chair about three times, hitting the sink two to three times as well. Although he didn't clarify his methods (hey, it's his secret sauce, after all), he did compare it to . . . a colon cleanse.

"What’s that thing that's a cleanse that goes up your butt?" says Johnny with a smile. (An employee at the salon responds.) "Someone told me that food gets trapped in your body from years and years ago. So a colonic cleans (it out). Even though it sounds gross, that’s what I’m doing. I’m going through the whole head of hair and I’m taking old color buildup from years of people getting their color done from different places. I’m putting something in the hair’s ass, and I’m going in there and I’m getting rid of all the stuff that doesn’t belong there."

Well, that's one way to put it! After the initial "cleanse," if you will, then it's minimal touchups.

"At first, I go in there and I go through every little corner where there’s buildup. Then I re-create that look, like you’ve had it for awhile. It’s something you can pull off for six months or more if you don’t have any grey hair. It’s also getting healthy."

How Hair Color Ages You

During a previous appointment, Johnny made a comment that I couldn't stop thinking about. It was after I took out my extensions and cut several inches off my hair, transforming it into a bob. I told him now that my hair was shorter, I wanted to go super blonde to help offset the sadness I had after losing the length.

His response was quick and blunt: "It's going to look like sh*t. It won't have contrast, and it's going to make you look older."

That last sentence haunted me. Johnny later explained what he meant: "Let’s say you’re walking down the street and someone's hair looks over-processed. You automatically think it’s an older woman. Then the woman turns around and she’s really young. If the hair looks tired, so does the person. You just expect the person to look tired, as well."

Tone Matters

And it's not just dry, limp hair, that can age you — the tone of your hair color can add years, too. "The color should always complement your skin tone and eye color," says Johnny. Before his clients come in, he does research to see what shades will work best for their skin tone. "I look at [your] baby pictures and your Instagram pictures, and I look at the palettes of colors you have and I use it as a guide," says Johnny.

Johnny color-corrected this woman's swamp green shade to a brilliant highlighted blonde.

What He Refuses to Do

As a colorist, Johnny aims to make his clients feel their absolute best. But when I asked him if there's anything he wouldn't do for a client, he was quick to nix platinum blonde transformations.

"There are levels from 1 to 10, —10 being a pale baby blonde," he theorized. "When you take it to a white [shade], it’s almost over the thermostat. It pops."

Favorite Dry Shampoo

Favorite Dry Shampoo

Of course, I couldn't leave without getting a rundown of his preferred products. Dry shampoo is a given, and his favorite is R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo ($29).

Necessary For Everyone With Color-Treated Hair

Necessary For Everyone With Color-Treated Hair

Once you color your hair, you're a slave to keeping the color beautiful. Johnny loves Oribé Gold Lust Nourishing Oil ($49), which is water-soluable, contains a reflective agent to make the hair glisten, and includes sunflower seed extract, an ingredient known for protecting hair color against UV damage.

Brightening Up

For hair inspiration, look no further than Johnny's Instagram. He gave this client a hair refresher with face-framing highlights and a little balayage ombré.


Johnny removed brassy tones from the hair and created contrast on this mid-length cut.

Brilliant Highlights

Changing the tone of her color gave this woman a modern upgrade.

Beachy Obsession

We're about to print and frame this work of art: the contrast of the blonde against her natural ashy tones complements her skin tone and makes her eyes pop.


Taking inches off the length and toning down the color balanced out this client's skin tone.

Baby Blonde Inspiration

For more hair inspiration, check out our feature on Johnny's partner-in-glam, Anh Co Tran.