As a new season nears, it's time to revitalize your hair with a fresh color (and maybe a healthy trim, depending on the state of your tresses). Although it can be tempting to go as light as possible when the warmer months roll around, professional colorist Elle Hegarty from Ian McCabe Studio in Washington D.C. says it's time embrace lower-maintenance colors and healthy hair. And she's not the only one who loves well taken care of locks: Google searches for "natural hair color" have remained consistently high in the past five years, and queries peak right before springtime.
Hegarty, a graduate of Paul Mitchell Academy, has spent the last five years mastering her technique at salons and barbershops, as well as high-end beauty brands Butter London and Cover FX. She exclusively uses the balayage technique on her clients, which involves hand-painting highlights on the hair. The end result is a natural look that maintains the hair's integrity. The best part: it doesn't need to be maintained as often as foil highlights since it doesn't have the harsh start-line highlights are notorious for having. Plus, the grow-out is beautiful. "I don't think it's healthy to highlight too frequently," Hegarty explains. "The longer you can go, the healthier your hair will be." Hegarty, who shows off her expertise on her Instagram page, reveals her five favorite spring hair color trends to try this year.
Toasted Strawberry Blonde
For warm-toned blondes, playing on the golds can result in a gorgeous rosy hue. "It looks more like 'I go to the beach all summer' as opposed to 'I go to the salon all the time,'" Hegarty explains. She says her clients with this color come in once every four months and also stop in for gloss treatments in between colorings.
For those with dark hair, brunette highlights are the way to go because they cause minimal harm to the hair and are fairly low-maintenance. Hegarty says she doesn't like putting blonde highlights on darker tresses. "It doesn’t look believable and is very damaging." This look only requires highlights twice per year, but she does ask clients to stop in every six to eight weeks for a gloss treatment to tone the color and gives strands a healthy shine.
Icy blonde is breathtaking for those who like to be bold, but this subtler side of the spectrum is ideal for a more natural look. As far as blondes highlights go, Hegarty says this option is relatively low-maintenance and only requires a salon trip once every three to four months. However, a good at-home regimen is essential to keeping blonde hair healthy between visits. She recommends Milbon hair products, such as the Plarmia Hairserum Shampoo, $23 on Amazon.
Dark Chocolate Dream
Spring isn't always about going super light. Dark brunette highlights on black hair are both beautiful and easy to maintain. Hegarty says this look only requires color once per year (yes, really) and a gloss every four months. "I love this for my clients who are such a dark level," Hegarty says. "It's just so pretty."
If you tried pumpkin spice hair for fall, this red might be the next hue for you. For blondes, this color requires root touch-ups and a gloss treatment roughly every eight weeks, but only needs a full painting once per year. Brunettes should get colored two to three times per year with a gloss treatment every eight weeks. Hegarty loves this rich auburn on clients with fair complexions that have a pink undertone, but be aware that it's long-lasting. "Red is one of the hardest colors to remove," Hegarty explains. "If someone decides they want red, that’s what they’re going to be for the foreseeable future." The process of going back to the original color is time-consuming and, if rushed, can damage the strands.