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This week has been full of hair triumphs. Madonna dyed her hair pink and the Duchess of Cambridge took hers in a deeper cinnamon direction, shortly after debuting a 'blondette' blend of brunette and blonde. It is October after all, the perfect time to switch up your hair colour to enliven a fading post-summer complexion and boost one's spirits.
To help make sense of which autumn hair colour is best for you, and the message it gives off, we spoke directly to Madonna's hair colourist, Nicola Clarke, who gave us an inside glimpse into exactly what went into Madonna's youthful looking pink - as well the most ageless hair colouring techniques for blonde, brunette and grey hair this autumn.
Pastel pink: youthful and elegant
'People often think of pink hair as being too bold and not 'age appropriate' but it really is the most flattering colour on all ages from 16 to 100,' says Nicola Clarke, who recently coloured Madonna a soft candy floss pink.
She explains, 'with Madonna, our main goal was to make it look sophisticated. It needed to look rich and expensive and not the sort of hairstyle she would have had in the early 80s when working as a musician in New York.'
'Madonna is religious about looking after her skin and so we wanted a tone of pink that was going to pop but look soft against her complexion,' says Nicola. 'I highlighted and tinted her hair as I would normally do, then applied the pink at the end. It's not permanent so it will need to be applied every other time she washes her hair, so I gave her a pink colour conditioner to apply at home.'
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In case you're wondering what shade Madonna actually used, Clarke disclosed that surprisingly she chose Crazy Colour in the shade Candy Floss, which can be bought online for less than £3. That said, be warned that pastels only work on light hair, so if you are brunette you'll need to have your hair bleached first, something that should be done in the hair salon by a professional, advises Clarke.
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She reveals, 'going pink after you turn 50 is actually incredibly youthful. Whereas blue or green can look too 'punk', pink is very youthful and sophisticated provided you choose a soft tone of pink that has plenty of shine.
'The great thing about pink is that it looks good on all skin tones and ages and is an easy way to update your look without having a radical haircut.'
Retro bright blonde: cool and edgy
A solid block of blonde is the new way to go light for autumn like Cate Blanchett and Sabine Getty, both clients of Clarke. 'Cate's hair used to be highlighted but recently we've moved towards a all-over blonde with a glossy rinse over the top in a pearly tone to reflect in the light,' says Clarke.
Whereas Sabine Getty's yellowish retro blonde makes a strong fashion statement. 'We were inspired by French 70s musicians and actresses - those cool artists that had bold, biscuity tones. The important thing with a solid blonde is to have your hairdresser apply a gloss or coloured rinse over top to keep it looking glossy and healthy - there are so many options from peach to copper and mother of pearl that will add a three dimensional glow in certain lights.
Have a conversation with your hairdresser about what your options are for rinses and glosses - this is an easy way to change your blonde every few weeks as your skin tone changes.' Nicola suggests Redken Shades EQ colour glosses which are available as a demi-permanent treatment in salons nationwide.
Multi-toned brunette: sophisticated and easy going
'If you have chocolate brown hair it's nice to add some warmer pieces sporadically throughout autumn and winter, as at this time of year when your colour might begin to look washed out. A few blonde tendrils on the mid lengths to ends gives it that lived in look,' says Clarke.
Nicola stresses that the secret to a sophisticated-looking winter brunette is to go over the roots with a darker shade to avoid the stripy look. 'I always highlight brunettes up to the roots, then apply what's called a 'shadow' on the root area so there’s a glimmer of something underneath without it looking too done.'
She adds, 'Kate Beckinsale and the Duchess of Cambridge are great examples of women with darker hair who've had rich, coppery tones throughout the mid lengths to add interest and boosts the complexion.'
Soft grey: cheeky and rebellious
'More and more people are embracing their grey and going for bolder haircuts, which is inspiring to see. If you are dying your hair grey from years of colouring it, it can take hours to get it right the first time, so be prepared for a lengthy salon appointment. However, if you've already grown out your grey fully, all you need to do is maintain it with good quality shampoos and conditioners for grey hair, which will neutralise the yellow tones and stop it from looking brassy.'
She concludes, 'letting your hair go grey is not a sign of letting yourself go and giving in to the ageing process- if you look at women like Sharon Osbourne, Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren, they have gone for a modern haircut and accessorised with killer outfits. It's almost as if they are sticking two fingers up at society's expectations, which is to 'anti-age' for as long as possible.'