One of the perks of aging is that, if you choose to hide your grays, you have a good excuse to experiment with a wider range of hair dyes and highlights. The right hair color can make your skin look more radiant, bring out the color of your eyes, and, of course, give your hair a healthy boost of shine. But there’s a dark side to coloring your hair: a few bad coloring mistakes can add years to your appearance. Here are some of the most common hair color mistakes that are aging you.
1. Dying your hair one flat color
Natural hair consists of many different tones and shades that work together to create depth (picture the color of a child’s hair when she is playing outside in the sun). Dying your hair one solid color, regardless of whether that shade is jet-black or platinum blonde, puts you at risk of looking like you have a sheet on your head — not exactly flattering. “Regardless of your color choice, keep it shaded,” says Deborah Gavin, Keratin Complex’s international artistic director of color. “Adding in hues a bit lighter or darker keeps hair looking natural and young.”
2. Going too dark
We all love the mystery and goth intrigue of dark hair. But after a certain age, sporting jet-black hair only serves to highlight fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation that becomes common when we age. “Think about why they show diamonds on black velvet — it shows any flaws so the perfection of the diamond can be seen,” Gavin says. “Black, dark, opaque hair emphasizes any flaws.” This certainly doesn’t mean you have to go blonde, but adding a few lighter brunette highlights to dark hair can make a huge difference.
3. Going too light
Blondes aren’t being let off the hook here. Just as it’s aging to dye your hair a flat, dark color, it’s just as unflattering to rely on ashy, super-pale shades that may bring out the sallowness in your complexion. When adding blonde highlights to your hair, stick with a medium golden tone that is not too light or ashy and, unless you have serious hair skills, visit a salon and pay a professional to do your highlights. Beautiful color isn’t just about the color itself — it’s also about where that color is placed to emphasize your best features.
4. Completely changing your hair color
The goal with hair color is to look like a more beautiful version of yourself, which isn’t to say you shouldn’t experiment with shades that are foreign to your natural hair color, but within reason. If you are taking your dark brunette hair to strawberry blonde, you have to commit to visiting a salon every four weeks or you risk watching your hair turn brassy, which is always aging. Play it safe by subtly concealing grays and straying no more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural color. And stay true to your natural golden or ash undertones.
5. Not nourishing colored hair with suitable products
There’s a very good reason why shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products are labeled “for color-treated hair:” they do not contain sulfites and are more gentle on hair that has been dyed or highlighted. You can restore your hair’s natural luster by using products like Keratin Complex KC Therapy, which contains keratin and will work to correct damage incurred when coloring hair. Consider yourself part of an exclusive club now — a club that requires hair products for color-treated hair.
For more hair tips, check out The 6 best drugstore blow dryers, according to a beauty editor and Find out what your hair color says about you