Before You Chop Your Hair, Consider This

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With the new year comes the temptation to reinvent yourself! One of our favorite ways to shake things up is with a drastic cut or color. But we’ve all fallen victim to the post-makeover “WHAT HAVE I DONE,” right? Here are a few things to consider before making the leap.

Chop, Chop

With the darling short cuts stars debuted in 2012, it can be tempting to follow suit. A drastic haircut can be cathartic; a tangible symbol of getting rid of excess baggage. But make sure to look before you leap—short hair is a big decision, and it can take years to grow it back to its former glory and some of the in-between stages aren’t so pretty. So before you cut, consider:

Is this cut right for my face shape and my hair texture? A good stylist will be able to suggest the most flattering cuts for both.

Am I prepared to deal with the upkeep on this look? Some short haircuts can be wash-and-wear (think Vidal Sassoon’s famous Mia Farrow), while others require heavy styling to look good. Work with your stylist to figure out your maintenance style, and remember that short hair does call for more frequent salon visits to keep it looking fresh. The same goes for bangs: it’s an easy way to switch things up, but the grow-out stage is tough (bobby pins are your best friend).

How will I feel about this look in a few months? Maybe it goes without saying, but take some time to consider how you’ll feel about your cut after the makeover glow wears off. Try tricks like makeover software and pulling your hair back in the mirror to simulate shorter hair or bangs. Be sure you’re okay with the possibility of hating it for a while and develop a game plan for the growout stage (your stylist can help you with this).

Color Change

Another great way to feel like a brand new you is to switch up your hair color. Want to find out if blondes really do have more fun? Itching to finally see how you look as a redhead? Or maybe it’s time for a sultry new brunette you. Changing up your color can be fun, but be sure you know the basics.

Blonde
It’s best to go blonde in a salon, where the expertise of a professional is necessary. If your hair is very dark, it may call for several sessions and lightening in stages so as not to damage the follicle. Also, be sure to discuss the upkeep with your stylist—blonde hair tends to show roots very quickly, and you’ll need to stay on top of them or get some really fantastic highlight work to camouflage. If your color starts to get brassy, tone with a purple shampoo such as AG Hair Sterling Silver Toning Shampoo.

Red
We’ve all wanted gorgeous Kate Winslet-in-Titanic tresses at some point. But trust me on this one—red will stick around. In fact, even if you’re trying to achieve another color, treated hair tends to go brassy. So really give this one some thought, and if you make the plunge and aren’t happy with the results, work with a professional to phase the color out (it may take quite a bit of time, patience and haircuts).

Brunette
Lucky you, brunette is the easiest color to achieve at-home or in the salon. If you’re coloring at home, choose a shade with the keywords you want reflected in your color (ash, warm, cool, etc). Blonde hair can tend to go very warm when dyed darker, so try to stick to the cooler shades. If you start to see brassiness, try a toner such as Rita Hazan Foaming Gloss for blondes, brunettes, and grays.

Whichever color you choose, be sure to invest in products to soothe your color-treated hair and protect it from environmental damage like fading. Pureology has a fantastic color-protecting line, and you can find color-safe, sulfate-free products in drugstores now.

And don’t be too shy! Life is risk, after all. If you’ve been wanting a bleached-blonde pixie for years now, don’t deprive yourself out of fear. After all, there’s always extensions!