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Find the Right Hair Color for You

Whether it comes from a kit or a salon service, here's how to find (and keep) your perfect hair color match

You Want: Brilliant Brown continued...

At the salon: "Brunettes are the most challenging," says Hazan. "Their hair can turn red and brassy with added color but look flat without it." Ask for gold highlights instead of red, and afterward, get a clear gloss treatment to give hair more luster (it's sometimes complimentary when you go in for color). Gloss is like temporary haircolor, only without the pigment, explains Hazan; it fills in the damaged part of the cuticle and enhances shine for up to six weeks.

Color care: The coloring process involves less lightening for brunettes than for blonds, which means brown hair doesn't get as damaged, explains Lesley McBride, a Pantene principle scientist. Brown pigment also repels water, which can dilute dyes — so the color stays put for longer. Since you are still likely to crave extra shine, try following every other shampoo with a lightweight silicone glaze, such as Fekkai Salon Glaze Clear Shine Rinse ($28, Sephora). Between salon visits, hide grays and regrowth with Avon Advance Techniques Grey Root Touch-Up in Brunette ($6, avon.com), a mascara wand with color that lasts until the next shampoo.

You Want: Shimmery Blond

Right Hair Color Good Housekeeping article At home: Lustrous blond is the result of more than just bleach. This sought-after shade is often a blend of artfully applied highlights and lowlights — no small feat if you haven't been to beauty school. The best candidates for at-home, multifaceted honey tones: women who were blond as kids (their skin is more likely to be a good match for blond hair) and anyone with gray mixed in with their blond or light brown (gray strands will look like highlights when you coat them with semi- or demi-permanent dye, says Michael Casy, color director at Salon Eliut Rivera in New York City). Because most women go lighter than they should, Casy suggests that you buy one shade darker than the blond you're most drawn to at the store — and make sure your "before" color is also featured on the side of the box. If your hair is more than 40 percent gray, use a permanent dye to cover the silver before adding highlights. Try L'Oréal Paris Couleur Experte Express with Easy-Glide Highlighter ($20, drugstores), which pairs up permanent color and a highlighting kit in one box.

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