How many wedding highlights are too many wedding highlights? While lighter hair looks perfectly golden against a white gown, if you spend too many hours in the colorist’s chair you could end up with damage, breakage, or straw-like strands. We asked celebrity colorist Rita Hazan, who has worked her magic on the heads of celebs like Katy Perry, Beyonce, and Michelle Williams, for her best tips on lightening up for your wedding day.
Turns out, not all highlights are created equal—especially when it comes to your hair type. Whether you’re a highlight addict or a hair-color newbie, don’t book your wedding-hair trial without her must-read advice.
Brides: How do you switch up your highlighting techniques depending on a client’s hair texture?
Rita Hazan: For fine hair, I would suggest doing a thinner weave and coloring the hair in smaller half-inch or inch sections that will catch the light beautifully. For thick, curly and coarse hair, I color thicker sections, which gives it dimension through the curls and waves.
Brides: If a bride is looking to go lighter or add highlights for her wedding, what direction should she give her colorist?
RH: To give fine hair the illusion of more volume, it’s important to highlight less of your hair. Keeping a mix of shades gives hair more dimension. For thick and curly hair, ask your colorist to highlight around your hairline, the crown of your hair, and the sections framing your face. It looks subtle, streamlined, and—most importantly—not one bit streaky.
Brides: What if you’re looking to go for bold color? Can brides with any hair texture pull off a bright hue or platinum blond? What should curly-haired or coarse-haired brides keep in mind?
RH: If you have fine hair, a bold color will help pump up its impact. If you have coarse or curly hair, single-process dyes can easily damage your locks—especially bleach-reliant platinum blond. Curly and coarse hair is naturally more fragile than straight strands, so it can become damaged more easily.
Brides:How can a bride with shorter hair—like a pixie cut, or bob—get natural-looking highlights? Do you use a different coloring technique on shorter hair as opposed to longer hair?
RH: I prefer a pixie cut to be a solid color since the hair is so short. With a bob, you can do a fine weave but I would suggest keeping the highlights similar to the original color to keep the color natural. Yes, I do use a different coloring technique. If you have longer hair, there is more opportunity to play with color at the ends, whereas with shorter hair, you can’t experiment as much because the color won’t blend as well.
Brides: Do you think there’s such thing as “highlight addiction”? If one of your clients comes in often for lightening over a long period of time, how do you suggest she keep damage at bay?
RH: Yes, absolutely. It’s easy to convince yourself you can never get enough highlights, but too much bleaching over a long period of time can lead to serious damage. If someone highlights too often, I try to do a single process in-between to avoid over-stressing the hair. Using moisturizing conditioner, weekly leave-in treatments and masks can also help keep hair healthy, shiny, and as un-fried as possible.
Brides: How close to the big day should brides get a highlight touch-up?
RH: To keep color looking fresh, it’s best to do it the same week of the wedding.
Brides: Any other tips for wedding highlights, especially if it’s your first time lightening or you want to go lighter than usual?
RH: If you’ve never colored you hair, don’t wait until right before your wedding to try (that goes for any major haircuts, too). You want to feel like yourself and don’t want to take any risks in case the color doesn’t turn out how you would like it to look. If you’re dying to try something different for your wedding day, do a test run six months before—if you hate it, there’s plenty of time to grow out the color or dye it back.