Smart Advice on Special-Occasion Hair Color and Style

Written By Wilfredo Allen on Sunday, May 11, 2014 | 11:00 PM


Let's say you've got a dress-up occasion coming up in the next couple of weeks, especially now that wedding season is in full swing. Maybe it is a wedding. Or perhaps a good friend is being honored at a black-tie fundraiser. Whatever the occasion, of course you want to look dazzling.

However, when you look in the mirror, you think, "Boring." You see the same shoulder-length brown hair in the same push-the-hair-out-of-your-eyes style you've worn since high school.

As you stare at your reflection, you once again think about changing your look. You rifle through your handbag and take out the photo you tore out of a magazine the other day. There it is, a picture of a drop-dead gorgeous redhead with sexy, tousled, short-layered hair.

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"That's it," you say to yourself. "I want that color. I want that sexy mussed-up look. I'm doing it now."

The best advice anyone can give you? "Don't!"

Getting a new look is fun. And changing your hair color or hairstyle may, indeed, make you feel gorgeous and sexy, and give you an incredible rejuvenating lift. Just don't do it now."

Hair color specialist Silvana Armato, above, and stylist Yaffa Lieberman, below, both work at Christie & Company, in Bayside, one of the largest and busiest hair salons in the New York metropolitan area.

"You'd be amazed at how often we see or hear about hair change disasters. It happens all the time," says Silvana. "Young brides-to-be or members of the bridal party insist on new color or dramatic style changes right before the wedding. Or else, it's 'My son is getting married next week and I want something totally different."'

"It seems like a great idea at the time," she says. "Then later, when they see photos of themselves taken at the affair, they ask, 'What on earth was I thinking?'

"If you're planning to change your hair color, do it at least four to six weeks before your special occasion," Silvana advises, with the confidence borne of having 25 years of experience and thousands of clients. "See if you like it. Have someone take photos of you and decide if you're happy with the way you look in the pictures."

By all means, freshen your existing color and/or highlights a couple of weeks before a big event. But don't go for a new look based on a sudden impulse or mood change. It's just too risky, she counsels.

"Remind yourself that the event will be over in a matter of hours," Silvana advises. "But you're going to be looking at those photos forever."

NO-REGRETS WAYS TO CHANGE YOUR HAIRSTYLE

Yaffa points out that hair color and style changes do give most women a lift. However, she says, if you're planning to make a dramatic style change, do it at least two or three months before a special occasion. That way, you'll have time to have it re-shaped or let it grow out a bit, if you don't like it.

"By all means," she suggests, "go in for a trim or shaping a couple of weeks before the event. Cutting makes the hair look shinier and less dry, and gives it more bounce and body," she points out. "When you think about it, it's just logical. The hair farther from the ends is newer."

In general, Yaffa says she likes the versatility of the smooth, classic stacked, or layered bob. "Most women look great in that style," she says, noting that it's suitable for every day, work, and special occasions. "It always looks neat. It's easy to maintain, has a fuller curved shape, and it doesn't get stringy-looking," she says.

Regardless of a woman's hair length or style, though, "even slight changes can make your hair look special for a dressy occasion. You can move the part, or have your hair angled a bit differently to alter the way your face is framed," she says.

Bangs also offer versatility. "If you normally wear them straight, try wearing them side-swept for the occasion. Or have just some of the bangs go toward the side or back. Headbands are also very much in style, now," Yaffa continues. "Pushing bangs totally off the face and wearing a pretty headband can provide another great look."

Finally, of course, there's an endless variety of gorgeous jeweled and floral accessories. One or more jeweled bobby pins can add a dress-up touch to any hairstyle.

The good news about hair accessories is that if you're at your affair, and you decide you don't like the way the pearl-topped bobby pins look, you can simply remove them and tuck them into your evening bag. Then you can go back to the party feeling more beautiful than you did just a couple of minutes ago.

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