Friday, 19 August 2011

The colour wheel

Getting the right hue for your hair can be difficult and I should know after some of the dreadful colours I have endured. Understanding the colour wheel and knowing some of the rules can help you avoid a disaster.

Colour basics

The primary colours are red, yellow and blue. Hair is made up of different amounts of these shades. When the primary colours are combined they create shades known as secondary colours. Mix a secondary and a primary together and you get tertiary colours. For example red mixed with blue makes purple. Mix purple with blue and violet is the result. Purple combined with red makes a reddish purple. The three primary shades mixed together make brown. 

The colour process

“During a colour process you can either go darker where you deposit depth and tone for a darker, richer result or you can go lighter which in some cases, if you are trying to lighten a previous old colour, you might experience a slightly warmer effect as when lightening you expose a warm hue,” says Christel Lundqvist, current British colour technician of the year and creative colour director for HOB Salons.

What happens when hair is lightened?

Bruno Elorrioroz, advanced technical director at the Aveda Institute Salon and Spa explains: “Products containing hydrogen peroxide lighten the hair. The hair goes through various processes. Blue breaks down first. What you are left with is the underlying pigment which is red, orange or yellow dependent on your hair colour.

“For example a base 3 (dark brown) has red underlying pigment. When you oxidise the hair, red will come through. Putting ash into it will neutralise it. It is important that the colourist knows how to neutralise and counteract unwanted tones to achieve the colour that the client wants.”

Bruno points out that colours may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. “To produce the perfect colour you have to work with three elements: lighting, products and the natural hair pigment.

“Hair looks different dependent on the lighting because the colour we actually see is the light reflected off the coloured pigments in the hair. [Technically black is said not to be a colour as it absorbs all the shades and reflects none.]  When having a consultation always make sure the colourist looks at your hair in the daylight.”

Christel adds: “If you are going from a very dark colour such as black to blonde, you would often have to do this in stages as there are only so many levels of lift that can happen in one service. The condition of the hair is always a priority.”  

If you are going to colour your hair at home, especially if you are intending to use a permanent colour (which lightens the original colour while bonding a new hue to the hair), seek professional advice. It’s easy to see how it can all go so wrong.

By Daralyn Danns

Monday, 8 August 2011

Beauty tips from El Salvador

Having lunch on top of a volcano is not something I do every day. But in El Salvador, Central America where there are 23 volcanoes it is part of the experience. Happily, the San Salvador volcano where I was is no longer active, so I could relax and enjoy my meal surrounded by flowers, butterflies and birds.

El Salvador will wow you with its natural beauty. Volcanoes, mountains, forests, lakes and beaches are all within easy reach of San Salvador, the capital. This country may not be highly developed in tourism but its fresh locally grown food is delicious and there are some amazing restaurants, many which have views that are far more beautiful than any photograph can depict. And there are also beauty tips to be learnt from the women.

La Gran Via, a smart shopping mall San Salvador has many international brands including Zara. 
According to Carolina from the Árbol de Fuego, a small pretty “green” hotel in the city where I stayed, the brand changed the way women in the country dress. “They are now far more international in style,” she added.

Centro Comercial Galerias
I couldn’t believe how many hairdressers there were. “Latinas really care about their appearance,” Carolina said. “They often go to the hairdressers at least a couple of times a week before work to get their hair done so it doesn’t frizz.”

When dry, porous hair soaks up moisture from the air the hair shaft swells resulting in the frizzes. To help combat the effects coat your hair with plenty of conditioner.

Although PhytoSpecific is a range aimed at those with naturally curly, frizzy or relaxed hair, when it is humid, I use its Ultra-Repair Night Treatment (£24.50).

Denman’s jumbo heat-retaining, anti-static rollers (£3.02 for 3) are another necessity for clammy weather as they can be used to create a tousled effect and calm down frizz. Alternatively, try the TRESemmé Salon Professional Styling Wand (£29.99) and take a couple of sections and curl them to give you that done but undone look.

The Latinas keep make-up simple. Blusher is a favourite as it lifts the complexion but can also be used to correct skin tone without having to use foundation. A colour that is close to your natural flush should hardly need blending and won’t look funny if it wears off. The new Clinique Gradient Powder Blusher in Black Honey (£24) is on the brown side and looks natural on as does Bobbi Brown Blush in Desert Rose (£17) which is pinkier.

Mascara (waterproof) is an essential. Heavier make-up tends to be kept for the evenings. The Latinas play up one feature usually the eyes. Lips are frequently kept neutral. Try Estée Lauder Pure Color Sensuous Rouge LipColor in Nude Affair (£20). It doesn’t dry your lips. Fans of red lippy should leave the rest of the face nude.

By Daralyn Danns

Pictures of El Salvador: courtesy of the Central America Tourism Agency

For info on El Salvador visit and