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Your Wedding Hair Color Story

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The hairstyle you decide on is every bit as important as your gown when it comes to creating a gorgeous and complete wedding look.

The color of your locks can play a key role in that.

If you’re interested in dying your hair, adding highlights, or simply maintaining already color-treated hair, meet with your stylist at least three months in advance. This will give you time to formulate an action plan, possibly do a test run, and talk about the best options for your desired ’do, makeup profile and the hair accessories you plan on using.

Your wedding is probably not the best time to experiment with a bold new hue — like black if you’ve always been a brunette or red if you’re normally a blonde — but your colorist can work with you to find subtle, polished enhancements that will help you look like the best version of you. For highlights, think vibrant, rich tone-on-tone dimension and the effect sun naturally has on your hair, rather than high-contrast stripes.

As the big day approaches, stylists recommend getting your hair colored or highlighted five days to two weeks before the wedding. This timing allows the color to oxidize, minimizes re-growth and creates a buffer in case any minor adjustments are needed, says Julie Coolahan, a colorist with Bella Angel Hair & Makeup, which operates in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, N.J. Color tends to soften up a bit after a few shampoos, adds Maria Esparolini, founder of Atlanta-based Hair By Maria, so put off washing your hair a couple days while the color sets and use a color-safe product. To ensure your treated tresses are silky and shiny, Esparolini recommends using deep-conditioning salon professional hair care.

When it comes to styles, fresh color – especially highlights – can look great both in an updo, where it adds texture, or down in natural, beachy waves that catch the light, says Coolahan. Again, knowing what look you’d like early on will help your stylist put color in strategic places that highlight your face and won’t get lost beneath a fabulous fascinator.

If, instead of adding color, your goal is simply to enhance your own hue, Esparolini notes that factors like the neckline of your dress, your face shape and your hair’s texture and natural variation will play a part in deciding on the best style. “Incorporating braids into your design tends to bring out any natural highlights, and gives a modern look,” Esparolini says. “There are many braid options, such as a rope, twist, fishtail and French.”

You’ll also want to make sure your raw materials are as healthy as can be. Avoid swimming with your hair unprotected in salt water or chlorine – both can dry out your mane, making it look dull and causing split ends. Skip the tight ponytails that can break strands, and try to avoid blow dryers and flat irons. Stock up on moisturizing hair products, ideally with SPF. And Coolahan recommends using a clear glaze to coat each hair shaft with luminous shine and give your tresses big day-worthy body.

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