Blonde vs. Brunette: What's Right for You?
By Genevieve Monsma
We invited star stylist Chris McMillan who created Jennifer Aniston's trendsetting "Rachel" 15 years ago to set his scissors to work and show us this season's hottest looks for every texture, from curly to straight.
Photo Credit: Don Flood
Having trouble deciding whether to go darker or lighter? Marie Claire makes coloring your hair easy with our definitive guide to finding your perfect shade.
Go blonde if you...
Have lots of pink in your skin
A cool, baby blonde is gorgeous with rosy skin, says Matthew B. It freshens the face yet prevents the skin from looking too flushed. Conversely, rosy skin (or even just a face full of bubble-gummy makeup) will clash with warm, brown hair.
Want to cut your hair short
Meg's messy shag. Reese's bob. Jane from Melrose Place's chic crop circa '94. "When a short haircut is really hot, it's always on a blonde," says Matthew B. This is probably partly due, says Parvin, to highlights' ability to play up a style's shape.
Need a lift
"When I have a client who is going through a crisis or just feels down, I tell her to lighten up, "says DePalo. Blonde, she promises, adds brightness to your lookand your outlook.
Go brunette if you...
Have very thin hair
Darker strands add dimension and the illusion of thickness to fine, airy hair, says Kristen DePalo, a colorist at the Insitu Salon in New York City. Tip: To add extra depth, she recommends coloring the under-layers a slightly richer shade than the top.
Have an olive complexion
No skin tone is better suited to chocolaty strands (or more poorly suited to light locks -- see Julia Roberts, above, as a blonde), says celebrity colorist Matthew B. of the Amato Salon in Beverly Hills. A rich brown will counteract your complexion's tendency toward sallowness, as well as make your eyes and teeth look whiter.
Can't deal with high-maintenance hair
Keeping up with lightened locks is costly and time-consuming, while going darker can require as few as two visits a year, says Nelson Chan, a colorist at the Estetica Salon in Beverly Hills. Brunettes also have an easier time coloring at home, says Matthew B., because they aren't removing pigment (as you must to go blonde) and don't have to worry about brassiness.