As the seasons change and snakes shed their skins, all of us here are looking for our own way to physically express our fresh spring look. While shedding layers of skin may be out of the question (although safe, at-home chemical peels are one of our season-changing tips!), for those of us bold enough to take the plunge, we’re hitting the hair dye. (Alexis Wolfer recently went red with the help of Michael Angelo and Adam Moore at Michael Angelo’s Wonderland Beauty Parlor!) And while red may be the color of choice (hello, Alexis Wolfer, Blake Lively, Drew Barrymore and Scarlett Johansson), no matter whether you’re looking for a dramatically different do or just a slight seasonal switch-up, there are a few things you need to know before committing to coloring your hair and hitting the hair dye to ensure you’re happy with the results and protect your hair in the process.

David Stanko, Haircolor Consultant to Redken and Color Director Angelo David Salon NYC fills us in…

We often see pictures of celebrities and think, “I want that color.” But are there any tricks to figuring out how that color will look on us?
Silly as it may sound, try on a wig of a similar color or style that you are interested in – do you feel comfortable or foolish? Also, don’t feel obligated to jump in headfirst. If you’re unsure (or this is you first time coloring your hair) consider making your color change in small doses. By adding a few highlights you can slowly transition into a new color for the season.

Do red-heads have more fun?

Are there any “rules” for color?
Most women can wear almost any color, it’s more about the shade you pick and where you put it!

Before we decide on a color, what should we consider?
Do your homework. Research current Red Carpet and celebrity inspired looks and bring a few pictures to your colorist as a starting point. Also think about maintenance. Is the change so dramatic that frequent salon visits are required to look sharp?  If so, make sure you are budgeting for it.

How do you make sure that you and your colorist are on the same page?
A picture is worth a thousands words. When it comes to color; we all see it differently. Red, copper, beige and brassiness are all in the eyes of the beholder, so having pictures help to define the terms and level the playing field. If you’re a coloring-newbie, it can also help to do a little research on hair coloring terms and products (i.e. demi-, permanent, lighteners). This will give you a baseline understanding of some of the terms your hairdresser will be using.

How to pick the most flattering eye makeup!

How should you prepare your hair for coloring?
If your hair is damaged, pre-treating your hair with Redken’s new EXTREME Strength Builder Plus is a great idea. You can also schedule an appointment for conditioning treatment which will not only get your hair ready for coloring, but also will help get you familiar with the salon environment and give you the opportunity to discuss options with your colorist.

Should you cut your hair before or after?
This is completely up to the stylist and depends upon the level of change you are making. Going for a short do? Cut first.

Anything else we need to know before we take the plunge?!
Make sure you know what your motivation is for the change. Know yourself and what you’re looking for. Be fair, be honest and be ready.

If you’re coloring your hair at home, read this!