Q: I have a question regarding Hair Color. I am a dark-skinned African-American. I would like to know the best color for
my hair. My natural hair color is (jet) black. I want something that will stand out, but not be overwhelming.
A: Not to sound as though I’m not taking you seriously – because I am – the BEST color for your hair is your natural color. Hair
color processes can be hard on the hair, especially for African-Americans whose hair is usually coarse and more porous than the
hair of other ethnicities. The hazards of serious damage increase if the hair is relaxed frequently and heat processed often.
But it is not only unrealistic to expect an entire ethnic group to forego taking advantage of
the variety available to other groups, it is unfair. Because of this, I always urge caution and moderation, especially when it comes to haircolor.
Most African-Americans have the darkest possible shade of haircolor naturally, and most
hairdressers agree that it is unhealthy to attempt to lighten the hair more than 4 to 5 levels. Fortunately, given the darkness of
the natural color, it doesn’t take much to create a notable change in color. I would personally recommend that you consider a color
that is a few levels lighter than natural, and has a color tone appropriate to your skin color – warmer reds and cinnamon tones for
more brown-toned skin, and violet and plum colors for skin that has more indigo-tones).
The only time I can see attempting super-light hair colors (like blondes), is if you wear your
hair very, very short. I have seen very attractive looks achieved for dark-skinned women by lightening the hair to pale blonde
shades and using finger-wave styling techniques. The reason this is more acceptable from a healthy hair standpoint is that with
such short hair, should the hair become damaged, it can be allowed to grow out and the damage cut away within a matter of months.