Trade Secret #00046  |  Return to Beauty Trade Secret Index

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Every woman and man should “experience Life with Color” whether it’s by covering grays, brightening blonde strands, enriching brunette tones, or creating radiant shine to redheads! As a hair-color expert, it is important to understand and work with (and not against!) the guests’ existing canvas. I always begin by analyzing my guests’ skin tone, eye color, and of course, the existing hair color and condition. If the hair has been overly processed, it is vital to treat it before starting the service.  The hair is primarily made up of protein and moisture and by not adding those vital steps to the coloring process, the creation could turn out unexpectedly dark, drab or flat.

Color-Specific Tips:

  • Brunettes: When coloring brunettes’ hair, I like to create what I call brown-on-brown shades. For example, the color combination of coffee and cream is absolutely stunning! 
  • Blondes: You can always tell if someone was a “towhead blonde baby” – or as I like to call it, “pastel blonde” by their eye color – they’re crystal blue! If they have specks of amber color around their pupil, don’t attempt to make their hair “pastel blonde.” They should stay within the shades of beach sand - very creamy.
  • Red Heads: They’re my favorite!  Keep in mind the correct skin tone and eye color for redheads:  A peachy skin tone and amber eye color is the perfect canvas to create medium to light amber ribbons in the hair. Green/blue eye colors are wonderful for vibrant copper hair.  When creating a cool redhead, look for olive skin tones, minimal freckles and dark eye color. Red is such an exquisite hair color (which not too many people can pull off!) but if done on the right canvas, it’s absolutely stunning! Great examples are rich vibrant shades like Juliana Moore in the fall of 2010 or light amber shades like Nicole Kidman in 2011.

A product I can’t do business (or live) without:

As a hair colorist, I cannot live without Kerastase Vita-Ciment.  The hair fiber is made up of mainly protein and moisture, which is the intercellular cement of the hair. When you alter the hair strand with color – whether it is temporary, semi-permanent, demi-permanent, permanent or a lightener – it affects the intercellular cement! Vita-Ciment does a fabulous job restoring the hair fiber from within. If we do not treat the hair as the delicate piece of fabric it is, it will end up becoming drab, dull, and brittle.



Sherry Ratay is an internationally-acclaimed, award-winning color expert and salon owner. She taught for Redken for seven years, and is currently a color educator for INOA L’Oreal Professionnel. Sherry is a member of the Joico Color Council as well as Team Minardi. Sherry travels all over the country to train and educate other professionals, and has shared her 20 years of expertise with the readers of Vogue, Salon Today, Central Florida Lifestyle, among other publications. Sherry Ratay was named the #1 Hair Colorist in Central Florida by Orlando Magazine, where her luxurious Salon Ratay is located.



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