Does she or doesn’t she? Five decades ago, this provocative tag line introduced Clairol’s first at-home hair colour. Today, women aren’t so coy about changing their hair hue, 80 percent of Canadian women indulge in this beauty ritual. And this spring, the shades are tempting: think Jessica Stam’s copper tresses, Anouck’s espresso locks and Karolina Kurkova’s honey waves. “Women identify themselves with their hair colour,” says James Olson, professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario. Whether you’re ready for a big change or want to make the most of the colour you’ve got, ELLE’s colour guide is the place to start.

Copper: Daring, feisty and strong, this shade is Ms. Personality. “Copper is best suited for those with peaches and cream colouring,” says Sanna Seppanen, celebrity hair colourist and stylist. Think Marcia Cross.

Auburn: This rich, warm shade evokes sophistication and savvy. “A go-to shade for those with olive skin,” says Seppanen. Debra Messing has signature A-List auburn hair.

Light red: A little softer and more childlike, strawberry is the sweetest of the reds. “This is stunning on those with fair skin.” Take your colour cue from Cynthia Nixon.

You should go red if…

1. Your design staples are Dolce & Gabbana and Arthur Mendonça
2. Thelma & Louise is your fave flick
3. You’ve been described as fiery, emotional and confident.
4. Your fantasy guy is Colin Farrell.

Only two percent of the population are natural redheads.

Hey, carrot top! Visit, a website devoted to combatting prejudices against redheads

In Québec, red is the number one shade.

“A trendy placement technique for coppers is to apply colour that is really bright at the roots and gradually less vibrant toward the ends,” says Derek Selby, director of training and development for Schwarzkopf Canada. Red fades the fastest, but is also the trickiest to get out. “The red dye molecule is the smallest, so it penetrates deep into the hair shaft and lasts long, but its vibrancy is very difficult to maintain,” says Selby. At home, try Schwarzkopf Revive to keep the intensity of the colour.

Coffee talk
Espresso brown: These raven-haired lovelies provide a welcome counterpoint to the blondes that used to define Hollywood. “Dark shades look striking on those with light-coloured eyes and fairer complexions,” says Seppanen. Follow Courteney Cox Arquette’s lead.

Medium brown: This warm shade is perfect for the girl-next- door look. Kate Beckinsale pulls this off beautifully.

Light brown: “Light brown isn’t mousy anymore. It’s sophisticated, especially with some caramel highlights,” says Selby. Try Mischa Barton’s look.

You should go brown if…
1. Your fave designers are Stella McCartney and Lida Baday
2. Closer is a must-see flick.
3. People describe you as genuine and trustworthy
4. Your fantasy guy is Clive Owen.

In a survey by U.K.-based Hair Style and Beauty magazine, brunettes were rated the best in bed. Meow!

Brown shades are the top sellers in Ontario.

The latest salon trend is the colour bar, where colourists advise clients using colour swatch pens. “We suggest three shades, depending on the skin tone and eye colour,” says Ray Daniel, owner of Salon Daniel in Toronto. “The possibilities are infinite with the colour bar.” Always look at colour swatches in natural light. “Our skin tends to lose its natural radiance and colour as we age,” says Selby. “You must lighten your hair colour gradually to accommodate this, or else it can look too harsh.” Try a demipermanent such as the new Schwarzkopf Igora Vibrance Colour, which has extra conditioning properties that boost shine.

Tips for all you blonds on the next page …

Photo courtesy of Marcio Madeira

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Dark blond: This shade is perceived as sophisticated and likes to be taken seriously. Heidi Klum is a model example.

Medium blond: This is the warmest and most friendly of the blond family. “A beautiful caramel blond is really trendy,” says Seppanen. Kate Hudson is the poster girl for sunny blondes.

Light blond: A mix of demure and sexy, this shade is fetching on fair skin and adds a stunning contrast to darker skin tones. “Light blondes don’t have to be prissy,” says Seppanen. Case in point: Uma Thurman.

You should go blond if…
1. Calvin Klein and David Dixon are your designer guys
2. You own the Bridget Jones’s Diary DVD. 3. People describe you as classic and sophisticated
3. Your fantasy guy is Brad Pitt.

Blondes trump other shades in romance, Harlequin Canada reports that blondes appear on their covers 44 percent of the time.

Blond is the most popular shade in the Maritimes.

On spring runways, blondes were multi-tonal, not light all over. Ask for Redken’s new Designer Blondes collection, which infuses hair with shades of toffee and amber. It’s available in select salons across Canada. Blond hair tends to diffuse light, therefore it can look dull. “Apply a finishing serum to boost shine,” says Selby. To reduce damage, ask your colourist to use a lower-peroxide solution. “A 10 percent solution provides enough ‘lift’ for the colour to penetrate the hair, without causing too much trauma,” says Seppanen. Colour will add dimension and make fine hair appear fuller.

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