Choosing a Flattering Haircolor Expert Interview

Jodie Michalak
Jason Backe

Do you need help choosing a flattering hair color? There's never been a better time to indulge your red or blonde fantasies. Celebrity stylist Jason Backe is a firm believer that every woman can wear a hair color she loves.

Quickly becoming one of New York's most sought after colorists, Jason has worked with celebrities Anne Hathaway, Renee Zellweger, Amerie, Lake Bell, and Molly Price. Jason took a break from his busy schedule as stylist and co-owner of the Ted Gibson salon to share his expert opinion on red-carpet worthy color.

Choosing a Flattering Haircolor Basics

Many people find choosing a flattering hair color difficult. What would you suggest as the ideal hair color for someone with an olive skin tone, fair skin, and women of color?

First, I am a firm believer that any woman can wear any hair color - it all depends on the shade. I have a client I call The BAE - blondest Asian ever! The color is so perfect for her no one could imagine her differently. Some general guidelines though: olive skin, stay neutral to cool (think beach sand for blond and walnut for brunette or blue/violet base for reds). For fair skin and light eyes neutral blonds, warm/chestnut brunettes and coppery reds are great. For darker complexions stay away from anything gold or coppery and you will be devastating!

What are some questions clients can ask to help them select the right colorist?

It is always a great idea to book a consultation when looking for a new colorist. Through the course of the conversation you will get a good idea of his/her ideas and whether or not you are on the same page. More important than questions are your feedback. Be prepared to let him/her know what you like and what you don't like about the hair color you have now and share experiences of when you loved your color in the past and , and when you didn't.

Common Hair Color Challenges

For those who suffer from skin problems such as rosacea or a ruddy complexion, is there a color that might minimize these challenges?

If you remember the color wheel from elementary school, red is neutralized by green. If you have a lot of pink or red in your complexion go for ashy tones to minimize those skin tones.

If someone has been coloring their hair for many years but has a large percentage of gray, what is the best way to grow their natural hair color out?

Cold turkey is the ultimate way. If you can't deal with that heavy line of demarcation, ask your colorist to weave in (just like highlighting) the color you used to have for your single process, this will wean you off the color and soften the new growth.

For individuals who are starting to gray and don't want a full commitment to color, what are some suggestions for coloring or blending gray hair and choosing a flattering hair color?

First try a demi permanent color. That will blend away the gray and won't leave a line of demarcation as it grows out because it gently fades over 26-28 shampoos. You could also try adding some highlights. Just introducing some variation in tone can trick the eye and help to blend out gray. Don't expect 100% coverage with these techniques though. To get 100% coverage you need to use permanent hair color.

What's a good way for overly highlighted blondes to return to their natural hair color without unwanted tones?

That is a really complicated question and I get it all the time! The easiest thing to say is always trust your colorist for any corrective hair color needs - it is really tricky and very complicated.

Hair Color Trends

Can you give us any insight on the current color trends?

Rich brunette color is right on point for trend this season. It's all about subtle variation in tones, light browns mixed with deeper browns, to give dimension and movement without bold or stripy highlights that would make it look dated. Neutral beachy tones - not too warm and not too cool - are spot on right now for blonds again with subtle tone on tone highlights. Like we saw on the red carpets this season, there has never been a better time to be a redhead - if you are looking to make a statement this season but don't want to drop the cash on the status bag of the moment - go RED!

For those desiring an eccentric emo style, how can bright colors (blue, pink, purple) be incorporated into the hair while still flattering the complexion?

Generally speaking, they can't! There are ways to add ribbons of color - I have seen blue, red, orange, or green in brunettes or pastels of pink and blue in blonds that have looked amazing- but it's the base color you should be concerned about for bringing out your best complexion.

Could you name your favorite products for conserving the color and integrity of the hair?

Ted Gibson Goodnite, Ted Gibson Clarity Color shampoo and conditioner and Ted Gibson individual color

LTK: Thank you for sharing your advice and expertise with our readers!

It was my pleasure! Thank you for thinking of me!

Contact Information

To book an appointment with Jason Backe, contact the Ted Gibson salon:

Ted Gibson Salon
184 Fifth Avenue, second floor
New York, New York 10010
Tel. (212) 633-6333

Choosing a Flattering Haircolor Expert Interview