Photographed by Marissa Jackson


Bleach-Free Hair Color Makeovers: Possible, And Gorgeous

the prettiest way to change your look, sans damage

For women with darker locks, hair-color changes can be loaded: Lifting color inherently damages hair, and when you're starting off with a deep hue, it's hard to avoid using bleach in the process. But while summer hair makeovers tend to be bleach-heavy (beachy blonde highlights or pastel pink, anyone?), the moodier palettes of fall and winter mean that there's less pressure to go that much lighter. Instead, we're feeling excited about super-subtle dye jobs featuring shades like dark chocolate and burgundy, and the kind of barely-there highlights that look perfect in the fading light. That means less bleach and less damage.

We grabbed three of our dark-haired editors and challenged celebrity colorist Christine Thompson of Spoke And Weal's Soho location to give them the perfect November hair makeovers, sans bleach. Click through to see what she created. 

"I was perplexed by the idea of my dark hair being 'made over' free of bleach—but also excited, as my hair is largely one of my best assets and you can't really risk frying one of your best assets, especially pre-winter. I assumed this meant all of us were getting unnatural, all-over color. Wrong. Obviously, I chose the color (Indian blue) of a strong Emmy's look that was on my desktop (Amy Schumer's dress). The hair colorist told me blue may wash me out, since I didn't hit the beach as much as I'd have liked to this summer. My second choice was the color of a tertiary highlighter I got on the free table—a violet-leaning red violet. I didn't want my hair to look flat, so Christine used two different dyes, one slightly lighter than the other in chunks around my face to give me dimension. What resulted was first an extremely shiny, healthy looking, and slightly darker look with a violet halo in incandescent light. Once I hit the sunlight or any fluorescents, I had the all-over unnatural color I had dreamed of.