Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Everyday Eva: How to find your "prime" color

Eva Scrivo’s back today to talk about coloring your hair. (Remember, second lifers, we don’t say “dye” anymore. Isn’t the word “color” more refined after all?) In the beginning of her career, Eva worked out of a fourth floor walk-up apartment in New York’s East Village.  Today she oversees a sleek glass and steel salon (with mesh Herman Miller floor-length curtains to separate sink area--how chic!) on Nolita’s trendy Bond Street. Just this spring, she opened an intimate, four-chair boutique studio in a third-floor walk-up (kind of a railroad flat) in a Madison Avenue brownstone on Manhattan’s very refined Upper East Side. But why am I telling you about this? Because it reminded me of one of the three important points about color Eva told me when I interviewed her at the new studio recently. 

# 1. Eva says: "Stay close to your roots. Never go more than two shades away from your natural color."

Eva Scrivo's  studio salon:( clockwise) banner,  main room overlooking Madison Avenue, garden deck and coffee bar
To find the best hair color, Eva suggests clients think back to the time when they hadn't yet colored hair, their natural color.  Try to remember when you thought you looked your best or when it seemed you received the most compliments on your hair. Use this "in-your-prime" color as a guide to work from now. You may even want to bring in a color picture of yourself from then. But don't necessarily stick with the same hair style. “Women often get stuck in a decade when it comes to their cut," says Eva.

#2. Eva says: "Hair color corrects skin tone. It is impactful because it is a permanent cosmetic." She recommends a simple home test to determine if your hair is too light now: "Wet your hair, which makes it two to three times darker, apply your daytime makeup and comb the hair next to your face. You will instantly see if your complexion look brighter. Then reevaluate when your hair is dry."

#3. Eva says:  “If you are considering plastic surgery, first consider changing your colorist. The right color can make you look 15 years younger.” The haircut matters too, of course. Really long hair can be as aging as short hair, which can emasculate older women who are 
experiencing other biological changes, like thickening waists. (Be sure to wear more makeup and jewelry with short styles, she suggests.)  And, stay away from geometric shapes which can be architecturally appealing when younger but too hard-edged when older, she says.
The artist at work:  Eva Scrivo uses a paintbrush to highlight Caryl's hair
Where and how color is applied can make your hair seem more natural and youthful as well. Highlights, especially if you are graying, trick the eye when applied around the hairline and temples where new growth often comes in.  To highlight the hair, Eva used both foil, the most traditional or common way, or another method called balayage, from the French word “to sweep” or “sweeping”. Eva handpaints the hair --using a brush and palette—in short, sweeping strokes that provide subtle dimensions and variations.The highlighted hair also grows out beautiful. If you are thinking of changing colorists, you might ask if he or she has been trained in this method. It’s hard to do yourself at home. 

Balayage adds depth and dimension, making the highlights look more natural than the "orderly"  foil method
Hair coloring is both an art and science--and there is much more to know about hair coloring than can be covered (haha) in a single post. For example, if your hair is already 50 per cent gray, you're best to use a permanent hair color. (Gray hair is hard to cover.)  If it’s less than 50 per cent you may be able to get effective coverage by using a demi-permanent formula that is processed by heat. But all this information, including ways to make your color last longer, can be found in Eva Scrivo on Beauty. (By the way, the enhanced e-book won the first- ever industry award for its how-to videos!)

When I left my previous colorist, I was beginning to look more like a brassy Hollywood blonde than my girlhood strawberry color. This worked okay (not really, maybe at Oscars) while I was an editor at InStyle but didn't really play well when I took over Real Simple (not that I had time to get my roots done!) So I changed to Eva and decided to go red, one of the most challenging colors to recreate. A misstep can result in too red, too orange or even too violet. (Just as a roast chicken is the taste of a good French kitchen, red is the test of a truly talented colorist. ) Here's how my hair looks now. VoilĂ ! What do you think?

Caryl (post-color) in the ivy-covered garden at Eva Scrivo Studio

Wednesday on Everyday Eva: 9 Tips to Do Your Makeup Like A Pro

(All photographs by Maryl)


  1. What if your "prime color" is a dark dishwater blonde that just makes you look washed out? I've been (mostly) a redhead since I turned 30....

  2. Beautiful mom!!

  3. Yup, she's a beauty! Thanks for the guidance!

  4. Your hair is gorgeous-you look terrific. I'm loving these interesting and useful posts. Hair color is a permanent cosmetic-I liked that analysis.

  5. That strawberry blonde is a •very• hard colour to achieve in a salon, so I'd say she is astonishing. I am a redhead now and do not want anything to do with my natural colour, a nice enough but conventional medium brown. But I am Irish. so I hope that's reason enough.

  6. Not only do I love that color, but the cut is gorgeous! (You're so right about the importance of a good cut, which I definitely don't have, and find difficult to get... )

    "Coloring" - certainly a preferable term. It sounds more playful!

  7. Your hair is gorgeous. At this point I have no idea what my true color is or how much grey there is!! I have naturally curly hair and I'm past 70. Am wonder what Eva can do for me...definitely going to check it out. Thanks!!

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