The ELLE cover girl’s longtime colorist dishes on Hudson’s perfect platinum hue, plus winter hair care and color trendsBy Emily Hebert
Though Kate Hudson temporarily traded blond for brown when filming The Killer Inside Me, the ELLE November cover girl has made her mark as an iconic Hollywood blond. But while she might pull off platinum effortlessly these days, her longtime colorist, Sharon Dorram (co-founder of Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger), says this wasn’t always the case. “When Kate first sat in my chair she was only 18 and not yet well-known,” says Dorram. “Her color at the time wasn’t great. I remember she came in with highlights that were white and stripy.” Here, Dorram reveals her best hair color tips—and how she took Hudson’s hue from ordinary to extraordinary.
How did you fix Hudson’s initial highlights?
I made them more baby-blond and added lowlights. When hair color is too stripy I tend to paint in a lowlight to break it up—I always believe that the darker tone in someone’s color is just as important as the highlight.
How has Hudson’s hair color evolved through the years?
Her natural color is between a dark blond and light brown. We’ve gradually lifted her base color and highlighted over it so that it’s a tone-on-tone blond with lighter pieces around the face and crown.
When she filmed The Killer Inside Me last year, how did you transition her from a blond to brunette?
We did it all in one go—I used a semipermanent rinse to take her darker. It was a soft coconut-brown. I tried not to have any red in it because red can be harsh and it fades faster.
When people are considering becoming a redhead or blond is there anything they should consider?
It’s tricky to give a one-set prescription for everyone but in general, someone with olive skin shouldn’t go really blond because it will wash out their complexion. And those who have pink in their skin shouldn’t dye their hair super-red because it will enhance that. Also, blond hair that’s too golden can make people with gold in their skin look orange. My advice is to never do big changes. Always take baby steps because it’s easier to do more rather than undo. Try on a wig first and make sure you like the color.
How would you describe Hudson's natural skin tone?
She has more of a golden complexion so she can wear her hair really blond and fair and it looks good on her. She can also go brunette and carry it off but in my opinion it’s not as eye-catching. Blond suits her skin tone and personality better—she’s very fun and down-to-earth. She’s a smart blond!
What’s her natural hair texture, and does hair texture affect the type of color you’ll achieve?
Kate has medium hair texture with a natural wave. If someone has really thin hair, it will turn blonder faster so you have to be careful. But if hair is thicker and coarser you’ll have to leave the lightener on for longer in order to get the optimal blond.
When you color your hair, it become drier—any advice for combating the additional dry winter air?
I always tell people to sleep with a humidifier. It helps moisturize both your hair and skin. You can also do treatments with masks or oils. Kérastase Chronologiste is really good. I also like to use vitamin E oil packs on the hair. You can get them at a health food store and they’re fantastic—I’ve been using them on clients for years. You just add the vitamin E oil into your conditioner and massage it into your strands. Wrap your head in a hot towel and leave the treatment on for a couple hours before shampooing it out.
Any hair color trend forecasts for this season and next?
Although there will be a continuation of ombré, we’ll start seeing extreme solid colors as well—platinum-blond and dark chocolate brown. But that’s the trend; there will always be demand. I do hair color and highlights tailored to the individual.
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