Lia writes in for hair color help! She wants to go lighter for the upcoming summer season but had a major color oops in the past so she hesitates to try again.  Can Jordana help?

Lia writes:
I have natural curly hair that is a darker brown color and am looking for something lighter for the summer. Ive tried lighter once before but everything that could go wrong did :(My first and only time getting highlights was a HORRIBLE experience…but I would like to add some without looking like a wanna be Beyonce. I hope that you can give me some advice ! I have attached a picture of my horrible (Alice in Wonderland Orange hair) and a current color pic. THANKS!

Lia has very curly hair (type 3c on the Naturally Curly scale) and wants some style/color suggestions.  As a model, Lia’s hair could be subjected to heat styling and lights on a regular basis, so it may be dry and in need of a conditioning treatment.  Also, she may be asked to change the color here and there, depending on the jobs she books.  I would imagine her beautiful texture and exotic/diverse look make her very popular for a wide range of campaigns, so I would not recommend changing that with any type of long-term treatment (it can always be styled for a shoot, then washed, conditioned, and return to it’s natural state for a different shoot the next day.)

One very important note: most hair bleaches contain ammonium thioglycolate.  Curly girls may recognize this as a main ingredient in relaxers.  What does this mean?  Bleaching curly hair can affect the curl pattern permanently!  Even worse, highlighting with it could cause some curls to drop while others stay natural (think Medusa.)  There are some that don’t, so if a curly girl wants light highlights, she should discuss this issue with her stylist and/or look for one who specializes in curly hair.

Now on to choosing a color…an overall lightening can look good at first, but funky if not maintained

Too much lightening, even with a curl-safe bleach, can make an otherwise beautiful woman look washed-out

And the usual face-framing that looks nice on straight or wavy hair, just gets lost in curls

But there are several options for curly girls to have different degrees of highlights, often done with color instead of bleach for a softer look:

They can look amazing in combination with a glaze.  The glaze can be anywhere from amber to caramel to dark chocolate or burgundy, depending on how much contrast and color the client wants to see.  I think either of these looks below would be DARLING on Lia!  By starting with the lighter one, she could then move to the darker gloss after a few months, especially if she doesn’t want to touch up the highlights just yet.

For cut/style, I like the shape that Lia has now, with more fullness on top than around the perimeter.  It draws the eye up, and helps prevent any bulk around the edges.  I would recommend taking just a little bit of length off, to re-proportion the bottom half and remove some of the weight line in the top.  I would do both visually, while cutting it dry, then wet it down and take a look at how it falls.

TIP to curly girls: go to your hair appointment with your hair the way you most often wear it, whether that is natural or styled, so that s/he can see how it falls on a daily basis.  But if it is in a lesser state than its natural curl, explain this, and bring a photo of your hair’s natural curl.  This will help you and the stylist decide what will work best, and help them know the best way to achieve it!

Contributed by:
Jordana Lorraine, Brazilian Blowout and Keratin Treatment Specialist

Los Angeles, CA (Marina Del Rey)
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  1. Thank you thank you !! I never realized highlights could ruin my curls !! I’m definitely ready to try something new and confident it will look great thanks to your advice . Now I can walkout of the salon with my chin up and curls down !