I know. I look tired. And pale. But my photo companion looks like someone you want to know, like someone with style, a devilish sense of humour, and maybe a devastating French accent. He is. This is Paris-based hair-colour maestro Christophe Robin, (row-ben) and his should be a household name like Jane Fonda, or Linda Evangelista, or Claudia Schiffer, or Catherine Deneuve, or Christopher Robin (yup, Winnie the Pooh's BFF and the only name here not on Christophe's client list).
Since he was a mere teen, Christophe Robin has been helping women look gorgeous via their best hair colour. And when we met, first in Paris and again in Toronto, he happily shared his own longtime guidelines for what we like to call anti-aging hair colour: how to choose the right shade to look younger, fresher and fabulous.
Just before we get to his hair colour tips, let's enjoy this photo of Christophe with his longtime client, iconic actress and beauty Catherine Deneuve. It's worth stressing that Christophe Robin actually changed the perception of hair colour in the global world of fashion and beauty. Essentially, his artistry and skill elevated the dye job from haircut-afterthought to haircut spotlight. The New York Times says, "the man himself is nearly impossible to access unless you’re powerful or very lucky. He is a virtuoso of natural-looking tinting."
In 1990 when he was just 19, Christophe's talent brought him those supermodel clients Claudia Schiffer and Linda Evangelista, and soon those household-name celebs such as Deneuve, and Jane Fonda. He's worked with Juliette Binoche, Christy Turlington, Elle Macpherson and more, as well as with L'Oréal for years on their home colour, including L'Oréal Paris Healthy Look and Féria Wild Ombré. And Christophe Robin is nice, and funny, and gracious, and he genuinely wants women to look and feel their most beautiful. So take notes!
christophe robin: anti-aging hair colour tips
To match your existing colour
People always believe their hair is darker than it is. Always choose a shade that is two shades lighter than you think you are.
To enhance your skintone and eye colour
If your skin is very pale, choose a shade with a little gold, or copper or red -- you want to warm up your skin. If your skin is very red, or you blush a lot, choose a cool or ash tone to help make skin look calmer.
To enhance your eye colour -- NOT your dark circles and wrinkles
I like it when the hair is a little darker than the eye colour. If your hair is lighter than your eyes, your eyes will look a little dark. Lighter hair than your eyes will also enhance dark circles and deep wrinkles. (See how different dark-eyed Carey Mulligan looks blonde vs brunette here.)
To get your best ombre
If you're young, go bold if you want. If you have fine hair and you're a little older, don't go bold. It'll look more fine -- it'll look transparent. So just do five [strokes of the Féria Wild Ombré brush + product] on one side and five on the other and you'll look like you have more hair.
To cover grey as a blonde
Some women, when they're getting grey, go blonde to try to hide it -- the roots aren't as obvious. But watch out because if you're too blonde, it can emphasize wrinkles and dark circles. Choose a number 8, warm, the darkest blonde we have, then play with ombre to go lighter on your ends, to give your colour a little lift further away from your face.
To cover grey as a brunette
Don't go too far away from your natural colour. If you choose a brown to colour your hair, choose a regular brown, don't choose a fashion colour. A regular brown looks young, like you don't colour your hair. A fashion colour will give away that you're covering your greys. (Omigod, is this not the best anti-aging hair colouring tip ever?)
To choose your best red
Light eyes and light skin can go copper. Pale skin and blue eyes or green eyes can go strawberry blonde. The darker your eyes and skin, the darker you have to go. Mahogany. Dark auburn works on so many shades of skin -- dark hair, dark eyes, light skin, light eyes.
The biggest colour mistake
Home or salon, I believe it's when people want to be somebody else. Dark hair that goes blonde means a constant fight to keep it from going yellow or brassy. The biggest mistake is not to accept yourself. I see a lot of people who are trying so hard to do something that doesn't suit them -- it never works.
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I have two boxes of the hair colour Christophe recommended I use when I asked him for advice for myself (hello, how could I not? Remember, The New York Times said he's "nearly impossible to access unless you’re powerful or very lucky"). I'm still working up the nerve to DIY colour for the first time, but I'll get there soon. And I'll report back, with photos.
In the meantime, does any of Christophe's advice resonate with you?