coloring hair

Many of us have a complicated relationship with hair color — from experimenting on our own with beautiful (or disastrous) results to having a professional color our locks with tones we either loved or hated. Color can be complex, fun and life-altering all at the same time, not to mention the source of a lot of anxiety and questions on whether it’s really right for us.

We interviewed Beau Kelley, one of our favorite hair color specialists in Los Angeles for some much-needed advice. He’s been in the business for eight years and recently opened his own suite at Salon Republic West Hollywood. He was trained under Vidal Sasson/Wella education and takes continuing education to always stay ahead of the trends.

We drilled him on all things hair dye and here’s his best advice:

Darling Magazine: What are the top 3 regimens you would advise your clients to do after coloring?

Beau: Always wait 24 hours to wash your hair after coloring. It allows for the color to settle and for your natural oils to come back in. Be sure to purchase a color-safe shampoo; a favorite of mine lately is the Redken Color Safe Magnetics Shampoo, it’s sulfate-free and will protect your hair investment.

Using a treatment once a week is also key in protecting your hair color investment. Olaplex Number 3 is something I send every client home with. It really does help in keeping your hair strong for future colored services.

DM: What is the ultimate sin (the absolute “NO NO”) in the hair color bible?

Beau: I believe the ultimate sin in the color bible would have to be box color! Box color really is as bad as we say it is. Box color is full of harsh chemicals that coat the hair and make it extremely difficult to remove. Treat yourself, protect your hair and find a colorist you can build a hair plan with.

Box color really is as bad as we say it is. Box color is full of harsh chemicals that coat the hair and make it extremely difficult to remove.

DM: What are some hair colors that you find compliment different skin complexions?

Beau: I always answer this by telling my clients that you can pull off any color, it’s just about finding the right tone within that family that suites your skin and eye color. I love to use a client’s natural base color, as well, and paint hair based on that, which creates a soft, very natural look because it incorporates their natural hair color.

red hair
Image via Victoria Bardega

DM: What affordable hair care products would you recommend for colored hair?

Beau: A few of my go-to products that won’t break the bank are: Redken Color Safe Magnetics ShampooOlaplex Number 3 for treatment and Kenra’s Blow Dry Spray for that perfect blow out product. A bonus is that not only are these affordable, but they are all amazing products that smell like Heaven.

DM: Are there any ingredients that we should avoid in hair products?

Beau: I always recommend a good sulfate-free shampoo (again, like the Redken Color Safe Magnetics Shampoo!). Protect your hair investment! Sulfates strip your hair of color; always avoid them so that your color gloss lasts as long as possible.

DM: What are some things to consider before making the jump to a new color?

Beau: My biggest recommendations before you commit to a new color is to find at least 3-5 images of your ideal color. Try to find photos where you love the tone, the placement and photos that share the same qualities you’re looking for.

My second recommendation would be to then find a colorist you trust and set up a consultation with them, come in and take 15-30 min to really discuss what color you’re looking for, the photos that inspire you and what a realistic expectation is of the hair plan/commitment you will need to make for this new color.

DM: Which colors are the most harmful for hair?

Beau: Box dye is the most harmful color to stay away from! Any professional service isn’t scary or too harmful as long as it’s done correctly.

Sulfates strip your hair of color; always avoid them so that your color gloss lasts as long as possible.

DM: How often should clients get root touch ups, if any at all?

Beau: Touch ups depend on the color you have and can range anywhere from 4-8 weeks or 4-6 months. It’s important when choosing a color to first consult and make a hair plan about touch ups for your color and what you can afford to commit to.

DM: How do you know if your colorist is good or not?

Beau: Hair/art is subjective, so the way I answer this question would be this: Are you happy with the work your colorist is creating for you? Does your colorist take continuing education? Does your colorist care about protecting the integrity of your hair, as well as giving you the color you desire?

DM: Are there colors that look best based on the season?

Beau: Warmer tones look better for fall and cooler tones for summer, but I always like when clients do their own thing and aren’t afraid to experiment with what looks best on them.

products glass
Image via Beth Cath

DM: What are some signs that our hair color isn’t the healthiest?

Beau: Dry hair or hair that is breaking can be a sign that your hair isn’t happy with multiple things like color, natural elements, water, etc. It’s very important to maintain your hair with regular eight week trims and a great shampoo/conditioner/treatment line.

DM: What are common misconceptions about hair coloring that you would like to put an end to?

Beau: The biggest misconception about hair color is that it’s bad for your hair! It’s not bad to color your hair, you just need to commit to a colorist that will take care of your hair, commit to a product line that will maintain your hair and not change from one extreme color to another on a regular basis.

Also, another misconception is the idea that you can go from dying your hair very dark to getting it very light/white blonde in one session. It will typically take a few sessions for this change to happen and for it to happen safely for your hair.

DM: What if you can’t afford hair color? Are there ways to do it more affordably on your own?

Beau: I would never recommend doing hair at home to save money! It always results in a color correction situation, which is going to damage your hair and will cost you far more than any other color service.

I do recommend meeting with a colorist and discussing a budget plan for your hair. A great affordable hair color would be some face-framing balayage pieces to give you a little sun-kissed pop around your face that looks natural and is very low maintenance.

DM: What is most important for a client to share with you during the consultation process?

Beau: I always need to know any and all previous color services you have had done to your hair, even if you think it grew out already, we need to know what has been put into the hair to know what the hair can achieve now. What tones do you dream of seeing in your hair and what tones are an absolute no for you?

You can contact Beau directly by phone, 661-600-6002 or by email at Follow him on Instagram to see his work @lasalonbeau.

Feature Image via Cacá Santoro


  1. I am incredibly disappointed that Darling didn’t take the opportunity to interview a female hairstylist. The motto is “the art of being a woman”and the beauty industry is one of the only industries that is made up of mostly women. The Hair industry vastly ignores female hairstylists in popular culture, and media regardless of the fact that they make up the bulk of the work force. A missed opportunity indeed.

  2. I’ve had terrible luck with box dye from the drugstore–my hair went all crunchy and looked awful. I’ve been using products for the past five years or so from an online company called “e salon”. They have excellent customer service and the products are top notch. My hair looks and feels healthy and the colour is exactly what I want. Highly highly recommend.

  3. I use to dye my hair with box dye, NEVER again! One more affordable option is to find a local beauty school to do your hair color. Yes, they’re all still in training, but they have professionals watching over their shoulder to make sure they’re doing things correctly and it’s usually very affordable (sometimes free!) to get your hair done! And definitely be sure, if you go to a professional, that they’re knowledgeable. My current colorist is fantastic. I’ll send her a photo of what I want and she’ll research who did it, what they used, even where and when they did it! Someone who is as invested in your hair as you are is invaluable.

  4. This is an incredibly biased article. The worst dye job I ever had was from the most expensive salon that I’ve ever gone to. I currently box dye my hair without any problems. There are also lots of other natural options like henna. You can darken your hair with tea or cocoa or make natural dye with black walnuts. Beware of advice from people who say “always” and “never”.

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