1st Look Loves: Celebrity Colorist Carol Benn

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to lay their head in the hands of master colorist Carol Benn, color director at Giannillo Salon? Carol has taken care of Victoria’s Secret bombshell Adriana Lima and other A-listers. And, her combo of warmth and total discretion also makes her the go-to person for many music superstars (name anyone’s top three and she has her hands on their locks!). Meet Carol!

How did you get into this line of work?
I got into this line of work because of my absolute love for chemistry, art, fashion and beauty.

What is the best way to work with a colorist at a salon?
The best way for a client to work with a colorist is to bring in photos of the hair color that she or he wants. That way the communication is clear. People often have different ways of describing color and a picture is much clearer.

What are some of the things a change of hair color can do for a woman? The late great legendary makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin used to say that grooming eyebrows was a the most dramatic thing a woman could do to her face short of plastic surgery.
I like to think of hair color as 24/7 built-in makeup (when done correctly with the right shade, tone and placement of color). It can give your skin an instant sun-kissed glow. It can make your eye color look more vibrant, and it can even make your outfits of any kind, couture or casual, look that much more fabulous!

What are the biggest mistakes you see women make with color?
The biggest mistakes I see women make are: over-highlighting their hair where it ends up to stripey and getting the exact color as a friend or celebrity. No one has the exact same skin tone or hair color base, so most likely when a friend looks great with a particular color or shade, it is not going to look great on you.

You work on a lot of TV commercials for hair beauty products--any secrets you can divulge?
What a lot of people don’t know is that not every product or color that is advertised is actually used. It is important for people to do their homework before purchasing anything.

You work with a lot of celebrities--who do you think does a killer job with his/her hair color?
Jennifer Aniston, J-Lo, Charlize Theron and Beyonce

Any tips or advice you can give your viewers and readers?
Always rinse with cool water to counteract dryness. Leave conditioner on for ten minutes after shampooing (most people don’t wait!). It's important to use shampoos and conditioners designed for color-treated hair in order to avoid color fading.

If I weren't a color director, I would be a ___________.
chemist or fashion editor

What's something surprising most people wouldn't know about you?
My natural hair color is not black--it is actually reddish-blonde!

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