What Works: Sharon Dorram
One benefit of working in the beauty industry for so many years is that I've encountered dozens of smart, savvy professionals (beauty company CEOs, product development VPs, power publicists, colorists, stylists, makeup artists, etc.) who've tried thousands of products and treatments, and, thus, have uber-informed/effective beauty regimens. I've certainly swiped tips and recs from them—and now so can you. As part of a regular series, I’ll be asking inspiring, in-the-know women (all 40+, of course) to share their best tips and favorite products. The point? As always, to find out what works.
First up: Sharon Dorram, NYC colorist extraordinaire (clients include Nicole Kidman, Christie Brinkley and Kate Winslet).
I met Sharon in 2000, one week before I got married. She probably remembers this not-at-all, but she highlighted my hair for my wedding. Sixteen years later, there are some things about my wedding I might go back and change (I had a brown cake…why?), but not my beachy-blonde haircolor. (Or my husband.)
For years, Sharon has been one of the top blonders in New York City, and she works hard. You can frequently find her at her salon (Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger) on the Upper East Side painting four or five foiled heads simultaneously, just to keep up with the demand for her talents. But Sharon doesn’t just make other women look their best. Every time I’ve seen her, she is impeccably dressed (think Katherine Hepburn with a rock and roll edge); her choppy-mid-length cut is expertly tousled; and her multi-tonal blonde is never too light nor too dark (she's pretty much a perfect Goldilocks). And now in her early fifties, Sharon also has superb skin, which she plays up with natural, glowy makeup. Want to know her secrets? Me too. So I pressed her to spill what works for her—and why.
Get highlights to hide thinning “Highlights thicken the hair a bit by roughing up the cuticle [that's the hair's outer layer]. And thicker strands help hide sparse spots," she explains. Sharon also points out that if your hair is naturally darker than your skin-tone (which is true for most women), going slightly lighter helps camouflage thinning because there is less contrast between your strands and your scalp.
Give your hair a fighting chance Like me (as I outline here), Sharon is a big proponent of taking supplements to ensure your hair—one of the last parts in your body to receive nutrients—is adequately nourished. Her current pick: Nutrafol. “I do believe it’s making my fine hair grow in a little thicker and stronger. However, sometimes I struggle to take the four recommended capsules a day. But taking two, I rationalize, is better than taking none,” she says.
Plump up with powder Sharon washes her hair every other day, then sprinkles in a bit of powder on her scalp on non-shampoo days to absorb sweat or oil (especially if she’s just worked out) and add back some body. But she doesn’t use dry shampoo powder. She prefers Dr. Hauschka Silk Body Powder because she believes it doesn’t leave her hair as dull or stiff as dry shampoo can.
Brush with care “For most women, hair becomes less elastic as we age and more apt to tear or break. So it’s really important to choose a brush that doesn’t yank or grab fragile strands. Mine is a boar bristle brush from Spain. I’ve had it for years so I think getting a top-of-the-line brush is worth the investment. It will last,” she says. Try this extra-gentle model from G.B. Kent & Sons.
Don’t avoid volumizing shampoo If your hair is fine, you’ve likely tried lots of volumizing shampoos (I know I have). And while they can help keep hair from falling flat, they’re also often drying. That's why Sharon says Leonor Greyl Shampooing Au Miel Gentle Volumizing Shampoo is such a find; it imparts both body and hydration, a tough-to-find-combo.
Keep skincare simple Sharon attributes her smooth, glowing complexion to a regimen that’s not so complicated she can’t commit to it. What she prioritizes? Regular exfoliation and daily protection. For the former, she visits dermatologist Robert Anolik, M.D., for Clear+Brilliant treatments, and sloughs away dead skin cells at home with Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasian Age-Defying Exfoliator. For the latter, she slathers on anti-oxidant-rich Skinceuticals CE Ferulic and Coola Classic Face Moisturizer SPF 30.
Stay neutral Sharon is a mom to two young children and she commutes to her NYC salon from Connecticut. “With children and a really busy lifestyle, I keep my morning regimen super simple. That way, I always feel pulled together, even if I have very little time to get ready,” she says. Thus Sharon sticks with a neutral, goof-proof palette that includes Dr Brandt BB Cream (which appears to be on the verge of being discontinued, so if you want to try it, load up now); Cover Fx Bronzer, Chantecaille Gel Liner Pencil and Tom Ford lipcolor in a nudey pink. Sharon is still nursing her Pink Dune from a limited-edition summer collection, but Blush Nude, pictured above, is similar.
Finish with fragrance Like me, Sharon believes wearing a scent that you love every day, is a must. So, 9 to 5, she sprizes on Tom Ford Neroli Portofino; in the evening she switches to Sicily Eau du Soire.