Spring Hair Inspiration: Lucky Assistant Hillary McDaniels' Ombré Bob

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Check out Lucky's digital production assistant's complete hair transformation! Ahead, Hillary McDaniels walks us through exactly how she dyed the look herself—plus, her new beauty must-haves.
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Digital Beauty Editor

At the Lucky offices, editors never hesitate to share their style and beauty secrets. "Where did you get that?" and "What product did you use?" are questions often asked and readily answered around the sixth floor of Condé Nast. So naturally, when fellow staffer Hillary McDaniels made the decision to cut her long hair into a cute, dip-dyed bob, we had to know everything. Below, the digital production assistant reveals her inspiration, hair product must-haves and more.

Lucky: Who inspired you to first cut your hair and then color it? What was the deciding factor that you needed to have a change?

Hillary McDaniels: [Executive digital editor] Verena and I have kind of been in this intertwined hair update cycle for awhile now. First, I was just starting to get antsy with long hair, so I chopped it into a bob. Then, a few weeks later Verena debuted an awesome Beyoncé-inspired lob and went platinum. After I saw her hair transformation as well as [senior beauty editor] Maura's new purple color, I started to get the desire to do something fun. I tend to jump into haircuts and colors without really thinking much about it, so I opted for a cool, temporary dye job.

Where did you get the cut and color done?

I went to Bumble & Bumble for the cut. To ombré my hair, I can never make these decisions long enough ahead of time to actually get into a salon so I ran home and did it myself. I used John Frieda Precision Foam Color in Natural Black. I've been dyeing my mom's hair at home for as long as I can remember, so it wasn't too hard to do.

How did you decide on the exact shade?

I wanted something noticeable and dramatic, but not unnatural looking. I'm also in an awkward stage of mid-length hair so I feel like the color has helped give the layers a bit more drama and purpose now!

What were some of your expectations or concerns going into the new look—especially since you did the color yourself?

I've never done darker ends before, but I've done blonde, so I knew the basic idea of how to dye it. I was a bit worried that it would be too dark, so I saved the unused dye in case I needed to just go all black! While I've dyed my hair before, I've always had some mishaps: I accidentally stained my hardwood floor with the color and once left stains on my bedroom wall while adding hot pink highlights into my hair!

Luckily, all went well this time—even though I've never used a foam dye before, so that was an interesting experience. I was really excited because the John Frieda dye only needed 10 minutes to work. I would recommend it to anyone doing their own hair. It was a lot easier for me to be able to tell which areas were dyed and which weren't. It's the worst when you miss a spot!

What's different about your hair beauty routine now? Do you use new products that you didn't use before?

The first few days after I dyed it I didn't want to wash it. I was so happy with the color that I didn't want it to fade. So I used a lot of dry shampoo like Pssssst!, which I love. I'm obsessed with John Masters Organics' green tea and calendula leave-in conditioning mist. It smells incredible, it's all-natural and it helps keep your hair strong and healthy. The biggest change is probably in my shampoo and styling routine. I used to use shampoo for red hair but I've switched to Redken's Color Extend Shampoo. It's really easy for colored hair to start looking muddy—especially with at-home dyes—and I think Redken does an awesome job of preventing that. Once a week I'll use the Redken Color Extend Conditioner as a hair mask. I'll throw a good amount in my hair and just relax with a face mask on. Right now I'm obsessed with GLAMGLOW for a nice beauty cleanse. So not only is my hair getting moisturized, I'm taking time for my skin, too.

How do you style it differently?

In the mornings, I've stopped straightening my hair and started wearing it in its natural curls. Mostly because I don't want to add any damage and I think the colors look nicer together with a bit of a wave. Sometimes I use my straightener to add a bit of extra curl, but otherwise I like to keep it pretty simple.

Do you have to adjust your makeup with your new look?

I think the only change I've made with my makeup look is with my lip color. I love a bold lip and am a devoted fan of NARS Heat Wave, but I've been wearing Black Opal's Wine Not more and more. It's incredibly dark and so sexy. When I pair it with crazy-curly hair, I feel like Lorde—minus the ability to sing!

What do you like best about your new hairstyle? What's challenging about it?

I really love that it's not an overwhelming change—it's noticeable but it hasn't changed everything about my beauty routine. I feel a little bit like Joan Jett rocking out to "I Love Rock 'N' Roll," but that's more of a daydream! I think the biggest challenge is that my hair is not quite a lob anymore, but not really long, so I'm playing with new ways to style it—especially with summer coming up. I've been brushing up on my braiding skills in preparation for the impending summer swelter.

Click through above to find out how to recreate Hillary's look—plus, her new hair care essentials!

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