Finding the right colorist may mean the difference between looking like Carolyn Murphy or a Cirque du Soleil cast member. In a city with nearly as many colorists as there are bottle blondes, Katalina Pena at Oribe(691 Fifth Avenue, at 54th Street; 319-3910), is responsible for Tabitha Soren's photo-friendly red and Lauren Hutton's sorta-natural blonde, as well as the dyed hair extensions worn to this year's Academy Awards by people who don't take chances with such things, like Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lopez. Prices range from $85 to $105 for a single color and $175 to $250 for highlights.
Angela Cosmai (16 West 55th Street; 541-5820) preaches that "hair should be believable," and Teri Garr, Anne Bass, and Julia Koch are some of the converted. Cosmai and her team of twenty are perhaps best known for rescuing botched bleach jobs and saving droves of would-be Spice Girls from prom-night humiliation.
Brad Pitt may look like a young Redford, but he's gotten by with a little help from his friend at the John Frieda salon (30 East 76th Street; 879-1000), colorist Sharon Dorram, who credits her art-school training with her eye for color. A single color is $150, and highlights range from $200 to $350.