While pastel palettes are not yet a thing of the past, many clients are warming up to the idea of taking hair colour in a more natural direction.
In fact, colourists are seeing a movement away from these fashion hair colours and into rich neutral hues—ones that are easier to maintain for both the colourist and the client. We spoke with two colourists who offer their best advice and tricks of the trade on how to move from extreme hair colours to more natural shades.
Rules of Colour
No matter what natural shade you’re transitioning your clients to, the laws of colour are critical to keep in mind, says Dana Lyseng, an educator with Wella and owner of Supernova Salon in North Vancouver. “If the hair has two to five pastel colour reflecting different tonalities, there’s a possibility in certain lights to see through the new colour,” she says. “I would always advise to have a clean and consistent canvas to achieve clean and consistent results.”
Jan Patanao, a Kevin.Murphy master colourist and Canadian educator, gives this example: “With violet hues, you may have to go more into a brunette and refine the tone of a violet, which is also a less harsh route.” Adding face-framing babylights is also another option to preserve the condition of the hair, while giving your client a refreshed and natural look to their hair colour.
“Before you begin, always identify whether the colour in your client’s hair is a direct dye, as most fashion colours are,” says Patanao. “In this case, you have to wait for the hair colour to fade, because using a lightener can push direct dye colour back into the hair.” For clients who want to begin the process immediately, she recommends using a colour remover to help break up colour molecules and facilitate the removal process.
Create Your Plan
The hair colour your client is transitioning to will guide the process you use to create it. Patanao suggests a reverse balayage technique to maintain the depth of the regrowth colour by using a lightener at the root of the hair. “Create a traditional balayage, then use a demi-permanent colour to break up the lines between the previous hair colour,” she says. “I like a demi-permanent because it will be softer on the hair, and also because it gives a more sun-kissed look, which is the natural colour your client is looking for.”
Stay in the Zone
For Patanao, zone toning has been a trick that’s helpful when bringing clients to more natural shades. Begin by choosing two or three shades, keeping these shades within two or three levels of one other. “You want to create a seamless flow from where the colour begins and ends,” she says. “For example, you’ll want to use a shade that’s darker at the new growth, medium tone at the mid-length and the lightest at the ends.” Another trick she suggests is alternating with two different tones. “I’ll use a warm toner and a cool or neutral one so there’s a natural variation and you create a multi-dimensional colour.”
Health Comes First
Lyseng reminds colourists of the following, “When removing unwanted colour on hair that has been previously lightened, work with lower volume developers and work slowly.” In addition Over the years Lyseng has learned that low and slow has been the key to success without over stressing the hair. “I also really believe in the detailed consultation, the ideas the client and stylist want to achieve for the whole year,” says Lyseng. When you’re discussing pastels, the conversation needs to also include the process of changing them after.