After an almost-dizzying excess of platinum and pastels, the hair colour pendulum is slowly swinging back to the dark side.
Back to Black Hair
“I think the desire for darker hair started to emerge when most clients grew bored with cotton candy hair and pastels became more and more popular in the last year,” says Alex Chabot, artistic director for Matrix Canada.
From a marketing standpoint, the cycle of trends is usually quite predictable. Once a hot and exciting look starts to trickle down to the masses, it’s time to move on to something totally new and desirable for the glitterati to endorse, own and show off.
In the latest Fashion Week installments for fall/winter 2015/16 around the globe, the most celebrated designers—from Armani to Alexander Wang to Marc Jacobs—are toying with the idea of bringing back black hair—in all shapes and finishes: messy, wavy, textured and even wet.
“There is no denying that the Kardashians are still playing a pivotal role in fashion and beauty, whether you like them or not,” notes Chabot, “and they are now sporting much darker manes.” Witness the ultra-shiny ebony hair of Kendall Jenner, who has just joined the ranks of the highest-earning models. “And Kim’s hair went much darker after she dabbled in platinum last spring.”
The perfect blend
But make no mistake: The newest on-trend crop of blacks isn’t an all-over colour application or a level-one shade. For this look to really make your name take off and your clients take notice, “You need to mix in different hues to create a multi-dimensional shade,” cautions Guylaine Marel, Contessa 2014 Elite Master Hairstylist winner. “If you only apply one very dark shade all over, the hair will end up looking like a wig or, worse, the old-school ’80s blue-black variety.”
The trick to achieving those coveted new darks is to apply the colour tone on tone and lighten key pieces of hair to create a 3-D effect, giving the hair depth and creating volume with subtle differences of colour.
“You’re mainly working with level-three shades and creating a contouring effect by lightening the hair around the face, which is very flattering to a complexion of any age, too,” says Martel. To do so, she suggests gently lifting hair on the perimeter of the face with Blond Studio Freehand Techniques from L’Oréal Professionnel, which is ideal for natural-looking results. In this case, you will be following the lightening procedure by adding a jewel tone to create a beautiful multi-dimensional effect. “No need to use foils for this,” says Martel. You simply hand-paint the crème on the hair using your artistry to determine where you want to add the contrasting shade on the darker hair.
Ombré is still widely requested by clients and, let’s face it, pretty easy and quick to achieve in the salon. But the new twist to creating a more current look for this technique is to use darker shades to create a dip-dye look in any shade from blue-grey to mauve to emerald—stunning on a deep brown hue—at the roots or the tips, depending on the overall look you have in mind for your client. “Hair colour has become all about creating a customized look,” says Martel. “It’s not just about one cookie-cutter approach to colouring.”
So you might want to use an ombré or a balayage technique to go darker and create beautiful darker lowlights of purple, mauve or emerald on an espresso-coloured base.
Vadre Grigsby, artistic colour director for Pravana, has created some stunning ombré dark-jewel-toned locks by adding new Vivids Black to her colour formulas. “With the new Pravana Vivids Black, I was able to create multiple shades of smoky grays, crisp carbons, deep shadowy violets and muted lavenders. Even just a few drops of black into an existing formula creates a new deeper, darker version of it—it’s like finding the edgy side of your formula.”
Vivids Black from Pravana
Add Vivids Black from Pravana to any shade of Vivids you want to deepen in small amounts and mix well until you’ve reached your desired depth of tone. As with all Vivids shades, it’s a direct, semi-permanent hair colour that you apply to clean, dry, prelightened hair and process for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature.
Blond Studio Freehand Techniques Powder from L’Oréal Professionnel
A unique formula with a thick, creamy texture for great adherence that encapsulates hair for precise freehand application. Perfect for balayage and all freehand lightening applications.
Soblur Color Adjuster from Matrix
A professional multi-tasker for colour adjustment to create sombré effects and lighten hair in minutes without ammonia. “Think of it like an Instagram filter!” says Alex Chabot, artisic director for Matrix Canada.