Let’s face it: Low-maintenance colour is not exactly groundbreaking. Since the rise of balayage, foilayage—and everything in between—the natural look is something we’ve definitely been seeing more and more of. However, this shift towards more natural-looking results has also been fused with the increasing demand for gentler hair colour alternatives.
“We’re definitely seeing younger generations try to be more conscious of the environment and what they are putting on and in their bodies,” says Emily Baker, a field signature artist for Wella Professionals. “It’s more than just hair colour.”
Keeping it Real
Unlike many social media-driven trends, it’s unlikely that a client will walk into the salon with screenshots of this exact look. And if she does, it’s probably not for the reasons she may think.
Shawna Russell, manager at Filomena Salon and Spa in Coquitlam, B.C., says it’s about the hairstylist taking the lead and explaining the benefits of this type of colour. “It’s up to me to direct the appointment and explain that this is the direction that people are going with their colour and fashion,” she says. “Hairstylists are taking the power back from client; leading the focus of the appointment, explaining the trend, and helping clients feel on trend. This helps build loyalty because you help keep them current.”
Pro Tip: Russell recommends showing clients photos of how the colour will look, as well as what maintenance will look like, to make sure you’re both on the same page
It’s important to strike that perfect balance between delivering high-performance results with suggesting a product that you (and your client) are both confident and comfortable with. Russell, who is also a balayage and blonde expert, and
an ambassador for Schwarzkopf Professional, recommends the brand’s TBH (True Beautiful Honest), a range of 26 permanent shades with 50 per cent less ammonia, that’s designed for creating “authentic-looking colour.”
“I’ve been using TBH a lot for grey coverage, which is great because you get 100 per cent coverage [with the natural shades] and you still see highs and lows in the hair. There’s a softer grow-out,” she explains. “Plus, it’s great for the lighten-and-tone market because of all the primary and secondary tones. The colour contains grapeseed oil, which gives you so much shine, and clients want that youthful, healthy, shiny look, even if they have to cover grey. They still want a natural look.”
For some clients, their choice may be even more personal due to past experiences. Case in point: If a client suffers from allergies or sensitivities to certain types of hair colour. Baker suggests using Wella’s Koleston Perfect, a permanent colour range with ME+ technology that’s free of PPD, making it “up to 60 per cent less likely for someone to develop a new allergy to hair colour.”
“I’ve had a few clients with sensitivities, and they’ve noticed a huge difference,” says Baker. “With more people developing sensitivities from the environment, the trend [of people looking for gentler alternatives] is huge. It’s not just a hair trend—it’s a lifestyle.”
Getting the Look
While at first glance lower-maintenance looks may seem easy to create, that’s not always the case.
“It appears more natural, but it can actually be more complicated for some colourists to do,” says Baker. She recommends combining techniques, such as a balayage, foilayage and foils, at the root. “It’s almost like three different techniques on one head,” she says, adding that it’s a great way to increase service dollars since it’s a longer, extended service. In other words, if the client is coming back to the salon less frequently, it can be a great way to maximize your service dollars while they’re in your chair.
“Booking is different than what it used to be. You’re scheduling them for more time, adding on services like a toning service or root shadow,” she explains. “They’re coming in less, but it doesn’t mean they’re spending less. Now they are coming in for toning or glossing services, so you’re not losing the client or money.”
Pro Tip: Baker suggests using two different toners—one at the roots and one at the ends—and blending them.
“The busier people get in life, the more low- maintenance they want their hair to be,” says Russell. “People don’t want to be coming in every four weeks for touch-ups, so they want colour that can go a little longer, like balayage, ombres and root shadow looks. With a softer, less harsh grow- out, their natural beauty is better able to come through.”
With the shift towards using more ingredient-conscious products, considering what to keep out of hair is also important. Since protecting colour results is always top of mind for hairstylists and clients, did you know that pollutants—metals, lime (from hard water), air particles and sunlight—can cause structural damage that affects hair’s appearance and health?
Revlon Professional’s new Magn+t range features a Pollupl+x system that contains chelating agents, keratin reinforcers, antioxidants and shield ingredients that help protect hair by removing 90 per cent of pollutants, making it easier for colourists to get a more predictable colour result and hair that’s three-times stronger. Plus, it can be used with any brand of hair colour or lightener!
“When there are pollutants in the hair and there’s a chemical reaction, it starts to break off metal particles caused by free radicals, which are what’s breaking down hair and hair colour,” says Kirsten McIntosh, global artist and educator for Revlon Professional. “We’re even finding some salons with hard water, and it’s the lime in the water that’s causing colour issues. This is one of the main reasons when stylists don’t understand why they can’t get grey coverage, or blonde colour that’s orangey or brassy two weeks later.”
How it Works
Magn+t Anti-Pollution Neutralizer is an additive for hair colour or lightener that removes 90 per cent of metals and protects against free radicals.
Magn+t Color Lock Repairing Shampoo reduces the build-up and deposit of metals, neutralizes hard water and helps repair hair’s inner structure.
Magn+t Anti-Pollution Daily Shield provides lightweight protection against environmental stressors, frizz and odour.
The range also includes an Anti-Pollution Micellar Cleanser, Restoring Mask and Daily Shield for at-home use.