While there seems to be no question that the popularity of temporary colour options have been propelled forward by social media, colourists also attribute their demand to the arrival of the pandemic. Not only are clients wanting to change up their looks more frequently now, but experts say they’re more willing to put their money toward hair and beauty services.
“People aren’t spending money on trips or going away,” says Hannah Hewitt, an independent stylist and L’Oréal portfolio artist from Vancouver. “Instead, many are choosing to invest a lot of money into their hair.”
“People are changing their looks more often than ever before,” says Jerica Wentzell, owner of Gingersnap Salon in Sudbury, Ont., and a brand educator for Wella. “Fashion colours are also not just for the young and ‘hip’ anymore. When I was younger, I had pink hair and people would yell at me out of their cars. Now I’m giving nurses and teachers semi-permanent bright fashion colours. Clients are constantly bringing in pictures they’ve seen on Instagram as inspiration, since these looks are really trending online.”
Semi vs. Demi
While semi- and demi-permanent colour may seem similar, it’s important to understand their differences and the purposes they each serve.
“Semi-permanent colour is not to be mixed with developer and it sits on the surface of the hair strand, making colour short-lived. Demi-permanent requires developer to be activated and opens the cuticle ever so slightly, allowing dye to penetrate,” says Maral Poladian, owner of Danny’s Coiffure Unisex in Montreal and member of Schwarzkopf Professional’s #SKPCANSquad. “Semi-permanent colour does not alter the hair shaft and it washes out completely. Demi-permanent colour can shift tone, and be used for grey blending or refreshing faded ends.”
“Semi-permanent colour is also known as ‘direct dye’ as it comes directly from the tube,” adds Wentzell. “This means there’s no mixing required. It can last from three shampoos to 30, depending on the pigment, while demis generally last around six weeks.”
Before starting the colour service, it’s important to ask your clients questions about their lifestyle and hair routines to determine if a semi- or demi-permanent colour is the best option for them.
“It’s important to find out exactly what they want out of their service,” says Wentzell. “For example, a semi-permanent red follows along the fashion colours and has much more vibrancy than a demi red. A demi-permanent red is still beautiful but it’s a little more natural looking. When it comes to balayage, root melts and other trends with more natural tones, I go with demi-permanent colour for those techniques as it’s a bit softer and will grow out nicely.”
When creating temporary fashion shades on clients, stylists agree that semi-permanent is the way to go.
“I use semi when creating a ‘fantasy’ easy-on, easy-off colour,” says Poladian. “They are my go-to for porous hair since they are a gentle blend with no ammonia because as fast as clients want these vibrant, fashion colours on, they want them off. I always say: Have no fear, that’s why semi- permanent colours are here!”
She adds that she would use a demi-permanent when working with a clean and beautiful hair canvas that just needed to be enhanced ever so slightly.
“The fade out is also really pretty [with semi-permanent colour] so I tell clients to just enjoy the ride,” adds Hewitt. “Every time they wash their hair it’s going to look slightly different.”
“SOCIAL MEDIA COLOUR TRENDS ARE CREATING A RISE IN DEMAND FOR SEMI- AND DEMI-PERMANENT OPTIONS RATHER THAN PERMANENT COLOURS BECAUSE CLIENTS WANT TO INDULGE IN THEIR [HAIR COLOUR] DESIRES WITH ZERO COMMITMENT.” — MARAL POLADIAN, OWNER OF DANNY’S COIFFURE UNISEX IN MONTREAL AND MEMBER OF SCHWARZKOPF PROFESSIONAL’S #SKPCANSQUAD
With fashion shades continuing to be in high demand, some colourists are wondering if it’s a new phenomenon that’s here to stay, and are considering ways to get more clients on board with embracing modern, temporary looks.
“I feel like some people think fashion colours can be tacky or cheap-looking but it’s about the techniques you use and how you capture it,” explains Hewitt. “What I’ve realized is how you place your colour and how you take your photo can make it look so expensive. You can make it look so fashionable and luxurious, and I think that really appeals to the mainstream.”
While social media and influencer culture may be helping push fashion colours to the mainstream, sometimes clients need to see these looks on their favourite stylist’s feed to help inspire them to take the plunge.
“A lot of my vivid clients come from Instagram,” says Hewitt. “A lot of my regular blonde clientele now want to dip their toes into fashion colours. They see my work and think it looks fun! Clients will often book and then message me saying they want to do a purple now instead of blonde. That’s the thing with social media—we should post about what we enjoy doing and who we want in our chair, and we’ll get more of it.”
Talk It Out
Before starting your colour service, it’s important to describe the process for creating fashion tones to clients while also asking them the necessary questions about their habits and hair goals.
“Certain shades will last longer but some clients want to wash their hair every day, so they have to be warned that the colour will fade out faster. We need to ask a variety of questions and cover everything. I also tell them what’s required in terms of maintenance, time and costs.” — Hannah Hewitt, independent stylist and L’Oréal portfolio artist, Vancouver
“Asking how often they want to change their colour is important, as I might avoid certain colour lines that are longer-lasting or harder
to remove. If they’re an athlete or they wash their hair every day, I may recommend a pigment shampoo or conditioner instead.” — Jerica Wentzell, owner of Gingersnap Salon and brand educator for Wella, Sudbury, Ont.
Pulp Riot Originals
Hewitt prefers to use Pulp Riot Originals semi-permanent shades for all her fashion colour creations since they’re true to tone and she enjoys intermixing the shades to create customized options for clients. Her personal favourites are Candy and Lava from the NeonElectric collection.
Schwarzkopf Professional ChromaID
Poladian recommends this semi- permanent line for creating customizable fantasy colours and glossing services to refresh highlights. Her go-to demi-permanent line is Igora Vibrance when she’s looking to achieve the perfect lift.
Wella Professionals Color Fresh Create
Wentzell uses Wella’s Color Fresh Create to craft irresistible fashion tones, and the brand’s Color Touch is her demi- permanent line of choice.
Pravana Chromasilk VIVIDS
Pravana’s Chromasilk VIVIDS is a line of vibrant semi- permanent shades in a clear gel formula designed to help stylists achieve dreamy fashion tones on their clients.