Whether it’s partly due to the pandemic or just another reminder that trends come full circle, shorter hairstyles—such as the pixie and bixie, bob and lob and more—have been on the rise (for all genders)
as of late.
While mastering the cut is critical for these looks, it’s also just as important to utilize the right colouring techniques that are specific to short hair. In doing so, you can enhance these cuts and ensure your clients get the most out of their colour services.
“With these short styles, we have a lot of opportunity to make more of a statement and use fun tones,” says Suzanne Lalonde, a Calgary-based hairstylist at Scruples Hair Design and brand education specialist for Revlon Professional. “If you’re working with hair with more length, you’re probably going to go for a deeper root, which gives a little more dimension because it’s focusing on the ends of the hair. With a pixie cut, you want to give a lot of wow factor to the hair with the colour you choose.”
Benariac suggests keeping photos of new colour trends that inspire you and showing them to your clients. This way, they can choose what it is they want out of their service while also being aware of what’s trending
Less is More… Work?
When it comes to lightening, foiling and colouring hair, yes, there are some techniques that are universal, however there are also some that differ based on the hair’s length.
“When you’re colouring short hair, you have less [hair] to work with, so the application needs to be very specific and precise,” says Lalonde. “You’re probably emphasizing one of your client’s features so you’re dealing with precision, which is no different from cutting short hair. There’s very little room for error; not that we hide error in long hair but there’s a very small window of opportunity when dealing with shorter hair so your application must be pristine and accurate.”
While it’s usually recommended to cut hair after colouring it, it’s the opposite when working with short styles. “It’s very important to start with the cut so you can place the lightener afterwards,” says Joris Benariac, a Montreal-based educator for L’Oréal Professionnel. “I suggest playing with two colours in short hair: Darker on the roots and lighter on the rest. Do some balayage on the top and in the front (like the sun would do naturally), just one tone lighter. This way, you’ll create a nice, natural contrast and from there you can play with different colours.”
While some people may not gravitate towards foiling for shorter hair, Tina Batchelor, a national educator for John Paul Mitchell Systems, and owner of Tina & Co Hair Studio in Stoney Creek, Ont., says it’s a great option for shorter styles because it creates an effortlessly natural look. However, being extra conscious of your placement is key.
“I love foiling shorter hair with more of a teasing look so there’s no hard line and it looks more natural, but placement is huge,” she says. “Longer lengths give you more room to work whereas shorter hair tends to challenge our skills. Using a good lightener is also key since some will swell and leave bleeding in the hair.”
“It also depends on the impact you’re looking to make,” adds Lalonde. “If you want to make a bold statement, it’s the direction of the placement of your foils you’re going to want to focus on. I use foils for slicing, weaving or traditional balayage techniques. If I want my overall colour to be very impactful—when dealing with an undercut, for example—my primary focus would be to make sure the undercut is slightly deeper so you can really see the colour.”
For clients with thinning or receding hair, lalonde suggests opting for a finer weave placement instead of a bolder application to avoid drawing attention to any problem areas.
Making The Sale
Since men are often considered to be a tougher sell for in-salon colour yet are more loyal to their hair products (and stylists!), here are some tips on how to maximize your services.
“I think men should be talked into a colour that fades off rather than grows out. When colouring our male clients’ hair, I feel that most gravitate to blonde, so using a shoe- shine technique [when you put lightener on a piece of foil and slide it back and forth to lighten only the tips of hair] works great. Using this technique ensures that every visit to the salon is a cut and colour service.” — Tina Batchelor, national educator for John Paul Mitchell Systems and owner of Tina & Co Hair Studio, Stoney Creek, Ont.
“I have success with men in my chair when I do things in small steps. Small things, small actions and small changes! I show them what we’re going to do or suggest things to them little by little to build trust with them. I find that it works wonders.” — Suzanne Lalonde, brand education specialist for Revlon Professional and hairstylist at Scruples Hair Design, Calgary
“Typically, men are not as informed as women about hair colour and products, which means we must inform and educate them about what they have to do at home before and after the colour. It’s likely they won’t want to come back to the salon every month or few months unless they are walked through the process and explained the benefits.” — Joris Benariac, educator for L’Oréal Professionnel, Montreal
“If you’re not choosing the right tone, adding dimension or placing your foils properly, you’re not giving your clients suitability, which means you’re doing them a disservice.” — Suzanne Lalonde, Brand Education Specialist for Revlon Professional, and Hairstylist at Scruples Hair Design, Calgary
Photos: Hair: Rafael Bueno, Rafael Bueno Peluqueros, Spain, Makeup: Lulú Pérez, Wardrobe Styling: Álvaro Calafa, Photo: Alberto Zaldívar; Hair: Caterina Di Biase, Heading Out Hair & Beauty, Australia, Makeup: Shella Ruby Martin, Wardrobe Styling: Anthony Capon, Photo: Andrew O’toole