Educators from around the industry share their solutions to your colouring conundrums.
I’m a new colourist. Where do I begin with colour selection and formulation?
In my opinion most mistakes can be linked directly back to the consultation–or lack thereof. Be sure to analyze the hair, eyes and skin tone and have an understanding of who the client is, so that you can choose a colour that suits not only the eyes and skin tone, but also suits her personality, lifestyle and budget. Proper consultation, hair analysis and the four basic rules of colour—one, determine the natural level; two, the desired level; three, the desired tone’ and four, volume of developer—will equal great colour results!
—Heidi Kenney, guest artist, Matrix Color Elite Team
How can I create the perfect double process blonde?
With so many celebrities wearing these pale blonde looks, many students and colourists are challenged with how to create them. Most colourists don’t pre-lighten the hair light enough to achieve the proper shade when applying the toner. The best way to gauge if the hair is light enough is to ask yourself, “Does the pre-lightened hair look like the inside of a banana or the outside of a banana?” If it’s the outside, then I tell them they need to apply a second application of the lightener before toning. The hair truly has to be at pale yellow to achieve the soft beautiful results that are desired with a double-process blonde.
— Amie Breckenridge Goltz, director of Field Education and Scruples Academy
How much should I charge for more creative colour services?
This answer is always a difficult one to give but, generally, I say it depends on location and the time spent to complete the service or technique. When doing a creative placement you are customizing the technique to the client’s specific needs, so never undervalue your creativity. Creativity has no value; product, on the other hand, does.
— Timothy Switzer, Goldwell educator and owner of Timothy & Co., Oshawa, Ont.
How do you get clients to have colour services in the salon versus at home?
Make sure you do a proper consultation. Find out her lifestyle and budget, and provide her with a service that is low maintenance, with less commitment. Avoid a full head of colour. Instead, use highlights, lowlights or demi-colour. Use the right colour products and techniques, and you can keep within their budget with fewer visits to the salon.
—Yvonne Sharples, educator for Wella
When I am retouching a new client’s colour for the first time, how can I make sure that my colour blends with their previous colour?
Match the client’s colour as closely as possible, and refresh mid-lengths and ends with a demi-permanent colour for seamless blending. I would also suggest placing a few foils for high and lowlights to create added dimention.
— Heidi Kenney, guest artist, Matrix Color Elite Team
How can I get better control of undertones in my final hair colour result?
The easiest way to address this common issue is to go back to our hair colour principles and revisit the beloved colour wheel. Undertones are the unrefined warm tones exposed during the lifting process. Always consider the exposed undertones visible at the target level. To counteract undertones, select a shade with tonal value opposite to the undertone exposed at the target level.
When I try to remove red, the ends turn pink. How can I get rid of that?
Pink can’t be neutralized with a green base; the shade will end up smoky-looking. The best way to neutralize pink ends is to use a colour with a gold base. This will turn the colour mostly copper and then you can remove it and neutralize that with a colour that has a blue base. This often occurs when you’re trying to remove colour that uses a direct pigment and when you’re attempting to bleach with a 20 or 30 volume. The slower you go, the better the result, so try a five or 10 volume, instead. When you use a 30 volume, you bake that pigment inside the hair and then it is really hard to remove.
— Guy Trudel, education manager for Joico
Why can’t I get my blondes to lift properly?
One of the biggest frustrations for colourists is getting blondes to lift enough levels. For example, trying to get seven levels and only getting five. Or one week or so later, it turns brassy. Most of the time this becomes a colour correction issue, when it’s really about getting a clean canvas to start with, so that you can let colour go in there and do what it’s supposed to do. When there are minerals in the hair, it’s like blasting past a rock. The bleach is trying to blast past a rock and it’s getting stuck and it can’t get to the protein and lift. As a culture in this industry, we want to take the consumer as they are when they walk through the door. But they could have products on the hair or haven’t washed in three days. W think we can take that customer and just colour her hair and that has got to change.
— Trisha Rice, advanced educator for Malibu C
Why are my blondes too warm/gold/brassy/coppery?
Often the colourist is impatient and is trying to use too strong of a developer. I compare using a 20 volume to a marathoner and a 30 volume to a sprinter. Your sprinter starts very quickly and gets out of breath quickly. The marathoner, the 20 volume, doesn’t go as fast, but gets you much farther. With colour, when you try to push it, you get stuck with gold pigment. It’s better going longer with the 20 volume and you get a better quality of hair afterward. Then it’s just a matter of toning. People are afraid of ash. For copper, go in with a blue ash, and for gold use blue violets. There’s always a way to start using a more subtle, natural ash. Once you gain confidence, then you can go in and neutralize even more, and your colour will improve even more.
— Vicky Filiatrault, TDS technical development specialist for Revlon Professional and Intercosmo
Hair: Rokstar Reds by Tegan Rivera and the Rokstar Artistic Team; Makeup: Nadine Johns-Alcock; Photography: Red Eclipse.