Managing Intense Color Changes

Published on: 06/23/2019 9:32 pm

When clients make frequent or extreme color changes, rely on these techniques.

Redken national artist and owner of Brilla, A Salon by Alma Gonzales (located in Salons by JC, Highland Park, IL), who is available to teach at salon suite buildings throughout IL, often gets asked how to handle extreme color changes. “The most important thing,” she says, “is to maintain the integrity of the hair.” Her front-line defenses are pH-Bonder and deep conditioning treatments that allow clients to continue to color play.

Frequent Fashion Color Changes

Would you dare take a client from brunette with faded balayage/ombré to turquoise blue…and then to intense magenta? That’s just what Gonzalez did without a worry for her client.

From Blonde Balayage to Turquoise to Red? Try the steps Redken national artist Alma Gonzalez uses.

To start, she brought up the blonde with Redken Flash Lift and 40-volume developer, then processed for 45 minutes. (Add a bonder based on your brand’s instructions.)

“I used the formula in key darker areas, then applied Post-Service pH-Bonder and followed up with two deep conditioning treatments,“ notes Gonzalez.

Next, she created a custom mix of Redken City Beats Highline Green and Broadway Blue (2:1).

Tip: To avoid the trashed-hair syndrome that can result from extreme lifting and following with permanent color, use direct dyes that are intended to fade in about eight weeks. You can also try your semi-permanent line.

Once the color fades back to blonde, there’s bound to be some green residue. Gonzalez removed it with an all-over misting of Redken Pre-Art Clarifying Treatment, processed for 10-minutes under the dryer. Then, she emulsified her shampoo, rinsed and applied Blonde Idol Base Breaker with 20-volume developer. After 10 minutes, she had a perfectly fresh palette. (Alternately, try a soap cap, followed by a formula that gently lifts up to two levels.)

“After towel drying, I mixed one part City Beats Midtown Magenta with two parts Big Apple Red and processed for 30 minutes,” adds Gonzalez. “Using direct dyes makes frequent color changes easy because they just fade away. If you were to use a bleach mixture and follow with an intense permanent color, removing it with lightener would sink the color molecules deeper into the cuticle.”

Maximum-Option Color

When going from box color to a fashion hue, lighten only as much as necessary. You’ll maintain the hair’s integrity and allow for maximum options later on. @Alma_Gonzalez13

When a client with red box color wants a rich shade with multiple highlights, combining a permanent new base with direct dyes that are used in foils allows future color changes. Options include changing the highlight shades, leaving highlights blonde once they fade away (avoid colors that leave green behind for this approach) or even returning to a more natural base. Here are Gonzalez’s formulas her the client who started with home hair color, was lifted to blonde and then got the new fashion shades.

To Remove Box Color: Redken Blonde Icing with 30-volume developer and pH-Bonder, processed for 45 minutes to yellow

Base: Chromatics 5N + 4NW with 10-volume developer in a 1:1 ratio.

Foiled Highlights: Alternate Midtown Magenta, Broadway Blue, Big Apple Red, Indigo Skyline

“Since these highlights will fade to an orangey-yellow, you can slightly cool them or allow them to continue to fade to blonder tones,” says Gonzalez.

The Ultimate Color-Change Challenge

Many colorists are afraid to take darker-haired clients to a true pearl blonde. What’s critical, says Gonzalez, is protecting the hair’s health and being ready to re-adjust the tone on the spot. She even fearlessly double-processes twice in one day.

“Even dark blonde has a lot of melanin in it, which makes it hard to get the yellow out,” observes Gonzales. “Be ready to adjust developer volumes and timing, and tone twice. Even then, you may not get it perfect the first time.” For a client whose hair was a natural Level 6/7, here’s her perfect formula fix:

Make clients with pearl-blonde ambitions happy by allowing time for same-day tonal adjustments. @Alma_Gonzalez13

Pre-Lightening Formulas: For the midshaft and ends, mix Blonde Icing with 30-volume developer in a 1:2 ratio. For the root/scalp area, use 20-volume developer. Process both for 45 full minutes, then rinse, treat the hair using Post-Service pH-Bonder; shampoo and deep condition twice. (Gonzalez uses Redken Chemistry).

Toner: Redken SEQ 09P (Pearl)

Notice that in the tri-photo shown here, the smaller shot in the lower left shows remaining yellow. To remove it during the same appointment, use a 20-volume developer lightening formula, apply it from scalp to ends and process for 30 additional minutes before toning again. Then follow with the complete post-color regimen. The results are a perfect pearlized shade.

“Always protect these delicate tones with shampoos like Color Extend and color-neutralizing conditioners that contain a hint of purple, like Blonde Idol,” adds Gonzalez.

As for “where can she go from here,” this client can now maintain her pearl blonde, move into more golden or ashier shades or even give silver a spin. Of course, she can also go darker—just be sure to do it gradually. Once a client has been this blonde, she won’t be happy with a too-dark tint-back, as hundreds of colorists can attest.

Gina Rivera

Gina Rivera

Beauty Icon and Expert

Gina Rivera skyrocketed to success when the company she founded in 2007, Phenix Salon Suites, became the fastest-growing salon suite company in the beauty industry. With more than 300 locations nationally and international expansion occurring in the UK, Entrepreneur Magazine named Phenix Salon Suites a Top 500 Franchise list seven years running.