Tips for Coloring Multi-Texture Hair
Just as skin tone is the dominant factor when considering the right makeup, it is just as important when choosing the most flattering hair color. Now, we all know that not everyone received this memo, and bad hair color happens to good people—it’s evident every time I visit a local store. So it is up to us as hair care professionals to educate ourselves, promote healthy hair care practices and encourage those “good people” to leave the hair color to the professionals.
Women with multi-textured hair, more so in recent years, rely on hair color as a tool for self-expression, and mainstream hair care manufacturers have taken notice. Carolyn John, marketing director of Revlon Professional’s ethnic division, says hair color use is increasing. “Women are much more willing to experiment because they are much more confident in themselves. Also, they have more faith in the products.” While what Carolyn says is true, unfortunately for many, the hair color results lead them to the salon for a hair color correction.
With hair color services continuing to grow in popularity within the multi-texture industry, clients are expecting the professional to not only know the latest color trends but also how to keep their tresses looking healthy and beautiful.
Highlight Only Services
Highlight-only services are one of the most popular hair color services in the salon and are usually sub-categorized on salon menus. The more common highlight-only options are: face-framing highlights, partial highlights (face and top) and entire head highlights.
An example of face framing highlights is adding subtle honey shades around the face on dark hair. This is also an ideal service to recommend to new hair color clients. Face and top partial highlights look absolutely fabulous on layered tresses. Partial highlights placed from midstrand to the ends using a blend of colors create more interest on unactivated lengths. Clients who want an extreme color change usually request the entire head highlights service. Relaxed hair can present many challenges due to the fragility of the strands. When performing highlights on relaxed hair, it is not advisable to use lightener to lift the hair to lighterlevels. Instead, use a higher level tint. Due to the porosity of the hair, high-lift tints that usually require a high volume of developer could produce unwanted brassiness in your color result.
The size of the highlighted strands makes a significant difference in the color result. Fine highlighted strands produce more of a blend, creating a softer look; thicker strands (chunky highlights) create a more bold statement.
When highlighting naturally textured hair, thicker strands are more evident, whereas fine strands could be diffused and undistinguishable due to thetexture. When highlighting locs there is a lot of patience involved. Strands are selected one by one, then color is applied using a bottle and a gloved hand. Color needs to be pushed into the strand in order to penetrate through it. The thicker the strand the more color needed. Be advised that the longer the hair the more porous the ends. Color should be applied to the ends last. It is advisable to use a porosity equalizer prior to any hair color service performed on locs.
Highlight Services With Single-Process Color
Highlight services with the addition of a single-process color are a favorite with many clients. Color may be added to the base and then to the remaining hair after highlights have been isolated. Medium-to-short lengths can benefit from partial highlights applied to any section of the head to accentuate the hair sculpture. To touchup grown-out roots, many clients request a quick base break color service. With this service color is added to the base, which extends and blends into the highlighted hair.
Ombre and Balayage
Ombre and balayage are very similar color techniques in which the hair gradually lightens, usually fading from a darker color near the base to a lighter one at the ends. Both can be very subtle or very striking depending on the contrast between the level and tonality of colors used. The difference between the two is with ombre the area separating the colors is more pronounced; with the balayage technique, which is a French term for “sweep” the color is applied vertically using only the tip of the brush and only to the front of the hair. The color is also applied closer to the base, especially around the front hairline. This produces a more natural, gradual fade. This year the industry combined the two techniques to create the “bombre.”
Color blocking, which is also referred to as paneling, involves adding color to just a portion of the hair, like the fringe. A highlighted section can also be applied underneath the surface of the hair for a “peeking out” effect. This hair color trend can be done with bright, bold colors or with more natural tones. The effect can be more or less pronounced depending on how the hair is styled. Cool colors such as soft or intense blues, greens, and violets are all the rage this year and are usually applied using the color-blocking technique.