Changing Your Identity with Hair Color: Are you ready for the challenge?

Tiffany "The Blonde"Meet Tiffany. Tiffany has been one of my best friends for over 20 years. Tiffany is a blonde. I’m not using this as a discriptor as much as I am using it as a title. Tiffany is “A Blonde”. It’s her identity, philosophy and lifestyle. Two years ago we took her from a dimensional foiled blonde to a full on platinum blonde. She LOVED it. When she walked in a room you couldn’t help but turn to look at her. Blonde is an attention grabbing color. Why do you think so many Hollywood celebrities take on this look? Unfortunately, after two years of heavy lightening every three weeks, her hair surrendered. It couldn’t take the demand of such intense treatments. It weakened, and became damaged beyond repair. Tiffany had to make a decision: change her hair color or cut off the damaged ends into a short haircut. Both of which were the kiss of death to her identity. Here’s where the journey to her new identity began….

The Consultation (Intense Therapy)

If Tiff couldn’t be platinum blonde, she wanted to find a new color that would still “pop.” She started to talk to me about becoming strawberry blonde like Nicole Kiddman. My concern with this choice was her skin tone. Tiffany has a pink complexion, and pink skin tones look best when complimented by cool colors. (Warm tones make the pink stand out more.) I also needed to make sure that my client and best friend understood that whatever choice she made, she would have to stick with it. Her hair was in no condition to handle  re-lightening. Of course, explaining this is difficult. Since seeing is believing, I decided to take Tiff on a field trip to prove my point.

A Wig Shopping We Will Go

I asked Tiffany to meet me at a beauty supply store that carries tons of wigs. Here we chose wigs of different tones of red for her to try on. It became immediately clear that strawberry blondes were a miss. They didn’t compliment her skin tone and they provided no “pop.” Then she tried on a dark cool cherry red. It was perfect! Initially Tiffany would have never thought to go from lightest blonde to this strong red, but getting to “test drive it” first gave her a whole new insight on the possibility. At my suggestion, Tiff bought the wig to take home so she could warm up to her potential new look.

Decision Time

I checked in with Tiffany 3 days after the wig purchase to see how it was going. She had experienced mixed reviews from her husband and friends. Remember, Tiffany’s blonde was a signature statement for her, so a new hair color not only changes the way she views herself, but also affects the way people see her. We discussed how it was important that she love the choice and to be ready for further mixed reviews. At the end of our conversation, she was ready to commit. Tiffany was going red!

The Process

In an earlier post, I documented my client, Christin, going from brown to peach. Christin and Tiffany’s processes both fall under a color correction service. Many times we see celebrities go through extreme color changes in what seems like overnight. I think it’s important to recognize the investment of time and money, as well as the value of working with a colorist who understand the importance of maintaining the hair’s health and integrity through this service. We took pictures of Tiffany’s entire journey to red so you could understand the process.

Step 1: Pre-Tre

Before we could apply any color, I performed two different protein treatments on Tiff’s hair. When hair has been extremely lightened, it needs protein to strengthen it. Additionally, the protein gives the color something to hold on to. If we skipped these protein treatments, the color would have a hard time looking dimensional and fall out in the first few shampoos. Redken CAT treatment was applied first, then followed by a Redken Chemistry Strength shot and sealed with a 3.5 pH spray.

Step 2: The First Fill ProcessFirst Fill

In the salon world we use numbers to refer to lightness and darkness and color as the tone. Our goal for Tiffany was to achieve a level 6 Red. If I applied a level 6 red on her blonde hair as the first color step, the end result would be flat, chalky and pink. This is because red needs yellows, golds, and oranges to give it vibrancy. To build these colors in the hair, it must be done in layers, a process we call “filling” the hair. A fill formula is a color application designed to put base tones in the hair that will support the final color. Each layer is applied and processed like a traditional color application. For the first fill, I chose a Redken Shades EQ gloss with copper and warm gold tones.

Step 3: More Protein

Firs Fill Result

After the fill formula processed for 20 minutes, I shampooed it and followed up with another protein treatment to continue to prepare the hair for more color.

Step 4: Second Fill Formula

Second Fill Application For the second fill formula, I chose more copper and gold tones with a little bit of red. Shades EQ cream was the perfect choice for its low alkalinity, but rich deposit.

Step 5: More Protein
Are you seeing a pattern here? Protein is a big deal in color correction!

Second Fill Result

Step 6: Final Formula ApplicationFinal Color Application
After two fill processes, I had built up a warm base to support the final red color we wanted. For the final formula I went with Redken Chromatics. This is a permanent color with no ammonia. That means is will give a rich deposit and is gentle on Tiff’s hair. Chromatics uses an oil delivery system which also helps to reduce future breakage in hair. I love the Reds in this line because they are strong, vibrant and dimensional. I applied the color from roots to ends and let it process for 35 minutes.

Step 7: Last Treatment
For the last treatment, I blended protein with a color sealer to lock in Tiffany’s new hue.

The end result: beautiful show- stopping red! This picture barely does the color justice. I added a second picture Tiffany took of herself the next day! Guaranteed to make you notice.Final Red!

Tiffany’s hair looked and felt amazing. It was worth every effort to get such a beautiful end result. Tiffany was so excited with the finished look. From start to finish, this was a 5-hour process. If I had skipped a treatment or fill, I would have sacrificed this awesome end color. For color correction services, I charge by the hour to ensure that every step is included.

Changing your identity with hair color can be scary. If you are known as a striking blond, rich brunette or fiery red head, it can be life altering to you and those who know you when you make that change. Take the time to research what you want. Try on wigs in the color you are considering and work with an experienced colorist who can be honest with you about the expectations, maintenance, and end result. It can be one of your biggest and exciting life adventures.

And this is Tiffany now:

Tiffany's New Identity

A transformed and gorgeous “redhead”!

Color Correction – Christin’s Path to Peach

Pastel hair color–it’s everywhere right now! We’ve seen pictures of celebrities or images online of pinks, lavenders, baby blues. At Fix, it is a common request from our clients of all ages. To do it successfully, the process aligns itself with a classic color correction process. It can be time-consuming and expensive, but it certainly makes you stand out in a crowd. Today I want to share Christin’s story to peach. It’s a perfect example of what steps it takes to go from a dark hair color to a light hair color, whether it is pastel, blonde, or even light brown.

Here’s what Christin looked like before we began:

In order to get a perfect pastel, the hair needs to be lightened as much as possible. Christin had been coloring her hair at home, so our first step was to lighten her existing color to pale blonde. It can be a delicate process to make this happen. You can never be sure if the color is going to lighten easily or with bands of color. That’s why I am a huge believer of test strands. This is where I take a small section of the hair and treat it with lightener to read how it will perform overall. It took a few applications, but it lifted pretty evenly giving me the result pictured below. You can see the lightened hair in contrast to her original color.

I then repeated the process on the rest of Christin’s hair. Again it took 3 separate applications of lightener to get to blonde. After each process I applied a protein based strengthening treatment to help maintain the hair’s health. Here is Christin at the end of the lightening process.

Next up, choosing a peach formula. This, too, can be a tricky process. I have two goals when I create this type of formula. First, it needs to be the peach my client has in mind. Color shades can vary drastically, so I want to ensure the results match the client’s expectations. Second, I want it to be set in the hair to give it the best longevity of color. Again, here is where I depend on test strands to see what my final formula will be.

Before applying the pastel formula on Christin’s hair, I applied another strengthening treatment. This infuses protein into the hair, in turn giving color molecules a place to embed and creating a longer lasting color. It’s a non-negotiable step that creates healthy, beautiful end results.

After the first color application, the pastel peach was pretty, but too light. This happens sometimes when laying color back into the hair. Sometimes color has to be laid in a couple of times to get a real, pure tone. Here is Christin after her first peach application.

We then went on to add a second layer of color. This application did the trick. We achieved an amazing color, but a little strong in intensity. Christin loved it and wore it for the next 6 weeks. Here’s how it looked.

When Christin came back to the salon 6 weeks later the color had lightened up. She decided this time she wanted to go for a softer peach. After tweaking her formula a bit, I loved the final color.

This color was beautiful. And because of the series of salon treatments performed on her hair, we were able to achieve the look while also ensuring her hair was in great condition. Christin has been peach for about 10 months now and gets tons of compliments on her look.

As you can see, this type of service is time-consuming. From beginning to end, our Intense Peach look took three appointments lasting 4 hours each time. I charge $100 per hour for this service, so if you do the math you quickly realize this is a big investment. Choosing to do this in a salon with an experienced stylist ensures that you will get the precise color you want and keep your hair shiny and healthy. I’ve seen many hair lightening “home jobs” and it’s not pretty. People who try the “do-it-yourself” route usually end up in the salon to get it fixed, so why not just do it the right way from the start?

If you are considering any type of color correction service, going from light to dark or dark to light, a consultation is imperative. If any stylist tells you he/she can perform this type of service in one day, I would go somewhere else. Remember when you are lightening hair from brown to blonde we are working with a fiber. There is only so much you can ask of that fiber in a short period of time. Slow, control lifting is the best way to get where you want to go and still have hair to show at the end of it. Ask your stylist if they have any pictures of clients who have received similar treatments so you can see the end results.

It’s also worth mentioning the value of salon treatments through any color process. Every time a chemical color service is performed on a hair strand, that fiber is weakened. Without protein based treatments, your hair will not survive the correction course and the color will fall out much more quickly.

Drastically changing your color can be a rewarding “feel good” event. Take the time to find a colorist who is experience in color correction. To help with the process, read my post How to Find Your Perfect Stylist. Then go for it! Changing your hair color can give you a new outlook on life and your identity. Embrace it!