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Hair Color > Articles > Bright Idea For Lightening Part 2

For the majority of your haircolor clients, light is right. Regardless if they’re brown, red or blonde, it’s always good to sweeten the shade with lots of light. Last week, we gave you the scoop on brightening your brunettes, from latte to bittersweet. Now, here are some delicious treats for your strawberry and vanilla clients.

Fresh strawberry shades get juicier with a bit of lift, but you can end up trying to squeeze too much out of them. “At any level, natural redheads expose lots of warmth when lifting,” says LISA TUETKEN, assistant director of education, HAIRCOLOR XPRESS, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. To ban brass, know when you should opt for bleach, a high-lift formula, or a combination of the two.

Sweet Center
“A current trend is to place a panel of the lightest color underneath the top of the hair surface,” says CHRISTOPHER DOVE, creative director, WELLA, Los Angeles, CA. A veil of natural or medium color overlays the lightened shade, partially concealing it, but allowing it to shine through. For redheads, fill the hidden panel with a blonde or a lighter copper. You can move just a few levels with a high-lift formula, and get a noticeable change. “Don’t be afraid of copper this fall,” says GAVEN SMITH, REDKEN platform artist, and owner, STUDIO GAVEN HAIRCOLOUR, Franklin, TN, who favors demi-permanents Curry and Golden Apricot from Shades EQ. The hidden panel method hides re-growth, so it’s perfect for a first-timer or young client whose parents don’t want lots of upkeep.

Strawberry Ripple
“Many redheads prefer to go blonde, but it doesn’t look natural on them,” says Dove. You can give clients an entirely new look that doesn’t have the artificial feel of fat-free Breyers. Start with a few lighter highlights to break up the texture and add dimension. Then, add more red for depth. In the end, your client has a blend of a redder red than her natural shade, plus some brand new blonde. “The overall look remains the same but you’ve added dimension and interest, without compromising the hair.” says Dove.

Berry Goes Blondie
“If your client really wants to go blonde, use a high-lift formula as a base,” says Dove. Make sure you choose the right color. Avoid aiming for super pale, icicle-light tones. The change will be too aggressive. Then apply bleach or powder lightener to lighten and add dimension. “Nicole Kidman has this look right now,” says Dove. “Her base is golden-blonde done with a high-lift, plus she has the dimension of lighter pieces, created with a product like Wella Blondor Cr?me Lightener.”

Light Topping
Red hair lifts fairly fast, so when you get to the toner stage, have some fun and choose a product that lets you stay in control. Dove suggests Wella Koleston Pastel Toner Developer, which can be mixed with level 9 and 10 colors, and used as a pastel toner. A client may already be light all over, but desires toning. To do it, mix two formulas: a level 9 ash-blonde, and level 10 pearl-blonde. Apply in different regions or zones. The Pastel Toner isn’t absorbed right away, so you get extra time to work on pre-lightened hair and get the perfect look. Now if only someone would invent melt-free ice cream.

With blondes, timing is everything. A few minutes can mean the difference between a flattering French vanilla, and a frazzled freezer-burn look. “Blondes lighten the quickest, and easiest,” says Tuetken. “You have to pay close attention all the time, keeping an eye on bleaches, and avoiding lifting too far.” Over-lifted locks can shed toner in two weeks, making your client a salon regular - even if she doesn’t want to be. “The key is to achieve the best blonde, without going overly blonde,” says Smith.

Double Scoop
If you know the secret ingredients, you can use just two products to create a dimensional blonde that won’t stress you out with complicated formulations. “One of the prettiest blondes can be designed by applying two products separately in alternating foils: a high lift color and a cream lightener,” says Smith. He likes Redken Color Fusion Double Blonde N series and Lift 515 cream lightener (which lifts to a pale yellow that doesn’t need toning.) Place under dryer for just 15 minutes. Cool and rinse. Your client will be out the door while your colleagues are still waiting for their timers to go off.

Triple Scoop
“Super light blondes need honey or wheat tones running through, so for them I like to add a deeper shade between the foils,” says Smith. Follow the directions for Double Scoop. Then, between foils, use a Shades EQ mix of 9G (vanilla cream) and 9B (platinum ice) for a soft, pale, wheat-y color. Process everything together. Just cut away the band on a processing cap, and place it over the foils and the Shades EQ so the glaze doesn’t dry out under heat. “With a deep blonde mixed in, the lighter shades stand out even more,” says Smith.

Velvet Toning
If a blonde client wants super-light highlights on her smoky, ashy natural color, you need to bridge the gap between the two shades. Otherwise, you’ll end up with that same overly contrasted, artificial look that crops up when you combine bright gold streaks with level 1 locks. For a smooth transition, try the Doves’ Velvet Toning technique. First, do your foils. Then use Wella Color Touch, a demi-permanent, to lift the natural ashy look away and add a soft, velvet base. Use it in targeted areas adjacent to highlights, or as all-over color. “It’s not such a major commitment because it’s a demi,” says Dove.

Sugar Glaze
Toning can be tedious, but not if you have the right product. “Certain Colourshines shades work well toning pre-lightened or naturally pale hair,” says EMILY BEHLING-HEKIER, artistic team member, SEBASTIAN, San Diego, CA. “Plus, since they’re transparent, you can cover the whole head. You don’t have to pick out the pre-lightened pieces and tone directly there.” Colourshines Crystal cancels out a bit of gold, creating an iridescent, platinum blonde, while Glorious Gold plus Honey Wheat creates a warm blonde. Smith uses Shades EQ copper glazes as inlays in blondes. “It creates soft moveable color in between blonder pieces,” he says.

Hair: Andy Hindle, Eclips Salon, Collingwood, Ontario Photography: Stephan Potopnyk Makeup: HellaSandberg



This image comes from Goldwell’s Project Glossy Vol. 3. Learn more about Project Glossy at

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