Friday, 27 July 2012

How to Create Chocolate Brown Catherine Zeta Jones Hair from Black Hair

Many people find themselves in the murky territory of black hair when simply trying to achieve a ‘Chocolate Brown’ shade. Continually trying alternative browns or constant recolouring ultimately leads to a build-up of colour which becomes black, heavy and artificial looking.

By contrast, some individuals - who have actually chosen to sport raven black hair - often look to find a way to reduce the edge of the black and create that effective Chocolate Brown shade. The below method uses Catherine Zeta Jones shade as a destination and explains a way of partial colour removal to reduce a black shade to a softer deep brown

The Catherine Zeta Jones Shade

Catherine’s natural colour is known as a 4.0 ‘Medium Brown’ which displays on the head as a dark brown.   Her colourist would avoid using any shades too much darker than a 4.0 as otherwise the hair would start becoming ‘flat’.  In addition, a very subtle violet tone is possibly added to the overall base shade to create the richness but counteract any copper hue which is prone to appearing in darker, coloured brunette shades.

If you have unwanted black hair colour and you are wishing to display a more ‘brunette’ look, try undertaking a partial colour removal or stripping and then ‘camouflaging ’ the hair with a new lighter brown base shade.  With unwanted blacks the tendency is to try to remove the entire shade and start again, however working with the black (as a base colour) can actually create quite good results.

What you need

  • Hair Clarifier
  • Decolour Remover or Decolour Stripper (read below for recommendations)
  • Tint bowl and brush
  • 5.0 (light brown) hair colourant either semi-permanent or 8 wash (see recommendation)

Do I need Decolour Stripper or Decolour Remover?

My recommendation would be that if you have recently coloured your hair black or obtained an unwanted black hair colour result through recent colouring, use Decolour Remover.  The Decolour Remover will take out the black on any areas it is applied to and you can then subsequently apply an 8 wash brunette shade to evoke your colour result, prior to switching to a permanent version in the future.

If you have a long term black colour or have suffered colour build up (from constant recolouring)  I would recommend using Decolour Stripper. If you are looking to completely remove all traces of black hair, please refer to my previous blog post on removing black hair dye for tips.

Step 1 – Clarifying

With black hair and colour build up it’s crucial to clarify the hair several times before even attempting a removal, stripping and re-colouring. Quite often the cuticle is coated in conditioners, styling products and residue which will prevent the subsequent treatment working effectively.  I recommend Pin Up clarifier, whilst it’s designed for pre perming clarifying  it’s also great for use prior to colouring, removal or stripping, use this without a conditioner to remove unwanted product build up.

Step 2 – Removing or Stripping

With partial removing and stripping the idea is to keep some of the black base in there and introduce a lighter brown which will blend and create an overall deep brown, that will be multi-tonal and quite natural looking. This technique is quite similar to Balayage, which you can read about here.

Mix your chosen Decolour in a tint bowl. You should only need to mix 50% of the product as you are not required to cover every hair on the head.

Brush the hair thoroughly.  Dip the tint brush into the Decolour and take a panel of hair from the parting and starting at the mid-lengths and ends begin coating this panel in the product.  

Pay less attention to the root areas, and only lightly brush the product onto these areas – always ensure the majority of the crème goes onto those mid lengths and ends.  Roots will traditionally remove or strip easier, so require less of the crème than the stubborn mid lengths and ends.

After applying the first panel, next take a second panel of hair on the opposite side of the head and repeat, and then begin taking panels from the under sides of the hair and back sections.

The aim is to coat panels of hair throughout the hair, but not apply the product to the hair in its entirety.   Remember, you also want to make sure there are (untouched) panels of black hair still remaining.

Step 3 – Developing

Once you have applied the crème to panels of hair throughout the head leave to develop for 40 minutes.  

If using Decolour Remover do not cover the hair in cling film (as instructed in the box) as it will squish down the product into the untouched areas.  Simply leave the product to develop as it was applied to the hair.

After 40 minutes, wet a tangle comb and begin combing the hair through (evenly) from root to tip.  At this stage you can begin combing the remover or stripper into the untreated black hair.  

When the crème is fully combed through develop for a further 20 minutes.  Combing the crème through the hair will gently shift a layer of the remaining black hair colour to reduce the shade slightly.  

Once the further 20 minutes have passed you can rinse and remove the crème from the hair.

Step 4 – Camouflaging

Camouflaging is a method of re-colouring pre-lightened, highlighted or lifted hair with a new hair colour.  After Camouflaging the hair will take on the new shade, but have varying translucent depths due to the previous lifting method applied.  

Camouflaging prevents hair looking flat or heavy which is a common pitfall of block colour.

At this stage (and prior to applying the new colour), your hair should be displaying a mixture of varying depths and the previous removal or stripping should be noticeable.  

You now need to re-colour your hair.

What Shade Should I Recolour With?

If you used Decolour Remover for your panel method I would recommend using Nice and Easy Non- permanent 765 Medium Brown.   This is a temporary shade, but can be used immediately after colour removal without risk of re-oxidation.  If you wait several weeks (for this shade to fade) you can then use the permanent version in the same brand.

If you used Decolour Stripper for your panel method I would recommend using John Frieda Precision Foam 5N Natural Brown.  This is a permanent shade and can be applied immediately after stripping the hair.

Step 5 – Upkeep

After you have applied your subsequent colour you should find your hair now appears a deep chocolate brown.  Whilst the hair will still be deemed a ‘dark shade’ it won’t have the black appearance and will look much softer.

If you wish to soften the hair colour further, I would recommend waiting 6 weeks and then repeating the above exercise with the remaining 50% of the remover or stripper you have left over and sticking with the same shades as outlined above.  A second partial removal, stripping or re-colouring will reduce the depth further and create a softer brown still.

When maintaining this chocolate shade in the future, apply to re-growth areas only (with the tint bowl and brush) and do not pour the contents of the colourant over the entire head.  Doing this will cause the hair colour to build up again and over several months start becoming darker and possibly black again.

Another Tip

If you want to keep your Chocolate Brown shade as deep as possible (after this method) but retain the lustre, try use Wella Shaders & Toners Dark Brown 4.0 immediately after conducting your colour and then use very few weeks to maintain.

Wella Shaders are ‘Wash in Wash Out’ colours which add tone and some depth and are perfect for keeping a brunette shade deep without risk of build-up.Using the Plum variant will add a purple tone into the hair which can also look very effective on dark brunette bases.

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Problems with Removing Black Hair Dye

Why is Black Hair Colour Difficult to Remove?

Whether by design or intention black hair can often prove to be a bugbear many people get stuck with when using home colourants and can prove very difficult to remove.

The creation of artificial black hair is achieved by a total saturation of pigment.  Basically, the hair is quite literally stuffed with a much higher ratio of artificial colour molecules than usual.   Remember, with an artificial colourant the lighter the shade the less base pigment present in the product.  With black and darkest brown colourants the shade is abundant in a very high level of artificial pigment molecules.  With black shades these can also include the pure black molecules (which are very large) and blue.

Black Hair Colour Due to Colour Build Up

A black hair colour can also be found in colour build-up of brunette shades.  This happens when the whole hair is continually subjected to artificial colour applications, rather than just the re-growth areas.  With each application, more and more pigments are introduced into the hair until it becomes so full it can literally take no more colour.  At this point the hair will appear black – which indicates complete colour saturation. 

The Problems of Removing Black Hair Dye

Even using a hair colour remover, black shades can be notoriously difficult to remove in one go, simply because the level of pigment in the hair is high and the remover has to work extra hard to extradite all of it.  Quite often, the colour remover will become inactive whilst it is mid-way through the removal and a second or even third application is required.

Removing only one application of a pure black colourant from the hair can be easier than people think, simply because the colour molecules have entered the hair at the same time.  The big issue is removal of colour build up.  Here the colour molecules can be sitting within the hair in layers and are of varying ages, therefore it’s quite common for a colour removal application to be required for each of the colour layers the hair has been subjected to during its lifespan. 

Top Tips on Removing Black Hair Dye

Work with Clarified Hair

Always clarify black hair several times before attempting to remove to make sure any barriers are shifted from the hair.  These barriers can quite often prevent a colour removal from working at all. To clarify hair you need to use silicone free products, something like a baby shampoo works well.

It takes time

On long term black use, don't expect the black shade to be removed in one hit.  Instead, try applying the remover once every couple of weeks to take a layer off at a time.

Black Colourants Contain Peroxide

Remember, with black colourants come peroxide.  Therefore, built up shades could reveal a coppery lightened base that will start toward the root and expose further down with each colour removal application until the ends reverse. 

Temporary Colour Camouflage

Use a product like Clairol Nice and Easy Level 1 (8 Wash) in medium brown to cover revealed copper whilst you are in a period of removal.  The Level 1 Nice and Easy has no peroxide or ammonia and will create a shade which will fade with washing.  Therefore, you can top it up in between colour removals and until your permanent black shade has been completely reversed.

Stripping black hair is ineffective for revealing a very light base.Simply because the pigment is so abundant the stripper has to work much harder.  It will quite often strip to a rusty brown shade.  However, if you just want to go to a deeper brown shade, you can strip the black and re-colour immediately with a 4.0 or 5.0 (medium and light brown) to achieve a rich true brown.

Silicone Damage will Cause Removal Problems

Some hair colourants use high amounts of silicone and if you use heat or irons on the hair this silicone can melt and cause the hair colour to become permanently trapped.  Silicone damaged hair will have a slightly synthetic appearance and the black does not shift with a remover, stripper or bleach. You will need to reverse this damage before any subsequent treatments can take full effect. I'll write a full post about silicone damage soon.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Home Balayage Step by Step Tutorial: Medium to Light Brown Bases

Balayage is a technique which has been used for nearly 40 years in many of the top salons in Paris and Beverly Hills.  It involves the direct brushing of either a colourant or lightener onto the hair without the use of a cap or foils.

This Balayage technique works best on natural (non colour treated) hair.  However, using Decolour Stripper, the Balayage method can now be used on colour treated hair to partially strip hair colour prior to recolouring to effectively create a multi-tonal base in a soft, natural way.

DIY Balayage Tutorial for Medium to Light Brown Hair

This tutorial is designed for current medium to light brown bases who want to achieve a natural medium blonde base (either cool or warm). Please refer to the end of this blog post for my notes on DIY Balayage on brunettes and black hair.

You will need

How to Create Balayage Hair at Home

Make sure the hair is clarified (washed with a sulphate & silicone free shampoo such as baby shampoo) to ensure it's 100% free of styling products and conditioning residue, this will allow the treatment to work fully. Most importantly dry hair into your usual hair style, this is crucial to ensure good positioning of your balayage. 

Home Balayage Tutorial Preparation 
  1. Mix only 50% of your Decolour Stripper elements in the tint bowl and ensure only the tip of the tint brush is dipped into the product. You can keep the remaining 50% of product in their separate containers and save them for another treatment at a later date.  
  2. Working on dry hair, use the pointed end of the tint brush and segregate a thread (about 1cm wide) of hair from the front of the parting.  Pull the thread outward and starting at the end of the hair section, begin coating in the Decolour Stripper, working up the section and applying slightly less stripper at the root area. Go Along the parting and continue creating these streaks.
  3. Once you have applied the threads along the parting, begin using the tip of your tint brush to pull out and coat slightly thicker sections of hair in the stripper (1.5cm-2cm wide) from underneath your parting. Again, apply the stripper to the mid lengths and ends of the section first and apply less to the root area.
  4. When choosing chunks to coat on the underneath of your hair, you can coat sections as wide as 3 cm if you wish.
  5. Work through the hair taking these slightly wider sections from both the sides and the back of the hair.
  6. Once you have applied the stripper to your sections, do not comb through as you want to leave a lot of your darker base intact.
  7. Once applied, leave the Decolour Stripper to develop on the hair for between 45 minutes and 1 hour before rinsing as instructed.
  8. Once you have developed and rinsed off the Decolour Stripper, fully towel dry the hair.  You will now notice the overall colour looks streaky and the tone may be warm, this is normal.

You have now created the base for your balayage look, next, you need to select the correct shade of permanent hair colour for your desired look, below are some suggested colours that you might like. Further instructions are below.

TOP TIP If you are prone to warmth and do not want to display a golden tone in the finished result always select a colourant with ash tone as your ‘camouflage’ shade.

What is a Camouflage Shade?

Camouflaging is a method of applying a permanent hair colourant to a pre-lightened, highlighted or Balayaged base to deepen the lightened areas but retain any deeper (unlightened) parts. Camouflaging mutes the overall colour and creates a richer multi tonal result without hard edges as seen when the hair is just lightened and left.

DIY Balayage Selecting the Correct Shade

Blonde Hair Colour Suggestions

DIY Balayage on medium to light brown shades wishing to go blonde with their balayage, might want to take inspiration from one of these fabulous ladies from Elle's honey blonde to J-lo's ash blonde.
Red Hair Colour Suggestions

If you want to be bold with your colour, why not go for a red shade? Here's my colour recommendations for auburn to vibrant red shades.Whether you want a subtle, Isla Fisher red to a vibrant, striking Rhianna red, here are some suggestions.
TOP TIP: If you need a hand choosing the right hair colour for your requirements, this is an easy way to understand what that shade aims to achieve in your hair colour. 
Natural = will mute warmth but retains tones already present in the hair.
Ash = neutralises warmth and creates a natural looking blonde.
Golden = Adds to the gold already present to create a soft copper effect.
Copper = Creates deep, warm copper shades.
Red = Creates vibrant red.
DIY Balayage Tutorial: The Hair Colouring Stage

  1. Mix and Apply your camouflage colourant as per manufacturers instructions, apply to towel dried hair as this will enable the product to cover the hair evenly. 
  2. Comb the colourant through the hair to ensure your whole hair is fully covered in colourant.
  3. Leave the product to develop as per manufacturers instructions, rinse and finish.
  4. Dry and Style your hair as normal. 
  5. Your Balayage Stripping is now complete!
If you wish to build a lighter base and create further multi-tones in the hair, wait 4 to 6 weeks and repeat the process.

DIY Balayage on Dark Hair Colours

If you apply this technique to a deeper medium or darker brunette or natural black shade you need to remember to re-colour only with brunettes shades with a 6.0 (dark blonde), 5.0 (light brown), 4.0 (medium brown) and 3.0 (dark brown) base level.  If you are currently very dark and attempt this method with the colourant shades outlined the result will appear streaky as the chosen colourants applied will be too light for the level of pigment removal you can obtain during your Balayage Stripping.


Friday, 6 July 2012

How to Create Kelly Osbourne Style Silver Hair

Creating a Silver Hair Colour

Sporting a pure silver hair colour can be a daring fashion statement and when pulled off effectively can look edgy and Avant-Garde.
Silver hair displays best on short cuts and 1950’s ‘Monroesque’ sets and should be avoided if you have longer or ‘big hair’ as it could look witchy and unkempt.  However, silver ends on Ombre (or dip dying) can look striking and can be safely carried off, simply because the silver shade is not displayed next to the face, so there is no conflict with skin tone. 
For those who want the coolness of silver and have a bigger, longer and more contemporary hair look I would actually recommend ‘Metallic Blonde’ which is a far more forgiving shade to carry off (on longer hair) but equally as striking as the Silver.  I will post a how to on achieving Metallic Blonde soon, so watch this space. 

The Kelly Osbourne Shade
Kelly Osbourne gets a degree of flak for sporting her silver hair, but in general she displays the shade very well because she wears the right cut and make up style.  I do notice with Kelly’s shade that it will drift into the realms of lavender occasionally, which may be by design but is more likely to be the result of her colourist trying to find the right tonal balance in the hair.

Be aware…..

In my experience, creating silver hair is by far the most complicated colour activity, shades of silver will only display in the hair when it is entirely devoid of warm tone.  For example, with Kelly’s hair, her base will have been bleached to a platinum blonde first and then the silver shade overlaid.

If you attempt to apply a silver shade to hair which has merely been lightened and displaying a vast amount of natural warmth (such as yellows and coppers) the silver will act as a neutraliser and begin counteracting these warm colour molecules, therefore the final result will not be silver but either an ash or neutral blonde.

If you have your heart set on achieving a silver result (be it via whole head or dip dye), you must understand that firstly you will need to achieve a pure platinum blonde and this in itself can be very difficult. Platinum blonde requires the hair to be lightened and free of all natural depth and displaying a palest yellow. 

Please note! Hair will never naturally lighten to white as the keratin (the protein within the hair) is a deep yellow in colour; it is for this reason hair becomes brassy and needs toning whenever bleached.  

Becoming a platinum blonde (as a base)

If you are naturally darker I would never advocate bleaching the hair (in one hit) and trying to get to platinum.  What will typically happen is the hair will start going very orange and begin losing condition before that yellow base is achieved.  This could ultimately lead to breakage and an inability to ever get the hair pale enough in the future.

For darker bases, I would suggest initially highlighting the hair for several months and suffering a more muted blonde.  When you start seeing a darker root strap growing through, I would then recommend switching to a lightening re-growth method every four to six weeks.

Hair lightens the best at the roots!

Heat from the scalp will accelerate lightening and therefore when only the regrowth areas are lightened the results will commonly be a very pale yellow which can be toned to white.  With each re-growth application, the hair will begin growing down and the pure even white hair will start overtaking the previously highlighted hair.  However, short hair (can be lightened well in one or two applications), achieving a pure platinum blonde must be undertaken over a period of quite a few months and with respect to the hair’s health and overall condition. 

If you are lightening your roots (at home), never attempt to use 40 volume (12%) peroxide. Applying this strength of peroxide to your scalp is very dangerous and can lead to burning.   

In many instances 20 volume (6%) peroxide will lighten the roots effectively, as it has added acceleration due to the scalp heat.  If you have particularly dark or stubborn hair you can use 30 volume (9%) but please never go stronger than this with scalp application.

In addition, always apply lightening products (to regrowth) with a tint bowl and brush and never attempt to apply directly from a bottle.  Ultimate precision is required when lightening roots, if you overlap the lightener too much (onto previous treated areas) the hair could start breaking.  

Once Lightened

Once you have your base colour (which should be a brassy or pale yellow) you need to tone to white.  If you are naturally fairer and find your lightened hair is appearing as a very, very pale yellow or cream you can wash the hair several times in succession (immediately after lightening) with a blue shampoo.  This should add sufficient enough colour molecules to create a white base.

However, if you are not naturally fair you will require a much stronger toning product.  I would suggest an intense application of Colour Restore Iced Platinum immediately after lightening as this will counteract all yellow tones and achieve a pure white result.   If you are aiming to go silver, the key is to apply the Iced Platinum perhaps two times to achieve absolute purity of the shade and counteract the yellow to white.  

Remember, the hair must be lightened to pale yellow and not copper or an intense gold, both of these shades are too dark to neutralise to white.

Going Silver from a Platinum Base

When you have achieved your pure white shade the hair will now display silver effectively – as there is no warmth or yellow tone remaining for it to attempt to counteract. 

Apply Colour Restore Cool Ash onto the newly platinum toned hair and leave to develop for 25 minutes.   Rinse and check the intensity of the silver shade to your preference.  If you require deeper silver, repeat the procedure with the Cool Ash immediately after the first.  

Whilst Cool Ash is designed as an anti-orange hair pigment infusion, its base shade is silver.  When applied to hair that is devoid of warmth it has nothing to counteract and will showcase a pure silver effect.

Silver Hair Upkeep

Retaining a silver shade requires regular upkeep.  Only use a shampoo designed for silver hair such as Pro-Voke ‘Touch of Silver’

This shampoo is designed for silver hair (which is naturally white) and for use twice a week.  However, with artificial silver shades (that deplete in tone) I would recommend using this product as a regular shampoo.

After washing use a 10p piece amount of Colour Restore Cool Ash as your regular conditioner and this will ensure the silver tone remains strong within the hair.  Once a week I would suggest a 15 minute intense treatment of the Colour Restore Cool Ash to retain the ultimate level of the silver tone.

Regrowth application

Every four weeks (or so) your roots will require re-lightening to retain your pure white base.  After lightening you will need to apply the Colour Restore Iced Platinum to ensure your regrowth hair appears white.  If you find (during this regrowth application) your mid-lengths and ends still look reasonably silver, I would suggest simply following the application of Iced Platinum with a 5 minute application of Cool Ash and then continuing your silver hair care regime as outlined above thereon in.

As you can see, the creation of Silver appears tricky, but ultimately it’s about 
a) starting with a pure white shade 
b) balancing your levels of silver throughout future washes. 

If you decide you don’t want to be ‘Silver Haired’ any longer, you can simply switch to using a regular shampoo and conditioner and those silver levels will reduce back to a more platinum blonde.  After this I would suggest treating the hair regularly with Colour Restore Iced Platinum to control any yellow undertones (that may start appearing) and keep the overall blonde pure.