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.
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.