Thursday, 17 October 2013


Grey hair was once deemed purely a sign of aging.  However, silver has today become a fashion statement in its own right, with celebrities from Robbie Williams to Jamie Lee Curtis deciding to embrace or enhance their natural grey. 

Surprisingly, for those who not naturally grey – the path to achieving the shade is perhaps the hardest feat a colourist has to contend with. Natural grey and silver hair is formed by the interspersing of pure white hair amongst the original (natural) shade.  Initially observed as ‘salt and pepper’, the more the previous pigmented hair turns white, the stronger the silver shade becomes – as those white hairs increase in number on the head.   It’s actually the interspersion and mixing of the individual white hairs amongst the original base which creates a grey look, therefore achieving an artificial grey can be intricate.   

Creating artificial grey hair

When hair is lightened it will take on a pale yellow shade which needs to be toned with a violet pigment to achieve white.  In many instances (where an artificial grey shade is desired) the hair will end up looking blonde as opposed to silver.   Whilst it’s more simplistic to obtain a block silver - via lightening the whole head to platinum and using higher amounts of silver toners - when a natural grey is sought the application method has to be more delicate, introducing very fine bleach highlights which are subsequently toned to silver, whilst leaving the surrounding natural hair intact to create the salt and pepper effect.   Applying any peroxide based colourant or lightener onto the surrounding (non highlighted) natural hair, will cause a warm hue to be displayed effectively reducing the overall silver effect down to blonde.  It must be understood, warm tones cannot co-exist with silver tones – the two shades will battle it out for supremacy and at best you will find the hair becomes a natural ash blonde.     

If you are wishing to achieve a natural silver grey (at home) on a previously dark base, the best approach is to use a highlighting cap, pull a scattering of hair through this cap and then apply a bleach or lightener before developing the hair to pale yellow.    The bleach or lightener must then be rinsed off the hair (with the cap still on) and dried (again with the cap still).  You then have to check the hair and be 100% certain it appears as a pale yellow, if the shade looks deep yellow or copper it will not tone to silver.  In this instance, re-apply the lightener (to the hair still pulled through the cap) and lift the shade up to the required level.  If you remove the cap - when the hair is still very warm toned - this warmth will intermix with your natural base and be impossible to retrieve for re-lightening.   Once you are satisfied the hair is a pale yellow, apply (again with the cap still on) your platinum toner.  This toning stage will turn the lightened hair to white. At the point you notice the hair clearly toning and the warmth vanishing, you can remove the cap.   Once this process is complete, you should find your (overall) hair appears to have cold highlights running throughout.  However, moving forward you must only cleanse with blue and violet based shampoos and alternate your toning conditioner between a platinum and a product such as Cool Restore Cool Ash – which has a silver base.  This specific hair care regime will continually keep introducing more platinum and silver tones into the lightened hair, very soon the tone levels will exceed a pure white and begin appearing silver.     When achieving this method via a salon, the toning stage can be made easier as a specific permanent colourant exists that compromise of two cool tones, when this specific permanent colour is applied (to newly lightened hair) it produces a metallic white that requires no subsequent re-toning.  Sadly – this particular shade is not featured in any of the current retail colourant brands available in the UK.


Creating a transitional grey shade (for those who have natural grey hair and want to stop colouring)


For those who are naturally grey but have spent many years covering the silver with permanent dark colour, the long term options for you to sport a flattering grey are ultimately more simplistic.  However, (and with most) it’s the initial hurdle of transitioning from a permanent darker shade to their natural silver that terrifies them.   Whilst grey hair is fashionable and acceptable – grey roots are not!  Many women recognise that transitioning to their natural grey is going to require months (if not a year or more) to achieve.  During this time they feel horrified at the prospect of walking around with inches of grey roots against artificially coloured ends.     In addition, whilst I myself have become known for home hair colour removal I have to explain why hair colour removers will not reveal natural grey. 

I would love to be able to assure all you grey haired people (longing to stop the colouring process) that simply applying a hair colour remover will reveal your underlying grey – but it just won’t.   When grey hair is coloured with a peroxide based shade, two points occur.  Firstly, the peroxide in the colourant (developer) causes the white (grey) hairs to take on a yellow tone.  Secondly, many of the colourants on sale in today’s retail market will also lift the natural (non grey) hair - exposing underlying warmth.  Therefore, when you remove the artificial colour you will not see your natural grey, but instead a warm blonde.  In fact, the process to transition to a natural grey shade has to be undertaken similarly to the creation of silver in non grey natural bases (and as outlined previously).

For anyone who has a high percentage of natural grey and wants to transition out of using artificial colour - without simply growing it out and suffering the obvious root strap – I would suggest you undertake the exercise via a salon.  In general, you will need to accommodate around three salon appointments over a period of several months.  The key is to introduce silver threads into the hair gradually as your old colour grows out; these silver threads (when built up in the hair), will break up the grey root strap, intermix with your previous dark and eventually take over the overall shade.   Whilst many salons (today) will only work with foils for highlighting, I would still recommend (on occasions of transitioning grey) a salon uses a highlighting cap.   My reasoning for this suggestion is exactly the same as outlined for the creation of artificial grey – you need to be able to segregate the lightened threads and check they have lifted sufficiently.  With foils, it’s very difficult to weave out the same hair again if the lightener did not lift this hair to pale yellow upon the first application.  However, if your salon uses a highlighting cap – they can lift the hair, check it has taken to a pale blonde and if they feel the hair (pulled through the cap) is demonstrating too much depth or warmth, re-lighten.   In addition, once the bleach is rinsed off and if the hair pulled through the cap is pale yellow, the colourist can emulsify a silver based tone on tone colourant directly into the segregated hair and it will immediately produce a grey tone.  The cap can then be removed and the new silver threads intermix within the previous dark base.  As I previously stated, UK salons (generally) do not like using highlighting caps, however it’s crucial the threads being lighted are segregated during this process, so subsequent lightening and toning can be applied to this regionalised hair without risk of it effecting the surrounding dark base (which is needed to produce the final grey effect).   

                I would then suggest every 6 to 8 weeks the above exercise is repeated in the salon, introducing more silver threads into the hair via the cap and tone method.   Overtime, the hair will slowly begin to turn silver or grey and you will eventually be able to stop having the grey highlights added and just allow your natural silver shade to take over.

A word of caution!

Sadly not every person- who allows their grey hair to grow in - discovers a shimmering head of bright silver.  Most of us tend to go grey (initially) around the front hairline.  Therefore, the misconception with many people is they have turned fully white (throughout) – because they only observe the grey roots at the front of their head when looking in the mirror.  However, some of us are unfortunate enough to go (what I refer to as) ‘badger grey’.  Here you experience clumps of grey hair throughout an otherwise dark base, usually with the front sections very grey, but the top and the sides remaining dark.  Intermixed with this (overall) dark base you find thick wiry white hairs that are not particularly slightly.   In the past, I’ve had several clients who asked me to help them to transition to grey (believing their whole head was white).  However, as the months went on I began to observe more and more dark in the new hair growing through.  In these instances you have two options.  Option A: - you can begin the highlighting method (as outlined above) whereby you continually keep adding bleach threads which are then toned to silver.  The negative to this method can be found if you only have grey at the front areas – because you then flip the issue of the white roots and begin discovering very dark roots start appearing in other areas of the head. Option B: - is to work with what you have.  Therefore, if the hair at the front of the head is grey – you allow this to grow through (with the outlined highlight method), but ‘dab out’ the white patches in the other areas of your head with a dark permanent colour.  Via this method, you will achieve a rather dramatic and effective Mallon Streak.  You will actually find the upkeep of the patchy white hair fairly minimal but you will still achieve the silver effect via the front (hairline) sections. 


Should anyone not go grey?

Yes – there is one category who should really avoid allowing themselves to grey.  A deep true redhead will never achieve a silver shade naturally.  When the white hairs begin to appear, the redhead will have too much warmth (in the remaining surrounding hair) to showcase a silver.  Instead, the hair initially becomes a quite flattering golden blonde, but will eventually start to turn nicotine yellow (as more white hair appears).   In addition, natural redheads have a very warm skin tone that tends to clash with silver and grey hair – causing the individual to appear washed out.    Therefore, if they are able to artificially achieve silver or grey hair – it will look quite harsh on this specific skin tone.   As a general rule, redheads (as they age) should allow the hair to become a softer (lighter) warm blonde, introducing gold toned highlights.  Lulu is an excellent example of this particular colour approach. 

And maintaining grey?

Sometimes women (who artificially colour) yearn for the simplicity of natural grey, believing absolutely no upkeep is required.  This isn’t strictly true.  A negative to true grey hair can be its tendency to turn either a steely or yellowy tone due to the purity of those white hairs.  Styling products, pollutants and general day to day life will often dull pure white hair and cause it to lose some of its natural brightness.  Therefore, if you are considering going grey – you should remember that a specific range of hair care products will be needed for you to keep the shade at its optimum level.   Grey and silver hair needs shampoos, conditioners and styling products that contain a violet tone to brighten as they work.  The White Hot Hair range is an excellent selection of products for this purpose.  Designed exclusively for grey and white hair, the items not only clean and condition but enhance silver shades and prevent the hair becoming dull or yellow toned. 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Hair Personality

Few people are as able to alter their physical appearance like Meryl Streep.  However, the majority of us harbour a completely different hair personality to the physical image we project to the world. 

When I give my classes and 121 clinics, the area attendees find the most fascinating (in addition to your hair colour season) is our hair personality.

As people, we tend to break into 6 very specific image & personality types. What we display on the outside is our physical image and how we see ourselves (on the inside) is our personality. 

Few of us share a completely balanced physical appearance and internal personality.   So whilst you might physically share similarities with say Catherine Zeta Jones - inside (however) you don't recognise this and instead relate to Cate Blanchett's appearance. In this example, you may continually try to keep your hair neat, short and fair - and never entirely realise why you are never happy with it. It's not just a case of a hair look not suiting you, it's a case of varying factors of cut, colour and style clashing with your physicality. You may genuinely feel Jennifer Aniston's look works for you - because it suits your personality, but on the outside are you physically near to Anne Hathaway?

This is a very detailed and complicated area. Firstly, it does not mean certain looks, cuts and colours are out.   However, it does mean these looks, cuts and colours have to be tailored and blended carefully and a degree of compromise accepted.   I refer to this compromise as 'bridging the inner self with the outer self' and it takes quite a while to establish a clients internal hair personality.

So, consider this factor when you next visit your salon. If you believe every hairdresser wants to cut or colour your hair into a look you just do not like, remember - they are observing the external side of you. They genuinely believe the hair look (they are suggesting) suits, the problem is - inside you feel it doesn't.  Why?  Because you are just not that kind of hair personality.  

So start to think of the areas you can harmonize the inner and outer self. 

Recognise what you display on the outside (bone structure, face shape, hair type and colour) then acknowledge what you keep leaning toward on the inside. If you are a dark eyed, deep toned brunette who keeps longing for Nicole Kidman's shade (and women of similar type), it's possible you have one internal hair image and a completely different external one. When you begin to ponder this, you might start to recognise 'hair issues' you've had in the past and why they seem to crop up again and again.

Remember, a differing hair personality and external hair image does not mean looks you desire are immediately a no go.  It just means you have to understand how you can make it work for you, how your desired look can be tailored and when you have to admit something just won't work for you - no matter how much you might want it to.

Friday, 4 October 2013

All About Hair Rollers

Rollers are perhaps the best way to create shape and movement in the majority of longer hairstyles. 
For a long time, salons would deride the use of rollers, believing that blow-drying and heat curling were far better, however this generally isn't true. Today, women are returning to using rollers and understanding the benefits. So in this piece I will explain some Roller Factors:-

1. The best way to achieve good effects from rollers is to wet set with them. This means you wash the hair, towel dry and roll. As the hair dries the temporary bonds (within it) will re-affix and create a durable style.

2. With heated rollers, the effects are also good - but any type of heat setting will not alter as many temporary bonds as you would see from wet to dry. If you are using heated rollers, you must make sure the rollers are 100% cool before you remove them, otherwise the curl will be pulled out by the weight of the hair (as it drops) whilst the heat is still setting the curl in place.

3. Good shape and movement (and ultimately curls) are only ever truly created from rollers by strong tension when winding.  Rollers must always be wound in smooth sections and pulled tight during the rolling. If you don't work with sufficient tension the hair will drop as the temporary bonds will not be pulled into the new shape. 

5. Many people use Velcro rollers as a 'roller set' item, but generally many velcro rollers are just designed to give finished movement or volume after blow-drying. For best effects using Jet Set and traditional (plastic)  rollers will give you stronger tension when winding and a firmer finished curl effect.

6. Nobody realises this, but silicones and conditioning agents are the enemy for any curl or style setting. Silicones are designed to pull moisture into the hair, when this moisture hits set hair it will cause created effects to start to drop out. Therefore, it's always preferable to set on pre-clarified hair and avoid using a conditioner and instead use setting lotions and hairsprays which shield the outside of the hair and work with the temporary bonds on the inside.

7. Many types of (naturally straight) Caucasian hair are not great at holding curl, particularly if the hair is very silky by nature. If you are really wedded to big hair, movement and volume and have this particular hair type you need to consider having a perm foundation. When hair is permed the (permanent) internal bonds in the hair will be altered.  A curly perm foundation in a silky (hard to curl) hair type will enable wet set hair to hold it's shape between washes (even if you go a week). Remember, perms were actually created to allow women set - not for the wash and wear perm looks they are now associated to.

8. A hood dryer is the best item any Roller Setter needs to consider investing in. You can pick up a hood dryer in Argos for around £60. However, the benefit to this item is an ability to wet set the hair, sit under the dryer and quickly dry the hair. The increased air (on the hair) also gives far more volume and set longevity. 

9. If you have compromised your hair with heat styling and chemicals and it's feeling dry or damaged, switching your style regime to wet setting is also another good option. If you can wet set maybe twice a week and leave the hair to dry naturally (with the rollers in), you will not only help the condition improve but also retain the style effect you want. This method is particularly good for those with whole head bleached hair - which has a tendency to snap and break when exposed to heated tools and blow-drying. 

10. If you like to wear big hair up styles, always set the hair beforehand. Remove the rollers and vigorously brush the hair out.  Once hair has been wet set you will find it moulds as you attempt to place it up - instead of collapsing or breaking free from the hair pins.

What happens when you over bleach?

Here is a good example!  This is a video from a college student who has attempted to bleach a mannequin head's hair. Although she used 30 volume she did put the head under the dryer which would have caused the bleach to turn volatile.

However (for those who have been lucky enough not to see or experience this), the video shows you exactly what happens to hair when you over bleach it. Bleach contains ammonia (which will swell the hair), coupled with the peroxide strength the chemical will go into the hair and start oxidizing (lightening out) the pigment. However, when the pigment is gone, the bleach will then attempt to start oxidizing the keratin and internal bonds. At this point the hair starts to dissolve and will turn to a gum texture.

Firstly, don't be so alarmed - generally it takes a huge amount of lightening to get the hair to this point. However, you need to remember that continual bleaching can make this happen. When I hear people saying they "want to go from black to platinum in one go" - this video demonstrates what I am afraid of.  Not to mention the damage it could do to your scalp. Notice the bleached hair on the  video clip looks fairly white.  Obtaining white (without a toner)  means the Keratin protein has actually been bleached away (hence the gummy texture). Keratin is yellow, so if you are lifting up - you should always see a yellow hue to the hair, which needs subsequent toning (as the yellow coloured keratin protein is still present in the hair). If you have got the hair to pure white from bleaching alone be careful!  With this in mind, never lift the hair to a pale yellow and think you haven't lightened enough and attempt to bleach again!  The pale yellow means you have lightened enough and a subsequent bleach application will literally destroy your hair.   Instead, when the hair has reached pale yellow it should be toned with a violet pigment.  Violet neutralises yellow and create pure white. 

Bleaching isn't necessarily dangerous, but you should always remember it's not a colour - it's only removing from your hair (not adding to it), so be careful how much you repeat the process on the same hair and if your hair feels very dry or damaged, never attempt to bleach it - as it will simply disintegrate. 

Remember, if you have bleached hair during any point of it's lifespan (and longer hair can be several years old), applying another bleach application may lead to over processing.  Many people forget (if they have coloured over bleached hair) that under the dark colourant - the results from the previous bleach are still in place.   Therefore, if you have coloured over bleached hair, you should always use a non peroxide or ammonia colour remover to take this shade out.  After this point, a bleach or lightener can be applied to the subsequent (darker) growth (only) and a toner applied throughout to create a true blonde.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Going Platinum is easier when you are short!!

This recent shot of Jessie J demonstrates her hair is growing back after shaving it for the cause of Comic Relief earlier in the year. However, it's also demonstrating a perfectly platinum shade...

Few people know the only true way to immediately achieve platinum (white) is by lightening virgin (untreated) hair nearer the roots. When hair has been treated with a lot of colourants (in the past) and is longer in length to issues arise.  Firstly, any remaining molecules in the hair slow down the lightening process and can leave the hair a peachy shade. Secondly, the hair nearest the scalp (roots) receives a significant amount of heat from your head - this boosts the lifting process. The mid and longer lengths do not receive this scalp heat - so a longer processing time and (often) stronger peroxide strength have to be used to lift the whole head to pale. On well worn and previously treated hair, this peroxide strength (coupled with the bleach) is the cause of the damage, as the hair fibres begin to weaken under the bleaching process.   Virgin hair (nearer to the scalp), is much healthier and (due to the scalp heat) can be treated with a weaker peroxide strength. Therefore, the base shade lifts up evenly and with less risk of damage. If you then only apply a lightener to the new regrowth every 4 to 6 weeks, the hair will begin to grow through a pure platinum with far less damage then seen if you try to go to the shade in one go.

You can never expect to see platinum from lightening alone

Platinum hair can only be achieved by toning after lightening. The hairs fibre (keratin) is yellow in colour.  When you remove all the natural pigment by lightening - the final stage (you will see) is a 'brassy' blonde or pale yellow. This is because the cuticle layer (which is transparent) is displaying the exposed keratin inside the hair. Therefore, the hair must be toned with a violet pigment to neutralise this exposed yellow and counteract it to white.  Yes, it seems strange but white is achieved by applying a violet pigment to a yellow. 

So you have longer hair and want to go platinum?  Be careful!

 Just remember, if you have longer hair and are considering attempting to go platinum from a very dark artificial colour, you won't be able to do it. You need to slowly reduce the depth in the hair (overtime) and then begin introducing highlights. When the highlights turn the hair blonde, you can then switch to a regrowth lightening colour and the hair will start to appear pure white. When you attempt to bleach artificially dark (long) hair in one go - it can be a total disaster - as the hair fibres will be compromised, the cuticle will become damaged and the hair takes on an unpleasant light orange shade you can neither tone nor shift with further blonde colour treatment.  
But what if you have virgin hair?
If you have short (virgin) hair - platinum is achievable in one step.  If you have longer (virgin) hair, I would suggest you undertake the process over a month period - giving the hair three gentle liftings at a time and conditioning treatments in between.
However, for those who are artificially dark, only try to go platinum very slowly over an extended period of time - the wait pays off in the end.

And (finally) a note on Pastel shades
Lastly, remember that nearly all pastel hues require a platinum base shade to display correctly in the hair.  Therefore, if you are considering a pastel colour effect you need to 100% understand the principles of going platinum still apply to you.   If you lift up a base shade to a muddy orange and then try to use a pastel colour, it will only act as a neutraliser and produce a strange earth tone blonde, brunette or auburn.   You ultimately need to have that pure white base to get the soft pinks, blues and metallic shades which have become popular with pastel colouring.


Thursday, 8 August 2013

Holiday Hair - Blonde Hair Gone Green!!!

We recently commissioned a survey to find out thoughts and beliefs on hair colouring. One of the statistics revealed, is 6% of people believe Tomato Ketchup will 'strip out' green tone in blonde hair (found after swimming). Is this true? The answer is both yes and no.

Why does blonde hair go green?

Firstly, the misconception is exposure to chlorine will turn blonde hair green. This isn't true, in actual fact the green occurs in blonde hair due to oxidized metals found within the water - not the chlorine.

Preventing and resolving green hair

The best way to prevent blonde hair turning green in the first instance is to use a product which produces a barrier such as Philip Kingsley Swim Cap. However, if the hair has (already) gone green you simply need to remove the trace metals from the hair with a clarifying shampoo. Again, if you are on holiday and cannot find a clarifying shampoo - a local convenience store would certainly stock bicarbonate of soda and you can use this ingredient via the Bicarb clarifying method I outline here:-

So does Tomato Ketchup really work?

 Actually whilst tomato ketchup cannot strip the green from the hair (as people believe) it can neutralise it. In most cases, clarifying the hair (as outlined above) will remove the green from the hair easily, however if you are on holiday, discover green and want it gone immediately, locating a tomato ketchup sachet from a dining room, restaurant or fast food outlet is obviously very easy.

How to use Tomato Ketchup on green hair

To neutralise green with tomato Ketchup, firstly wet the hair and apply a small amount of regular white conditioner throughout. Then squeeze an equally small amount of the Ketchup into your hand and work through the hair to create a pink cream. Leave for 10 minutes and rinse out with cool water. Remember, the ketchup is only neutralising (and masking) the green - so look to clarify as soon as you can (or when you return home).
Remember, the best solution to unwanted green blonde hair is to clarify, so if your hair is prone to turning green, make sure you pack a clarifying shampoo or even baby shampoo before you travel.  Ideally purchasing a product such as Philip Kingsley Swim Cap (and taking on holiday with you) which will prevent the issue occurring. The latter product is especially worth using if you are a regular swimmer throughout the year anyway.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Beach Hair How To

Beach hair is a great look which can work for either day or nightime.   It's obviously based on the texture naturally wavy hair will go when exposure to sea water has occured.  However, if you have naturally straight or very silky hair - the look won't happen simply by applying salt water.  The below how to is a simple method to achieve the look.

Here is a quick how to for you that's pretty simple:-

1. Wash the hair in a clear, simple or baby shampoo (you don't want the hair to be too conditioned for this one).

2. Spritz the damp hair with sea salt spray (if you don't have sea salt you can use my method for creating this at home here).

3. Tip your head upside down and rough dry to 100%. Make sure you rough try and avoid trying to smooth out the hair. The hair will feel quite course and textured at this point - which is good.

4. Next take some large sections of hair and plait to midway down. You should have around 6 plaits across your head, bound midway with the bottom lengths free.

5. Now take a straightening iron and clamp down along the length of the plaits to heat up.

If you want a curlier beach effect, when you get to the free (bottom) lengths twist the hair around in the iron and create a traditional curl in this unplaited hair. You can do this by twising the iron or simply winding the hair around the iron as you would a tong.

6. With your plaits all heated and curls created in the bottom lengths, leave the hair for around 20 minutes or longer if you wish.

7. Finally, remove the bands from the plaits and use your fingers to break up the hair. Shake the hair loose and if you wish, you can add a little Argan Oil to the ends to give some shine.

Considering a Perm?

Perms are fantastic for creating curl, texture and controlled foundation for styling. If you suffer from hair which is prone to flopping and not holding a curl - changing the hair's internal structure and memory will enable roller setting, blow-drying and general styling to hold in the hair between washes.

Here are 10 facts you might not know about perming:-

1. A perm uses a lotion which softens the keratin fibre in the hair and breaks the interal structure (shape). When the hair is wound around a tool (be it curler, rod or other) the shape of the hair will reform to match the tool. A second lotion (a neutraliser) is then used to affix the hair bonds in their new permanent shape (typically the curl).

2. Traditional perms were created over 100 years ago, however their purpose was to change the texture and allow the hair to be roller set or styled without the result flopping or falling out. Women would never be seen with their hair in it's wet perm state and would always set and style.

3. It was hair icon Vidal Sassoon who created the 'wash and wear' perm in the late 1960's. When cutting a models wet hair, he liked the wave and texture he was noticing (from the perm foundation) and made the radical decision (back then) to not roller the set the hair. This was the first time a perm foundation had been displayed in the hair without it being set on larger rollers.

4. In the 1970's the wash and wear perm became very fashionable and women stopped roller setting their hair and instead went with loose curly texture. By the mid 1970's Barbra Steisand's then hairdresser (now producer) Jon Peters created the iconic bubble perm look - whereby the perm was created on very small rods to create a tight effect, this was the birth of the curly perm.

5. The tight curly perm remained very popular into the mid 1980's, when Trevor Sorbie created the 'Scrunch Dry'. Until this point it had been very difficult to blow-dry curly perms without smoothing them out. However, Trevor created a method of scrunching the curls in the hand (as the hair was dried) and using hair mousse. Later diffusers would produce this same effect. The scrunch perm allowed much looser perms to be produced and was sported by many famous women including Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Demi Moore.

6. The negative misconceptions around perming happened at this time, because along with scrunch

perms came heavy use of both bleach and heat (to create the effects). No heat protection products were available in these days and the hair began to look dry and frizzy. The perception was the perm had caused this, but in most cases it was the combinations of two many chemical and heat processes which caused the hair to be compromised and in most occassions over bleaching.

7. Whilst the desire for curly hair went out of fashion in the 1990's (when straight looks begun to appear), many famous women continued to use perm foundations to retain blowdries and curl sets as the technical treatment had been used for decades prior. Julia Roberts famous spiral perm in the 1990 film Pretty Woman was retained by many women well into the straight hair era of the 1990's.

8. In the 2010's, the issues women are now facing with their hair have gone full circule and we are back to the principles of 1960's styling. Women want volume, movement and roller set looks - but are finding these looks do not hold.

9. Another unknown fact about perms, is they should also be applied on very curly and unruly hair. Applying a perm structure to naturally curly hair will create a smooth controlled curl that can be washed and worn. The perm foundation often encourages the hair to grow in a more unform hair pattern.

10. Perms remain in the hair based on the length and size of curl. A loose body curl could be expected to last in short hair for around 8 weeks, whilst a long spiral perm will remain in the hair beyond 18 months.

Despite popular misconception, perms are not scary, nor dangerous but they are often misunderstood (even by today's hairdressers).  If you are considering a perm be it for wash and wear curl, beach wave, curl ombre or style retention you need to absolutely understand what look you are aiming for and then research the best type of perm method for you. 

Staying Platinum Blonde

If you are quite dark (naturally) remaining a platinum blonde shade can sometimes be problematic with the regrowth. Unless the bleach is expertly applied to the new growth, if overlapping occurs (this is where the bleach applied crosses onto the previously lightened hair), you can start to get quite noticeable breakage.

Switch to a lightening blonde colourant

You can ease up on the regrowth bleaching, by switching to a lightening blonde colourant. Lightening blonde colourants are still strong, but not to the degree of bleach. On dark natural bases, these products will not produce a pure blonde - but a deep golden, however it will disguise your roots and give your hair a few months rest to allow the previously full head bleached areas to grow down.

Use Highlights to break up root straps 

To break up the noticeable warm blonde strap line, either ask your salon to apply foils and only run the bleach onto the dark areas weaved out (near the roots), or if you are using a kit or Magicap - once you have pulled the hair through, only apply that lightening product onto the darker areas of the highlights pulled.

Keep it toned

If you then tone with Iced Platinum Colour Restore, the hair will remain crisp and pale and the growth areas will be fully blended.

By carefully looking at the photograph, you can see this is how Gwen Stefani is maintaining her pure white look, between complete bleach regrowth applications.   You just have to remember, the key with platinum is to retain the hair health.  So consider this when retaining the shade with regrowth applications.

Quick Tip: Hiding Dark Roots

This is a very quick tip and whilst not perfect does work!

If you are showing (unwanted) very dark roots, you can blend them out by spraying Batiste directly onto them. You need to spray the dry shampoo quick close to the area so it 'powders' and then just rub it in. Go along your parting and where the dark roots show most. It won't erase them entirely, but it will blend them out.

If you have a tonal hair colour (such as deep blonde or red) you can use one of the Batistes coloured shampoos for the same method. 

QUICK TIP - Creating Sea Salt Spray At Home

Sea Salt Spray is a great way to produce beach style hair, if you want to know how to actually create the 'beach waves' check out my blog on the subject here:- 

If you don't have any Sea Salt spray at hand, there is a quick method I can give you to produce it yourself and apply.

1. Simply put 1 tablespoon of table salt into a mug and pour in boiling water and stir to dissolve the salt.

2. Allow the salt water to cool and then pour into a small bowl.

3. Take either some kitchen roll or a new J cloth and absorb the salt water.

5. Apply to sections of your damp hair and comb through and proceed to your styling method.

NB: You should always apply Sea Salt solution to clarified and non conditioned hair. If the hair is conditioned there will be a barrier on it and the cuticle will not raise to give the texture you want.

Rather than using table salt, I find Dead Sea Salt really good for creating this solution.  It's not very expensive and one box lasts for ages.  Dead Sea Salt can be found in health shops and on sites such as Amazon.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Root Glow

 What is Root Glow?

This particular issue is one which shows up in many guises and often perplexes people – especially with brunette shades.  After the hair has been coloured (either immediately or several days later) the roots begin to glow a bright coppery or red colour – especially in sunlight.  Many people cannot understand why this is happening and this isn’t an issue that is confined to home colouring, in fact it happens with salon colours too.  So the question is why does ‘Root Glow’ happen?

In my years involved with home colour removal, without a doubt the highest examples I see of previous ‘Root Glow’ come from those who have removed an artificial colour and exposed the base which lay underneath.  From photographs, I can see the coppery stripes running down the hair from previous colour applications to the roots – where these areas have lightened more so (and kicked up red) than the rest of the hair. 


Why does Root Glow happen?

Root Glow happens when hydrogen peroxide enters the hair intermixed with a colourant, on the mid-lengths and ends the peroxide molecule attaches to the colour molecule and a shade is merely deposited.  However, the hair directly next to the scalp (eg the roots) is exposed to a higher temperature during the process due to the heat being released from the head.  This additional scalp heat will boost the hydrogen peroxide (which is used in the colour developer) and cause the natural hair (at the roots) to begin lightening and ‘kicking up’ natural red tone.  On occasions even 3% (10 volume) peroxide (which is very low) can cause some degree of Root Glow, however the standard strength used in colourants is 6% (20 volume) and when this strength is applied to the roots (combined with the scalp heat) the regrowth hair will begin to lighten by around three levels.


Why do I sometimes see Root Glow more so several days after I applied my colour treatment ? 

This is due to a something known as 'creeping oxidation'.  Peroxide by it's very creation, is basically oxygen infused into water.  The process of oxidation (found in hair colouring and lightening) happens because a peroxide will want to revert back to water and the oxygen molecule will seperate from the water molecule.  In this process, oxygen molecules begin attaching to other molecules in the hair (such as artificial colour molecules deposited).  However, when peroxide is quite a potent strength (20 volume and beyond) it will seek to attach to natural pigment molecules, which causes them to expand and become transparent.  This is how 'hair lightening' occurs.

Because peroxide is a volatile formulation, after a colour process (be it colouring, lightening etc) an anti-oxidation treatment needs to be applied to the hair.  In fact, these ingredients would be found in the conditioning sachets of the hair colourant products you purchase.  However, in some instances (and particularly at the roots which tend to receive less of these conditioning treatments when applied) a process called 'Creeping Oxidation' occurs.  Basically, peroxide can stay active within the hair for 48 to 72 hours after application (unless anti oxidized).  So if you did not correctly remove and condition that hair at the roots (following your colour), the hair will very slowly continue to lighten, hence why two days after your colour (or often the next morning) you can suddenly see Root Glow.


Why is Root Glow more a problem for Brunettes than Blondes?

In fairer or grey natural bases, Root Glow doesn't tend to happen because there is less depth and red pigment within such hair types, therefore when the root areas lighten – they do so quite cleanly and at the same time accept the (new) artificial colour being added – so the result is a shade as expected which is consistent and evenly deposited.

However, on brunette hair - when the peroxide is accelerated by the scalp heat (when applied as an intermixed colour) the lightening can cause an issue.  Hair goes through several stages of lightening from red, to orange to yellow (in cases where people are trying to go blonde).  However, if a peroxide is applied to the regrowth of brunette hair and this peroxide is boosted by scalp heat and able to lighten by three levels, what occurs is the hair lifts into the red level.  Hair lifted to the red level will not hide well under an artificial hair colourant molecule and most notably will appear to ‘glow’ through that colour molecule – especially when daylight hits it.    This glowing can become significantly noticeable if a) a very high peroxide strength was used with the colourant applied or b) you conducted your hair colour on a very warm or hot day (which could cause a level or two more lift than you would normally receive).  Likewise, if the creeping oxidation was allowed to occur in the days that followed and the natural hair has continued lightening due to the peroxide molecules remaining in the hair.

How to deal with Root Glow

Root Glow in brunette shades can be a tricky one to deal with because in order to cover it, you need to apply a second peroxide based colour which (in turn) could cause the hair to lighten further and kick up more red.  

If you have applied a brunette shade and found your roots have turned a warm bright reddy shade, the best tip I can give you is to purchase a product such as Clairol Root Touch up in a shade only one level darker than the mid-lengths and ends.  Take the white cream developer bottle, make a pen mark where the white developer (the peroxide) currently reaches and then pour 50% of the developer away.  Next take a bottle of mineral water and carefully top up the developer back to the mark level you created.  Close the lid and shake before intermixing as instructed.  By diluting the developer you are effectively reducing the strength of the peroxide down to a level whereby only the colour molecule could be deposited and sit within the hair.  After you have intermixed the colourant, apply to the roots only and leave to develop.  What you should find is the roots take on a slightly darker appearance and the Root Glow is covered.

How to stop Root Glow

As stated, Root Glow tends to appear in naturally darker bases. 

·         The first rule of applying a hair colourant to these shades it to use a tint bowl and brush and do not simply ‘pour’ the colourant throughout the head.   You should apply the colourant with a tint bowl and brush to the mid-lengths and ends first, and then mid-way through development go back to the root areas and apply here.  This will give the roots less time to develop and prevent the scalp heat boosting that development to a level whereby the root areas can begin lifting up from the peroxide applied.

·         If you are selecting brunette shades and are prone to Root Glow, avoid any shades with red or gold tone in them.  These shades will contribute further warmth to possible Root Glow and make the result (at the roots) appear more vibrant.

·         If you like standard brunette shades, purchase two colourants from the same brand and of the same base.  However, purchase a standard base shade (such as 4.0 or 5.0) for the mid lengths and ends and an ash based shade for the roots (4.1 and 5.1).  Using your tint bowl and brush initially apply your base shade (4.0 or 5.0) to your mid-lengths and ends, then midway through development mix up your ash based shade (4.1 or 5.1) with your tint bowl and brush and apply to just the roots.  This added ash tone will neutralise any warmth that may appear at the roots.  5 minutes before the end of development, wet a tangle comb and intermix both shades on the head for blending – before rinsing off.

·         If you wish to retain a brunette shade, always use an ash based colour (for standard brunettes) and apply just to the roots using a tint bowl  and brush and develop for only 15 to 20 minutes.  If you like a warmer brunette shade, use a standard base shade (such as 4.0 or 5.0) and work with the natural warmth within the hair.

·         If you are a redhead who is getting noticeable Root Glow, try applying a 6.0 or 7.0 colourant to the roots only and giving it a 15 minute development time.  This could add a degree of base back into the hair and mute down that glow without covering the tone.

Remember, Root Glow is a common occurance in hair colouring and (in my experience) is significantly increased in warm conditions when the colourant is allowed to sit to full development.  Without a doubt the most notable time it happens is when someone has ‘poured’ a colourant from the applicator throughout their hair and gone to full development.  Therefore, for new colours always remember to use a tint bowl and brush and apply colour to the roots midway through your development process and not at the beginning. 

Always condition the roots well (after removal of the colourant) as this will help prevent creeping oxidation which can occur over 48 to 72 hours and evoke Root Glow after the event.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Just Not So Dark!! - Partial Removal with Decolour

Partial Removal with Decolour 

When you have found yourself with an unwanted darker colour, it’s not always necessary to apply Decolour to the whole head and remove everything.   Actually, conducting a partial removal can be a very effective way to reduce down the unwanted depth and create a more naturalist shade whilst retaining some of that previously unwanted darker colour.

Quite often, multiple colour applications will lead to build up whereby the colour molecule has been overlaid many times on the same areas of hair.  What begins occurring is the hair starts to look heavy, flat and obviously 'too' dark.   

Alternatively, you might decide to go a darker shade but once you have developed your selected colourant the shade appears (on your head) much heavier than it did on the box photo.  You still want to be darker – just not so dark.

Decolour Remover was created in a thick crème consistency to prevent it from running throughout the hair when applied, this enables a precision to application – meaning you can apply and remove specific (or localised) areas only. 

You also have to consider that natural hair colours (even the darkest shades) consist of a mixture of varying depths, not every hair on our head is the same shade.  However, when you artificially colour darker you are transforming every hair to exactly the same shade, this is why an unwanted darker colour result can appear so heavy and artificial.  Conducting a partial removal can re-introduce that mixture of lighter and darker depths and create an effective hair colour result quickly and easily.

What is Partial Colour Removal?

With the partial method you mix and apply Decolour Remover using a tint bowl and brush (or even toothbrush) to strips of hair throughout the head.  This application technique is known as  ‘Balayage’.  You do not need to worry about applying the remover throughout the hair; you basically paint it onto sections of the dry hair in a highlighting method and develop for 1 hour.   When you rinse, dry and style the hair – you will notice the original (darker) colour remains but you now have lighter shards running throughout which produces a softer more natural effect.

How to conduct a Partial Colour Removal with Decolour

You will need:-

·         A tint bowl and brush (you can also use a regular small plastic bowl and inexpensive own brand tooth brush)
·         Decolour Remover
·         A Tangle Comb

      Remember to Clarify First!

      You must always clarify the hair before any type of technical procedure.  Shampoos, conditioners and styling products can leave a residue on the cuticle layer which produces a barrier which prevents colourant products from entering.  Wash the hair three times in a clarifying or baby shampoo before proceeding with this method.

And (seems weird) but dry and style your hair!

2.      Once you have fully clarified, I want you to comb the hair and then proceed to blow-drying and styling it exactly as you would generally.  You will find this harder than usual because you cannot use conditioner or styling products.  You must simply blow-dry the hair using water only.  If you (typically) iron your hair smooth, you can do this – but you must NOT use product.  The idea with this step is to create a smooth, styled dry foundation to the hair which will enable you to apply the Remover into areas that will be fully visible in your everyday hair look.  If you have (and wear) your hair naturally curly, all you need to do is leave it to air dry – before proceeding to the partial removal. 

3.       With your hair clarified, dry and fully styled and sitting in its regular partings and shape - you can now mix up the Decolour Remover in your plastic bowl.  Pour 50% or bottle 1 and 50% of bottle 2 into the bowl.  You can reseal each bottle and return to the box, in case you desire further removal later on.  Fully intermix the formula in the bowl using either your tint brush or purchased toothbrush.

4.       Now take your tangle comb and weave out thin sections of hair, starting at the under areas (sides and back).  Dip your tint or tooth brush into the Decolour Remover and gently cover the section you have pulled out.  You will not need a great deal of product – just enough to cover and work into the section.

5.       Once you have applied the Remover to random underside sections, you can begin covering thin sections at the top of the head.  When you get to the hairline and parting sections remember these areas will be visible, so weave out much thinner sections to cover.   Take an artistic approach to the method at the partings and around the hairline and remember this colour will be framing your face with lighter and darker shards, so you can vary the width of the sections you weave.   As a general rule, stay to super fine sections around the face and hairline. 

6.       Remember, you do not want to saturate your hair in Decolour Remover; you just want to see a clear mix of coated shards throughout the dry styled hair.   Once you have applied the Remover as outlined above leave it to develop for 1 hour.  With this type of development,  I do not want you to cover the hair in cling film as it will ‘squash’ the remover into other areas.  Simple leave to develop uncovered.

7.       After you have developed for 1 hour, proceed to rinsing and Concluding the Decolour treatment as instructed in the pack. 

8.       Once complete, you can now dry and style your hair.  In most cases you will find the previously dark heavy hair has reduced to a very natural shade that features a mixture of lighter and darker tones.   However, if you still want to reduce the colour further, you can repeat the exercise again.  A second partial removal application is incredibly easy, because here you actually see the unwanted darker sections and can focus just here.

If you have any questions on this method, simply ask me on my Facebook page and do share photos as I'd like to see your results!!  Scott:)