Monday, 13 July 2015

Shades of Grey Part 2

How I went from dark to Chrome Silver

With the world of hair seeming to be raving about the 'granny grey' and silver grey trend, I thought it was an opportune time for me to go silver myself.  Especially as I had just launched in stores a new Silver Grey toner called 'Colour Restore Chrome'.

If you are considering going Silver or Grey it's worth you reading Part 1 of this piece first, as here I give further details on the subject Shades of Grey Part 1

So if you are considering going grey or silver, you should now understand the necessity is to get the hair to pure white.  Neither silver nor true grey shades can display on darker warm or blonde bases.

Once the hair is white, it's actually very easy to create the grey or silver shade.  However, it's the process of getting the hair to that white, which can be time consuming and intricate.  You firstly need to gently lighten the hair.  I used my product Decolour Stripper, however you can use any non-ammonia lightener.  Do not use full strength bleach because it will lift the hair too fast and may cause damage.  In addition, do not attempt to use any 'lightening blonde' box colourants that feature shades claiming to be tonal light blondes (such as platinum or ash)  The reason I do not advice this, is because very light retail box colourants are tending to 'colour protect' the hair with silicones and waterproofing as found with darker colourants.  This is absolutely no good when you are attempting to create a platinum base.  Simply because, if the hair does not lighten enough and warmth is exposed - the hair will not tone with any other product and would certainly not go platinum.  This happens because the hair has been 'colour locked' by the actual colourant shade.   In effect, it's been locked in and sealed, so no other toning product can enter and evoke change.

Instead, you need to lift the hair gently in two successive treatments with a pure lightener.  Once the hair has lifted to yellow, it can be toned to platinum to achieve white and then toned again to grey or silver. In addition, when hair has been lightened - it will be open and susceptible to good toning in a way colourant treated hair may not be. 

Below are the items I used in my own Silver Grey process:-

Decolour Stripper (to lighten the hair) Precolour Clarifier (to firstly clarify and then to use as a rinsing shampoo), Colour Restore Iced Platinum (to create the white base) and Colour Restore Chrome (to create the silver).  As an addition, I always recommend applying any colourant, lightener, stripper or remover with a tint bowl and brush. 

Step One  - Clarify, Clarify, Clarify!

It is crucial you clarify your hair before you start any colouring process, but this is never more so the case than when lifting with non ammonia lighteners.  The reason being, is due to the fact that ammonia free lighteners are far gentler on the hair, however they are not strong enough to cut through any styling products, silicone and residual build-up that may have accumulated on the hair shaft. Clarifier's are strong cleansers that are not only able to remove this residue, but also slightly raise the cuticle.  This enables temporary colours and ammonia free colourants and lighteners to successfully enter the hair and evoke change.  I used my own product Precolour Clarifier on my hair, I designed this to work specifically with pre-colour treatment.  However, as long as you use some kind of clarifying product you will be fine.

Step Two - Apply the lightener firstly to damp (not dry) hair.

Once you have clarified your hair - towel dry it.  When you are double processing the hair, you ideally want to evoke an even first lifting to a lighter shade, followed by a more concentrated second lifting.  In my case, I was using Decolour Stripper to lift my hair.  Decolour Stripper should be applied to damp hair, because it enables the lightener to be worked evenly throughout.  Once I applied the stripper to the damp hair, I allowed it to develop for only 20 minutes.  This took my darker brown shade to an orange.  Whilst this orange shade isn't pleasant, what it's indicating is the hair has been entered and has lightened up by several shades.  

After applying the Decolour Stripper to damp hair and within 10 minutes the hair begun to turn orange.  I gave it around 20 minutes development before rinsing out.

Step Three  - Once stripped to orange, rinse out and Clarify again

Once I had gotten the hair to an orange, I rinsed and clarified again.  Here the hair will feel a little course, however you do not want to apply a conditioner as the lightening session is still open.  If you apply a conditioner, it will coat the hair and then make the next lifting harder.  Therefore, keep the hair well open and only using a clarifier to remove that lightener.  Once you have rinsed and clarified for around 3 to 5 minutes, you towel dry and then rough dry the hair with a hairdryer.

Step Four - Second lightening 

Unlike the first stripping/lightening it is now important you rough dry the hair with a hairdryer.  The hair will feel course and will need to be carefully combed.  However, the second lightening is the key one.  In the first, you have stripped out a lot of the pigment and got the hair to an orange shade.  The next lifting is designed to kick out all the unwanted orange and lift the hair up to a pale yellow.  Mixing new and then applying the non ammonia lightener or stripper to dry hair, means it will not be diluted so you can retain a shorter safe development.  Apply the Stripper or non-ammonia lightener carefully with the tint brush, starting with any areas that appear to be a deeper orange.  Avoid the roots as much as you can as these will lift faster.  Once you have applied all the Stripper or lightener to the dry hair, you will very quickly notice it lifting again.  Remember, the session is still open from previously (as you clarified and did not condition), plus the lightener has been applied to dry hair.  Therefore, you will see a much faster lift happening.  You ideally want to leave the second Stripping/Lifting for 30 minutes.  However, keep wiping very small threads of hair every 5 minutes with a piece of tissue and look for lack of orange and a clear pale yellow.  If the hair is orange, it will not tone to white.  Therefore, you want to be looking for a depth and tone the same colour as the inside of a banana peel. 

This photo was taken only 10 minutes after the second application was applied to the dry orange

Step Five - Rinsing Out Stripper and lightener and preparing to tone

Once the hair has reached a pale yellow, you need to rinse out all the lightener from the hair and clarify again.  If the hair is pale yellow, this will be the last chemical process it will have to undergo.  Again, you will notice the hair feels dry and course.  However, this does not mean it is damaged, it has just been opened and the cuticle remains ruffled. 

Step Six - Toning lifted pale yellow hair to white

In order to get a grey-silver shade to fully show, you need to firstly tone the lightened yellow hair to a pure white.  If you attempt to apply a silver or grey colourant on top of brassy hair, it will produce a sludgy heavy tone as opposed to a crisp silver grey shade.

After getting my hair to pale yellow, I used my Colour Restore Iced Platinum, to counteract all the yellow tone and create a pure white.  I generally recommend Colour Restore Iced Platinum stay on the hair for 20 minutes, however in this case I left it for 30 minutes as I wanted to the maximum toning possible.  As you can see (below) the hair went to a pure white from the initial pale yellow.

(Left) showing how my hair looked after second Decolour Stripper was rinsed out.  (Right) showing the shade after applying Colour Restore Iced Platinum for 30 minutes.  The base was (by this point) pure white.

Step 7 - Finally, Creating your Silver-Grey shade

With my hair pure white, all I now needed to do was apply the Chrome Colour Restore.  I applied the Chrome with my hair slightly damp, but I did want it a little on the drier side - so the hair would over absorb - which is always a good tip when you want to display silvers and greys.  After working the Chrome through the hair I left it for 30 minutes and rinsed out.  

Colour Restore (as a range) is actually very conditioning, so following the application of the Iced Platinum to achieve the white, my hair felt softer anyway.  However, after I applied and rinsed the Chrome I did condition the hair.  The reason I did a traditional conditioning (at the very end), was to close the session and the hair.   By this point, the lightening and toning was over, so the hair did not need to remain open any longer.

The Finished Result 

As you can see, the Chrome turned the white hair to a silver grey.  My reasoning for showing the two photos is due to the fact one is in sunlight and the other inside.  You can see, that under direct light, the Chrome tone comes out a metallic silver.  However, inside (without daylight) the Chrome tone has a more grey hue to it.    

Last tips:-

If you create a grey or silver shade, remember that it is really important you use only shampoos designed for kicking yellow tone out of grey and silver hair.  I would recommend you switching to using 'White Hot Hair's' Shampoos.  These are specifically designed for natural grey and white hair, however they are also great for artificial white and grey shades.  White Hot Hair, also do some styling products that are also designed for silvers and greys too:-

White Hot Hair Sold at Boots here

When those pesky dark roots come through, you can blend them away with Bouffe's Silver Thickening Spray.  Whilst the Bouffe range is designed to give volume, the colour aspect also enables regrowth coverage.  By spraying the Silver Bouffe variant onto your regrowth (as it appears) you should be able to quickly blend in a silver tone that disguises regrowth.

Bouffe Silver Spray is Sold at Boots here

Finally, to retain your silver grey tone, make sure you use Colour Restore Iced Platinum and Chrome as your regular two minute conditioners.  Simply wash the hair, then alternate (with each wash) between applying a small amount of either of the tones to the hair and leaving for 2 minutes before rinsing.  By continually refreshing the Platinum undertone and Chrome overtone, you will not find your silver grey vanishing over time!

Colour Restore Chrome, along with the other Scott Cornwall products are sold in Boots stores and online

Scott :) 

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