And The Band Played On

Updated: Feb 1, 2019

How to successfully break through layers of bands caused by multiple applications and multiple color lines

Looking at this picture, you would never know that this gorgeous girl walked in with a head full of bands. Heavy metal, if you will. This is the completed color after a 5 hour correction.

Before we dive in, I want to start with the knowledge that I do not trash other stylists work, and I ask the same of you. The circumstances surrounding the color are never known (at least not from both sides), and I am not at liberty to judge. What I AM able to do is create a desirable look while keeping the integrity of the hair.

With that being said, here is a collection of our before pictures.


Banding occurs when colors that do not align in level, tone, or both are applied from the base to roughly one inch from the base. After multiple "touch ups" applied in this manner, you are able to see visible banding in the hair shaft.

This hair had 5 very distinct bands living inside of it.

Band 1 was natural outgrowth that matched up to a level 4 natural warm

Band 2 was previously colored and matched a 6,0 (level 6 natural / neutral)

Band 3 matched a 3,0 (level 3 natural / neutral)

Band 4 was a blend of 3,0 and 7 natural warm fading into 8,33 (level 8 gold gold)

Band 5 perfectly matched a 9,3 (level 9 gold)



After a long and in depth consultation, I discovered that my guest prefers color that grows in well, she likes more neutral tones and brighter blondes, she likes length to her hair, wants dimension, and the next time I will see her will be the next time she is home from school roughly 4 months from now. Knowing that, I came to the conclusions that I needed to:

-Apply a fully babylight with multiple formulas to be able to break through the varying bands the most evenly that I could

-Paint in between the foils to break up the banding left out and offer a transition from band 1 (her virgin level 4 base) to band 5 (gold level 9)

-Tone the babylights at her base to a level 7 to create a soft transition from her natural color into her bright blonde ends

- Tone her midshaft with a level 8 to get as much control as possible on the warmth that would inevitably show from breaking through that level 3 color

-Tone her ends and face framing babylights a level 10 to give her the bright pops of color she was looking for without it overtaking her hair


You guys, I failed you on processing pictures because I was elbow deep in bleach and my own tears. The only image that I was able to take was the picture of her toner processing way below. I was literally applying foils, balayaging between the foils, or pulling foils the ENTIRE time for 3.5 hours STRAIGHT, and all of my co-workers were slammed today. Here are my formulas.

Bands 1 & 2:

16g violet based powdered lightner

32g 20 volume developer

Band 3:

10g violet based powdered lightner

20g 30 volume developer

Bands 4 & 5:

14g violet based powdered lightner

28g 10 volume developer

Balayage in between:

16g clay based lightner

32g 40 volume developer

Here's the deal. I remixed these formulas every 20 minutes. No joke. This application took 3.5 hours. Bleach has a life span on 40-60 minutes depending on your color line. By the 20-30 minute mark (again, depending on your color line), bleach has reached the height of it's life and slowly starts to die. If I put dead bleach on her hair, I am NOT going to get a clean beautiful blonde tone to do what I please with. SO, in my foils, I applied three different formulas in each foil packet. That's right, three. Through bands 1 & 2 I used the first formula, band 3 had it's own formula that I feathered into the parts of band 4 that were a level 3, and everything in bands 4 & 5 that were a level 7+ were painted in the same formula. Then the foil packet was folded up into a neat little envelope, and I did it again. That's true love, y'all.

Once all of her babylights were applied, I went between her foils and balayaged zones 2-4 (again feathering into zone 4 over the level 3 and leaving out all of the level 7 & 8) with my clay lightener formula.

After she was done lifting (or 12 years later as I like to call it), I shampooed her twice with Davines Natural Tech Nourishing shampoo and brought her back to my station where one of my co workers helped me to apply the following:

Band 1:

25g 7,0 (level 7 natural / neutral)

5g 7,1 (level 7 blue)

60g 5 volume developer

Bands 2 & 3:

18g 8,0 (level 8 natural / neutral)

22g 8,1 (level 8 blue)

80g 5 volume developer

Bands 4 & 5:

20g 10,23 (level 10 violet gold)

40g 5 volume developer

Processed for 15 minutes

When her toner was done processing, I shampooed her again with Davines Natural Tech Nourishing shampoo and conditioned with Nourishing Vegetarian Miracle. They are a protein based shampoo and conditioner that help to keep integrity in hair that has undergone a lot of work. From there we cut, styled, and finished with this.


Is there still some CONTROLLED warmth? Yes. Is there still some banding? NO. In a perfect world, I would have 8 sets of hands and 2 assistants helping to subsection and apply and fold and pull and paint, but I don't. In THIS world, I am thrilled with what we were able to do while still keeping her hair long and healthy. To be honest, I didn't have a lot of hope for bands 3 & 4 with that level 3 color in there, but life had my back on this one. JUST LOOK AT THAT MONEY AROUND HER FACE. Think of how these roots will just sneak on in until I can see her next. It was an honor to be trusted with this project, and I hope that it gave you some inspiration for the future.