Ash Me No More Questions

When the woman wants ash, you give her ash.

Friends, full disclosure. This gorgeous gal is my sister, and I LOVE doing her hair. Before starting this blog, before writing my book, before working in this beautiful salon that is always photographed in the background, I lived out of state for a long time. So long, that my sister had another regular local hairdresser because of the fact that I was only home once or twice per year. When I moved back, of course she started coming to me! OH BOY was our work cut out for us. This hair has been a long and gradual process (almost one year to be exact), and I could write at least 10 blog posts about the steps that we took. But for this, I prefer to jump straight to our end result. THIS is what one full year of hard work looks like.

This hair has presented quite a few challenges over the last year. Our starting point when I first got my hands on it had a large band of LEVEL 3 cosmetic color that was from a VERY stubborn brand. After MANY diligent applications on a naturally fragile fabric, we were able to get her to a very even level 10. Our main issues are that she is naturally a level 5, so the outgrowth is very noticeable (quickly), and that she pulls warm so quickly between color appointments and prefers a neutral to ash tone. Here was our starting point this time.

Previously we had been a full bleach and tone (which was both of our favorite color) but MAN the maintenance! It was too much for her busy schedule. We've since switched her over to a full highlight and tone.

In addition to our dark natural regrowth and warm blonde lengths and ends, we were dealing with more depth in the back and underneath than we cared for due to having only foiled from her occipital bone and up the last two appointments.


We needed to get this hair light and bright again, so FULL FOIL here we go! From nape to hairline, everything was getting foiled.

I began by sectioning out her entire head before even mixing my formula. When I know that an application will take tedious sectioning, I always complete it before doing anything else.

Highlight Formula :

15g violet based lightener

30g 20, 25 and 30 volume

Remixed every 20 minutes, each remix the developer was bumped up

I remixed my lightener every 20 minutes to ensure that we were always using a fresh and active product. Bleach crescendo's in productivity the first 20 minutes, then slowly tapers down in energy and beings to "die". After 20 minutes, the bleach is no longer operating at its full capacity and will no longer give you an even lift like the foils applied inside of the initial 20 minutes. Guys....we jammed these foils in there. Her head had to weigh an extra 30 pounds.

Her last foils were applied with 30 volume, and only took 15 minutes to process. So after 15 minutes, we shampooed her twice with a nourishing shampoo made for processed hair to remove any residual lightener from the hair, towel dried her, and brought her back to my chair to apply her toner.

Base Toner:

20g 9,22 (level 9 violet violet)

10g 7,21 (level 7 violet blue)

30g 10 volume

Mids & Ends Toner:

30g 9,22 (level 9 violet violet)

5g 7,21 (level 7 violet blue)

10g gloss (clear diluter)

45g 10 volume

I knew that our desired end result was as ashy as we could get it while still being light, and that she reverts to warm SO QUICKLY between appointments, so we left this on the maximum processing time of 20 minutes before cleansing and conditioning with a nourishing shampoo made for processed hair. We then cut her, prepped her hair with a nutrient dense oil and leave in conditioner with UV and thermal protectants, blew her out and flat ironed. THE SHINE ON THIS ASH BLONDE IS INCREDIBLE!!! Ash tones are notorious for being flat, but this liquid demi is literally life changing. Her hair was so soft, so shiny, and almost moved like silk. I've never given her hair color that has made her THIS happy. By adding a small amount of a level 7 ash, I was able to get complete control of her warmth. The amount of ash at a level 7 is much more potent than at a level 9, so even with adding clear to our end formulation, we had more muscle than we would have with just a level 9 violet. These results speak for themselves!!! Living for this head of blonde hair.


We finally did it! This is the hair she has been craving and showing me pictures of since the first day she sat in my chair at my (then) new salon home. I love getting to spend time with her at work, and am so happy to give her the hair satisfaction that she deserves!



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