How we created a beautiful, believable, lived in blonde for a low maintenance babe
Today, I had the honor of coloring my friends hair for the first time. We all know how this goes. All the stars align and we finally get someone in our chair that we've been dying to color and THEN WE GET NERVOUS. What if I do everything right and they hate it?! Or worse, what if I do something wrong because I'm paying more attention to chatting than I am to formulating and applying? We have even more skin in the game than usual because this isn't just a work encounter, this is a personal relationship at stake and people take their hair VERY SERIOUSLY.
Lets call this beauty Jay. Jay is a nurse who works insane hours in a busy downtown metro area. She is back home where I live and work roughly once per quarter and gets her hair done then. She LOVES being blonde (and looks killer in it) but doesn't love brassy tones, which is what she always seems to end up with, even when leaving the salon.
In my mind, when I think of hair that is colored every 3 months, I don't think of bright up to the base highlight. I think of a softer more rooted blonde that is forgiving as it grows in. The real hard spot here is that she needs her blonde to go 3 months without getting warm. As hairdressers, we know this to essentially be an impossible task. Maybe one in 1,000,000 unicorns have hair that will allow for this, but something told me that this wasn't that one. With our starting natural level being a neutral level 7, I started making my game plan. The navy wall struck again, the before pictures don't do the hair justice. Her blond was MUCH warmer than it photographed, and her base was much lighter than photographed. Regardless, here was our starting point.
WHAT DID I DO
I knew that I wanted to blend out that harsh line of demarcation, which meant applying a base color. In normal circumstances I would try to avoid adding a base with appointments being this spread out, but I felt in this case it was necessary and formulated to allow for the least future demarcation possible. Through her ends, she was a very warm combination of levels 9 & 10 with a couple threads of a level 8. To give her the most control over the warmth in her blonde, I chose to color her ends rather than tone them for longevity.
Knowing that her base would inevitably lift and warm up a bit in tone over the next three months, I chose to use something cooler and at her same natural level to give her the softest line of demarcation with her grow out. Keeping in mind desired outcome, starting fabric and at home care, I decided on the following plan.
Base Color :
20g 7,11 (level 7 double blue based ash)
10g 7,0 (level 7 natural / neutral)
45g 10 volume
Blonde Formula 1:
26g 10,23 (level 10 violet with gold)
39g 20 volume
Blonde Formula 2:
18g 9,0 (level 9 natural / neutral)
8g 8,72 (level 8 beige with violet)
39g 20 volume
I began by applying her base color slightly deeper on the back half of her head (roughly 2.5 inches down) and slightly higher on the front half of her head (roughly 1 inch down), working in a slope away from her face.
I did this to create a "lighter to darker" effect that is visually very natural. I then took each quadrant of her head into 1.5 inch thick diagonal back sections and applied her two different blonde formulas alternating, using my fingers to apply pressure and blend the blonde formulas into her already applied base color.
She processed for 35 minutes, then we cleansed and conditioned with an illuminating color protecting family. After reshaping her cut, I prepped her hair with a volume boosting mousse, blow dry primer and oil, then blew out and curled. We were both happy with the results! The blonde was much more controlled, there was an even shine to her hair, and her base blended into her blonde beautifully!
IN THE END
With our starting point and length of time between appointments, I'm so happy with this outcome! I can't WAIT to see how this fades between now and the next time we see each other!