Smoke Show

A short story on how we made a head of yellow hair a straight up silver fox.

Everyone, meet my friend M. She is my amazing co-worker with the most sensitive scalp, and some seriously strong natural keratin. M prefers her hair a really cool blonde, but has a hard time lifting her hair past bright yellow due to her sensitive scalp and incredibly strong keratin. The ending result is nearly always a BRIGHT yellow base, and pale yellow (or pale neutral depending on the toner of the day) ends. I teach brand specific content as well, and am in constant need of models. What better way to show how a product works than to bring in a common real life scenario?! SHE WAS PERFECT.


For all intents and purposes, yellow is a swear word to M. Her hair was in pretty good condition when starting, with a clear demarcation between her most recent touch up and the rest of her hair. She had roughly 3-4 weeks of natural outgrowth as well, and we wanted to utilize her natural depth to create a more gradient look.

Guys, truly this is an easy process. For anyone who has already read Dreaming In Color, you can probably just take over and write the rest of this post.


I began by color matching her levels at both blondes, knowing that her natural base is a level 5 from recent previous swatch matching. Her bright yellow matched up to a level 9, and her ends to a level 10. Knowing that the complimentary color to yellow is violet and that we didn't just want to neutralize, we wanted to create a complete ash tone, I knew I needed a strong formulation.

When formulating for a level that has an intense tone we want to cancel out completely, I tend to drop a level. Each level of hair color only contains enough concentrated pigment for what is needed at that EXACT level. This is why using a level 9 toner on a head of level 8 hair does next to nothing.

SO I formulated extra strength liquid demi-permanent color and started applying at her base. I wanted to begin where the hair needed the most control to allow time to work in my favor. Once her base color was applied, I mixed my next formula and pulled it through her ends, careful to FULLY saturate every strand of hair.

Base Color (liquid demi) :

22g 9,22 (level 9 double violet)

8g 7,21 (level 7 violet with blue)

30g 10 volume

End Formula (liquid demi)

11g 9,22 (level 9 double violet)

4g 7,21 (level 7 violet with blue)

8g gloss (clear)

23g 10 volume

Once her color was fully applied, I allowed it to process for 20 minutes (the full processing time). We couldn't have been happier with the end result! Completely cancelled out warmth that allowed us to make M the smoke show she always dreamed of, and never achieved.

Her hair looked great, felt even better, and this lady is EXUDING confidence. COLOR THEORY GUYS, IT WORKS.


We were all in love. M lived happily ever after dropping jaws all over her home land.



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