Where Them Curls At

A color revamp on the healthiest, bounciest head of natural curls

We all have that guest (or guests) who come in and say "Do whatever you want!". I have one of those angels, and this is her. Every time she comes in, I know that she will either have one vague request (I want to be lighter) or will give me complete free reign. Because of the freedom I have with her hair, I find that I think about her hair more than most of my other guests because every time I see inspiration, I know that it is a possibility on her!!

Quick back story on this beauty, she came to me in need of help with her natural curls. In my salon nearly ALL of us have naturally curly hair, so we tend to attract a lot of curly haired guests, which we LOVE. She was a referral from an existing guest and came in with a grueling daily routine of flat ironing her hair. HER NATURAL CURLS ARE AMAZING GUYS!! So our first appointment was just a quick touch up with accent balayage and really focusing on getting her cut right and getting proper at home care for her curly fabric. Fast forward to today.

Miss B was starting with 3/4 inch natural level 3 regrowth, level 4 mids that had previous red on them, and golden level 8 ends. My one parameter this appointment was that she wanted to be lighter for summer, so I decided to bump her base up by 1 level, replace the red tones with gold tones, and highlight her to give some even, sunny lift to her hair! I've given myself the unofficial title of foil queen over the years, so it tends to be my go to technique for MANY different outcomes.

This was our starting point (fresh out of a pony tail of course). You can see her natural curl is pretty perfect. Her hair has grown THREE FULL INCHES in the last 4.5 months, which is insanity for natural curls!

The integrity of her hair is literally perfect. At home, she strictly uses a curl enhancing shampoo and conditioner, a hydrating curl cream, nutrient dense leave in conditioner AND a curl revitalizing spray for days 2 & 3 without washing. This hair is soft, it is shiny, and it is thriving.


I began by touching up her base with a color 1 level lighter than our previous formula, knowing that the amount of highlights we were going to do would blend out any variation in color between the new base color and the old base color.

Base Color:

12g 4NW (level 4 Natural Warm)

12g 55,0 (level 5 Natural Intense / Double Pigment)

36g 30 Volume

Processed for 35 minutes


20g Violet Lightening Powder

40g 10 Volume Developer

Processed for 20 minutes

I first applied her touch up to allow for full processing time of the color, but also to give it time to start processing before applying the foils. By working this way, I am immediately creating a slightly rooted look which I already know this guest likes. Then, I chose to use a fine slice for her whole head because she wears her hair naturally curly 95% of the time. A slice has enough substance to show up in curly hair, where a weave can disappear in the curls. I sliced her sides in a diagonal back pattern following her hairline, and through her mowhawk section I sliced on a diagonal back following her hairline from the side she parts.


I wanted to ensure that when she left today, not only would there be a noticeable difference when her hair was blown out and curled, but that there would be a noticeable difference when her hair was naturally curly as well. I chose a strong color placement to allow for a big difference, as well as chose a higher volume developer to get a stronger lift. Because there were layers of red based color existing in her hair, I knew that I would be exposing some strong pigment to combat. By using a higher volume developer, I was able to break through it more successfully than if I had just chosen what I thought her hair would support best.

I did not need to remix her lightener because her application was so quick! 15 minutes on and done. I felt comfortable using 30 volume on her fabric because her hair was SO HEALTHY, and because I knew it would only be processing for 20 minutes.

Once her base color AND foils were applied, we process for an additional 20 minutes (totaling 35 minutes for her base).

Once she was finished lifting, she got to about where I was expecting her to land. A pink-ish red-ish level 8. I chose my toning formula based on color theory rather than gut feeling. Some areas lifted to a brassy 8, others to a pinkish red (where the color we had used had a higher red pigmentation prior to this application).

Toner (liquid demi-permanent):

25g 8,18 (Level 8 blue based ash with green)

25g 10 Volume

Processed for 20 minutes

I chose to utilize the full processing time to give her longevity and maximum control. Overall, I think this turned out STUNNING. She looks like the summer version of herself, out here living her best life!


Her hair looked bomb, she was SO happy and had major confidence in that hair, and we had so much fun getting here! I've said it before and I'll say it again, I LOVE when your regular guests (who take amazing care of their hair) want something fresh! If you are constantly helping your guest to reinvent their look (even in subtle ways) they'll never get bored with you. Offer them something NEW, and be okay if they say no. Give them options ALWAYS even if every time they say no. Let them know that you think about them even when they aren't there.



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