Archive for the ‘Coloring’ Category

How to Color Curls, Kinks and Waves

by Tracey on Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

As the texture revolution seriously takes hold, clients with curls are on the prowl for texture-savvy stylists who can transform their hair sans straightening.

Women seek cuts specifically designed for their curls, and to complement these cuts, they want color tailored to highlight their hair’s natural texture and beauty. Clients know their own unique texture and expect their stylists to feel comfortable and confident in working with it.

“In our multicultural world, clients can have many types of hair textures ranging from waves, curls and kinks,” say Matrix Artistic Directors Brian and Sandra Smith. “You must consider amount of curl, curl pattern, porosity, condition and whether hair has been chemically treated before highlighting textured hair,” say the Smiths.

Are you up to the task of coloring these varieties of texture? Because of the structure of curly hair, achieving good color results can be a challenge. But when used correctly, color can be one of the best tools to create a new look for clients with textured hair.

Highlighting How-To

Textured hair is naturally drier and more porous, which may cause color not to process into the anticipated shade.

“Semipermanent is the way to go for curly hair,” says Morgan Willhite, lead stylist and creative director at Ouidad Santa Monica salon. “If you are using permanent color on curly hair the color may come out darker than expected because porous hair absorbs more color.”

The Smiths agree and recommend Matrix’s Color Sync (a demipermanent gloss) to add color and a boost of shine to make curls look healthy.

Color applied to curly hair often looks different than color applied to straight hair, since curly hair diffuses light. Even newly applied color can look drab and dull.

So what’s the solution for clients who want to add highlights or lowlights to their hair?

“A great technique for wavy or curly hair is balayage,” say the Smiths. “The painted-on technique allows the stylist to apply the color/lightener where the natural refl ectivity would be most prominent on the curl and enhance the natural look of the hair.”

For highlighting, the Smiths use Matrix SoColor Permanent Crème Color or V-Light Powdered Lightener to achieve predictable results. The stylists at Ouidad also employ balayage for their curly clients.

In addition to balayage, The Smiths have identified another technique they and Matrix call “Texture Lights” for hair textures ranging from curly to kinky.

To try this technique, first evaluate the client’s hair visually. Then, select ¼-inch to ¾-inch sections from top layers based on texture and density.

“Then twist the section and paint on color or lightener to the outside of the section using a side-brushing technique on selected areas of the twisted hair,” say the Smiths.

“Holding onto the bottom twist, place a long foil underneath and wrap the section in foil. Continue with selected strands and process, lifting two to three levels. If using Matrix V-Light, Color Sync Demi Permanent Color can be applied after lightening process, for tone and shine.”

Foil with Caution

“Foil highlighting on curly hair has the same considerations needed as with wavy hair,” they say.

“Always make sure the strands you pick up are thick enough to be in proportion to the curl and density of the hair,” the Smiths advise. “Done right, the curl in the hair, and the highlights will work together to enhance the overall look.”

They caution against a weave that is too small, as highlights will get lost in the curl. “But if they’re too big, the effect could appear clownish and very dated.”

Special care should also be taken with processing. “If you allow the color to damage the hair—because you used too strong a developer, or overprocessed the lightening formula — the hair could potentially break in areas,” they say.

Tweaking Your Technique

Because textured hair lives in motion, a full color from roots to ends is not necessary to achieve the highlighted look. In fact, a subtle ombre highlighting, where the lighter color is applied more heavily to the midlengths and ends is better suited for textured tresses.

“Because it looks more natural, clients don’t need touch-ups as often,” says Willhite. “When you don’t touch it up, you don’t over process the ends.”

Avoiding over processing the hair, and thus avoiding drying it out even further, is key for curly hair health and will ensure the client can recreate the salon look without frizz caused from damage.

To become your curly client’s highlighting hero, become an expert in coloring her unique texture. Training classes and online videos are available— talk to your color manufacturer or visit for more information on classes.

“Many stylists don’t know how to baliage or how to do it well—it’s an art,” says Willhite. “You have to get training. There are classes, and videos will help. I’ve been doing it for years and it is definitely an art you have to master.”

Curly Cues

Not sure how to handle curls and kinks when it comes to color? Follow these six tips from Matrix Artistic Directors Brian and Sandra Smith for curl-coloring success.

1. Curly hair often appears less shiny and healthy because the cuticle is more raised and the twists and turns of the hair strands only reflect light from the arcs of the curls. Because of this, avoid using flat shades on curly hair, which will result dull color and minimize shine.

2. Know how to analyze and color texture. Examine the texture, porosity, condition and color possibilities before the color service.

3. Always rinse and shampoo hair with cool water. This helps close the cuticle and prevent color fading.

4. Use care when coloring and lightening curly hair due to potential damage to the weaker areas along the strands. It’s a good idea to apply deep conditioner prior to and after coloring curly hair.

5. Foil highlighting on wavy hair isn’t so different than with straight hair. The techniques are the same, but you must gauge the thickness of the weave for coloring or lightening to be in balance with the wave of the hair. If you use weaves that are too thin, the results get lost in the waves. However, when the weaves are too thick, the results can look streaky and outdated.

6. To keep hair in tip-top shape and prevent excessive fading, recommend a personal hair care regimen with specific shampoo and conditioners for color-treated hair.

Balayage Basics

Morgan Willhite, lead stylist and creative director at Ouidad Santa Monica, shares her balayage tips for success:

• Be sure the mixture is thick so it doesn’t drip down the hair.
• Don’t paint with the tip of the brush, paint with the side for natural fading.
• Use a color or lightener that has buffers and use a lower volume if possible.
• Determine the desired shade, and then go half a shade lighter, or even a whole shade, to get the desired result.
• Highlight the sections of curl as they naturally form. If you brush out the hair before you highlight, you will only separate the natural sections more.
• Have clients deep condition or use a protein treatment before they come in, or do it right before coloring at the salon to help with the porous nature of the curls—the color will hold better if you do.
• Advise clients to never use a protein treatment right after highlighting, as it can strip the color.
• Never reprocess the ends. In between treatments, use color glosses and glazes on curly hair. Make sure it is a no-color gloss — it coats and adds a lot of shine, plus it helps control frizz and give the hair a healthy overall look.

Styling Curly Hair: 5 Common Mistakes

by CurlStylist on Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Ouidad, Queen of Curls.

The life of a stylist is fraught with trials, triumphs and many tribulations, especially if you choose to specialize in textured tresses. Yes, some mistakes are inevitable no matter how savvy you are as a stylist — but you may be surprised how many common faux pas are avoidable. And, you don’t need years of experience to figure it out, if you’re willing to learn from the wisdom of those who spent decades creating a brave (and curly) new world.

Here, we turn to leading curl experts, and asked: If they knew then what they know now, what nostalgic advice would they share about styling curly hair? Read on for the top 5 lessons of curl-centric veterans — lessons they learned the hard way, so you don’t have to.

1: Set Realistic Expectations

When Ouidad, the “Queen of Curls,” first started styling curly hair, she acknowledges that her idealism took over.

“I wanted to change the world with the haircut that I gave them. I wanted to fix it all and change it all,” Ouidad says. “But it’s impossible to take a head of hair and change it all completely at once. What I learned is to really look at the hair, study all the curl patterns, and learn exactly how much curls shrink, each section, and how they fit within each other when you cut. It’s not like cutting straight hair, you can’t just change it all at once.”

So, instead of having an image of what you think you’re going to do with the client, like change their life, Ouidad encourages up-and-coming stylists to examine the different hair textures, really study them and understand them first.

2: Listening to Your Client

“Let the client talk, don’t talk over them. Just observe them,” says Denis DaSilva, co-owner of New York’s Devachan Salon. “You win over people when you agree with them. If you try to disagree, you’ll never win. Agree with them, and then change them a little to the right or left according to what needs to be done, but never say no.”

No is not a word your clients are going to accept easily. So, experts say, be certain you understand what they want before you react.

“You’re going to have to really listen,” adds Christo. “You’re going to have to analyze their hair, so you can give them options and ideas.”

3: Don’t Treat Curly Clients Like Straight-Haired Clients

Curl experts say you cannot treat curly clients the same way you treat clients with straight hair.

“Most of the time, people with straight hair will let you do whatever you want,” Christo says. “But with curly clients, you have to take into consideration that she has already tried many things and ended up in your chair because you claim you specialize in curly hair. So you have to live up to those expectations.”

And that can mean a much longer consultation for new clients. For example, Christo blocks out an hour for new clients. “We want to make sure that person is going to stay with us because we know we have all the solutions for them,” he says.

He suggests stylists ask themselves if they’re really comfortable styling curly hair. “Anyone can say they do curly hair, but can they really? Or, are they making disasters out there for us to fix?” Christo asks.

4: Don’t Let Curl-Phobia Get the Best of You

Although you may feel fear when first approaching curly clients, don’t give in to it.

“The first 10 years as a stylist, you’re so afraid of clients. When they want what they want, they make you concerned about that. The second ten years, you learn how to present what is better for them, but the end result is they will push you, even though you gave them whatever they wanted,” DaSilva says. “The third ten years, now you’re smarter. You listen, but learn how strategically to put them in a spot where you can always give them more.”

Especially when it comes to color, DaSilva warns that if you give the client too much control, it will be hard to get it back.

“I don’t have confrontations with any clients, but if they say I want a lot of blonde highlights, I’ll put the blonde strategically in places where they will see more blonde, but not necessarily doing more blonde,” he explains. “If they say I want a little red, I may know that warm brown, for them, is red.”

DaSilva says it’s all about understanding how to interpret and balance a client’s wants and needs.

5: Communicate

Curl experts say your words matter a lot when styling curly hair clients.

“If you say, ‘I know exactly what I need to do,’ it just blows up in your face. Even if you do know, it just puts [the curly client] on the defense,” Ouidad says. “It’s essential to talk about how you’re going to work with the hair, what kind of movement you want to put in the hair. You want to be able to verbalize and explain how it’s going to fit and how it’s going to look like when the hair is dry.”

Ouidad says you can ease a curly’s fear by saying things like, “I know layers would be too rough for your hair, or it would shrink too much.” You really want to make sure curly clients know that you’re not going to give them ledges, a pyramid or some other shape they dread — and that you understand their texture.

“Make your client as comfortable and be trusting as possible by saying things that resonate with them,” Ouidad says.

Read all of this bi-annual issue of Texture!

Client Hair Coloring Tips From Brig Van Osten

by CurlStylist on Thursday, July 14th, 2011

brig van osten

“Shear Genius” winner Brig Van Osten uses Pravana colors to achieve stunning results.

Hey there, my curly loving and cutting friends!

In case you missed out on Brig Van Osten’s live Facebook chat hosted by Pravana, we’ve provided you with some of the Q&A highlights.

Straight from the “Sheer Genius” to you, Brig provides quick client management and hair coloring tips.

Question: I have a client with Level 5 all over and chunky platinum highlights. She now wants to totally switch to JLo’s new Soft Sandy Blonde. What do you suggest?

Brig: I suggest you use Pure Light Power Lightener with 10 volume on her nat level 6. Leave your level 9panels out. Lift to level 9. Wash & dry.

Q: On personal style—do you ever worry that your own personal style will deter a client? I am in a pretty conservative area, and while I’m classic, I’m still kind of bold and worry about getting in to a salon and finding that a problem.

Brig: A great way to get around that is to create something cool using a clip in hairpiece that can be clipped out when you client goes to the day job. I never worry about what someone else will think of how I choose to look. I want to attract those who “get” me. I’m an artist and it reflects in my appearance. If I had to wear all black to a job, I wouldn’t work there.

Q: Have you ever listed with an agent? I’m near Nashville & I would love to get some on-shoot work and was thinking of contracting agents once licensed.

Brig: If you want to do freelance work, an agent is almost always necessary. Negotiating money for yourself is also challenging. Agents are fabulous.

Q: Brig, how do you get your clients to try a little “fun” color when they are timid about it?

Brig: I start each consultation by asking: “What do you like and dislike about your hair? If you are in the color room formulating and find yourself unclear, you didn’t talk enough with the client. Go back & ask more questions. Review pictures. I keep crazy records on each client. Consistency is key to a successful career as a stylist.

Q: I recently had a big problem with “sun-in.” Brig, how do you deal with this nightmare? Are there any recommended steps on getting this color correction under control?

Brig: Sun-In-EEEEEKKKK. Test strand & always darken, never lighten. Proceed with caution and under promise results. I remind clients that tell me, “My hair is strong and can handle it,” that I don’t want to see them on Judge Judy with me. Sun-In, Henna, crap from the all-natural market – BEWARE. Test strand. That has saved me many times. Offer a hair rehab program at your salon—great way to bring in clients with wrecked hair & make plans to nurse it back to health.

Q: Brig, I saw an awesome timeline of your career somewhere, but I can’t remember where it was.

Brig: I got my start at the cheapest school & hustled education after that. I also assisted and learned a ton of “what not to do” from a lazy stylist.

For more information concerning this chat with Brig Van Osten and the products he recommends, visit Pravana’s website.

Hollywood Hair Color by Pasqualle Caselle

by Megan Dorcey on Monday, June 27th, 2011

Artistic Educator for IT&LY HAIRFASHION, Pasquale Caselle utilized the looks of Hollywood past with Hollywood present. Each model has 2 looks that depict the importance of great hair color to capture each design.

Hollywood Red Head: The inspiration for model Kelly was to create something to bring out the dramatic looks of past Hollywood hair styles with the glamour of today.

The Color Formula: On a level 6 base, IT&LY HAIRFASHION’S AQUAR&LY 8A (Light Orange Blonde) mixed with 20 volume AQUAR&LY Developer was used to create this dynamic and sultry Hollywood red head.


Style # 1 How to Achieve the Look:

Pure Fluid Experience was applied after gently towel drying her freshly washed hair for added volume. To style, use a medium round brush and blow drying piece by piece to create a bit of bend in the hair. After the entire head is blown dry, lightly tease the root area and smooth with a soft bristle brush. Use Pure Water Drops on the ends to add shine and definition of the loose curls. To finish, spray lightly with Pure Definition Aerosol Spray.


Style # 2 How to Achieve the Look:

Begin by teasing the entire head from roots to end. This is what will create the volume and base for this updo. Apply Pure Water Drops on the ends to create a bit of definition with the curls. Spray the entire head with Pure Definition Aerosol Spray and begin to manipulate the hair up towards the crown, yet not too tight as you want to create a deconstructed look. Secure with pins. Finish with Pure Definition Aerosol Spray.

How to Create Scarlett Johansson’s Auburn Updo

by CurlStylist on Friday, June 24th, 2011

How to Create Scarlett Johansson's Auburn Updo

Scarlett Johansson

Celebrity hairstylist David Babaii has created many celebrity updos including Scarlett Johansson’s look for the 5th Annual Spike TV Guys Choice Awards. To create her beautiful auburn shade for your clients, David recommends using Couture Colour Luxeblend Creme Hair Colour with Pequi Oil.

• Hair is 200% stronger after one color application

• Deep, penetrating color without ammonia

• No-drip, multi-dimensional glossy color

To achieve the look, David started with a small amount of Pequi Oil massaged through the hair after shampooing. Next, he dried her tresses using his hands throughout to build volume and texture. When dry, he added additional Pequi Oil to his hands using his fingers to comb the hair back, allowing sections to fall into place naturally. To finish, David twisted and bobby pinned strands to create a “piecey” updo. 

Hot Summer 2011 Hair Trends

by Trash Talk with Anna Craig on Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

From coast-to-coast, hair extensions and faded color is all the rage this season. Here’s a look at two hot summer 2011 hair trends.

Hot Summer 2011 Hair Trends

Hilary Duff

Feather Hair Extensions

Right now you cannot go anywhere without seeing people with feather hair extensions. You can dress them up or dress them down which makes them very versatile. They’re also huge at all the schools because the kids can get away with them; schools haven’t outlawed them because they’re a hair accessory. They can be washed, blow dried, curled, and flat ironed, and are safe for hair since they attach with a simple hair extension clamp.

You care for feather hair extensions just like a regular hair extension. The feathers come in all lengths, colors, sizes, and designs. However, if you’ve ever tried to order some for your salon, you’ll find out that they’re sold out almost everywhere. My salon was even approached by another salon to see if they could buy ours! But if you’re lucky enough to order some, you know that there are slim pickings right now because of the high demand. Feather hair extensions started out as fly fishing feathers from roosters, peacocks and various other birds. The poor fishermen are probably a little peeved at all the crazy hair stylists out there buying their stock.

Hot Summer 2011 Hair Trends

Jessica Biel

Ombre Hair Color

Ombre hair color, reverse highlights, or balayaging or whatever you call it is also hot this year. Jessica Biel, Sarah Jessica Parker, Drew Barrymore, Hillary Duff are some of the celebrities who have been rocking this look for a while. This look means having a grown-out bleachy and dark-to-light fade of hair color, with the root starting dark and gradually lightening to the ends.

This look is achieved by coloring halfway up the hair strand to create a natural, sun-kissed highlight. Foils cannot be used because they will cause the hair to look too streaky. If the hair has previous highlights and the highlights are too high up on the hair shaft, you will have to create a dark root by coloring the roots to the midshaft their natural color, and sweeping the color down almost half way. Then you will have to go back and color the midshaft to create a natural highlight and to break up the line. Ombre hair color is more economical for many clients because they are able to go between appointments a lot longer.

Win Big With Pravana Hair Color Contest

by CurlStylist on Monday, May 16th, 2011

brig van osten

Brig van Osten

You’re a cutting-edge stylist whose coloring skills are as varied as the hues in a rainbow—literally! From red to violet, you can creatively customize a seriously colorful semi-permanent coloring job. If Pravana hair color products are the secret weapon supporting your talent, then “Show Us Your Vivids” is the contest for you. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity combines Pravana’s Naturceuticals Vivids with “Shear Genius” winner Brig Van Osten’s top talent.

To prove you’ve got prowess, all you have to do is upload three images, one of a ho-hum “before” model and two of your model “after” exposure to your very own unique methodology of applying Pravana’s Vivids color. Your fate then rests in Brig’s hands—the seasoned stylist and owner of P!ay Hair Lounge in California will select three licensed professionals as the most creative color-ers.

The first-prize winner will receive a paid trip to an editorial photo shoot with Brig herself. Those pictures will then wind up in a major salon industry publication! Second place will receive $1,000 worth of Pravana hair care, styling and coloring products, while the third runner up will be gifted with $500 worth of products.

If you have what it takes to color the world your way, visit from July 1, 2011 to August 31, 2011 to get more information and to enter the first ever Show Us Your Vivids contest. Then, anxiously await September 5, 2011 when Brig will bestow her three favorite colorists with premium prizes. Happy coloring!

Top Hair Color Brands: Ratings & Reviews

by Antonio Gonzales on Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles, New York City and now Miami. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in New York, I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the Best Cuts 2009.

For clients, hair color is a big part of their monthly investment. Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked to get rid of unwanted grays and brighten the dullest of days for my clients. While doing so, I have used many professional

hair color

Color is a big part of a client’s hair budget.

permanent hair color brands, and while I’ve really liked most and still use several to this day, I have watched these companies do their best to improve their products and produce hair color that is noticeably shinier and healthier and that last longer on the hair.

The following is my honest experience and opinions on the differences between these color lines, including what to expect and what sets them apart. Each is rated on a scale of 1 to 10 for fading (1 being great resistance to fading and 10 being the worst resistance to fading).


An Italian permanent hair color, this was one of the first hair colors I used when I started my coloring career. Framesi comes in many shades and boasts some beautiful reds. Over the years, Framesi has improved their color line by adding lovely cool tones and an opaque color with rich, long-lasting browns and some great gray coverage. Because of its intense coverage, when working on the client with a few grays that is maybe looking for a softer, more translucent color, this probably is not my first choice. Unlike some other products, Framesi has not had the huge financial and advertising backing others may have enjoyed, however, it’s a color line that has been consistent for the past 20 years. Fade Rating: 1


This is another favorite with an opaque finish. Sometimes I prefer this to Framesi, since it’s not as opaque. Their “N” series is not as ashy as other brands and it leaves the hair feeling like, well, hair! Goldwell confidently can boast great high lift tints that lift “on tone.” It also has a demi-permanent color line that complements most of their permanent colors. Not many permanent hair color brands have a demi-permanent color line that I love. I “like” Goldwell. Fade Rating: 2

Majirel by L’Oreal

This product is a great translucent permanent color that gives great coverage and shine. Their brunettes are gorgeous! The gold series for low-lighting holds well, but needs a little extra kick of red for warmth. For the blonde who dislikes “warm low-lights,” this is perfect!! I love their copper reds, but they are lacking a broader spectrum of reds. Fade Rating: 1

Richesse by L’Oreal

L’Oreal also provides a demi-permanent line called “Richesse,” which I like very much. It’s an easy to use line that I will continue to use. Fade Rating: 3


Koleston Perfect is a color I have been using since it became available in the U.S. In fact, over the last 15 years, I am responsible for introducing it to many salons I have worked in. It’s a translucent color perfect for clients who want permanent color without the feeling of intense coverage and pigment. This is a warm brand of color and you will need to pay attention to controlling the warmth for the clients who are ash lovers. Wella colors are great for low-lighting; they leave the hair very shiny. The reds are lovely and I love, love, love their bleaches. Wella also provides an endless demi-permanent color line (Color Touch) supporting its permanent colors.

hair color

Gotta have the reds!

Recently, they created a line that adds a translucent tone to compete with Cellophanes, called Colorshines by Sebastian. Only problem? It does have a little peroxide, whereas Cellophanes has none. Fade Rating: 4


This is another product I’ve been using since it was launched in the U.S. more than 10 years ago. From its milk proteins and gentle approach, it offers a color with healthy hair in mind. Its consistency when mixing is a little annoying and so is the packaging, but it delivers! I know stylists who swear by it. Fade Rating: 4

Miss Clairol

Let’s bring in the big guys from the “old school!” Talk about a color that covers grey well… always! Some may think it’s for dated hairstylists, but you will be surprised to know that many top salons in New York use this product because of its ability to cover well. However, most salons accompany this product with demi-permanent colors from other lines. Disadvantages? It is liquid and has a strong smell. Fade Rating: 2 (You go, Miss Clairol!)

Well there you have it, guys and dolls, my input on hair color brands to help you get started if you’re new, or just looking for some hair coloring tips. Of course, if you ask another hairstylist, they will have a totally different opinion on my choices, but the most important thing is that we all love color!

Summer Hair Coloring Tips

by Antonio Gonzales on Monday, March 28th, 2011

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles and now New York City. Here in New York, I am a stylist at the Orlo Salon in the Meat Packing district. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in New York, I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the Best Cuts 2009.

Today I’m addressing protecting colored curly hair clients. Be it a blonde, redhead or brunette, color fading and breakage are what’s in store for them in the months to come as our clients enjoy the hot summer sun.

Before your clients leave the salon, here are some valuable tips for them to help them prevent problems and address these challenges.

Color Fading

From this day forward, as clients sit in your chair, it’s crucial to explain to them how to protect their “investment” (their hair color). Educate them on the fact that they need to purchase new products as the seasons change. For the summer, recommend new shampoos, conditioners and treatments that contain UV protection from the ocean, pool and sun.

Before they enter the pool or ocean, suggest they apply a thick layer of conditioner to prevent over-saturation of salt and chlorine. When they exit the water, recommend they have a spray bottle of water at hand to help dilute the salt or chlorine. They should also follow up by adding a light misting of a leave-in conditioner.

Tanning booths are big culprits in hair color fading. Remind clients to cover their hair when at tanning salons.


When working on my blondes, I have started doing cellophane glazes (colorshines) that contain no ammonia or peroxide. If it’s a blonde who can’t live without the effects of glosses (softening the root color), then follow your gloss with a glaze. In any case, a glaze will create a temporary barrier on the hair to prevent fading.

Because cellophanes come in clear, as well as different colors, you have the ability to not drift away from your desired color. For example, if I’m working on a blonde who does not want any warm tones, mix Clear and Pearl as your glaze. If she’s afraid of any cool tones then, mix Clear and Honey Golden Blond. The Clear is there to dilute any added color pigment and keeps you on track for your desired effect.


For your brunette clients with virgin hair, cellophanes are a great recommendation and I guarantee you they will love you for it! You can use Clear with a squirt of Red Brunette or Clear with a squirt of Honey Golden Blonde. The best part? It fades after 10 to 12 shampoos, which means they can enjoy a beach vacation with a peace of mind. Even for kids, the Clear will keep their beautiful curls intact and shiny.

Beautiful Blondes: Making Your Clients Shine

by Antonio Gonzales on Monday, March 21st, 2011

antonio gonzales

I was born in Trinidad in the height of a hurricane. I spent my childhood surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of Carnival and the other Indian, African and Spanish festivals of the Islands. Loving the amazing costumes, I got my start dressing my sisters and doing their hair and makeup. An opportunity came up to work with Trinidad’s leading costume designers, makeup artists and hair stylists. After I left the Island, my career evolved with work in Munich, Los Angeles and now New York City. Here in New York, I am a stylist at the Orlo Salon in the Meat Packing district. Vogue magazine recently named me as one of the rising hairstylist stars in New York, I was awarded the best haircut of 2008 by, Gotham Magazine called me a Shear Genius and Allure Magazine featured me as one of the Best Cuts 2009.

As a continuation of my last color installment, which covered foiling or baliage techniques with darker colors, I now turn my attention to fair-haired ladies and gents and how to help them achieve that beautiful blonde look.

I thought I would start this article differently and first talk about all the tools and techniques I use in the color dispensary. Please keep in mind these valuable tips may require you thinking out of the “color box.”

Hair Lightener. Over the years, there have been so many hair lighteners that I can’t even keep track. Today, over-production seems to have calmed down. After all, how many do we really need? Here are the three lighteners I use that give me the best results.

1. Platinium is a paste that comes with its own special developer. I love using this for painting (baliage) because of its consistency and ability to stay moist while being extremly gentle on fine hair. It adheres to the hair well; however, I only use this for finer painting. On wider pieces it tends to get dry fast and it takes too much product. It’s also not the cheapest of hair lighteners, so overusing is not smart on your color budget.

2. Platene by Loreal is a great product for foiling or baliage. It’s an easy product to add conditioning oils to, while keeping a great consistency. Platene is a great product for painting larger pieces without the product being too dense. It allows flexibility when maneuvering the hair and for foils it gives a great lift you can see while processing.

3. Blondor by Wella is a great bleach for foiling. It conditions, lifts well and is one of the only blue powdered bleaches that I can see the true color of the blond while it’s processing. This comes in handy, since some bleaches are so blue that it’s hard to tell if the hair is blond or sky blue. I do not recommend this product for doing baliage, it simply is the wrong consistency.

Foiling Techiniques. I was recently asked by a hairstylist how many “foiling patterns” do I know? I was in shock! I did not realize we still do “special” foil patterns? My answer was the head is round and it depends on what my desired look is. The concept of foiling patterns went out with big shoulder pads in the eighties.

Baliage. There are so many baliage techniques that it really depends on the desired look, the client’s natural hair texture and the hair’s condition. The wonderful thing with baliage is you can invent your own ideas on approaching your desired look. After all, we are creative people so let’s create! L’Oreal by far has the best baliage brushes. They also have great spatulas that come in different sizes, allowing you to be flexible and get special results. If you do not have a spatula you can use a Champion black rubber (seven-inch) comb, which is what I used back in the day. It is wide enough and is great quality. To avoid color bleeding, you can use cotton (strip or flat) and cling wrap to do baliage. Another baliage technique for dramatic results is painting by hand, wearing gloves.

Sectioning Clips. Alligator clips will help you work efficiently keeping the tiniest of strands out of the way. They wash well and are strong.

Glossing Technique. After highlighting a head of hair, we sometimes add a gloss to add the desired tone that bleach alone cannot achieve. I would like to share one of my glossing techniques that can help you get better blond results. Once the foils or baliage is removed and you shampoo and towel dry, instead of using one gloss to help you get your desired results, I recommend two, one for the root and one for the entire head.

Let me explain; if you are about to gloss a blonde and the roots are dark and she wants to be a light golden blonde I always use a beige gloss on the roots first to control the warmth. Then after three to five minutes I apply my desired color over the entire head. The beige on the roots sets the tone without pulling too warm and when you apply the second gloss it gives the end of the hair the desired tone. Don’t be too worried about the beige changing the end result. The golden pigment will control the beige, giving you the result you need.

If the client wants a more beige overall tone and is very concerned about warm roots, you can add a little ash to your beige root gloss for further control. Keep in mind that this is just one of many approaches you can use when glossing hair.

Here’s wishing you beautiful blonde results!

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