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Beautiful Blondes: Making Your Clients Shine

by Antonio Gonzales on Monday, March 21, 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 sheckys.com, 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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