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Dip-Dying and Mixing Color

by CurlStylist on Wednesday, June 13, 2012

By: Jennifer Kenny, The Curl Girl

Drew Barrymore with ombre hair color

As a professional colorist, catering to curly clients, I IMPLORE them not to use box color. Here are a few things I tell them about why box color is usually the devil…

1. Heavier dye loads in some boxes intended to help cover resistant gray can create a very dark — and dull — result on previously colored hair. When applying color to your own hair, the chances that you will be able to neatly apply it on only the new growth are slim. A color designed to open the cuticle layer of your hair and deposit a heavy dose of color molecules is not what you want on hair that has already been processed in that manner. That is, unless you’re trying to channel you inner Wednesday Addams or Billy Bob era, pre-Brad Angelina.

2. Other hair problems are often caused by box color that clients don’t even attribute to their at home fix. Hair can be very dry, have a tinsel like feel that is caused by metallic salts or other harsh ingredients, or have intensified effects from sun or chlorine. Hair will tend to have a matte appearance with little shine or dimension.

Miley Cyrus with an ombre bob

We all know curly hair is already fighting an uphill battle to retain its natural moisture. Home hair color can offset the efforts of curlies devoted to maintaining their curls by using quality styling products. When box color creates too dark results/unpredicted/undesirable results the process required to lighten the hair is ALWAYS going to A) Damage the hair further, or B) require intense deep treatments that help restore the hair/prevent breakage, make it softer and more manageable and add shine. This is FOR SURE going to cost more than having it done in the salon. Whisper the following phrase aloud: “It doesn’t end up saving you money.”

When I’m creating a formula for one of my clients, I rarely use just one color. When mixing up anything from a vibrant, editoral copper to a natural looking “Kardashian” brunette, there is much thought and personalization involved in creating a color formula for each specific head — it’s nearly impossible to get that kind of result from a drugstore box.

I will always warn my clients about using box color, but with respect, acknowledging that neither time nor money grows on trees. This season’s runway hit real life trend — Ombre  — makes it easy for me to offer some clients a hair color option that can provide them a beautiful and professional result while allowing them to stretch time between visits. Roots — this season’s IT color. Well, not really, but kind of. Ombre is actually a graduation of color, from dark to light and is the current “I want THAT hair” request that stylists are getting from their clients. I first fell in love with this look when I saw it on Drew Barrymore, and she’s worn it as a rooty rocker style and as a soft dip-dyed look of sumptuous caramel brown melting to butterscotch blonde.

You can start with a base color that is close to your natural color, or choose to keep your natural color and just color your mid-lengths and ends (more like the Sarah Jessica Parker look).

Wondering if you can pull of this look with not only wavy hair, but shorter, too? Miley Cyrus has (ahem) the best of both worlds, with this easy yet fashion forward ombre bob.

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