What Every Stylist Needs to Know About Offering Hair Coloring Services



With bright, fun colors making a comeback and classic understated looks here to stay, hair coloring is more popular than it’s ever been. Whether it’s a pop of new color or a touch of ombre your client is looking for, you’ve got them covered. Whatever look a client wants– from Lady Gaga to Amber Le Bon – you can learn to create it as an expert in all-over coloring, highlights & lowlights, and hair glosses and glazes.

Whether they’ve come to you looking for something chic and classic or striking and different from anything they’ve ever done before, building trust with each client is essential since few things transform a person’s look as much as hair color.

High-fashion colors like pastels, silver, ombre, or bright, all-over color applications are often a multi-step process that requires time and patience. You need to be a master in the science of color mixing and application in order to get the results your clients are looking for – or better yet, results that are better than anything they could’ve dreamed of!

Your cosmetology program has taught you the science of color and how to apply it to hair to achieve a beautiful, long-lasting hue. However, if you’re especially interested in color treatments and want to gain advanced certification, you’ll find many cosmetology schools offer short courses especially designed for licensed cosmetologists. You’ll even find that online courses in color theory are available.

Through advanced color courses you’ll learn more than you ever thought possible about the importance of brushstrokes, what tones and shades work best for different skin tones, and the newest color innovations.

All-Over Color

Depending on how closely the new color matches the client’s natural color, an all-over application can be quick and fairly easy, or a multi-step process.

For example, if a client with naturally dark hair wants to become blonde, you’ll need to bleach the hair first before applying hair dye.

However, if your client just wants to hide grey hairs, you may be able to apply the color directly to the hair, let it process, and then wash it out.

The coloring process works by manipulating the hair proteins, called keratins. You’ll mix hair color with ammonia, which will open the shaft of the hair so that the new color can be blended in. You’ll also use peroxide on the hair, which breaks the chemical bonds in the hair and removes the natural color.

Other color variations, like pastels and ombre, can take some time and patience to achieve.

To create a pastel shade, you’ll need to dye the hair a very, very light blonde first. This will involve bleaching and then dying the hair. Next, you’ll dye the blonde hair the pastel shade—otherwise, the pastel tone will only slightly dilute the hair’s natural color.

Ombre is the term for hair that has a color gradient—it’s usually lighter at the roots than it is at the tips. Jessica Alba is known for her easy, everyday wear of this style. However, you can also create a reverse ombre with darker roots and lighter tips.

Ombre usually works best on longer hair, since there is more room to create a gradient. However, you can also create a bold, contrasting ombre on short hair. You’ll need to bleach the hair that’s going to be lighter, whether that’s the roots or the tips. You’ll only bleach the hair to a certain point—about half the head will consist of the lighter color. After you’ve washed the bleach out, you’ll apply the lighter dye to the hair.

Ombres are a style that your client can usually wear for six or more months without needing a refresher, unless they need a root-touch up.

Highlights and Lowlights

Adding highlights is the process of adding in a lighter color to certain strands of hair in order to achieve a sun-kissed look. One highlighting trend is known as babylights, which is adding hair that’s just a shade lighter than your natural color in small highlights throughout the top layer of hair. Babylights are meant to mimic the natural look of hair – going just a shade brighter.

Lowlights are applied in the same way as highlights, just in a shade darker than the hair’s natural color. Your client can go with lots of lowlights or play it safer with just a few. You can also blend the lowlights with the hair to create a more natural look, or you can create a sharply contrasted look by applying a color that’s several shades darker than the natural hair.

Clients often apply highlights during the summer and lowlights for the fall and winter months. Lowlights might include tints of red, or even fun colors like blue.

The hottest method of applying highlights or lowlights is known as balayage, which is a French term for sun-kissed. Using this method, the highlight or lowlight tone is applied on top of the hair but isn’t saturated until you reach the tips of the hair, giving it a softer, more natural appeal.

Hair Gloss/Glaze

While hair glosses and glazes don’t actually add color to the hair, they might be used in conjunction with a color treatment in order to give the hair a shiny, manicured look and prevent the dryness and damage that dyes can cause.

A hair glaze is a temporary procedure that adds shine and can also give the color a boost. If you’re going for a bright, shiny look to your new color, a glaze is the way to go. It doesn’t lift color from the hair cuticle; it simply sits on top of the strands, which means it’ll wash off after about 1-2 weeks of shampoos and normal wear and tear.

A hair gloss provides similar results, except instead of sitting on top of the hair, it saturates the strand to create extra shine. It can protect your color and allow it to last for a longer period of time, and the gloss itself usually lasts about a month.

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