Lesson in Lineage: Color Dreads How To
Hair: Gustav Mendoza
Photography: Roberto Ligresti
Make-up: Teresa M. Brown
Fashion styling: Carlton Jones
“There has been a mystery about clipper cutting for years because most stylists are taught one way with clippers. We cut hair at zero. It cuts the shortest and most uniform, but creates lines. To eliminate a line, tilt the clipper to leave the teeth at 90 degrees. This half cuts and half texturizes. At 180 degrees, you are using the top of the blade for texture only. By altering the clipper angle, you can go from solid and blocky to a look that flows.” —Gustav Mendoza
This “Color Dreads” technique creates gentle vertical color dimension on otherwise fl at color. Vertical sections are color alternated to bring shine and movement all tied together by a brighter colored cat-eye section over the natural parting. This alternative to traditional highlights offers even more opportunities.
“This color design can be strong or subtle,” Mendoza says, “determined by the color selection. In this case, I am alternating two copper shades in the ‘dreads’ so it is not outrageous, and using a strawberry blonde in the cat-eye which serves as a tasteful overlay to blend.”
For the cut, Mendoza trimmed the hair using a clipper. “This really is a magical tool,” he says, holding up the clipper. “Not only can it be used to create a clean line, but in the hand of a skilled artist, you can get traditional and untraditional textures.”
1. Section hair in quadrants, leaving an isolated “cat eye” shape over the natural high side parting. The cat-eye spans to 2 inches at the widest point.
2. Begin the color in the back right quadrant. Take 1-inch diagonal sections and apply color from base to ends. Two shades are created: medium copper blonde (7C) with 10 volume alternated with a copper neutral (equal parts 6N and 7C) with 10-volume developer. Continue to alternate these two shades in the back two quadrants, twisting each “dread” and securing with a jaw grip to separate.
3. Now go to the isolated cat eye and place 8RO (strawberry blonde) with 20-volume developer in foils. Place in ¼-inch subsections, and isolate in back-toback foils.
4. Process at room temperature for 35 minutes. Rinse and condition hair.
5. To cut, comb the hair as it is to be worn. Bring down all the hair from the occipital and cut to desired length, using a clipper without a guard, cutting as you would with shears.
6. Then take the hair from the crown and pull straight up. Cut straight across at a length to leave long layers.
7. Now connect the lengths with the shorter top, cutting across the top of the head. Blend forward until the hair no longer reaches.
8. Direct the front side section forward and cut to leave a face frame. Blend back, elevating, and cutting to connect the top with the lengths.