Expert Advice

Hispanics and Hair Color

Victoria Wurdinger | July 10, 2011 | 6:17 PM

A bi-lingual educator, Goldwell Guest Artist and International Board Certified Hair Colorist, Yolanda Carrasco also co-owns Alpha Hair Design in suburban Berkeley, Illinois with her husband Jesus. On a break from her busy schedule, she talks about Hispanics, curl and all those undertones.


Q: What are the main color trends in the Hispanic market?

A: They vary geographically. In Boston, Hispanics want vibrant red, while in California, it has to be a beautiful ash blonde. In general, the trend is toward two to three harmonious tones that are two levels lighter than natural. This avoids the orange undertones that don’t work with our skin tones. Young men from 15 to 25 are going very dark, then adding very subtle purple, green or blue accents. We add them with just a few foils on the top and sides.


Q: What’s most misunderstood about color and Hispanics?

A: Colorists think they can make Hispanic women blonde in a single step. It can’t be done.


Q: What’s your favorite coloring technique for curly hair?

A: About 70 percent of Hispanics have curly or wavy hair. I divide the hair in three sections: the top, the nape and the rest of the hair. Color won’t show up in the nape, so I place most of the highlights in the crown. To avoid losing the color in the curl, use slices, not weaves, and make sections thicker by using back-to-back foils. For the back, crown and sides, I like to do block sectioning, placing highlights within the blocks in a pattern: first four, then three, then two.


Q: How do you avoid those undesirable orange undertones?

A: For a virgin application, always use a lower volume developer. When formulating, make one-fourth of the formula a cool brunette shade that’s the same level as the target color.


Q: Are there any coloring issues specific to the Hispanic client?

A: You often get clients who aren’t sure what’s on their hair, and it’s hard to remove. This happens with reds, but I’ve also seen clients with hair that’s half orange and half yellow. Don’t panic! Get the hair as light as you can given its condition, and aim for orange, which is easier to neutralize with an all-over color in the proper shade. You can also put back what’s missing by using a filler under or on top of the toner.

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