Expert Advice

3 Most Common Hair Color Mistakes

Victoria Wurdinger | July 11, 2011 | 12:21 AM
3 Most Common Hair Color Mistakes
Empire Beauty School student Angela Sullivan learns to work out color corrections, band by band.

3 Most Common Hair Color Mistakes
Sullivan with her fabulously fixed color client, Kendra.

Getting Schooled

Educators at Empire Beauty Schools say the hardest concept for colorists to master is formulation—particularly for corrective color. “Most new stylists think faster is better,” says Gina Pieper, student educator trainer for Empire Beauty School in Madison, Wisconsin. Here, a three-part correction reveals the most common color mistakes, when plotting a course from color A to color B:

Situation: Kendra didn’t like her new red color and tried a drug-store decolorizer, thinking it was safer than bleach. Her natural Level 8 was a bright Level 10 at the scalp, followed by about five mid-shaft bands, ranging from Level-5 violet/salmon to Level-6 orange, and ending in pink.

Common Mistakes: Novices tend to use 40-volume with bleach to lift the darker bands, which can make the bands too light, and result in damage, as well as uneven finalcolor coverage. The uninitiated will also apply the new color right after lifting, instead of addressing underlying pigment by using a toner on the lighter, brighter re-growth.

Smartest Solution: Apply a soap cap of equal parts lightener and 20-volume developer, along with shampoo and a bit of water. Use a brush and stay half inch off the scalp, avoiding the ends. Process for half an hour, while continually re-applying the mixture to the darker bands of red. When most of the midshaft is an even color, shampoo and dry the hair. Next, apply a toner to the lighter scalp re-growth and process for 10 minutes. Finally, apply the new, all-over color—here, Goldwell TopChic 8KG with equal parts 10-volume developer, applied roots-to-ends and processed for 30 minutes.

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