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Makeover: Getting Smokey

Maggie Mulhern | August 25, 2016 | 1:34 PM

Chelsea Branch (@chelseabranch) of "The Parlor House" (@parlorhousesalon), Monroe, Louisiana, says "Cassidy originally came to me for the first time this summer as a referral with brassy faded out color looking for a shadow root and cool blonde. Originally Cassidy and I agreed on using a demi-permanent color for her base so she didn't have to fully commit to coming in the salon every month with defined new growth along with an unpredictable work schedule.  I then used a  heavy balayage technique using Paul Mitchell Synchro lift 30 volume and lifted her hair to about a level 8 (processing for about 35 minutes.)  Paul Mitchell PM shines were used on damp hair for shadow root and toning.  By the time Cassidy made it back in the salon her color had completely faded into an extremely warm blonde and washed out base [seen here in the before shot]. She explained to me that her job is not in favor of any extreme or unnatural hair color but she wanted something different and on trend. She showed be a picture of a very deep ashy gray base melted into a slightly lighter dimensional bottom. She left it in my hands to decide what would be best for her work, but also get the edge she was looking for. Since she was already pre-lifted and wanted to go darker, I left her blonde alone while coloring her base. Cassidy had a lot of warmth starting out so I wanted to make sure whatever I used as a base wouldn't leave any warmth behind."

Here she shares the details for the smokey finish:

Step 1: Base break with Paul Mitchell The Color XG 2 parts 6AA to 1 part 4V, 3-4 inches of The Color XG intensifier in blue with 20 volume cream developer. "I did a basic 4 section panel for breaking the base. Starting at the top corner of each panel use 1/2 inch to 1 inch sections. Cover all of new growth and then feather down base color to where lighter color starts.  Make sure to get as much of a blend as possible without getting too far into the lighter hair while checking the top and bottom of each section to ensure product is saturated through." Process for 30 minutes.

Step 2: At the bowl rinse the base break color through to the ends. "It will start to slightly tone some of the warmth out." After the color was thoroughly rinsed, shampoo with Paul Mitchell Platinum Blonde shampoo (any purple shampoo should be fine but not essential).

Step 3: To tone and darken the blonde, apply PM The Color XG equal parts 9A and UTA with 10 volume. Process for 10-15 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. "This will neutralize any orange tones left. " Rinse.

Step 4: On towel dried hair, apply Paul Mitchell PMshines 6A. Process for 15-20 minutes until reaching desired shade. Rinse, shampoo, and condition hair with PM Shampoo One/PM The Detangler.

Step 5: "Living in Louisiana any anti frizz/smoothing serum is a must with summer humidity." To finish and style, combine Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum and MarulaOil RareOil 3 in 1 styling cream on wet hair.  Blow dry with the Paul Mitchell Neuro Grip blow dryer with flat wrap technique. Curl with Paul Mitchell 1.25 flat iron pulling the ends of each curl and shake the curls at the end. 

"We were both very pleased from having started with such a washed out warm color to an ultra rich smokey finish!"

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