Creating a Brass-Free, Warm "Hollywood Caramel" with Marco Pelusi
Hair: Marco Pelusi Makeup: Helena Tamargo Styling: Flo Coffman stylingPhoto By Jennifer O'Dell Photo 1 of 4
Hair: Marco Pelusi Makeup: Helena Tamargo Styling: Flo Coffman stylingPhoto By Jennifer O'Dell Photo 2 of 4
Hair: Marco Pelusi Makeup: Helena Tamargo Styling: Flo Coffman stylingPhoto By Jennifer O'Dell Photo 3 of 4
Marco PelusiPhoto By Jennifer O'Dell Photo 4 of 4
Salon owner, celebrity colorist and platform artist Marco Pelusi has been sharing his coloring techniques and tips at education events around the country for years. Living and working in the heart of Hollywood, where blonder is often perceived as better, Pelusi knows that going lighter can also go very wrong, especially when lifting brunette shades.
To share his signature highlighting techniques, Pelusi put together a video that demonstrates how he creates a "Hollywood Caramel," which is the perfect sun-kissed, warm caramel finish without the dreaded brassy tones. MODERN asked him to talk more about achieving this glowing finish.
MS: How would you describe the perfect ‘Hollywood Caramel’?
MP: I think the perfect caramel highlighting is a medium to deep brunette base, with golden beige highlights. The highlighting really cannot contain much red nor orange; yet, the highlights certainly can be a warm golden beige. The perfect caramel has a base of level five to level six, with highlights of level seven to level eight. Beyoncé, JLo and Zooey Deschanel — these are examples of the perfect Hollywood caramel!
MS: What missteps sometimes happen when a colorist is working on highlighting their brunette client?
MP: Probably the worst mistake that can happen is to end up pulling red! You are not going for a red brown here. The key with highlighting a brunette is to avoid undesirable reddish, orange-yellow tones, when lifting to caramel, while adding dimension to dark hair. Many times the lightener is applied unevenly, or is not left on long enough, therefore creating unwanted brassy tones.
MS: What will colorists take away from your video?
MP: Colorists will learn an easy off-the-scalp highlighting technique they can utilize on all of their brunette clients. The technique can be seen in the video, and immediately performed on a client. Another takeaway will be tips on how to avoid reds oranges and unwanted brassy tones - both application techniques and formulation techniques as well. Additionally, specific formulas will be given for lightener and for toners specific to caramel.