Fearing breakage and brassy tones, some multi-ethnic clients opt out of hair coloring services.
“Dark hair will be exposed to more lightening stages than lighter hair, and this has always been a challenge for colorists doing multicultural clients because of the fragile nature of multi-ethnic hair,” says Paul Chambers, a member of the Cosmetologists Chicago board of directors, an American Board Certified Hair Colorist and co-owner and educational director at Kuttin Ege’ Salon in Chicago. Chambers offers colorists six tips to move multi-ethnic clients into color:
1. Ease in first-timers by using a demicolor, or add a few highlights at no charge to gain their confidence and let them see an updated look.
2. Since highly textured hair typically is very dry, use steam treatments to prepare hair for a future color service.
3. Identify the natural level and condition of the hair (porosity) to determine the coloring product and strength of developer to use and to prevent over-processing.
4. If the hair is chemically relaxed, use lower-volume developer to achieve lighter levels of tone while avoiding unneeded breakage and dryness.
5. When lightening dark hair more than three levels, use a “tone-on-tone” technique— permanent color 20-volume to lift the base by two levels, followed by a 10-volume lightening bleach to reach the desired level of lightness. If needed, use a 10-volume demi-permanent to alleviate unnecessary warmth for natural-looking results.
6. Avoid lightening dark hair more than three levels of lift unless it is fine in texture; otherwise you might get a strong, brassy undertone along with highly porous, dry hair. It’s best to use a lightener to achieve more than three levels of lift.
Chambers also reminds colorists: Don’t forget to send clients home with maintenance products that offer optimum moisture balanced for colored-treated, textured hair.