Grey coverage services are a little like doing the laundry. It doesn’t exactly get your heart racing with excitement, but it’s something you do regularly, and when it comes down to it, it’s very satisfying when it’s done efficiently and beautifully. So we invite you to spend a few minutes with top color artist Cynthia Lumzy, @cynthialumzy, for her tips on what to do and what to use to raise your grey coverage game!
Expose, Control Or Eliminate
You think a lot about underlying pigment when working on pigmented hair but are you aware that this issue is relevant to your grey coverage formulation as well? “You have to formulate to compensate for the pigment that’s missing in grey hair,” says Lumzy, “and also address the underlying pigment you could be exposing. The question to ask at this point is do you want to enhance what you’re going to expose, control it or eliminate it?”
Here's an example. Let’s say your grey coverage client is a natural Level 6. “Likely she’ll want to maintain this Level 6,” says Lumzy. “You know if you use 20-volume developer, you’ll expose reddish undertones. If she wants to enhance the red in her hair, you can formulate for the target color. To eliminate the red, check the color wheel and you’ll see you need a green tone, so I would use Matrix SoColor Pre-Bonded 504J or 506J, two new jade shades that eliminate red undertones. If you simply want to control the resulting color, choose a neutral formula for a balanced, beige result that controls warmth without becoming too ashy.”
Dimension And Shine
Too solid and too ash are two big negatives when it comes to designing color for grey clients. “Hair with dimension is the most flattering,” believes Lumzy. “So be sure to introduce some highlights into the overall color. If the hair is one-dimensional and solid, it’s harder for the light to penetrate.” Shine is important as well because shiny hair is automatically associated with youthful hair. That’s why pre-bonded SoColor is helpful—it starts conditioning the hair during the service. And if possible, steer your client away from an extremely ashy shade, which can be aging to the complexion. “If she’s afraid of warmth,” says Lumzy, “you can use balanced neutral beige tones to counteract the unwanted tones while maintaining vibrancy.”
Texture And Density
When it comes to effective grey coverage it’s also important to consider hair’s texture and density. For example, says Lumzy, coverage will be quicker and darker on a client with fine, straight hair than a client with thick, coarse or curly hair. “If the hair is straight and thin, I may not even use a grey coverage formula,” notes Lumzy. “It’s not necessary and it could yield a too-dark result. On the other hand, if the hair is coarse, it is probably more resistant, and I’ll always use one of the Matrix SoColor extra coverage formulas to ensure I get complete coverage.”
Pre-Bonded Coverage With SoColor
Lumzy says she’s a fan of SoColor Pre-Bonded for grey coverage for several reasons. First, it comes pre-bonded, to protects fragile strands. This is important because hair without melanin can be weaker or more brittle than pigmented hair. Bonders add protection for these clients that color their hair frequently. SoColor Pre-Bonded is color and bonder all in one tube. Matrix’s exclusive Bond Protecting Concentrate protects the hair by reinforcing and repairing weakened bonds, color after color. Also good to know is that Matrix is a complete, pre-bonded color collection, with pre-bonded permanent, demi-permanent and lightener technologies.
“With SoColor Pre-Bonded , the coverage is great,” she says. “The new creamy consistency is easy to work with and covers evenly from roots to ends. It leaves the hair in great condition. Grey hair doesn’t always feel conditioned, but you can tell the difference the minute you start rinsing off the color. Everything is mixed for you, so you don’t have to be a crazy chemist. And the new shades are amazing. If you have a Level 3, 4 or 5 with strong red undertones, the J series will counteract all that warmth and you’ll get that Kim Kardashian brunette—deep and dark with no red at all.”
Apply With Care
When it comes to application, it’s important to take your time. “Work with very small, almost see-through sections,” advises Lumzy. “It’s important to avoid taking too much hair at once or else you won’t saturate the grey thoroughly, especially if it’s curly or coily. Avoid overlapping the fresh color onto existing color. If necessary, use cotton to protect the existing color, otherwise you’ll get banding, spots and/or breakage. And don’t rush. Always process for the full recommended time.”
Another thing that separates the best colorists from the rest is the ability to keep the client’s skin clean. “If necessary, use a smaller brush around the hairline,” advises Lumzy. “That will help keep the hair color off her face. And if you do get color on the skin, emulsify it at the bowl before you start shampooing. Shampoo will just lock that color on!”
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