From black box color to a beautiful grey blending.

From black box color to a beautiful grey blending. 

Never say never.  The challenge of working through 30 years and countless applications of black box color was met with patience and expertise by Aric Congdon (@hairicc), a traveling hair educator, curly and balayage specialist and, obviously, a color correction slayer. 

One of our MODERN SALON 100 of 2022, Congdon posted this marvel of a makeover to Instagram and it was met with many questions.  Fortunately for us, he also posted his steps, formula, and pricing (which, for the 10 hours, at $250 an hour, he charged $2500.00).

Removing Black Box Color During a 10-Hour Color Correction

To begin, Congdon emphasizes that the first thing to set with his client was realistic expectations; perfection is unattainable but he came pretty darn close.

 "Excuse the end video as my client's husband took it in direct sunlight outside," Congdon comments of the video post. "We started at 10am and ended at 10pm and no lighting was good lighting at that time of night."

He also said that, "The reality of grey blending is unless you are a level 6 or lighter, artificially getting a 100% perfect blend with your white/grey roots will probably never happen. We can do a lot to blend it and make it better but as you can see from step 3 in my video; the hair is stained with box dye and has that salmon color even though I lifted her to a level 9!"

BREAKDOWN from @hairicc

1️⃣ ALWAYS color remove, even if a client wants to do it in session work color removal will make your job easier because you get to see how uneven the canvas is. Most people don’t use the same box color over the course of 30 years and much like how different color lines cover differently-- it’s the same with box dyes. As you can see in the color removal process she had multiple bands we had to even out due to improper application and different brands and layers of different shades.

2️⃣: I platinum carded her hair with only 15 Volume in the back and 20 in the front. The reason I used 15 as opposed to 10 is because 10 is just too slow and eventually after the first 45 minutes it cools down to more of a 6 volume. I wanted my work to be clean but also not take 12+ hours so I opted for 15. I opted for lower volumes in general because I was doing an extreme lightening service.

BLEACH is your 🚗 CAR, your PEROXIDE is your 🦶 FOOT on the GAS ⛽️. You will get to the same destination. That being said lower volumes contribute to less underlying pigment showing when lightening and it’s safer. Low and slow always and NEVER use heat the entire processing time. Heating hair with bleach for even a few minutes can ruin the integrity because the lightener eats through proteins faster then it lifts.

3️⃣ After she processed to an ugly level salmon 9 I then lowlighted and highlighted with bleach + 20 volume and Wella  5/81

4️⃣ I toned everything 1:1 using Demi Guy Tang MyDentity 8SS with 6 volume.

See more color, cut and style artistry on his Instagram feed. 


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