Daniel Rubin, color director at TRIO Salon in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago and Goldwell North American guest artist, was given a challenge when his client asked for a change on her mostly virgin hair (she had some pre-existing highlights). With a baby on the way, she wanted a low-maintenance look that combined the commitment-free perks of ombre with the sophistication of balayage.
The result is a sombre combination of her natural color merged with varying tones of caramels and rich chestnuts.
“So often, when looking for inspiration photos on Pinterest or Instagram, you see what looks like diffusion on curled hair, never straight,” Rubin says. “Because that hair in these inspiration photos is styled with a lot of bend or curl, you can’t tell that what lies inside is usually a ‘stop line’ or harsh line of demarcation. What’s great about THIS technique is that it will work on straight hair or hair with bend.”
For this how-to, Rubin used Goldwell’s Silklift Strong High-Performance Lightener. “I love the creamy consistency of Silklift,” Rubin says. “It doesn’t dry up as you use it and it always lifts evenly.”
STEP 1: To keep the color as low-maintenance as possible, isolate the top section above the parietal ridge in, what Rubin calls, a “safety curtain” to ensure the depth of virgin color stays. “The goal is that you don’t want to see where the lightener starts and where it stops,” he says. “We’re working on triangulated sections to give a point of direction for the color. The soft triangle in the top is another ‘security area.’ Once I reach this top area, I’ll be even softer with my painting up here. The sectioning is so important because even though it’s freeform, without sectioning it would be like trying to drive a car on a broken road. You have to know where you’re going. Plus it makes the client feel a little more confident that you’re doing something professional that she can’t do at home or her friend can’t do.”
STEP 2: Beginning at the nape, bricklay the lightener formula, 1 scoop of Silklift Strong High-Performance Lightener with 35 mls 20-volume developer, in horizontal partings. Apply the lightener in thick V-shaped sections to the surface then using the dry side of brush vertically diffuse the lightener toward the scalp. Saturate the ends by placing the sections on a color board. Rubin used cotton in between the sections of hair to make sure there is no bleed onto the upper portion of the hair that proceeded it. Continue up the head, leaving out sections in between to break up the lightener and avoid a monochromatic look. Separate the brick-layed sections using cellophane.
STEP 3: To add further dimension, using the same diffusion application technique, apply 10 mls 8GB Topchic color with 10 mls 30-volume in spotlight sections.
Step 4: Now go to the sides. Beginning at the hairline and working up to the parietal ridge line, grab back to back slices and handpaint in diagonal-back sections with the lightener.
STEP 5: Continue up the sides, in back to back sections. Apply first to the off-root, as before, and feather up to diffuse. And then put the color board under the section to better saturate the ends. Section by section, as you get closer to the top/“safety curtain,” return to a brick-lay application.
STEP 6: Process to desired lightness. Once the whole head is done (with the exception of the “safety curtain”), about 20 more minutes of processing was used. (Because the client was unhappy with her pre-existing highlights within the “safety curtain,” Rubin raked in Elumen Natural Gold at a level 6 (NG@%6), off base.) Remove cotton and cellophane. Rinse and shampoo with Goldwell DualSenses Rich Repair with treatment syrum.
STEP 7: Glaze with Colorance 35mls 7G + 5mls 6BP with core lotion (2%) for 15 minutes on damp hair. Rinse, blowdry. Blowdry smooth using Goldwell Stylesign products.
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