Marta's blonde transformation. She started the day as a level 4 brunette! (photo credit: Jodi Kinney of Matrix) Jodi Kinney of Matrix
Marta's blonde transformation. She started the day as a level 4 brunette! (photo credit: Jodi Kinney of Matrix)Jodi Kinney of Matrix

“It’s education that brings our inspiration back to us,” Andreas Hogue, owner of Andreas Hogue Salon in Northbrook, Illinois said to the class as the day began. 

In mid-April, MODERN SALON attended Robert Santana’s class, B to B—A Brunette's Journey to Lightness, as part of Matrix Programs of Passion at Andreas Hogue Salon. 11 colorists (including one cosmetology student) were in attendance to see a demo on another Matrix artist and model for the day, Marta, who was taking her natural level 4 hair with lightened ends to a level 9/10 in the timespan of the seven-hour class, and practice lightening on their own mannequin heads.

Santana led attendees through every step of a decolorization service—from the consultation to at-home care. Here, are 10 takeaways we learned from the class for colorists to take note of for their own lightening services.

1. It’s okay to say no and send a client home.
If a client comes in with box color wanting to go lighter with highlights, but only booked a 45 minute slot, what should you do? During this time, do a test strand (which takes about 30 minutes depending on the hair), and then have a client book a longer appointment.

2. For a consultation, use a level finder.
Santana says it’s the #1 support in being a successful colorist.

3. Want to be a great haircolorist? Know NUP (Natural Color Pigmentation chart) like the back of your hand.
Get to know your color wheel and what helps to neutralize unwanted shades.

4. When in doubt...TEST STRAND!
And do it on the bridal ridge at the top of the head. Unless they have virgin hair, doing it at the bottom most likely won’t give you accurate insight if it is lighter or colored (remember, the bottom is the oldest hair, so even if your client says they haven’t had a color service in eight months, it will still show up down there).

5. Need a level 7? How do you make it?
Level 6+ Level 8! But what if you are out of Level 6 and Level 8? You have other options, for example Level 10+Level 4, or Level 9+Level 5. Why? 10+4=14, divided by 2=7. 9+5=14, divided by 2=7.

6. After letting color process, DON’T wash it out when you check on it!
Instead, squeegee color out. If it’s not where you want it, just reapply!

7. Use a chalk pen to label bowls.
It washes off as easily as the color inside and easier to use than tape.

8. The more highs and lows you create, the most natural results you’ll receive.
Play up the color! Also, avoid hard lines. Diffuse lines with a brush, sponge or fingers (with gloves on, of course).

9. Always use a clarifying shampoo after a decolorization.
You want to COMPLETELY remove lightener/minerals/sulfates from the hair after the color service. Then, always recommend at-home shampoo and conditioner retail. Color is a huge investment for clients, so don’t let them use cheap products for maintaining it.

10. Charge by the hour.
But not for the test strand, because it is insurance on your delivery. Also charge for trim and backbar services. Santana charges for color corrections two times what he charges for touchups per hour. That price depends on your region. “Clients have more respect for you when the ticket is higher versus when it’s lower,” he adds.

Marta Before


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