George Alderete has shared incredible before-and-afters and color transformations on stages, Instagram, classroom and on the cover of MODERN SALON.
Recently, he developed a curriculum to showcase his favorite techniques for blonding using Keune Haircosmetics new Ultimate Blonde Freedom Blonde Lifting Powder and highlift tints.
To get a better sense of how to take a client from creative shades to natural tones, we asked Alderete to share this creative color process when it comes to taking client blonde and beyond.
A colorists’ instinct might be to reach for lightener as step one, but Alterete cautions against that approach.
“This is not the time for a lightener or bleach, because it will result in a lighter version of the current shade that you want to remove,” Alderete says. “For example, if you’re removing a hot pink, using lightener will simply result in a softer pink—it won’t remove it. In fact, the lightener will drive the direct dye further into the hair shaft.”
Alderete says he likes to begin with a clarifying shampoo to open up the cuticle.
“Next, choose a high-lift tint with no base, like Keune’s Tinta Ultimate Blonde Special, Natural Blonde 1000 mixed with 10- or 20-volume developer to softly remove the direct dye,” Alderete says.
It might take several applications to remove the dye gently without compromising the integrity of the hair.
“If the dye is not completely out of the hair after the first application, do not rinse!” Alderete says. “Rinsing will lower the pH and seal the cuticle of the hair—sealing the direct dye into the hair shaft. Instead, wipe it off and mix a new batch with 10-volume developer, then reapply on top, process normal time, watch it. Then rinse.” Alderete says if there’s a tiny bit of residual tone remaining, neutralize the tone with a demipermanent formula level to level across the color wheel with the opposite tone to a tan or brown.
“Think back to beauty school,” Alderete says, “if hair is too lilac, use yellow to create tan. If hair is too blue, use copper at the same level. Light orange, use a blue base. It’s always the opposite on the color wheel—then highlight or tone to your desired blonde shade.”