Set yourself up for hair color success by understanding the theory of neutralization and offering clients toning solutions for every level.
Before: Brassy highlights like these can be neutralized and controlled with the Matrix Total Results Brass Off system.
After: The Matrix Total Results Brass Off system neutralizes unwanted brass.
One of the biggest pain points for any colorist is the problem of shifting tones. Specifically blondes or silvers that turn yellow, brondes and browns that become brassy and dark hair that becomes way too red. Tonal shifts happen, but if you understand why they happen and how to correct them you’ll wind up with happier hair color clients and lots more of them.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THOSE UNDERTONES
According to Donna Mann, director of educational development for Matrix, every natural hair color level (one through 10) contains undertones that are exposed when hair is lightened or undergoes chemical services like straighteners or perms or when hair is exposed to elements like sunlight, chlorine or hard water. Specifically, light hair—levels 8, 9 and 10—has yellow undertones. Medium hair—levels 5, 6 and 7—will exhibit brassy or orange undertones, and dark hair—levels 4, 3, 2 and 1—will turn red when undertones are exposed.
NEUTRALIZING CORRECTS UNWANTED UNDERTONES
“The solution to any unwanted hair color tone is neutralization,” Mann says, “and the answers to neutralizing any undertone can be found in your color wheel.” If you recall those hair color instruction basics, you’ll remember the laws of color say that any color that sits directly opposite another color on the color wheel will neutralize or cancel out that color. So a quick peek at your wheel shows you violet sits directly across from yellow, blue-violet sits directly across from gold, blue sits opposite orange and green sits opposite red on the wheel. Taking the next step in color theory, therefore, you know that a violet or blue violet color formula will cancel out the unwanted yellow or gold tones in your blonde, silver and grey hair color; blue will cancel out the unwanted orange or brassy tones in your brown hair color and green will cancel out the unwanted red tones in your dark brown or black hair color.
HOW TO MAINTAIN GREAT TONE IN THE SALON AND BEYOND
With a firm understanding of the laws of color, you can create the best demi- or semi-permanent toning formulas for all your desired highlight and balayage results. But what about those days and weeks after your client leaves your chair?
“Matrix Total Results now has a full range of toning solutions for clients to use at home,” says Leah Sterk, Matrix technical director. “I send my blonde clients home with Total Results So Silver—a system of purple shampoo, conditioner and mask—to keep their blonde, silver and platinum hair free of unwanted yellow tones. My highlighted and lightened brunette clients get Total Results Brass Off—a blue shampoo, conditioner and mask collection that bans unwanted brassy tones on lightened brown hair. And now there’s a solution for eliminating undesirable red tones in dark brown or black hair that has been lightened or exposed to sun or hard water. It’s called Total Results Dark Envy and it’s a system that includes a rich, green shampoo formula that neutralizes red undertones and adds deep cool tones to dark hair; a companion conditioner that hydrates and softens hair; and a highly pigmented, in-salon treatment mask that can also be used at home. I tell my clients that their toning masks and shampoos can be used once or twice a week to maintain their hair color tones perfectly. And I won’t guarantee my color if they don’t use the home care products I prescribe.”
HOME CARE TONERS ARE GOOD FOR BUSINESS
The fact that undertones emerge naturally and are beyond your control doesn’t always matter to clients. “If their blonde starts to yellow, or their highlights turn brassy or red, they’ll blame you!” Sterk says. “But if they can maintain their desired tone at home, you are a haircolor hero. What’s more, retail toning systems like So Silver, Brass Off and Dark Envy generate income for your salon.”
If you do send a client home with one of the Total Results toning systems, be sure to include some education. For example, when you talk to your client, be sure to cover application (apply the formulas section by section to ensure all hair is covered evenly) frequency (use the shampoos or masks once or twice a week depending on desired results) and troubleshooting (wear gloves to prevent staining the hands, try to keep highly pigmented formulas off of the scalp and don’t apply any of the green Dark Envy formulas to lighter shades because it will turn the hair green!)
Bottom line? Quick and easy-to-use Total Results home care toners that deposit a small amount of pigment throughout each post-salon cycle can be the best way to maintain color, maintain a happy color clientele and maintain a robust hair color business!