If hair color is an art form (it is) then vibrant color is pop-art. But just like any craft, it takes patience, skill and practice to perfect.
At Whip Salon in Westport, CT, Alyssa Wiener is the resident expert on rainbow-colored hair. From the consultation to application and aftercare, here she shares her secrets behind a successful service.
How might a vibrant color client consultation for a new client differ from a natural color one?
AW: For a new vibrant color client, the idea of having bright, otherworldly color is super exciting. But it takes time, requires upkeep and can be a bit of an investment. Getting on the same page around expectations is a biggie for me. That includes not only the results you expect to achieve based on their hair but also the timing, cost and upkeep. I start the consultation by asking questions around the client’s hair history to gauge what is going to be required to achieve their desired look, then I can set expectations around everything else.
You’ll need to discuss things like the last time it was colored, was it at home or professionally and how do they typically care for their hair. You can never be too thorough when asking about previous color on their hair! Honesty is key and will benefit you both down the line so make sure you get the full story.
Since vibrant colors require special maintenance to stay looking fresh, I also ask how committed to upkeep they are. If they don’t want to be back in the salon every 6 weeks, for example, then I often suggest a shadow root so they get more longevity out of the service.
Finally I always take a deposit for each and every service, which is then applied to the total. I let clients know they’ll be sitting in my chair for 3 - 5 hours typically, depending on the complexity of the service. I charge a base price, plus an hourly rate. A haircut can be added if they’d like and Iike to encourage that too because it’s usually part of my process when doing a vivid and adds to the wow factor!
Should you start with lightening the hair when doing a vibrant service?
AW: YES. The hair must be lightened before you can get to the fun part. The only exception is if the client is a natural blonde - then some vivids will take. I always use B3 as part of any lightening service. I typically lighten my client to at least a level 8 as not all colors need to go on a clean level 10.
Color Map made by Josh Comeaux is one of my favorite tools in my vibrant arsenal. Its sheets reflect the underlying pigment of hair as it lifts from red to orange to yellow to pale yellow. After you’ve mixed your vibrants, you can swatch them on the level your client has lifted to and test how they’ll cover. It’s a very clever tool!
Saturation with fashion colors is key so I use different lines depending on the look I want to achieve. One of my favorites is FunkHue by Oligo because it’s so easy to custom mix and apply. The viscosity of it is my absolute favorite to work with.
Any special techniques that you use during the processing time to help achieve saturation?
AW: I process my fashion colors for no less than 30 minutes. Treat it the same as your permanent color processing time. And I always rinse out in cold water. Cold water prevents colors from running into each other, never use warm or hot water on your vivid color service! And if I do a really light color on the ends, I’ll have my assistant hold those while I carefully rinse the top. Treat your vibrants with love.
What do you recommend for aftercare?
AW: The key to maintaining vibrants (and any other color service) is the aftercare. Your guest is spending their time and money in your chair, you need to ensure that your work continues to look good until their next service so quality products for home are a must. (Don’t forget throughout those weeks until the next time they see you, they’re representing your work so do not be shy about insisting they use the right products).
I recommend that clients wash their hair in cold water as infrequently as possible - usually just one or two times a week max. And I encourage them to their vibrant color with a heat protector and a color lock product. My favorite right now is Shu Uemura Color Luster Thermo Milk.
Finally, do not forget to have them pre-book their next appointment while they’re checking out. Whether it’s in 4 weeks or 4 months, they’re in my book!