Expert Advice

Colorist’s Journal

Mary Atherton | July 10, 2011 | 6:19 PM

The Hollywood writers' strike and the cancellation of some red-carpet events have given celebrity hair colorist Marco Pelusi, owner of Marco Pelusi Hair Studio in West Hollywood, had time to think about seasonal color for clients besides his A-listers. Here, he shares his musings.

Colorist’s Journal
Marco Pelusi is thinking about winter hair color.

During the winter, most of my clients like to wear a darker color in their hair. Even my blonde clients may wish to deepen their color. It's just more of a natural appearance to have brighter color when it's really sunny outside during the warmer months and a richer, deeper tone when it gets colder.

Often a reddish tone is a lovely choice to add into his/her color during winter– for both blondes or light brunettes – if their skin tone can carry it.

A problem can arise quickly, however, when you add red or darker colors: they sometimes fade more quickly than the usual blonde or brunette color. As a general rule, reds are first to fade, because they are the largest dye molecules. Whether your client is a redhead, blonde or brunette, if he/she is going even a bit darker/redder, you should always be mindful of what you could do to prevent his/her hair from premature color fade. This may include leaving the color on a bit longer on certain areas, or mixing up separate formulas for the roots vs. the rest of the hair.

Be sure to not simply pull through the same root color, but rather use a fresh color formula for the ends. Really put yourself to the test so you'll be able to maintain your client's color longer.

Then you need to evaluate which hair care products your client is using at home. You need to make sure that the products are specifically formulated to repair and moisturize, as well as to prevent hair from premature color fade so that the deeper color lasts. Finally, as a general rule, it's possible that your client won't need to shampoo as often, perhaps every other day, which will help retain his/her hair color for a longer period of time.

Along the same lines, when your clients are going darker and/or redder during these winter months, many want have eyebrows or eyelashes lighter than their new hair color. It is definitely possible to tint either or both, and it's a procedure I recommend for a total look of beauty. (Editor's note: eyebrow and eyelash tinting are forbidden in some areas; check with your State Board to see if the services are permissible.)

When you add red to his/her hair, it's possible a hint of red may also look good in his/her eyebrows. It's also possible that a beautiful brown or black lash tinting will brighten and enhance the new hair color by bringing out the client's eye color.

Eyebrow and eyelash tinting are very easy to do as long as you ensure safety.  For eyebrows, you add some of the same red tone or darker tone you used in the hair color.  It's about a 15-20 minute process.

For eyelashes, again, it's an easy procedure that takes approximately 20 minutes.  With eyelash tinting, there are necessary safety precautions you must take such as:  surrounding the eyes with cotton, making certain that your client's eyes are closed at all times and ensuring client comfort in the chair, just to name a few.

There are specific tints meant just for eyelash tinting – always follow manufacturer's instructions. The color on both eyelashes and eyebrows lasts between three and four weeks, and fades gradually on-tone, which makes it easy to change to work with your seasonal hair color change.

During the winter months, your color clients need to prevent their hair from drying out, especially at the ends. The longer the hair is, the older it is. Longer hair doesn't have the benefit of sebum or hair oils produced at the scalp that keep the hair shaft healthy and shiny. In addition, multiple dimensions/levels of color/chemicals on the hair create a need for more conditioning.

Advise clients to use high-quality restorative products – shampoo for the scalp and conditioner for the ends. Tell clients that when they condition, they need to allow time for the conditioner to rest on the ends of their hair. The concept is just like moisturizing your skin.

It's important not to over shampoo/cleanse the hair, because this can dry it out. All they really need to do is shampoo the scalp, and let the shampoo rinse down the ends, as opposed to scrubbing through the older ends. When conditioning, however, they only truly need to concern themselves with the ends of the hair, where moisture needs to be replenished constantly.

The moral of the story is to richen or darken or redden your client's color during winter – and to moisturize and take extra special good care of it to boot!


Learn more about Marco and his salon at

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