How to Add Lowlights to 3 Different Color Situations

October 17, 2014 | 8:42 AM
Photo By Pravana

Lowlighting hair can be unpredictable! Hair can become too dark, drab or the color may appear hollow. Determining the placement of lowlights for desired effect takes finesse and education. Pravana's Artistic Council recreated three different, real-life situations (as part of their new Contour Collection) in which lowlighting or contouring is necessary to enhance the hair, including suggested placement for each. See below.

Contouring the hair: What is it?
Contouring hair is a partial coloring technique with lowlight shades that adds contrast and color definition to selected strands of hair for a multi-tonal look full of light and darker accents. Contour Colors add dimension, depth and movement to the hair, bringing dull blondes back to their full vibrancy.

Pravana's Contour Collection features six new lowlight shades. FInd out which shade you should use for your client.

Blending The Heavily Highlighted Blonde: The most common of situations in a salon to add lowlights to. Watch how to add dimensional lowlights without making the hair look “Stripey.”

HOW: Super blended lowlighting with concentrated saturation through the back.

FORMULA: 8NtLand 8GL=6GL mixed with 10 volume developer

STEP 1: Section out the highlighted hair in the nape, clipping the hair above the nape out of the way.
STEP 2: Begin by stitching the grown-out, previously highlighted pieces along the hairline into the nape. Apply 6GL=8GL starting at the regrowth and pulling through the ends in foil. Do not apply lowlight formula to natural regrowth.
TIP: The previous color technique will determine the color placement for the lowlights. Stitch out and apply 8NtL to previously lowlighted pieces. Stitch out and apply 8GL=6GL mixture to previously highlighted pieces with a greater amount of regrowth.
STEP 3: Continue working up the back of the head from side to side, taking stitches of alternating previous highlighted pieces in a foil and previously lowlighted pieces in a foil and applying the appropriate formula.
TIP: It’s important to visually check your placement of color in order to maintain a good balance of highs and lows in the hair.
STEP 4: Once you have completed the back, start taking diagonal stitches following the front hairline, applying color in the same fashion as the back.
STEP 5: Continue to the top of the head, taking diagonal stitches and applying color to alternating previously highlighted pieces in a foil and previously lowlighted pieces in a foil.
STEP 6: Process for 30 minutes at room temperature.
STEP 7: Rinse, shampoo and condition. Then rinse and style as desired.


Transforming a Stark Ombre to a More Natural Ombre: The newest of the situations to lowlight and a big salon trend.

HOW: Adding some lowlights melting down to the lightened hair will create a more subtle look, maintainng a trendy ombre, but in a softer, more natural way.
FORMULA: 6nTl AND 6NtL=8NtL with 10 volume developer

STEP 1: To even out porosity, and better create anchoring sites for the color on overly porous hair, perform a silk degrees shine treatment.
STEP 2: Section the hair into quadrants. Then, starting in the nape, apply 6NtL to the midshaft.
STEP 3: Apply 6NtL=8NtL through the ends, blending to two formulas where they meet.
TIP: You may want to use foil or plastic wrap to lay beneath the first sections to keep color off the client.
STEP 4: Continue working up the head, taking 1/4-1/2" slices and repeat steps 2 and 3.
STEP 5: Starting at the ear, continue applying color in horizontal/diagonal slices through the slides and up the top.
STEP 6: Process for 30 minutes at room temperature.


Adding Dimension to The "Allover" or "Global" Blonde: This can be the scariest of the situations in a lowlight color service. Watch how to add dimension without taking the client too dark.

HOW: Lowlights placed in the back below the occipital with minimal placement through the top.

FORMULA: 8NtL and 8GL mixed with 10 volume developer.

STEP 1: Section out the front of the hair into 2 sections along the natural part-line to the crown, and down to the front of the ears.
STEP 2: Through the back, create a zig-zag parting from the crown to the occipital. Then section out large diagonal sections off the zig-zag.
STEP 3: Create a triangle section from the corners of the nape to the occipital. Apply 8GL from roots to ends in this triangle section.
STEP 4: Working off the diagonal of the triangle section, take 2-3" wide slices in a brick-lay fashion working up the back of the head and into the sides. Leave 1/2" - 1" sections out between the lowlight slices. Alternate the application, applying two 8GL slices for every one 8NtL slice.
STEP 5: Once you reach the crown, begin working into the sides of the head, taking 2-3" wide slices in a brick-lay fashion and leaving 1/2-1" sections out between the lowlight slices, alternating the application of two 8GL slices for every one 8NtL slice.
STEP 6: Continue working this way until you reach 1" below the natural parting. Leave out the section around the natural parting to maintain lightness.
STEP 7: Process for 30 minutes at room temperature.
STEP 8: Rinse, shampoo and condition. Then rinse and style as desired.


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