Expert Advice

13 Guidelines for Achieving Great Gray Coverage

Lauren Salapatek | October 27, 2014 | 10:44 AM
Photo By Joico

Eric Mayes, expert colorist for Joico Vero K-PAK Color Age Defy, gives his top rules to follow when approaching gray coverage in the salon:

#1: As clients age, they tend to loose tone and pigment in their skin as well as their hair. It is important to add tone (typically warmth) to the formula. This will aid in the end result complimenting their overall look and add tone and warmth to their complexion.

#2: Consider choosing a shade that might be in the same family as their natural color, especially if that color/tone is still present in their natural color. In coloring a first time client that is 50-100% gray, choose a level that is one to three levels lighter than what their natural might have been. Going too light or too dark can make the finished look too severe.

#3. For clients who are concerned with maintaining their natural color, a lighter level will not show the new growth as quickly.

#4. A client's eye color can help determine which shade might be most complimentary.

#5. Never use one single formula for the entire application…gray coverage is not simply to conceal gray hair! One should look to add dimension and interest every single visit. Highlights - even five foils - incorporated into a global application of color, can add just enough interest to keep the hair looking fresh!

#6. Start the application of the base color where the hair seems most resistant. This will vary with each client. This gives resistant gray hair the longest processing time possible and will ensure the best end result. Always process Age Defy color for at least 45 minutes for full development of the depth and tone. Up to 60 minutes for particularly resistant hair.

#7. Be sure to apply the base formula at the front hairline away from the face. Tidy up the hairline with Vero Stainless Color Stain Remover by Joico prior to leaving the client’s color to process.

#8. If adding accent placement to hair for the first time, especially clients with gray coverage needs…consider using VeroLight Powder Lightener with Vero Glaze developer (5 vol). It adds highlights where desired and lifts slowly and gently. Clients hair is left in impeccable condition.

#9. But WAIT…don’t forget about those ends! A common mistake I see in salons is that colorists/stylists don’t approach refreshing the ends of previously colored hair correctly or at all. If one simply pulls through the same formula that was used at the new growth, the ammonia in that color could leave the ends exposed and with potential cuticular damage, not to mention leaving the hair without shine. Refresh/balance the ends with a non-ammonia demi-permanent color (like Vero K-PAK Color Chrome) to insure brilliance from scalp to ends!

#10. Balayage is your also your friend when refreshing ends. It may not be necessary to pull a demi-color through all of the ends to balance the color, especially if the hair is in good condition and the appropriate approach was taken when previously coloring the hair. Selecting/placing panels of the refresh formula through the ends of the hair can add an additional element or dimension to the finished result.

#11. When the processing is complete, emulsify the color at the hairline with water before rinsing to loosen the product and to release it from the skin. If stain remover is needed, use Joico’s Vero Stainless Color Stain Remover prior to the shampoo (if used), as the shampoo will set the stain into the skin and make it more difficult to remove at a later time.

#12. A glaze at the end of the color service can add additional shine and brilliance to the finish result.

#13. Pre-scheduling future appointments ensures that your client's color will look flawless at all times. For clients with 30% or more gray hair, a 3-4 week interval for maintaining their color is a must! Anything longer than that will leave the new growth exposed for all to see.

Eric Mayes picture below.


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