Expert Advice

2 Approaches for Decolorizing Hair (When Removing Haircolor)

Lauren Salapatek | March 2, 2015 | 1:31 AM
Before and after decolorizing the hair by Joi Rooks, owner of Fresche Salon in Atlanta, GA.

When you are decolorizing hair (also known as hair bleaching) you are essentially lightening the hair by removing the hair's color.

“Decolorizing has become big in my salon - clients wanting old color removed, looking to either go back to their natural color or even gray. This week I had several, but this one was done all in one day from a copper/brown with gray roots to a pale ash blonde using Goldwell,” says Joi Rooks, owner of Fresche Salon in Atlanta, GA.

Before doing a decolorizing service, conduct a thorough consultation with your client. “Discussing the details of the service with your client is crucial, not only for the timeline, but also for price and the integrity of their hair,” Rooks adds.

Here are two options for decolorizing the hair:

A very aggressive approach is to peel away as many layers as possible at once. You can peel away the color by lightening the hair in back-to-back foils (try Goldwell Oxycur Platin Lightening Powder or Goldwell Silk Lift High Performance Lightener). This process is called peeling because it's like an onion where you truly peel away one layer of color at a time. Depending on your starting color, you may need to shampoo, dry and repeat this process and then color balance to achieve desired tonality.

A more subtle approach is removing color by doing a series of highlights. The series of highlights happens over several appointments. You start by using lightener and highlighting the entire head to remove color. "You will need to color balance for the desired tonality after processing (Rooks uses Goldwell Colorance Express Toning). "This process will most likely need to be done over several months as you are doing it in panels versus all of the hair," says Rooks.  Note: If your client wants to go gray, you need to try to achieve a more ash tone in the hair.

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