Three-Day Journey to High-Contrast Silver

Maggie Mulhern | June 2, 2015 | 8:42 AM
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Results after day 2.
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The finished result
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Inspiration photo, before and after.
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The shot that inspired the transformation.
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Sarah Crews (@hairbysarahcrews) of Studio Gaven Salon, Nashville, Tennessee, shared this amazing transformation that has so many interesting elements that we wanted to share with you.

Crews was asked by pop artist SVRCINA  [sur-see-nah] to help change up her haircolor. The pop artist texted Crews a picture that she found on Instagram.

“She was inspired by the contrast, as her new look incorporates lots of black and white," Crews says. "She basically said, ‘I love this; what do you think? I am getting ready to go out of town to do my video. Can we squeeze this in before then?’ Squeeze in? There is no ‘squeezing’ something like this! Am I right my fellow stylists? It took three days to get this done.”

In the before photos, Crews points out, “SVRCINA has a lot of warmth (orange and yellow) undertones in her hair. Those had to be removed by lightening the entire bottom 2/3 of her hair. Yet as you can see, she had some very sad ends. She wanted to keep all of her length, so this was going to be a challenge.”

Get the color: High-Contrast Silver


Step 1: Blend Olaplex with Redken Flashlift Decolorizer and 40 volume Pro Oxide Developer. Isolate the bottom 2/3 zones of hair in foils. Separate the hair into five parts: Top, two sides from ears forward, two back sections divided vertically. Apply in fine sections. “I did not choose to balayage this because I wanted to allow the hair to process evenly without drying out," Crews says. "The heat generated from being in foils helped the progression, especially with the use of Olaplex—which, while glorious, can slow things down a bit.”

Step 2: Rinse, shampoo and treat with Redken’s Extreme Chemistry System. She left the salon for the day.

NOTE: “As expected, when attempting to lighten long hair with various degrees of previous lightening and porosity, the result will be uneven," Crews says. "The objective this first round was to just get as much of the targeted hair as light as possible, and we definitely achieved that!”


Step 3: Again, using foils, begin the process in the back. With the hair divided in two sections vertically, subsection hair in 1/4-inch horizontal partings starting at the nape of the neck. Apply  Redken Flashlift/40 volume Pro Oxide Developer and Olaplex formula on bottom 2/3 zones and Redken Color Fusion 2N with 10volume developer at zone one (regrowth area of the hair). Feather the two applications together in long foils.

NOTE:  "I started in the back this time for two reasons," Crews says.

1. "I had started in the front the previous time, so the front part was prone to be a fraction brighter."

2. "I could work in stages this time. With two color formulas processing at one time, I could monitor things more easily, knowing that as I worked, I could rinse back sections off as needed. This was important because application time alone on hair this long and such thin sections takes a couple of hours."

The result was very light/white hair with a very dark zone one (root area).  "The midshaft, where I had  feathered the dark and light together presented uneven, gold results," she says. "Correcting and perfecting the transition would be left for the next day. She was treated with Redken Extreme Cat.

"At the end of this day, we had been at it for 8 hours and used 20 color bowls of product! We called it a day knowing the only thing left to do was to refine the marriage of the dark and light parts of the hair. Creating the blurred transition would be the fun part! This would be the step that would make the look complete! We couldn’t wait!"


Step 4: Blend Color Fusion 1/2  1Ab, 1/2 4Ab with 10 volume Pro Oxide Developer. Apply this color formula from 1 inch out on the hair shaft to bleed in to the white part.

NOTE:  “I selected the Ab series knowing that during the rinsing process, the undertone of the ash blue would wash over and ‘stain’ the porous, previously lightened hair, creating a blurred transition from dark to light," Crews says. "This was exactly what we wanted. Still, I had to be careful and work quickly to shampoo the color out. I had to keep the ends from sitting in the bluish bath. Otherwise, too much of the color would taint the brightness of the bottom. We wanted the modern, grayish result. We loved the blue but we didn’t want drab. Had the color stained the bottom too much, a decolorizing wash would have corrected that.”

Adds Crews, “The end result, we believe, is amazing."

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