Hair Color Services Decoded

by Evan Emanuel 2 years ago in hair

A Clients Guide to Hair Color, Hair Color Services and Highlights

Hair Color Services Decoded

As a hair stylist, I KNOW it can be super confusing about all the types of coloring services that are offered. There is a lot of lingo that us stylists use that seem confusing, when simplified can be SUPER easy to understand.


Vibrant vs Natural

Balayage is not a color. It is a technique that is used to get highlights and even low lights. The French word balayage translates to "sweeping," which is the gist of the technique. Your colorist is hand painting the lightener (bleach) on to the hair. It's the opposite of getting many foils. Also this gives your hair more of a natural look. You can also have your balayage be a non-natural color by putting colored gloss on top


Vibrant vs Natural

The hair world borrowed the term from the French word meaning shaded or shading. Ombré hair color is generally darker at the roots through the mid-shaft and then gradually gets lighter from the mid-shaft to the ends—in other words its a gradient of color. You can also do this with vibrant colors, or keep your roots natural and the ends a vibrant color. This hair color trend is low maintenance and is one of the many good introductions to the world of getting your hair colored.

Color Melt

Natural vs vibrant

Color melting is a technique that blends highlights with the base color of your hair so there's no harsh lines or clear distinction between the different colors. This can be very natural looking or very vibrant. Most of the time this done with semi-permanent or demi-permanent colors. I like to think of color melts as ombré 2.0. While an ombré shows the contrast between two colors, color melts can show the transition between three or more colors.


Cool red vs Warm red

Red is one of the primary colors on the color wheel and also a very popular hair color. But when a client asks to go red, my next question is "A warm red or a cool red?" I'm referring to the tertiary color (yellow green, blue green, blue violet, red violet, red orange, and yellow orange). I ask them to describe the color. Fire, copper, and coral is a warm toned red. When you look at the color you will see more red and orange tones. If the person said "Cherry, ox blood, Burgundy," they are looking for cool toned red. There will be more red, purple and sometimes pink tones. Red hair color is a bit high maintenance color (personal experience). My best tips for keeping red is rinse with cool water and shampoo either every other day or every three days with a color safe sulfate-free shampoo.


Warm Brown vs Cool Brown

Brown. The color you get when you mix all three primary colors together. Also, it considered the most natural. But just like when I talked about red, there are cool browns and warm browns. Warmer browns can have hints of red, yellow, and copper (orange), while cooler browns have hints of blue (ash), purple or pink (cool tones of red). I often hear the words " bronze, cola, and caramel" for warmer tones and" sandy, hot cocoa, mushroom, and cherry cola" for cooler tones.


Cool blonde vs Warm Blonde

Barbie, Cinderella and Marilyn Monroe. What do the have in common? Their hair color. Blonde hair has always been a hot color. Warm blondes have yellow (a warm tone) while cooler blondes have no yellow. To get platinum hair, there needs to be no warmth at all. Most of the time there is a toner involved to help with that. The opposite color of yellow is purple/violet, so a violet toner is applied. A stylist will suggest to get a high quality purple shampoo and conditioner. This way you are neutralizing any yellow (brass).

Baby Lights

Baby lights are very delicate fine highlights. A stylist will put thin slices in places that mimic where the sun would naturally hit. It's a good way to give the idea that you spent a week at the beach (when you actually spent time in a salon. Don't worry, I won't tell nobody). This is low maintenance color and my personal favorite way to introduce the world getting your hair colored.

Vibrant Colors

Vibrant colors are becoming very popular. You can have the entire thing one solid color or two or three... the possibilities are endless! is important! Most super vibrant colors don't last long. The biggest problem I see all the time (also personal experience) is how fast it fades. Since most vibrant colors semi permanent or just direct dyes, they don't last as long. Slowly the hair color industry is making these fun vibrant in permanent and demi-permanent formulas. Washing your hair cold (yes, I said cold) water helps improve the longevity of that color. I like to think as the hair structure like a house. What happens when inside the house is too hot? You open the windows. When you use hot or warm water the cuticle of the hair opens and the color can escape. But use lukewarm or cold water the cuticle stays closed. My favorite way is using a color depositing conditioner or mask. My favorite is overtone products. It will replace/refresh the pigment that was lost while nourishing the hair. Now there is one thing I must express. Listen to your stylist when showing inspiration pictures. We will tell you what is possible and what is not possible. My friend once had a client who showed her a picture of Kylie Jenner with neon pink hair. My friend tried to tell the client that Kylie's hair in the picture was a wig. Most SUPER BRIGHT colors on celebrities are wigs.


Kylie, Kim, Cardi, Katy, Kim.... wigs

WIGS!!! Yes, this is an option for a client who wants to be blonde on Monday, bright green the next day, and black on Wednesday. It's good for a person who can't make up their mind, and doesn't want to damage by constant changes. Wigs can also be custom colored as well. This is a bit more a pricey option, but it gives you the most versatility.

Color Correction

1 of many examples of color corrections

A color correction is the correction of color and tones in the hair. Go swimming in the pool after getting blonde highlights and they turn green? Color correction. Your roots turn out to be lighter cause you used box color and not go to your stylist? Color correction. Your blonde and chose that box of black blue color and you hate it? COLOR cORRECTION! Now color corrections can be as simple as adding a toner or as complex as putting three different formulas on your hair. Without looking at your hair and your hair history, we don't know how much to charge. Most of the time when you book an appointment for color correction, you will need to have a consultation. It gives the stylist a better idea of what to do, what can be achieved, and for how much. Please be honest with everything that you did to your hair. If you lie you're only gonna hurt yourself and make our job more complex—and end up being more expensive.

Evan Emanuel
Evan Emanuel
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Evan Emanuel

I'm a licensed hair stylist in the great state of New York. Also a lover of Disney, avatar the last airbender, mythology, and other random stuff that doesn't go together. Don't forget to leave a tip!!

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