We’ve all been there before. We create a GORGEOUS look on a client, they love it, you love it, everyone is happy until a week later you get the dreaded text…”my color is fading, HELP!”
Help is on the way, today I want to dig into some of the factors that go into maintaining longevity of color both from a professional standpoint and what our clients need to do to ensure less fade-age.
One thing you have to fully understand is that there are 3 main factors when it comes to determining longevity of color:
1- the canvas, and the health of the hair
2- the chemicals that are used
3 - post oxidation process and at home care
1. Let’s talk about the canvas. The hair.
Hair is a dead fiber to begin with, there is no “bringing it back to life” i dont care how many bond builders and deep conditioners you use. Everything is a band aid. Everything.
With that said, the most important thing to do is to be respectful of the canvas you are working on, dont push it beyond its limits and then expect beautiful results.
We tend to be very negligent when working on hair, so be considerate and take precaution anytime you are applying chemicals and heat to the hair.
The more damaged and porous the hair, the more likelihood of color fading out.
All of that being said, there is still a time and place for deep conditioners, protein treatments and stand along bond building treatments. Use them not as a crutch, but as a tool.
When the canvas that you are working on is at its optimal and best integrity wise, your chances of color lasting longer will be significantly improved.
2. Let’s talk about our chemicals. Deciding wether or not to use a permanent, an acidic demi, an alkaline demi or a direct dye is imperative when considering longevity of color. What will determine which type of color you use? The health of the hair.
Extremely damaged and high porosity hair might do better with a direct dye, alternatively healthy hair with a very tight and compact cuticle may need an alkaline color to help penetrate into the fiber.
When it comes to understanding the chemicals, one of the most underrated and overlooked things we do as colorists is that we do not let our colors process FULLY.
*ahem ahem* washing your acidic liquid demi off in 5 minutes instead of the recommended 20.
I see you. Youre not alone.
The reason you are doing this is likely because you have mis formulated and are freaking out because the hair is “turning dark”.
The problem here is that you are not giving your colors the proper amount of time to fully oxidize, those dyes are not forming and coupling to their capabilities which will absolutely result in color fading.
Let your shit process FULLY. This will help with longevity, i promise.
3. Lastly, proper post oxidation.
Any time..ANY TIME you use ANY CHEMICALS on the hair…you MUST shampoo them out. ESP if the color line you are using contains MEA.
MEA is an alkalizer, an oil base which means it HAS TO BE REMOVED FROM THE HAIR. PROPERLY + FULLY.
If MEA is not properly and fully removed from the hair, it can continue to do its thing and result in color fadage and an increase in color sensitivity to the client.
Shampoo everything out. Always.
Condition after you shampoo. Always.
This will help drop the pH and start constricting that hair fiber to keep those fresh dyes IN.
Condition again. Lower the pH some more.
Use a low pH leave in or an acidifying conditioner. Lower the pH even more.
Instruct your client to NOT WASH for at least 48 hours.
I know what manufacturers and other people tell you. That its fine to wash right away. Its not fine if you want your color to last longer.
No washing for 48 hours.
If possible, when your client DOES wash, have them just rinse and condition.
The goal is to get the pH of the hair down back to its happy place and trap those dyes in for as long as possible.
Lastly, please make sure that your clients have the proper products to maintain their hair color at home.
Low pH shampoo and conditioner, preferably sulfate free. A good leave in conditioner + hair oil or a serum go a LONG way!
Maximum color longevity requires a combination of know-how from you, the professional and some guidance for the client on what to do at home.
Make sure to check out The FUNdamentals, HERE!
Happy Hair Coloring!