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Inconsistent lift? Here's 3 reasons why

How many of you have struggled with inconsistent lift when lightening hair?

After all, even lift is the key to beautifully lightened hair.

Some examples of inconsistent lift include:

1. The section of the head you started on is way lighter than the section you ended on?

2. You open your foil and some parts of the hair lifted beautifully, while others are not quite there yet?

3. You aren't getting quite the amount of lift you were hoping for.

These are just a few examples of inconsistent lift that I am sure many of us at some point have experienced. When this happens, what do most colorists do? I'll tell you that from my experience both working in a salon, and working with a manufacturer...most of us blame the bleach and move on to another brand. What happens next isn't so surprising. We experience some of the same issues with "brand X" and move on to another and so on.

Today, I want to quickly touch on 3 reasons why you may be experiencing inconsistent lift and what you can do about it.


Section size is by far one of the main reason we can get uneven lift. When dealing with lighteners, we have to remember that bleach doesn't usually swell and isn't as pliable as hair color. When we color hair, we can take larger sections and work the hair color in to the hair with our hands. When it comes to lighteners, that's simply not the case. If you take a 1/4" section of hair and place it in the foil, I don't care how well you saturate, you will get spotty and uneven lift. The trick is to take smaller, finer sections of hair (in foils or in a global application). This way, the lightener can do its job most effectively.


Proper and EVEN saturation is another key when it comes to getting even lift. If you paint on your lightener super heave on the ends, and lighter on the roots, guess what will happen? You will get more lift on the ends, and less on the roots. When it comes to working with lightener, suffocate the hair enough so that you can no longer see the color of the hair. If you are taking thin sections, and saturating heavy and even, your chances of getting a beautiful and even lift substantially increase.


Many years ago, when I would have a client with tons of hair come in for a lightening service, I would mix 4-5 scoops (sometimes more) of lightener and get to work. In my mind, I was mixing the right amount of lightener that I would need to get through the whole head. What would then happen is that my first sections would lift beautifully and my last sections....well...let me just say one word. Blorange. Where did I go wrong? In understanding how lightener and developer works, I was setting myself up for major failure. Developer (when mixed with an alkalizing agent, like bleach) starts off strong but as time goes on, as it is exposed to oxygen, it begins to die down. It literally loses its power over time. To get the most lifting and power from your lightener, remix a new bowl often. I now will mix 1-2 scoops at a time. I will also start with a lower developer and end with a higher one (usually never going over 20 volume). By doing this I am ensuring that I am working my lightener to the best of its abilities.

If you have experienced inconsistent or uneven lift when lightening hair, I hope that this article gave you the chance to see HOW you're doing things. Granted, there are MANY variables when it comes to lightening hair but it's my belief that if you take smaller section sizes, saturate heavily, and remix your lightener often, you will get more consistent and even lift.

To hear more in depth, take a listen to my podcast episode X titled X.

Until next time,

Happy hair coloring!


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