Color Correction: From faded box color to an amazing ombre

There is an old adage that I swear by that refers to the use of box color – “that seven dollars is going to cost you a couple of hundred”. And it’s true, the convenience of a non-professional color greatly out weighs the non-predictable outcome that it gives. Now granted, there are some people out there who have been using non-professional “box” color for years and personally feel that it’s the best thing since sliced bread. I beg to differ. Without me blathering on too much about how “box” color is bad for your hair – here are the three main reasons why I feel “box” color is not so healthy for your hair:

  1. The peroxide level is generally really high. In a typical professional application we use either 10 volume (3%) for regrowth without grey or 20 volume (6%) for a retouch application involving grey hair. We use the other peroxides for high-lift retouches and pre-lightening (like highlights). Many “box” colors use a 12% developer (40 volume) to ensure that the color does at least something to every hair type. Which can result in inconsistent colors and overall dryness to the hair.
  2. Progressive Dyes via Metallic Salts. This means that every time that the dye is applied it puts another coating on the hair making it darker and darker – thus the really, really dark hair that can occur when you “refresh” your ends. Metallic Salts have been used in hair coloring dyes since the 1800’s – and technology is FAR better now than it was then. Why use something that is that out dated?
  3. Why DIY something that requires a license. Yes, being a cosmetologist requires schooling, tests and a license – just like doctors and lawyers. When doing color, we specialize in the chemistry that is involved to create a consistent color. Just like you would’t give yourself botox, then why would you try to attempt a smokey-root with a balayage or even just a root retouch?

So, now that we have some excellent bullet points that easily state why the convenience of a “box” color dye may not be all that awesome for you and the overall health of your hair – let’s talk about the process that it took to create the balayage masterpiece pictured above 🙂

STEP ONE – The Consultation

During this time, we talk about four main things:

How long will it take?
What are the client’s expectations?
What is a reasonable outcome color wise?
How much will it cost?

This is ESSENTIAL to any color consult – not just color correction – both parties (the stylist and the guest in the chair) should both have the same clear idea of the process, the timing, the outcome and the cost. Period.

STEP TWO – Partial Highlight

Now that we determined what the guest wanted color wise, we agreed on a price, we let her know what a reasonable outcome would be and let her know how long it would take we got started.

We started with a partial highlight with GOLDWELL Oxycur Platin using 20 volume peroxide and let it air process without the use of any external heat sources. We used a fine weave (not chunky). We did this to create beautiful vertical striations of color and to see how much her hair would actually lift.

We were very fortunate with her hair and we were able to lift to a level 8 (or a dark to medium blond). We then dried the hair to see how even the lift was and then applied a permanent color using GOLDWELL Topchic 8NA with a 10 volume peroxide.
NOTE: a partial highlight is approximately 25 foils and it creates a “fan” shape around the face and then half-way down the back.

STEP THREE – Balayage

Salon Tease BalayageNow that the hair is lightened via foils and then toned to keep a consistent color, then go through and hand-paint some more highlights around the face and “pop” the ends.

In the back, take horizontal slices in a brick-lay pattern, paint the outer edges to create a triangle or “V” shape (see picture to the left). Then custom paint highlights freehand within the triangle shape and saturate the ends. Make sure there are no harsh edges. For more control, you can also wrap in plastic or place foils over the ends to create more pop.

Salon Tease Balayage Front DetailFor the front, do a similar pattern but only paint the side of the “V” shape that faces the outside (the one closest to the face), free-hand paint some highlights and pop the ends. The higher you get apply more lightener to the ends. (see picture to the left)

This “V” shape will give the hair a beautiful lived-in effect and is a great way to add tons of brightness to the ends.

Now that the balayage has processed (for at least 30-45 minutes) she was at a nice golden level 9 with some areas even reaching a level 10. Which, was pretty amazing, considering we were working with a level 5-6 box color. The next is the gloss/toner – we wanted to keep some of the golden tones, but didn’t want it to be too yellow – so, we chose a neutral ash (Topchic 9NA Colorance) to condition, tone and add tons of shine.

TSalon Tease Balayage Detailhe End Result

To the left is a picture of the finished result: a beautiful warm ombre where you can see the shift between the colors seamlessly.

You can easily see how the foiled highlights effectively broke up the dark brown hair color, and then how the balayage ombre then brightened up the ends.

This is the first go-around with this color, I would love to do another balayage on the front and part of the back to then “pop” the color brighter. These color corrections are a bit of work, but totally worth it in the end.

Foiled highlights and haircut by Sir Daniel, balayage by David Frohmberg.

Thank you so much for checking this all out – let me know if you have any questions!

To check out more awesome things – go to our Instagram accounts: @salontease and @davidfrohmberg_hairandmakeup.