Does this problem haunt you? Why and how to fix it
A new Killerstrand-er wrote in with a question off my List of "Future Post Titles" therefore the age-old cliche: '2 birds--one stone' fit the bill.
Its an excellent question, & as I told her, for great general questions I am going to have to ask you all to post the question in the COMMENTS section or in the Killerstrands GROUP Forum. I have started to generate an extraordinary amount of email. In order to keep up with the quality of my advice I am going to need to answer more in the Comments section of any post or the Killerstrands GROUP http://groups.google.com/group/killerstrands ... simply so > I don't end up having to repeat myself.
How common are Gray highlights? Very. Even here in LA, I was just in the post office behind 2 women with the dreaded head. I wanted to hand them my card with the comment, please...let me fix your hair. In order to avoid decapitation, I decided against it.
Its nice to hear someone admit they have them so its not just Colorists that see them.
The problem stems from one or a combo of these 4 issues which are all interconnected:
- too-white highlights
- hair color Basic Rules not followed
- "over-busy" Stylist
- Using only 1 Color
- too many foils
1.)Too-White Highlights: The number one reason for 'gray' appearing highlights is having too 'white' > highlights. How do they get too white ? The bleach is left on the hair too long, pushing the color of the hair past the lovely golden blonde stage and over to the bright white stage.
I will gamble that most of you that have this problem have a brown base. You've gone into the Salon and asked for the Jennifer Anniston color and come out with something more on the line of the Golden Girls, sound like you? If you place too many white highlights on top of a brown base...the overall appearance is "gray" . That is just how it looks, and I know it confuses the client. What colors make gray? Black and white. Brown is the closest color to black and close enough within the context of hair to give the effect of gray. Brown and super white highlights -appear 'gray'. Now if you have your base tinted brown first, you have an even higher chance of having that "gray effect".
What stage comes after the too white stage>? the 'breakage stage" which I am sure many have discovered that have this problem - so if you are here - stop the madness and get off the train. Put your foot down, ask for a change or you change Stylists. Please see the decolorization chart posted here. Which shows "how" color comes out of hair as it is lightened. If you understand the process it will make it easier for you to solve the problem.
The second reason they would be too white? Using the heat of a hair dryer. Especially when it says right on the package of every bleach I have ever seen, DO NOT USE HEAT. Heat speeds up the processing, which in turn speeds up the lifting action .. again zooming it right past the "golden blond" stage and up to that old "white" blond stage. Whiter is not better in highlights, nor is yellow the desired color either. Its those couple levels in between, and its not that hard to hit them. Just takes a little practice and using the proper rules and techniques.
2.) Hair Color basic rules that need to be followed - there is a reason Stylists are required to attend a specialized school for 1 year. Even if they did not learn it there > right on the package of almost all colors and bleaches it will say "DO NOT APPLY HEAT" . I was so shocked when I moved from the Academy to the Salon and saw this trick in action. I would say 90% of all hair color specifically says not to use heat. Most color that is professional says right on the package: DO NOT USE HEAT... in giant -- all capital letters, in many different places. Yet, in the Salon every single Stylist I watched in action was shuffling their clients in and out of hair dryer chairs, does this happen to you?
I would worry greatly if a stylist is not even following something as minor as directions on the package. By using heat on a product, especially bleach, you speed up the action of the product which in turn will make those highlights go from a nice golden blond to a raging white. WHITE highlights are a huge no-no by anyone with any sort of artistic vision and eye for the health of the clients hair.
Its also dangerous to apply heat to chemicals not designed to take heat. That is a very basic hair color rule being ignored by these people.
3.) Over Busy Stylist: This person is overbooked, has clients coming in every 1/2 hour or even every 15 minutes -- with no assistants. They "buy time" by slapping clients under dryers ... making them think they are getting something accomplished - by sitting under a dryer, instead of sitting in a chair with nothing "going on". This buys her time to juggle the next client/clients. By leaving the product on the hair too long OR too long PLUS with the heat ... again...they create the "too white" highlight. This stems from being over-booked with too many clients.
. So to use a hair dryer as a means of stalling so they can cram in more clients, is the base of the bigger problem. Too white highlights. They need to plan their day better, clients deserve individual attention, they can hire an assistant ...there are many ways around those issues.
I would rather rinse the color off at proper stage, then apply a deep conditioner, if I need to buy a little time. Everyone benefits from an extra dose of deep conditioner! Especially the hair. Care about the hair.
4.) Using only 1 Color in Highlight formula. Another simple rule to achieve a standard Jennifer Anniston-type highlight is, to use more than 1 color. I never use under 3 colors, with 5 thru 10 my normal array, its just not in my make-up to not use a variety of colors. I don't know how any Stylist can arrive at a decent look without at least 2 lights and 1 dark if not many more. A variety of tones are needed for a natural look.
The idea in hair color is to go for the color of a child's hair. That has been a great goal in all my work and one of the reasons for my success. A child's hair color has dozens of colors in it and that is why it is so beautiful. That would need to be part of the formula for any Stylist/colorist that you see. If the stylist is using only one color, you should ask for at least 3 and if they balk at that you are in the wrong chair...to avoid the confrontation in the chair clarify this when making your appointment. If you have gray highlights, do not put up with them... that is terrible that you are paying good money for a huge mistake.
5.) Too Many Foils. Along with the other 4 reasons, I have noticed that these Stylists put hundreds of foils in clients hair. Yes, that justifies charging more money, but there is no reason to put that many foils in the hair. It will never make the hair color look better if you are using one color, bleach.
If you are only using one color you are making more white stripes which adds to that brown plus white equals gray 'look'. Therefore, too many highlights/foils will only exacerbate the problem.
If you are one of the many people out there with the Gray Highlight issue. Try to figure out which of the 5 issues is the root of your problem, one or all will be I can guarantee you. Either speak frankly with your stylist, get a new one, or join the many that are starting to learn the basics of hair color and beginning to figure out how to professionally color their hair at home with us on Killerstrands. This is not a subject anyone really talks about, but isn't that what Killerstrands is all about.
Talking about any and every issue that no one else will in regards to hair, hair color or anything hair related.