February 2, 2008

Hair Color Cowboys Go Crazy

Back to the Books
Had a couple over enthusiastic hair color cowboys plow into coloring without realizing this is a serious business, and improper technique can bring disastrous results. As much as I have been thrilled with many success stories, a couple of disasters can erase it all.

It makes me feel like maybe I have failed and did not stress the importance of reading through the entire Blog and all of its steps. Or maybe my explanations were not clear enough. No, I don't have everything posted yet, that will never happen.

There will always be new procedures to bring up-to-date and refresh but the basics are here and if you plan on trying to learn the CRIB COLORIST method you must review the entire blog.

If you are interested in this process I am teaching here , I think I should put it in perspective for you so you understand what an accidental gold mine you have stumbled upon. I bet it was accidental too wasn't it! People spend $40,000. - $50,000. to go to Vidal Sassoon Academy for a year to learn all the information I am delving out here. FREE. Truthfully only top stylists would recognize it, and why would they be looking for it? They wouldn't. That is a pretty damn good deal for all of you and the only reason I am doing it is >

because I am sick. I had a whole other plan, and this sure wasn't it.
So please,
take advantage of this odd occurrence - use it in the way it should be used....correctly. Please, read through the entire Blog, take a week to do it - if it seems overwhelming or 'too much' ... it doesn't take that long and everyone I ask to do that - 'Thanks me' they really do! Absorb and learn it so you have the advantage


I want to go back and review some of the Level System. Of course in this small arena I have I have not covered it all. I tried to focus on the important parts, but I realize there are additional areas I must cover so the education is more thorough.

What I'd like to do is to get everyone on Killerstrands talking in 'Levels and Tones', as a Sassoon Colorist that's how we roll. Everyone is known by their hair color level & tone, every single person has one, even if they have never colored their hair. So as you go through your day, as you stand in the line at the post office - start guessing everyone's Level and Tone - practice makes perfect

The first task in learning hair color theory is to understand the difference between LEVEL and TONE. These 2 characteristics of Color are the most important and vital to understanding the concept.

Level, I feel fairly confidant that most everyone understands this concept, it simply refers to the lightness or darkness of hair color be it natural or artificial. If anyone out there is having a difficult time with the concept of "Level" I want you to post a comment at the end of this post OR email me so I know. Everyone here needs to be able to name every person in your life's Level/Tone of hair. Think about that. . can you?

Everyone is a LEVEL 1 thru 12 .

I guess the confusing part comes from the fact that as soon as the major hair color manufacturers decide on a basic 8 Tones, one of the companies decides to add a new tone or two, for Pizzazz! As colorists we are never more thrilled when we hear of a new tone coming down the pike. They call that a Lab-Rat, and sadly I may fit well into that category -- what a loser.

Manufacturers Level Systems vary somewhat from one another. Some products have ten levels, some 11, some 12. Regardless of the variations the lowest number will be the darkest color in any given system - highest number the lightest color.

Levels are precise degrees of lightness standardized across the manufacturer's tonal groups. All colors of the same level will have the same degree of lightness or depth, whether natural (neutral), ash, gold, matte, Pearl, Brown-Red-Violet, or any other tone.
To illustrate this, visualize a tall building, black is the basement and white is the penthouse, graduating from dark to light each story a grade lighter than the one beneath it. That is the International Level System, with numbers identifying those grade of dark to light. If you wash this image with a hue, such as gold, then you have a tonal series. Imagine a "black and White" photograph - in that you are only seeing 'Levels" of color. Before color in our TV's and in our photographs we only had this "tonal" look. Its taking one color and going from the dark to light in each.

Tone refers to the hue of a hair color, be it natural or artificial. The main tones, or hues, of hair coloring are natural,ash,gold & red...although I would add Brown, matt, pearl, brown-red and a few others.
Another point I know I didn't clarify was the labeling of hair color, so when you go to buy that first tube of color you won't be thoroughly confused by what's printed on the end of the box. Manufacturers usually indicate the tones of their colors with letters: 'A' for Ash ....'N' for Neutral and so on. Numbers are also used to designate 'tone', for instance, if ".1" means ASH , then a Level 6 ASH would be a 6.1. That's the method, my European based WELLA line uses and to make it easier on the end of the box it says : 6/01A, so you get both.
Any color can be described in level and tone. If the sky is blue and darkest blue almost navy along the horizon and then graduates up as you look into the sky. Those are also distinctions in "level". The level system pertains specifically and only to haircoloring.
If you are having problem distinguishing between level and tone, give it some more time. It will come to you. Its just foreign lingo.
FYI: the painters use of these words are totally different than the hair colorists and should not be related -- each has different vernaculars.
5 comments on "Hair Color Cowboys Go Crazy"
  1. what level would naturally light-orange hair be? the level chart only covers black, brown and blonde. i understand that in america there arent many natural redheads but in ireland there are many and my boyfriend is one of them. thank you for such a wonderful website, you have tought me so much and it's a credit to you.

  2. Maria,
    Welcome and thank you for your question
    Thank you so very much, I really did this for people like you - it means the world to me that you appreciate it.
    Every compliment gives me a little boost to keep going, thank you.

    Ah, yes, redheads...I am 100% Irish...
    father from the north and mom from the south! So, you can imagine my confusion growing up! I too, am a real live redheaded stranger - so the perfect one to answer your question
    When I was first taught this whole Level/Tone mumbo jumbo> I had the hardest time grasping it..partly due to how old i was ..and partly, I believe, because it was not really a system,
    they were making it up as they went along - so the rules changed a lot.

    In England it is a whole system of numbers and letters and here...well, no one gives it much credit.
    Alas, I'm going to put together a couple charts to simplify this, because I remember how confusing it was to me as well. Understanding this theory can make the rest of hair color education just so much easier. I will do this right now. So hang tight.

    Killer Chemist

  3. Maria, did you catch the chart I added?
    Trying to show how in every single color on the planet you have levels.
    In blue there is darkest navy blue all the way to light powder blue.......
    therefore the darkest navy blue is level 1 Blue
    the lightest is Level 12 Blue
    Does that make it a little clearer?
    I had this same problem years ago, so I am going to keep trying different explanations till everyone gets it....no one did that for me...
    and I was sad about that....
    so I love to teach, and will keep trying till I get a description that clarifies the LEVEL system to EVERY ONE.
    Be honest, please.
    The only way this works for all of us is if we are 100% honest.
    thank you
    killer Chemist

  4. yep i got it! thank you so much that really clears things up! i visit your site every day and it's my poor hair's saviour! lovit!

  5. May I please ask a question?


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