February 27, 2012

Hairitage : Bleach Versus "High Lift" Blonding : the Lifelong battle

Maybe some Technical Aspects May Help You Decidekatehudso_sgran_9425255_600

Here's the problem: Clients come in for professional hair color and ask for a certain blond ( light - baby wheat blond - like Gwen, Reece, Kate, Pamela, Gywneth, or Madonna - just NOT a yellow/brassy blond) then comes this request: but could you please NOT use bleach. They have a million reasons why they don't want me to use it, ranging from:
  • it smells terrible
  • my cousins hair looks terrible & she used it
  • it burns hair off
  • how could anything with the word "bleach" be good on hair
  • my sister used it and all her hair fell off - -
  • and every single thing in between
This went on for years ( btw : and still does !) therefore >> the hair color manufacturers heard this and went to work on something to answer this problem.
What is the first rule in creating a successful product or service?
** Find a "need" and FILL it **
** Find a "problem" and SOLVE it **
Thus came this new big roll out of a new product to fill that need. 73069739
HIGH-LIFT Blond Hair Color
Some claiming they used double 40 Volume as a big grand answer to more incredible lift (which truly has nothing to do with the "lift"). This was probably about 16-17 years ago, just before I got into the biz, because it was brand new when I started - although its very hard to find info on the technical beginnings of this branch of hair color. As a beginning Colorist I didn't get the picture back then, not like I get it all now. As a well-rounded Colorist, now I feel I can sum up what it is and how effective it is or isn't. After 10,000 heads you get a feel for it.

The reason I feel you should understand this? Because they have High-Lift Blond "CLAIMS" everywhere now, and I want you to watch out for them. Most are bogus and they are the reason for many of the color corrections I have had to do over the years.
Color Correction became my specialty . . . I never pursued it, but there wasn't a soul in all of Malibu who did them, so I began taking them in slowly at the beginning. Its a specialty no one really wants, you are never paid enough for the time that goes into them, there is no book, no guideline, its a very tricky process because every single person has a different problem and story. There are never 2 of the same, think about that. Can you say NIGHTMARE ? This is why I know what I speak of when I tell you the stories I do. For 9 years every tricky color correction was funneled to me from all the stylists in town...its usually like that in every city across America, there is one Color Correction specialist. So if you need one - just ask a few hairstylists , they will know who it is. In Malibu they came to me so they wouldn't have to drive the 30 miles into the city and probably pay 30 times the price! With that said, here is my take on the High Lift Blond Battle.

Killer Re-crop1
"High Lift Blond" is basically, the marketing of the words themselves is really all they came up with. Making it sound like there is finally an answer to the problem of using bleach on the hair - it was an excellent marketing strategy, I wish I knew which company thought it up. The words "High Lift" must mean it lifts the hair Lighter than anything ever made. Thank the Lord. Its marketing boys and girls, pure marketing. What they did technically was ADD more ammonia to the existing blonds they had. The LEVEL 10 Blonds they had, including Level 10 Ash Blond - Level 10 Neutral Blond- Level 10 Gold Blond - all the standard highest lifting blonds they made ...they just added more ammonia. Ammonia is used in hair coloring to raise the pH - raising the pH allows the solution to penetrate the hair. Ammonia is an alkali; it swells the hair shaft, promoting penetration. It is also a catalyst and its primary purpose is to facilitate lightening by releasing oxygen, supplied by the developer. wwwaaaaaa
The higher the Level of Color you are using the more ammonia (lift) and the less pigment (deposit). The lower the level, the less lift and the greater deposit. That's why a medium blond will cover gray better than a very light blond.

Too much ammonia is unnecessarily damaging but without ammonia, penetration, lightening and dye development simply does NOT happen. Ammonia or something like it is necessary for hair color to work. Manufacturers strive to put in just enough -- and not too much -- ammonia in their permanent hair coloring products - lighteners as well - its a very tricky procedure. Think about that when some of you go looking for organic hair color without ammonia. Yes, it won't smell yucky, but how in the world will it work correctly ? That is the biggest problem I find when the whole "natural - organic" hair color topic comes up - so think about that.

High lift blonds contain the most ammonia, to have the fastest and highest lift cycle. That much ammonia in darker colors would be overkill. Really great Colorists are aware of all these little tricks and tips I have given you here . . . I want you to at least read them once. . . hopefully you will come back and re-read them, its not an easy concept to grasp, I know I've watched many a blank stare on my assistants faces and these are young eager to learn - right out of Cosmo-School kids!55915060
So that is how and why and WHAT high lift blonds are. But the real answer to: how many levels does a high lift blond lift? : I truly believe maybe, just maybe they have increased the lift by 1/2 to one LEVEL more than the 2-3 levels a Level 10 can and that is all. Every single company claims theirs can lift, 5-6-7 Levels - that simply is NOT TRUE. I've run multiple tests on over 15 companies high-lift blondes so I would have my own tests in front of my face and my own eyeballs - so I knew for sure - what they could and could NOT do. I like to think a High-Lift Blond will lift 3 maybe 4 levels depending on the porosity of the hair -
P E R I O D . 

That is your key and your guide to High-lifts, never think they will lift more than that........and that is PROFESSIONAL HAIR COLOR ONLY. Anything else? Under 3 levels PERIOD -- probably 2. 11-2006

Hope This helps.
Killer Chemist
51 comments on "Hairitage : Bleach Versus "High Lift" Blonding : the Lifelong battle"
  1. Sabrina,
    I wondered how smart my readers are!
    Good job.
    Yes, there are substances that create the same alkalizing state as ammonia does ( called an ammonia substitute - generally thought not to work as well), in hair color products - - which developed out of the publics education to the word "ammonia".

    The ingredient needs to perform 3 roles:
    1) raise the cuticle
    2) facilitate the oxidation reaction ( helps the tints form together)
    3) bring about the lightening action of the peroxide

    in order for it to be as effective.

    so as long as it does all 3 of those - correctly - it may be used.

    Look and see if it is MEA or monoethanolamine which is a common ammonia substitute. It is also an alkali .. . . or there are other ethanolamines used to elevate the pH of haircoloring in the same way and for the same purpose as ammonia.
    But, it STILL does the same damn thing - its that whole "word-phobia" thing again.
    People are afraid of the word Ammonia.
    Well what about monoethanolamine, that scares me more than ammonia does. I guess MEA "sounds" safer.
    I'm telling you its just word-phobia, something that bugs the crap out of me.

    People relate ammonia and bleach to what they use in everyday life and that's not how it works. . .

    So I'm sure your product has one of those substitutes in them. I would be very careful and think twice about the products you use. There is a factor called "delayed damage" . . . which I have on my list of future topics to write about.

    "to each his own"
    is a very old saying of mine that I love a whole lot.

    1. Right on, KC. And you're right-the MEA is worse than the ammonia. I am chemically sensitive and have no business getting my hair highlighted, but I still do occasionally. The only way I can tolerate it is with foils (they contain the product so that I don't have to smel it as much as I do with balayage). Moreover, my chair must be placed upwind (as opposed to downwind) of the bleach solution so that I am not constantly in the path of its smell drift. I also have pancreatitis (thanks to a pesticide overexposure), and I can tell you that the MEA (and other *amines") tend to provoke attacks. So, ammonia isn't ideal, but it is much less toxic for me than MEA. FINAL COMMENT: Why don't more hair salons have carbon-based air filtration systems-ideally built into their HVAC systems, but at the very least with standalone units like AustinAire or IQ Air? This is a very toxic professions, and I suspect that many a life could be protected (for the clients but especially for the hairdressers) if such safety measures were proactively taken. Yes, air filters cost $$ but not that much relative to the value of a salon. A typical hair salon would have to spend between $800 and $8000 on air filters that would last 5+ years. It seems well worth the investment to me.

  2. Thanks so much KC! I'll have to check the box at sally's to get the ingredients, I highlighted my hair with the stuff eons ago before I found your blog.

    The whole re-touching business is something that's a bit curious to me. I notice that when you talk about retouching, you mostly reference all-over color or bleaching. I've always wanted to go completely blonde since as I've aged my hair has gotten to a darker level 7 (I used to be level 10.. almost white.. growing up). But whenever I've gone into a salon asking for this, at various ones, they say that all-over bleaching is horrible for your hair and thus the only way to lighten it is to do highlights... lots of them... every 5 months or so. I would think overlapping would be a HUGE issue on this.

    They all said my hair is healthy and strong, so it's not because of its condition. They just said it's a general rule for people wanting to go lighter without sacrificing its strength. This doesn't seem completely honest though. What do you think?

  3. Sabrina,
    would be my answer
    HIGHLIGHTS are the first thing a stylist or Salon will promote and push . . . guess why...
    Of course . . .
    they cost the most.
    Take the most time.
    That's why they are still around in the USA.
    They rarely do them in Europe. Why? They're FUGLY.
    The Salon gets bigger cut, the Stylist gets bigger cut.
    They will never be gone because of that reason . .. which makes me want to scream.
    A bunch of blonde stripes. . . there is nothing more un natural.
    Don't ask, TELL them what you want.
    You sound wwwwwway too smart to let these bimbos push you around.

    Just know its for the money, I'm not making it up I worked in Salons for 15 years... I just happen to be the only one speaking up on the subject because I will never be back in a Salon again. Other stylists will worry about it, I won't and don't.
    Its so freeing . .. you have no idea.

    I would always push people towards all over blond, i love the look, so do the clients. . . done right it is gorgeous. . .
    Super easy to do yourself as well...
    highlights are impossible to do at home, but hey - - who wants them - is my feeling.
    Go for the all over blond if you want to be light . . .
    its easy to come back from.
    easy to avoid overlapping . . .
    easier on the hair...
    you can play around with toners for fun....
    lots of wonderful things. ..

    hope that helps

    1. Disagree. My hair can never be as blonde with just a color. And color never looks thesame as Hilites!!!!! And over all blonde looks good on1 out of 10 people.

  4. I'm really glad you said this, and I also really hope others read this and find this out too... to prevent them from frying their hair!

    I am so glad you're here to clarify these things, to speak what's unspoken. Seriously. We need a voice as strong as yours...you have no idea... I have paid WAY too much money at the salon for a job that I didn't even need. I'm sure I'm not the only one too.

    What's really cool and unique about your blog is that you're not pushing for the salon business to become nonexistent. Instead, you're encouraging the public to be EDUCATED before they go in so that they won't get screwed over if they do decide to visit a salon rather than do it themselves. I really appreciate that. And it's worked, I would still go back to a salon, definitely, especially to get help with "touchups" on the back of my head that I have trouble reaching, or performing a technique I just can't do on my own.

    Anyway... I'm really glad to hear this. I'll purchase a consultation soon :c)

  5. OMG Im so glad I found someone that thinks like I do about color and this industry in general. There are so so so many things that you can do with color that do not involve Highlights!.. It's sad that there are not many people in this industry that think of the Client and their wants and needs before the amount of money they are going to make and frankly most color jobs I'v seen have no right what so ever charging the arm and leg they charge with the bleeding and the lines of demarcation that drives me NUTS!!! Thank You for your very educational site...I always say if you can not understand basic Chemistry you shouldn't use chemicals on people License or not

  6. Sabrina,
    Wow, I am so glad I finally cleared the pipes and just said what I have had bottled up . .I still have a bit of hesitancy, because if I wasn't ill, and I still could go back to the Salon - very truthfully I would not be saying these things. I - too, would still worry about the back lash from fellow hairdressers.

    You are SO correct > I am not trying to get rid of the Salon biz, the FARTHEST thing - from - - I promise you.

    IF....and I mean "IF" you can find a decent-talented and QUALIFIED colorist /stylist - and you can afford it - that would ALWAYS...and I truthfully mean ALWAYS be my FIRST choice. There is nothing like having a qualified Technician at the helm of your hair. What I have done though is give everyone the information NEEDED to be a qualified technician YOURSELF, if it is just not possible to find.

    My Eye-OPENING came with this site and all the emails I receive from people Everywhere. . . and I mean every where.... that try Salon after Salon after Salon... and cannot find a talented Colorist. What do you suppose I should tell these people?
    Just keep going to more . . .?
    Keep destroying your hair in an effort to find one that might get it right?
    I just couldn't do that in my heart. I write this site from the heart, no BS -- no lies, just the Gods honest truth. Lots of people have a hard time with that, but I live my life that way. Its gotten me in lots of hot water over the years, but I can sleep peacefully.

    I had to come up with a PLAN B - Which I swear should be the name of this BLOG - KILLER STRANDS: the PLAN B Hair BLOG !
    To help with the people that just couldn't find a decent colorist and wanted to have top notch hair.

    I am so proud, I have so many - new and Killer Strands Trained colorists I feel like my own little personal Crib Colorist Baby's that can perform the most gorgeous colors on their hair . .

    If you want to see the latest . . . go to the group and look at JANE's new PICASA Photo ALBUM of her entire day and how she documented it in the GROUP, its just the coolest thing. I am hoping she will inspire more to LOG their stories.

    She was a BOXED hair color girl, that bought THRIVEN & the secret supplement to start with - - went through 2 months of that first...to regain the health and condition of her hair...
    Then had a Color Consult with me... we went back and forth for weeks. . she is very thorough (she is a scientist herself).

    Then proceeding to purchase GLEAM, even went through the VANISH treatment to get all of the old color out of there. Put some paint drips in ( on her very long - thick hair mind you!)

    Anyway - She also had a great time doing it, even making notes what she would change next time.

    Just an excellent job and she will be the first one awarded the CRIB COLORIST AWARD, winning a bag full of Killer Strands goodies.
    I hope others will follow in her foot steps
    Maybe YOU will!

    thanks for you vote of confidence
    I need a smile today and you gave it to me.

  7. Phia,

    Wow THANK YOU > so nice to hear..
    that's the deal. SO many other techniques to perfom BESIDES highlights - lets spread the word about that one.

    Thank you girl - here is the best comment that has been left on this site:

    "Thank You for your very educational site...I always say if you can not understand basic Chemistry you shouldn't use chemicals on people License or not"

    The license means nothing, I would say 90% of the education in Cosmo Schools do not TEACH hair color chemistry, they get that as ON-THE-JOB training . . . how frightening is that> ? ? ?
    Most educators in Cosmo Schools do not understand Color Chemistry, if they did they would be DOING Color on clients and making 10 times the money . .
    I mean that is truly COMMON SENSE isn't it?
    Why teach to others if you could be doing it yourself.
    So what you need to do is find a talented Colorist that UNDERSTANDS Color Chemistry - just as PHIA states so eloquently.
    There is enough information on here for you to formulate a question that has to do with your hair to ask them... see what their answer is....!
    The one remaining hard problem of doing hair at home?
    The back.
    I mean I do my back, and others can do their back . . its hard but with mirrors -- possible.
    Depends on how DETERMINED you are I guess.

    Thank you PHIA,

    Thank you from the bottom-of-my-heart
    Killer Chemist

  8. "They rarely do them in Europe. Why? They're FUGLY." hahahaha couldn't agree more. It seems every girl has the SAME hair around my town. Blah.

    ps. I heart bleach.

  9. ALLY. . . .
    You are hilarious ! ! Love it..

    and you are a TRUE KILLER STRANDER

    which I LLLLLLLLove to see
    in action.

    My next new product?? ?

    Killer Strands T-SHIRTS ! !

    I'm in the process of making up 6-8 DESIGNS, to support our cause of :
    healthy hair,

    >> Bada - Bada Blonde

    >> Beauty and the BLEACH

    >> Highlights are History - Bleach for the Stars

    >> 10,000 HEADS - 12 Steps to NIRVANA HAIR

    I have a list of 15 I'd eventually like to do

    to help spread the word .

    thanks so much ALLY you will need one of the BLEACH t shirts!


  10. KC,
    Wow I'm reeling from the information that I am now trying to process after reading your blog for the last 3hours!!! Yikes. I'm afraid that I have gotten myself all turned around and am no where closer to answering the question that initially brought me to your site. It doesn’t help that I am totally confused when it comes to navigating my way around a blog.

    So I decided to go straight to the source with my question....if you have answered this one before please just let me know exactly where I need to go on your site so that I don't get lost again and I don't take anymore of your time!?:)

    I am a natural level 6, I have had a few high lift color highlights and I believe that she also wove through a few bleach highlights. What I was looking for when I went to the salon was to become a very natural looking blonde (somewhere around a level 8). When I got back from the salon my husband said that my hair looked red rather than blonde... ughh! Although it is not exactly red…just really gold …..it is definitely not blonde like the picture that I presented her with. I am so frustrated that I just spent money for something I did not want. I would love some advice on how I can achieve my blonde dream on my own. Or at least what I should be telling my colorist to get what I am looking for. Specifically....should I be using bleach or highlift color, toner or no and what particular products should I be looking to buy?

    P.S. I talked to the stylist about all over color but she talked me out of it saying that it would not look as natural as highlights and would be to high maintenance for a girl like me (I am so lazy about my hair that I don’t even own a blow-dryer or a single styling product). I know that you do not know me but I get the sense from your site that all over color in no more troublesome than highlights and looks equally if not more natural?

    Oh my! so sorry for this crazy long comment, you are truly wonderful to put together such a rad and thoughtful blog for us girls. Thank you!

  11. Hi There!

    I see above you write that all over blonde is super easy to achieve. I've been a victim of highlights in the past (hah), and now I have about an inch of roots. The highlights are 3 different colors - level 8 brown/ash, level 8 blondish/ash, level 10 natural/ash, and a pearl toner (I'm no pro, so I apologize if I described this wrong) and the all-over effect looks like a level 7 blonde or so. The roots are medium brown - not super dark on their own, but drastically darker than the rest of the hair. How do I do an all over blonde without ending up with a different colored stripe at my scalp?? :-)

  12. you "must" speak in the LEVEL system for me to write you a proper answer.
    I need the Level and tone of:
    (1) your VIRGIN hair level ??
    (2) the level your hair IS ??
    (3) the hair color Level/Tone that you DESIRE ??

    once you do that I can help you out better, thanx for your interest


  13. Hi,despite having always colored my hair at home,now that my hair is grey,( well white at the front) I am unable to achieve the light blonde shade,without also bringing up the grey.I went to a few salons for a consultation/advice and was told to either go darker and have highlights,have an all over bleach/toner,Or just let the grey come through! I'm 38.I just want to lift my hair without bringing up the grey and using bleach.Can you please advise me if a high lift tint will also cover the grey.Thanks Scarlett

  14. Hi
    I've no idea if you got my question so I'll edge my bets and try again. I am a natural level 6 probably towards the darker end of that level, I had wella 12/89 but for the last 8 months I have had 12/11 double ash wella as the 12/89 was a bit warm underneath. I am finding that I have a colour that on top is a very light white-ish blonde but just below that top layer its a bit brassy my stylist puts the colour on my roots then puts me under a climazone for 30 mins this seems to be the general thing in England. My question is as my hair is quite thick do you think the reason for the quite noticable differences in colour is that the heat is only developing the top layer? Also could the salon use a colourtouch say 10/0 to even out the colour and banish the brass? I find that if I use purple shampoos it only dulls the brass but the white looks grey. I dont mind if I don't get platinum blonde I just want a nice neutral colour.
    Kind regards

  15. My hair is extremely dark brown naturally, very thick, and EXTREMELY coarse - however, my virgin hair can easily bleach to a platinum with a standard 30 kit you get from Sally's. In fact, I had kind of inadvertently bleached my hair up to a 30 without trying. It doesn't have any brassy

    Apparently this isn't normal. I'll just... uh.. count myself lucky, then.

  16. First of all : #1.) Never purchase anything from Sally's.
    When I began this Blog, my first instinct was to advise people and have them use Sally's products. HA ! Big, no HHHUGE mistake.
    I ran all my standard tests on their lighteners, their color ... my Lord, no wonder people think hair color can "damage" hair. Sally's hair color damages your hair, it truly does. I had never seen anything like it.
    I ran all my standard tests and my jaw was on the floor for days. I was forced to come up with a Plan "B".
    So I shiver when you mutter those words.

    Also, bleaching your hair up to a "30" does not make sense. Therefore, I am wondering what your hair looks like? I must point things like this out to my readers, they come here for a proper education. A gentle reminder: We are an education Blog.
    Thank You,

  17. Brittany A. H. GreerSeptember 7, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    OK So I was google searching reasons why Joico's High Lift might be lifting a natural 7 regrowth to a pretty decent gold, have used a High Lift Beige, Ash & Natural in various formulas but always pulling gold. Would there be a way to avoid this or should a different high lift be attempted. I know that one formula we tried had lightening booster and CCV (violet corrector) in it but still gold. Thanks! bri_hud at msn dot com

  18. everyone wants to get out of highlifts what I had out of the first company I carried that is no longer around. He retired and he took his formulas with him. I still have 4 of them in my case and if I can ever find a company who will sign a deal with me to design the perfect Highlift blond they will make a fortune - I can promise them. I know its possible I used it for 10 years. I have the evidence in my case. I t just needs to be - Reverse Engineered, which is not that hard and I know at least 3 companies who do it although we should find the hair color specific company.
    No other brand has been able to figure it out, although ... Are you a hair stylist? If & everyone joins together and tells their Rep. this we can get it done. But the only other choice is to use the proper tool for the job ( with what we have ). Your choice is to use Creme lightener and I have no idea why no one wants to use it. It works well and you do not have to spend every week each month battling the brass!

  19. Hi KC, I read your comments on ammonia. Thank you, I never really 'got' the part it plays but am still confused about 'no ammonia' bleach. I am an all over level 10 blonde (but naturally a dirty blonde 8 with silvery grey) and going to attempt (with the help of a special mirror) to re-touch my roots at home. I picked up at Sally's (I knew no where else to go for products) Ion's Sensitive Scalp level 30 developer and Color Brilliance "ammonia free" powder lightener for lightening my level 8 roots.

    I planned to then use Wella Color Charm 10N Satin Blonde permanent gel to tone it. After reading your comments, I'm thinking I need to take them all back, but don't know what to get instead. I plan to do my roots tomorrow (12/2/12) and doubt you'll answer by then, but I thought it was worth a try.

  20. For quick answers always email the store's email:
    or the FEEDBACK button on side of 'store'

    EVERYONE comes to me in tears that uses Sally's products .......... E-v-e-r-y-o-n-e. That should tell you and others what to do.

    The thing about "NO AMMONIA" ........catch the new post I wrote about that.


  21. I am a newbie this year to hair coloring. I am a natural level 3 and desire to be a level 9. I have fallen victim to the hairdresser highlights. I've been to 4 people who have each baby stepped me to lighter hair (while still adding low lights mind you - don't think these were necessary) I hate that I always have these dark roots and look like I need to get my hair lightened the day I leave and honestly I can't afford to keep spending the money. I am trying to find a way to lift my hair myself so I can start to be blonde all over at home. I've done a few patch tests with bleach and 30% and bleach with 40% and also highlift with two diferent colors - natural and golden blond. All of these attemps have left me orange in diferent shades. Do I need to leave the bleach on longer than 45 minutes? Can you add toner with the bleach when you mix it? How do I go 6 levels or more without being orange? Then when I accomplish this....I need to blend into the bottom blonde from the salons. I have very long hair, all one length, and worry I will damage it. It tangles more than it did before coloring but it is still healthy with conditioning care I think at this point. Also, where can I buy products other than sallys?

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  23. A bit confused, so in order to get a color close to bleached effect what can be done ( assuming to avoid the bleach)

  24. Hi, just a moment back I was searching for the information on the same topic and now I am here. So much information, really well executed blog. This is really informative and I will for sure refer my friends the same. Thanks

    maintenance lift uk

  25. Hi...I have dark blond hair and have had high lift tint highlights-i'm now thinking of colouring my hair a lighter blonde with a home hair colour. is this going to be okay after having high lift tint in my hair?Thanks

  26. I would not do that I'm afraid.

  27. Hi so glad I found your blog.I have naturally red hair. Its a level 7 with mostly copper tones. I would like to be an all over level 9 golden blonde. What would be my best bet in achieving this result? Thanks, B

    1. I do Consultations, I receive thousands of inquiries, so I had to come up with a method so some people could actually get my help and lots of people do....I happen to be your exact color myself as well so have lots of experience in that area!
      Here is the link if you are interested and we also have a Grandaddy consult which is 1 on 1

    2. BTW, I just did something very close to that and used our new Schwartzkopf line and it came out great.thanx KC

  28. Anonymous above, you know I was thinking you meant a BOXED hair color....if you use our methods you will be OKAY.

  29. Hello I have a level 8 that is medium blonde on matrix level finder I wanted a level 10v. I used 19v on a test strand and got a soft golden blonde. I then tested another strand half 10a and 10v and was slightly more gold. I used colorinsider. I want no gold is that possible. I have fine hair that looks like a level 8AVOID naturally.

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  31. There are 15 questions that I feel are super important and they are what I review before giving directions, I truly don't like to create any damage , so I am not trying to be rude, those answers are very important for the correct results. If you have a great Stylist then I wouldn't try to be the one that tells her what to do, shehas the advantage of her hair in her hands and I don't.
    What I will say is, you really cannot have the control enough from COLOR which is what your 8/0 is, people are scared of bleach because bad Stylists leave it on too long, but it is a very handy tool. Used correctly it will give you all the blond you seek. Just speak up if she/he:
    - puts you under a hair dryer as that is against Bleaches rule and actually is against hair dressing rules. they do that to buy themselves time. So if they do that tell them you allergic to dryers or some B/S, so they don't do it. There is nothing wrong with you just sitting in the Salon not under a dryer. TAKE A MAGAZINE and read. Or watch all the crazy things that go on in a Salon ! Be patient.
    - Then use one of my Beige Toner Shampoo's

    1. Hi, thanks so much for your advice! my stylist is afraid of using bleach and panics washing it off before the correct and desired colour is achieved...resulting in baby chick yellow hair...maybe i should re think and maybe use a diff stylist!

  32. That is one of the biggest mistakes Stylists make and why every other person has brassy hair!
    if they just would leave it on the proper length of time, there would be beautiful hair everywhere. Yes, either read this Blog and take control of your own hair like so many have or look for someone with similar hair you have and what you want...and just go up to that person, tell them how much you like their hair color and ask them who the Stylists is, that is the best way EVER to get a recommendation....and the person you go up to will love the compliment.....so you win 2 ways !

  33. Hi there, absolutely love your blog.. I am a level 7 blonde naturally that pulls gold. My recent hair colourist recommended that I start to do a full color on the roots only because my fine hair was overprocessed from hightlighting the past 14 years.. I've doing that for 2 years now, but the last time I asked for a deeper colour with ash tonal qualities.. I got that in the length but my roots turned a goldish gross colour .. I've tried to tone myself with Wella Colour charm but I'm thinking I'm going to have to bleach them and then tone.. The hair colorist always says I shouldn't have to use anything but highlift blonde, but I'm beginning to realize from reading your blog that she's wrong.. My level 7 roots are not lifting to a 10 very easily.. Your thoughts? Thanks!

  34. Hi Johanne,
    Well, it sounds as though you are from overseas ........and we all have different versions of hair color that Wella makes. I don't know why - - - er yes I do, about 10 years ago they split up - instead of being one big gigantic company. The USA division of Wella split from the parent Wella EURO and they became 2 separate companies, that, in essence are competitors of each other! But anyway forget all that.....
    What I have figured out over the years from many of you writing me is that the strength and quality of Wella is different in different countries. Therefore I cannot really make a good suggestion unless I know where you are from and where you are getting color from?
    You have a Colorist that tells you how to do your own hair at home?
    Wow can you tell me where that occurs? You are one lucky girl !

    1. Hi KC. I am experiencing the exact same problem. My stylist took me from platinum blonde to a Level 10N (Paul Mitchell), but my roots grabbed a VERY gold/copper colour; other than that I'm very happy. My natural Base is between a 6 and a 7. I would like to be a more even colour throughout, would I have to tone my roots or would you recommend lifting with bleach and applying a new colour? I've done some research- and I'm leaning towards an ombre, so even a darker colour would be fine.

  35. That happened because you didn't have the exact same color UNDERNEATH. The rest of the hair was bleached (lightened) to platinum. Then basically you put a toner on the entire head of hair, without the base being lifted to what the rest of the hair was, there would be no way it would result in a uniform color. That, in my opinion, is a Colorist who is "guessing'' at how hair color works. One must have an even base to apply a Toner....Toners don't have the power to "re-color" hair, just put a nice transparent hue on top of whatever was underneath!
    hope that helps

  36. Hey there KC :),

    I came across your blog when trying to educate myself about what highlift color can achieve. Let me just start by saying how amazing this blog you've created is. You are truly a godsend to all of us out there who deserve to know what's going on with our lovely locks!

    I recently moved from MA to TX for work. I had to say my goodbyes to my colorist and now am at a loss as to where to go to get my hair done. I don't even know where to begin looking for a colorist I can trust. I also learned that each state has different standards for schooling and am nervous to even step foot in a salon now.

    With that said, I'm sending an S.O.S. your way! My fine hair needs advice. I'm naturally a level 7/8 and ashy with some gold natural highlights. I swear some days my hair thinks its ash and other days it thinks its golden. It just cant make up it's mind. Before I ever bleached my hair I could find some coarse black ones here and there. It has a mind of its own. I've been highlighting it for years with bleach professionally to be a level 9/10 cool blonde. Sometimes I muster up the courage to do my own highlights when I'm broke (thank you college). In the winter I also ask for bluish black low lights to be scattered about very finely to really enhance the icy blonde color. Well., last time I got my hair done, I told her no lowlights. I walked out with a pretty monotone looking color with hints of brass from where she went over the dark pieces with bleach. I really should have said to her, no black lowlights but sprinkle in some of my natural color but I didn't because I thought she did this every time anyway.

    Every time I go get a full foil, I notice that when I go home and part my hair and lift it up to assess the work, each time I have more and more natural color poking through the top and mid shaft and the lower portion of my hair to the ends is all level 10 and hardly any of my natural lowlights. It just looks really inconsistent and too much mixed all together. There's some cool blonde, some neutral and some brassy all mixing and mashing together and I'm just tired of it!

    I was wondering how you fix this? How can I get 2 solid colors in my hair like the very first time I got my hair done? I want a level 10 cool blonde with my natural color lowlighted through. Would I have to ask the colorist to bleach my whole head and then go back and add lowlights that match my natural hair color? Or could you use high lift to achieve this and not pull brassy with a level 7/8? I was going to give it a try on my own and put a HL with violet on my roots and then pull through at the very end to get one solid color and then go back and weave through lowlights BUT I figured it would be best to get your expert advice before I go attempt this on my own. Perhaps there's another way to achieve what I want without having to do two separate applications. Maybe my colorist wasn't that great after all? Or maybe I should dye my hair back to my natural color and then go back and put highlights in it again? Idk!! I need your expert advice! Please help me :)

    Kind regards,


  37. Thank you Ashley, because some girl just raked me over the coals and told me I was an asshole the way I treated all of you.
    'I never mean to' so I will apologize ahead of time.
    Read the new Post today ( Its actually a Post from 2008, but I like to re-boot very popular posts ( any Post read by over 50,000 people) I feel needs to be Re-Booted and Updated.
    It talks about your exact problem some people say their hair starts to look gray-tinged when it has been over-highlighted. If you can't figure out what to do from that then you should join the group for a Consultation that takes about a month ( faster if you follow all the directions ahead of time)
    or purchase the one on one Consultation....for a fast version. http://killerstrands.myshopify.com/products/hair-consultations

    hope that helps.
    I vote you go back to Level 6 Beige-Ash, its the most beautiful color in the world then, when summer comes you can put a few blonde tips on it - or blond ribbons....then in winter back to Level 6 Brown Ash...


  38. Im in hair school and you are bluntly AWESOME! keep up the good work!

    1. Thank You . . . am not a writer I simply pretend like I am speaking to you.....my suggestion to you?
      Be a SPONGE and volunteer to Assist Teachers...!

  39. Hi, I literally just came out of my salon, I was in for a quick consultation and to book in my appointment which is in a month's time. I sat and asked my stylist how I could go about getting a subtle yet beautiful caramel blonde gradual ombre. I have shoulder length medium to dark brown hair but with very small clusters of white through my block fringe and temples (thanks for the genes mum! I'm 24). My hair is rather healthy as I VERY RARELY use any heat on my hair and go with its natural waves which I air dry. I haven't dyed my hair in over a year which was only a semi permanent brown. Due to this I expressed my anxieties about using bleach and also the possibility of it going brassy and orange. She talked me through her options for me and I'm trying to come to some sort of decision, even though it's in a month's time. She was a little sceptical of me going for the ombre, whether with high lift or bleach, without first dying my hair overall brown again. She has a point really as I think my little lines of silver might conflict with the final "look". She then said after dying it a nicer brown she could use a high lift and see if I like it and start from there, to come back later and lighten it if I wish. But, since I've come home to read this article, how could I possibly get a successful look if she's going to dye my whole hair and then try and "lift" it? The other option was to just dye my hair and the use bleach and deal with whatever comes, i.e. look after it really well with a nice gloss afterwards and hydrating and purple shampoos. I'm starting to think I should just not bother. Some advice would be much appreciated. Thank you. Also please excuse my google account, I appear to have made my display name about 10 years ago.

      Do not go to someone who is "guessing" at what to do when she has you in her chair. If a Stylist gives options that sound like they are "guessing" {which this girl is doing} at the options she may use, RUN FOR THE HILLS!!!
      You sound young.....
      But many factors affect a hair color formula.
      I mean why do you have to color your hair brown if it is already is brown??
      Blond is not technically a color......Blond is merely the ABSENCE of color in hair strands. Don't be afraid of bleach, request CREAM BLEACH only, almost every single company has one.....I can't think of one company that doesn't have one.
      How you get in trouble with Gold/Bl'orange/Brass in brown hair is when you have not used a strong enough lightener.
      I would encourage you to read some of my Posts on lightening hair and hw it works so you can pick a much more educated Colorist.
      Lots of Stylists will offer to color and lighten so they can charge over $100. (way over $100.!!!} by given you a "double process" when you don't even need one.
      The only way that is necessary is if you have over 40% gray......if you have a little gray you can just cover the gray to match and not make it such a huge job....
      There are many different options here and whomever you went to is not making sense, it sounds to me like a beautiful OMBRE would be beautiful......on you....
      Find a Sassoon colorist....
      Where do you live? ? ? ? /
      I will help guide you.....but do dome reading on this blog - - - just put "BLONDE" in the SEARCH Bar

  40. I have brassy roots. Very light (level 9 maybe?) blonde everywhere else. Could I use a high lift 12 ash to help combat the orange roots? I've toned myself (ashy wella toner and 10 vo developer) and it is still quite brassy. Thanks!

  41. `No that won't work,
    Toner will only work for 1-2 shampoos....
    to get it lighter you must use cream lightener or ( cream bleach and 10 volume) ....leave on short time - watching carefully the entire time ! ! !

  42. Hi, I am a natural base 5, I use Wella Special Blond 12/81 + 40 vol and leave on for 60 mins, wiuld adding a sprinkle if powder bleach give it a boost as it is often a little bit gold at the roots and underneath?
    Thanks in advance (in the UK btw) Kris.


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