December 8, 2009

Box Hair Color Disaster = Recovery Plan

A Tricky Maneuver in Repairing a Boxed Hair Color disaster............ Easier Than It Sounds - Promise!

I’ve never totaled up the variety and amount of Boxed Hair Color blunders I’ve heard of….it would send me into cardiac arrest…so I just stay away from that fact, its a never-ending supply.

I hear nightmares from so many poor unsuspecting souls, it breaks my heart to hear the stories, it really does. I know every single one of those stories could have been avoided, had I personally done their hair or they maybe found the Killerstrands Blog and began reading like so many of you have.  

I experienced a Hair color surprise yesterday in an otherwise gloomy (read:challenging) week. I popped open a new Jug of MAGMA for a longtime Level 5 client of mine. I realize I don’t spend as much time on ‘dark hair’ techniques as I do their lighter counterparts. I will be trying to rectify that flaw in the coming months, come on all you ‘dark hairs’ – speak up – I will answer most requests as far as topics to write about.

39…………………Gold Cendre Light
89+……………….Pearl Cendre Dark
07……………….. Natural Blond

Bombshell hair123

This woman (lets call her Mrs. M) is one of the many that has lost her job as part of the economy problems our country has been experiencing. So it appears Mrs.M has taken to touching up her gray roots with some damn boxed hair color that I guess she thought I wouldn’t notice.!?!?!?
[ Which is why I always tell people: NOT to forget the “back” of their hair, it’s not the hair YOU see, but it is the hair everyone else see’s! Same with boxed color, you think people don’t notice – 


I promise you – they DO! ]
This apparently is a common practice with many people I have come to find out…. now that I deal with soooooooo many through the Trinity of Killer Strands websites. They will have their hair professionally colored 3 times a year so it is gone through thoroughly on the back - - a place very difficult to do yourself. Then on the “off” months they touch up just the crown section of the hair, depending on the hair style and length of hair. Now, to be perfectly frank the idea is not a bad one…but if you are going to be doing the base (roots) in-between, my Lordie boys and girls…use the proper product and color.

Now the way to tackle this may not be textbook, but as I have said before, there is a reason there is NO textbook on hair color. TOO MANY VARIABLES. Now with this kind of issue I have 2 problems at hand, she has 90% gray hair and that can be quite a stark difference with virtually white roots and dark brown lengths. Even though they call Level 5 (light Brown) . . . I have never quite known what they are looking at when they say that. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Maybe its me, as I have a very hard time telling the difference in the colors/levels below the Level 5. They all appear to me as “dark” and “super dark”! ! j/k . . .although you have to admit the differences are not nearly as apparent as its lighter counterparts. So we must cover the gray roots and get rid of the black “banding” I call it, created from the Boxed Color. There are black stripe-like effects on her hair. Which comes from Boxed Hair Color, I have noticed most that use boxed color have banding and I’m too sure why. I’ve never seen it used, to be perfectly honest, therefore am not too sure how the banding is created. What I do know is that it is everywhere, next time you are standing in a line…check-out all the people, see if you can ..............“Find-the-Banding”…the newest game from HASBRO….again – j/k!

To fix both problems at once, is how I would handle this… maybe you only want to fix one at a time, totally understandable. Depends on your dexterity, right?
First I would pull the color I always use for her base and that is

 Koleston Perfect…… 5/0N
+ Koleston Perfect     6/71
………………..…. + 20 Volume

Beginning in the front sections. . . apply Formula to front sections -- covering right up to the line of demarcation but not going past, that is one reason for banding…although when overlapping with Professional hair color that problem doesn’t happen. That is why I know its Boxed hair color by ‘sight’. Besides the “shine” Box Hair Color takes out of the hair strand is mind boggling to me…I don’t know what they put in there that accomplishes that ? ? But, it really needs to be taken out.

So with the color on the base, I decided to try a different trick to break up the banding and broke out the MAGMA. I have been hearing a lot of scuttlebutt on how good it is lately. You all know what MAGMA is right? 


It is a new-ish product from WELLA ( 6-7 years old). Its a Bleach and tone product in “one”. When it came out I was super excited about it, but it wasn’t as suited toward my clientele as I would have liked. Its a product developed mainly for Hispanic/Ethnic hair with 10 Colors & really only 2 tonal categories ….. REDS & BLOND’s.

 There were 2 Blonds and 2 Reds I’ve liked and used…but I hear somewhere along the line it got re-formulated…Which can be a wonderful thing, or it could be a bad thing, I never feel any of these companies use “COLORISTS” enough for feedback and product development….but anyway …back to the problem at hand. bombshell02

Another new development with MAGMA I had heard was that it was now formulated to be used with “lower” developers when necessary. When I first used it, they were very strict and stern in teaching the product education courses –instructing us to ONLY USE WITH 30 or 40 VOLUME. As you can see by the above chart, it now can be used all the way down to the lowest developer they make….6 Volume! So am thrilled about that…especially in light of the results I had with Mrs. M

So with the base on, I used 13 foils in the “VEIL parting” … here is a little illustration of that… When you are in the best Hair Academy in the world they do a lot of steps and projects which at the time seem totally ridiculous. This is one of the head sheets we used in hair academy, when you wanted to explain a technique you wanted to try or that you saw & wanted to change or duplicate – we were taught to explain/teach/illustrate using these HEAD sheets. At first I really thought the whole idea was foolish, now look who’s foolish . . . here I am 17 years later – using them on a daily basis – . . . . I have used them ever since ! 

veil parting illustration11

The way the MAGMA colors are handled is way different than I’ve ever seen…but the product also is unlike any product I’ve seen as well. 2 of the Colors have “+” Plus versions of the same color.
So that # 39 is Gold Cendre Light and then # 39 + is Gold Cendre Dark
#39……… for use on LEVEL 6 & 7 Hair
#39+ ……. for use on Levels 2-5 Hair 

wella KP 2010 chart158

I mean its pretty self-explanatory…but am always told by our trusty members, “teach us as if we were Aliens from another planet”!


See the Levels on the far left they recommend using each color on? . . you want to follow those recommendations when choosing your color.
Now to solve Mrs. M’s problem with the black banding short of having to apply a whole VANISH Kit (color remover), which was avoided and results were spectacular.
I used 89+ mixed with 1.5X – 40Volume Developer. Applied in 13 random foil SLICES in the Veil parting as stated above. A thin slice of hair is taken within each parting, place the foil down (moving quickly) brush on the mixture of 89+ being sure to brush down hard where the bands are. When necessary within the foils take (gloved) fingers coat with product and rub into the banding to really get the product into the hair….{remember this is called COLOR CORRECTION ! !} fold foil together, flip up and proceed to next . 


The recommended time for MAGMA is 20-30 minutes with controlled heat…again - - I simply do NOT recommend this. I do NOT recommend speeding up processing time by using heat with peroxide. The power that is generated in the processing will have a deteriorating effect on the hair structure.


On the other hand beware of under-processing with very low volume hydrogen peroxide out of fear of a lightening product such as MAGMA - - there is no cause for fear, Wella is the KING of HAIR COLOR, when used correctly there is no better all-around hair color company. Always make sure the room you apply the Hair color in is at least 70 degrees, warmer is better…NO CHILLS. 

You know what the best thrill about MAGMA was this time? They have made the #89’s Lavender based….(the Magma POWDER is the color of the base now) there is no better color for a brunette to be based in as lavender, and now the MAGMA works the way I wished it worked 8 years ago when it first came out. I have never seen a product wipe out brass as this one did. I was OVER-THE-MOON with how much and how terrific it works. What we look for is a soft lavender/rose based color as the foils are removed, and sure enough every single foil was that rosey color. I didn’t even need to rinse it out to know. . . . I had the most gorgeous color she will have ever seen, on her. 

Once those foils were taken off, you must then complete the process as normal, only using MAGMA’S Neutralizer…that MUST be used after rinsing the color products out of your hair. Leaving the Neutralizer on the hair for a minimum of 15 minutes….Rinse and BOOM you are done… 

The change in this product is just so rare, more rare than you even know, but I wanted you to know about it. I have since used it on a few paint drips on my hair, a few slices here or there….I LOVE IT, absolutely love it. The point of the story really was how to bounce back after a Boxed Hair Color blunder. For those of you with Black “BANDING" - -or any color ‘banding’ which develops from Boxed hair color overlapping – there multiple methods of getting rid of it. This is one - - watch for future POSTS with various other ideas & TRICKS.
Killer Chemist
7 comments on "Box Hair Color Disaster = Recovery Plan"
  1. I cannot express just how much I would love to see more articles on darker hair! Especially examples of color formulation for darker hair. Or even any applicable techniques for darker hair, if there is any, such as using different colors here and there to create a more dimensional look. Oh, also, (this may be a dumb request) but tips on how to choose a dark color that won't wash your face out, make you look deathly pale, etc. Anything relating to dark hair would be awesome!
    Though, when I think about it, going dark just seems like kind of a self-explanatory thing. All of the things I just wrote about really aren't that complicated. I can't really think of anything that would be a complete mystery to me.

    Whatever the case, I plan to start a help page for my own going darker project. A level 6/7 to hopefully 3 or 4-ish. I've been planning and researching for almost three months now, and I'm almost ready to get started on the actual color formulating and before pics, etc. I'm getting a gift card for Christmas (woohoo!!!), so that's when I plan to hopefully buy the actual color. But, I'm just babbling now...

    On a different note, I agree with you on differentiating between levels with darker hair. I have a hard time telling the subtle differences between 4-6 and 2-3. I like your thought, dark and super-dark :) lol

    Thanks KC!

  2. I was wondering what the ingredients are for Sudezz FX cashmere shampoo, I can't find them anywhere.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Hi KC,

    I am a sporadic follower of yours and I would just like to say that I've started to use SLS-free shampoo on a regular basis (finally)! My hair has never been softer, shinier, and in better condition overall. I was using Brocato Sheer Volume shampoo all of last week, but when employee appreciation at Ulta rolled around, I picked up a bottle of David Babaii Hydrating Shampoo for $6. I LOVE IT!

    Thanks so much for your wonderful posts. I will continue to raise awareness of the magic that is SLS-free shampoos :)

    - Ruth

  4. Thanks KC for sharing your knowledge with all of us. I have a question I've been meaning to ask. Is using Color Touch once a month on the whole head too damaging? I have healthy hair now due to your hair strengthing system, I would hate to over-due a good thing like the shine you get from Color Touch! It's addictive!
    Thanks Elle

  5. i am with slim --

    i would love to see more posts on darker hair, color formulations, and how to choose colors to compliment your skin tone. i am a level four and use color touch 4/71 to color, and love it, but want to learn how to add other colors to my formula in order to tweak it a bit, and to learn how to amp the color up a bit.

    i am so glad and thankful that you are exploring this! i have started to check the blog much more often now that i know more of the posts will apply to my hair color! thanks for everything you do, kc!


  6. GirlyGal:
    What's your virgin level and tone? Just curious :)
    I'm a virgin level 6/7 and I plan to go down to a level 4/5, like 4 1/2-ish.
    If you want to zest up your color a bit, adding some warmth to your formula might work.

  7. KC,
    My hair color turned out too dark. I used a level 6 & 7 demi-permanent mixed and it turned out a level 2 or 3. I want to be a level 7 and add highlights later. I've heard mixed opinions on if a permanent color mixed with a 30 volume developer will lift colored hair a couple levels. Some say it will only lift natural hair, not color-treated hair though. My hair has now faded to a level 4 almost 5 so my question is: can i use permanent color to lift it a couple shades or am i going to have to use a color remover? I want to avoid bleach since I plan on using bleach for highlights. If you recommend a color corrector, what one is better for the health of my hair: phantom or vanish? I am naturally a level 7/8 ash blonde so I am trying to get closer to my natural color. Plz help me out :( thx in advance!!

    P.S. I am also interested in hearing what you have to say about skin tones*



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