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
February 21, 2012

Hairstory : 'Why Is Straight Hair, The Cool Hair' ?

Plus 10 Tricks To A Great Blow-dry
I wonder where the idea that 'straight' hair is the hair 'to have'. Every 5 years the battle of curlies trying to straighten their hair becomes more public as well as some new fangled technology hits the market. Its funny because the non-straight hair candidates reach across women of all backgrounds. I feel the marketing and making of 'curly hair' products are still fairly archaic - they will master it....it just has been a hidden culture for some time now. The most ridiculous part is : I feel it is aimed at women of color ONLY, and that is the farthest thing from the truth. I wish they would wake-the-Hell up already because a lot of us are waiting !

We continue to think that straight-silky hair is the goal of everyone, or that straight hair is the good hair & every other texture is bad. Everyone needs to pay attention: THERE IS NO GOOD HAIR or BAD HAIR. In Sassoon we were taught to treat as many people who would listen to stick with their "natural texture''. Your hair remains healthier that way, you can play around with your color...color is one of the better things you can do for curly-wavy-frizzy hair it helps add shine lending hair more towards shine with the light bouncing off the bends in the hair. Now I am referring to healthy hair, damaged hair is something you should do everything possible to avoid. The single biggest difference between good hair and bad hair??? Is the health of it. Bad hair is hair that has been damaged, so that should be the first thing you work on....Healthy hair trumps ALL types of hair.

The BLOW DRY is returning when straight hair is the goal, here are 10 important steps to a great Blow-Dry.
1.) The most important tip for blow drying? Sectioning the hair. Seem silly? Take a couple extra minutes to section hair into at least 4 sections if not 6. This will help in avoiding bumps and ridges in the end finish. Begin with the back section first, get it out of the way so you don't give up before its done, remember the ‘back’ of your hair is what more people see than any other. 

2.) The hair dryer itself makes a real difference especially with the new IONIC and Tourmaline models on the market. IONIC utilizes ceramic technology, which will leave your hair healthy, silky with natural shine and manageability. Plus super fast drying time, the higher price tag is because they really do, work. Save your $$, ask for a birthday gift, watch for sales. It will last a couple years and the time it will cut off of your blow dry time and the shine in the finish make it all worth while .  
3.) If you’re not using a silicone serum to coat the hair you will contribute to the frizz factor, there are a million and one out there but you must read the label…if it has alcohol in the formula you are defeating the purpose. Silicone Serums range from light to heavy and from the John Freida line at Drug stores all the way to here at our store (Sojourns).  
4.) Choose your brushes carefully, the longer the hair the bigger the brush. Axe the heat retaining brushes they add to the frizz and dryness. Boar Bristle brushes are the best and we have this unique and funny looking brush we call the thermo-straightening brush. The advantages to it? You can really PULL down when using it...and when trying to achieve shine and a smooth -clean blow-dry you will want to be sure to go downward with this brush or ANY brush....that way the cuticle is being brushed downward which is the trick to creating shine.
5.) “Heat” remains the single #1 enemy to the health of hair, most don’t realize this. Blow drying ONLY until the hair is dry, alternating between hot and cool temperatures as you go through each section remains important for the health of the hair. Just really try to use the blow dryer as little as possible. You would be surprised at how little you will really need it, give it a test run. 
6.) Hair needs to be 70% dry for blow dry to begin so you want to begin by shaking out excess water after shower, rough dry until 2/3 of water is out. Over using a hair dryer can rob the hair of moisture, leaving hair dry & brittle. 

7.) Do not use a conditioner after your shampoo, that step was manufactured by the shampoo companies. The proper routine? Shampoo and use a spray leave-in detangler. A daily conditioner just weighs hair down and produces product build-up. Keep product use light/ Some of you will need a conditioner after shampoo...I'm 100% Irish - Redhead and I have loose curls and require a conditioner after every shampoo. So I don't want to scare everyone away.
8.) When using a finishing product to hold your style – spray it on the brush first. This makes sure the hair won’t be over loaded and lets the hair shine through.  
9.) If you invest in a great cut, the time you spend with the blow dryer in hand will not only be less, it will be more rewarding and the end will result will make you like a pro. Try asking for a blow dry lesson to be included with the price of the cut. There is a technique called "wrapping" -- where you wrap the hair around your head...using the head as a big giant round surface....you go one way then the other...backwards/forwards/sidewards to sidewards... always finishing with the head upwards. That trick works magnificently for 40% of you!
10.) The finish is as important as the drying time. Seal the hair by turning the dryer on ‘cool’. Never leave the hair warm – it won’t last 10 minutes that way. 

Killer Bonus trick:They have what I call “rear view”  or the 360 degree hands-free mirror for the bathroom, we now carry them. Mount one on bathroom wall; it will afford you the freedom of blow drying the back of your hair while also being able to look at what you are doing! It helps in the final outcome and you will find the mirror handy for many other odds & ends (magnification mirror for eyebrow plucking, make-up application for poor sight, etc). 
This works wonderfully for those of you that want to color your own hair. 

Killer Chemist
February 14, 2012

INTENSIVE Hair Balancer : Works Wonders for Damaged Hair

One of the best little secrets Killerstrands makes..... is its product called : INTENSIVE 
There are a lot of you purchasing the oil-bleach kit this week and I cannot stress enough the importance of using this product. It can make all the difference in the world having healthy hair when you are finished with the procedure using INTENSIVE. 
It is formulated to balance out the pH of the hair - - after it has been altered in order to change the color of your hair.  People are so funny, they tell me they do not want to use ammonia, or bleach ..... on their hair...  yet - - they want their Level 5 hair platinum blond with NO Brass.  If you want certain hair colors you must learn the [proper way to reach them OR you must find a competent Hair Colorist.
If I were to color your hair with a product that does NOT use ammonia, they have added one of the alternate ingredients (that does THE EXACT SAME THING !!). So, be very very careful of products that say "no ammonia".
In order to color anyone's hair, the pH of the hair MUST be altered....(if it isn't.... the hair cannot be colored). Its Chemistry, and it is an absolutely wonderful  discovery....it is the chemistry formula that the founder of L'Oreal, French chemist Eugene Schueller, invented in 1907.
Although when you think about it....Hair color has been around for centuries (Thousands of years, dating back to the 1200s  (Maybe even before.). It was used for the reason of telling which social Class a person was. Women would tint their hair(depending on the social class.) different colors. But it was done by compressing flowers and items from nature (which was how "HENNA" got its start). Now that we have the advanced science formulas for how hair color works we are soooo lucky to have them. Treasure them, don't fight them. If you are not up for the ingredients.....don't color your hair. That's OK too. For the healthiest hair on the planet - leave the hair alone. Work on deep conditioners / Gleam.  

There will come a time when playing with hair color will interest you. I truly find it an art and a beautiful art at that.


Killer Chemist