August 19, 2017

Become LLLEVEL Headed, Knowing the ''Level System of Hair Coloring" Can Prevent Disasters

Back to the Books
 If you plan on trying to learn the CRIB COLORIST method you must review the entire blog.
 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' - when they are finished.... they really do! Absorb and learn it so you have the advantage/knowledge for the rest of your life.


I want to go back and review some of the Level System. Of course in this small arena, 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 thought I felt confidant that most everyone understands this concept, it simply refers to the lightness or darkness of hair color be it natural or artificial............. but over the course of this last week........I am realizing there will always be brand new people showing up and my teaching will never be done.  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 one level between  LEVEL 1 & 12 .

The amount of Tones is a whole different story. Especially in 2017. Because now it is normal to have a Rose-Gold in your line and if you don't you better get back to the Lab and invent one ! Because that was the single most desired tone in Salons  in 2016 ! and I don't see it doing away anytime soon. 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 grades 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, beige, gold & red...although I like to add, 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 "levels". The level system pertains specifically and only to hair coloring.
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, but it is still all COLOR THEORY !
August 15, 2017

Brunette, Brunette . . .Our Scarlett Was Brunette . . . What Say You, Dear Rhett ? ?

Let’s give it up for our Dark Haired Beauties

Lately, there seems to be so much focus on blonde or platinum blonde hair that we almost forget about all those gorgeous brunettes out there.  Brunette hair comes in so many different shades of brown, from the deepest, richest dark to chestnut, to honey brown. There has always been something mysterious about dark haired beauties. And do blondes really have more fun? The answer is NO! I can tell you from experience, blondes are high maintenance, especially when your hair is naturally dark like mine. There are a few Boost and Burst semi-permanent colors that could either enhance or tone your beautiful brunette hair. Keep in mind, these are color depositing shampoos and conditioners that will eventually wash out.

Boost Shampoo and Burst Conditioner are both great for delivering semi-permanent pigment on top of the hair strands, and with Burst being a conditioner, you can leave it on for as long as you like as it conditions the hair while helping you reach your desired color or tone.

CafĂ© Azul – This is a gorgeous brown (blue base) that will remove any orange tones....excellent for Latino's or any damn person, orange is a very common complaint!

Cashmere Chocolate –  Is a rich deep chocolate brown with a bit of ash (green base) which will fight those annoying reddish tones that sometimes show up, especially after lightening your natural brown.

H.Ash Brown – This a deep rich brown (deeper green base) that will really cool down those reds.'

Note: Please careful if you have any yellow blonde pieces or highlights as they will turn green with blue or green based colors. 

Chocolate Mauve - Is a great option to enhance your brunette hair with purple-red-rose  tones.

Chrome Chocolate – Is an excellent silvery chocolate that is really hot right now, takes that brown hair to an Ashy -Icy brown

Hanalei – is a wonderful color for the lighter brunettes (violet/blue base) that will fight gold/brass in brunettes.


Crib Colorist
August 8, 2017

Hair Color Removers and The Puzzle Surrounding Them

I am kind of known for my various techniques of hair color removal, I have the expensive technique's and I receive many questions about that knowledge.

I get this same question many many times from you, and I think it will be better to just answer it here as opposed to many, many email responses. The question?

Why is it that more Stylists don't use Vanish (hair color remover) when switching hair colors ?

The Quick Answer:: Most Stylists did not go to a Sassoon Academy, there are only 2 in the world. Santa Monica, California & London, in the United Kingdom. Sassoon has these very very high standards that are not matched anywhere. They are very small schools, they limit the people enrolling, they cost a small fortune, their nickname?: the "Harvard" of hair schools, many people have not heard of it, but mostly I have noticed that many stylists just think its going to be fun and games and dress-up when they work in a Salon or Salon world and SASSOON is run like a boot camp and they are British and not very nice, to be perfectly frank. 
So if young people do interview there and they tell you the attendance rule...if you miss more than 6 times --Your OUT-- NO REFUND either ! ! ! Well, that pretty much scares screw-ups off. I almost didn't make it. I hated the regimen and I had never had anyone order me around like that - shit I was born in Santa Monica California the same city I was going to be in to go to this very mean school. It used to be a dump, now Arnold Schwarzenegger owned the entire street we were on .

   Sassoon is the only place that really trains you the proper way. The number one thing they teach you is to take care of the HEALTH OF THE HAIR - - FIRST. Then figure out what you will offer or talk them into. Sound familiar? That's where it was drilled into me and that is why I drill it into you. Its the key to having that hair you've always wanted. If there is one thing I stand for on this BLOG it is the truth. I will not sell you a product just to make a buck if it isn't right for you. I won't give you guidance unless its simple, but never hair color formula's unless I know the history of your hair. THESE SUBJECTS & FACTS ARE SO IMPORTANT.

The reason hair stylists don't use Vanish is
(in my mind one of these reasons):
  • It takes a super long time to do it correctly.  I worked in Malibu & Hollywood - people didn't come to me with $$ problems ( I was lucky).... but I'm based in reality... no one wants to pay a fortune for hair color removal. So most won't pay for what it costs ( and that is because a full service can take 8 hours of 1 day, think about how many people most stylists see in 1 day) if they are doing your hair all day.... well guess who has to pay for all that time? It makes sense and for those of you who have done this at home, I know you all will back me up on this. VANISH is the #1 safest + healthiest and least harmful method for removing old hair color ...too dark hair color....or screwed up hair color  - PERIOD!.................yep even better than the Shampoo Train I came up with to satisfy all those who cannot afford it. The Shampoo Train is not as healthy on your hair - BY FAR than VANISH. 
  • You hardly ever need 1 box, you always need more. 1 Box is 2 applications. 2 Applications : done correctly can take minimum 3-4 hours. Most people need 3-4-5 boxes. If you have level 1-5, you will never do it correctly with less than 3 boxes which = 6 applications !I will never forget selling this one lady about 6-7 years ago when I was the only one doing this ..........11 Boxes of Vanish, I shit you not. She had bra-strap length thick fuzzy trashed hair that she had been putting black BOXED color on for 20 years. Her complaint : "I can't tell the difference between my broom and my hair when I touch them."....Boxed hair color is the absolute worst hair color in the world to get out of hair. It also ruins the hair more than any other color on planet earth I would love to see the formula they use to make that crap , because CRAP IT IS!
  • They've never heard of it - - Stylists don't take it well When YOU know something THEY DON'T! .........Its almost like Doctors nowadays, we all look everything up on GOOGLE before we go in there and are loaded with correct & incorrect info. we batter them with questions with and they try to run out the door before we have a chance to debate the info. When you tell people you found it on the web - used to be a joke. NOT ANYMORE! Just like doctors, when you tell Stylists you found it on the web - they think AMAZON --& think Bullshit because half their color is counterfeit. But half or maybe a little more of our customers are Certified Stylists, so chances are nowadays - more of your Stylists are not going to be so perplexed by the word Color REMOVER "VANISH" !
  • #1 Reason its EXPENSIVE and Time consuming........PERIOD.  But if you do it yourself, you can save a shitload of money and then if that is all you want to do at home, THEN have your hair colored Professional, to start on another healthy hair path!


( remember on this Blog there is a SEARCH BAR @ the top of the page, just put in there the topic you want to research and the Posts will pop up - its run by GOOGLE and works like a charm!)

    Any good - I mean REALLY GOOD Salon is nothing like fun and games. You are solving major problems and your goal is always : Perfection.

    Or at least mine is ! 

    BURST - Colored Conditioner  + BOOST Color Tinted Shampoo

    August 4, 2017

    There Are "Con's" to Natural/Organic Class Products

    Asked about a difference in one of our Oils lately, I decided it was a good chance to let you in on a couple 'drawbacks' I STUMBLED upon as I went through my learning stages with the ole 'natural' & 'organic' categories.Coming from the first person in any generation of both my ex's & my own family's & anyone either of us knew EVER in our lives history - to not only:
    • have both my kids 100% natural ( no drugs) .....but also to
    • made baby food from food I steamed, boiled & chopped up (before cuisinart)
    • did not use a microwave ( they were new)
    • nursed them both : couple years
    That is the type of person I was wwwwwway before the masses picked up on any of these trends. After I truly studied the science of it all and then began playing with things in a lab, my entire set of opinions & ideas changed.  At times I will receive inquiries about the "oils'' I use being different .....whether it be feeling - looking- smelling or - working... 

    Same oils - different vendors/ different country's/different dirt/ different plants.............which means different outcome

    That's the part about "natural" that many people don't realize.
    Things made in a lab......... of course.............. will always be exactly the same
    Lab ingredients ( lab created oils are "silicone's" and all the various types of them) - - 
    Or there are certain SATURATED and UNSATURATED Oils - -  that are made of natural ingredients that go through multiple processes to make them more "SIMILAR" to each other....

    so the outcome is more EXACTLY the same......but a true natural - organic ingredient : which is what a 'carrier' oil is ..............would
    ( and should) be different, every time.
    If its not then someone is tampering with it, that shouldn't be!

    I've bought Rose-hips oil for over 20 years now because it is my absolute favorite for my dry sensitive skin and one time.........I mix it with others because alone it is much too powerful. Rose-hips are the flower of a rose plant. Think of all the zillions of types of roses there are. Each rose produces a different color rose-hips - - which in turn creates a different can be different in:
    • color
    • density
    • scent
    • feel
    • slip...........
    Same with all carrier oils which is what these are.

    When I started Killerstrands and began sharing it, I had to purchase in large amounts so I had purchased Several GALLONS which is out-of-this-world in cost....
    But it was from a different hemisphere let alone country / dirt / farm / plant (can you imagine how many different types of roses there are!?!?!?!)
    The difference was night and day...and the scent of it was unbearable - so now I only buy in small batches, because I just never know.....
    and I don't really want to, otherwise, again.............its made in a lab.
    People complained about the cost and that forced me to purchase the middle of the road version instead of the top-of-the-line
     -- although there really there is no such thing as a low quality rose-hips oil. 

    Regarding the scent of the oils...............
    There really is no scent to any of these oils
    Have you ever purchased a plain vegetable oil? What do they smell like? Oil !
    Any fragrance there was we added........... a very tiny amount of an essential oil, because soooo many people have sensitivities to fragrance now-a-days, I had to get rid of the fragrance oil we originally used.
    Essential Oils come directly from a plant as well and are processed as little as possible/
    they are the single most natural way to have a "bottle of scent".......they also depend if you bought a certain fragrance of each essential oil---------lets just say "blood orange". But the blood orange scent comes from the LEAVES that are put through a big giant PRESS and then a whole process takes place to extract some sort of scent from those leaves and a whole complex process to get very little oil out of,
    but what it is . . . . it is NOT from the fruit of the orange. Then this Blood orange can be from Spain or it can be from Bolivia and that is where I notice the biggest difference from northern to southern hemisphere ! ! !
    Kind of depressing ...huh?!

    Now to continue on to "natural"organic" hair color? That is even worse I am sure there are some people out there that have tried the hair color you can buy at a health food store/ Whole Foods that are happy , but in the last 10 years all I have ever heard are all the disasters and orange hair results. Doing hair color organically if you really think about it makes no sense. I mean that is how Cleopatra died her hair, with plants that sat in oils for a zillion years, is that what you really want to experiment on your hair with? I highly recommend you  use either Essensity by Schwarzkopf

    or  INNOSENSE  by Wella

    both are as organic as you are going to get ( no ammonia) and yet still have beautiful hair color and shine!
    August 2, 2017

    Welcome A New Member of Our Team and a New Writer - Who Will Join In the EDUCATION Process As well ! Yahooeyy! !

    KC here 
    I have 2 things to announce today........... 
    1 you will love, the other I'm not sure about !
    I have hired a fellow Crib Colorist to help me with social media/education Posts for Blog, she has been a long time Crib Colorist and is quite enthusiastic about the job, as am I - with her. 

    I need some help and she sounds perfect, here is what she has written to introduce herself and she has a lot of great ideas, for both Blog & Store.  Plus she is a writer and she actually studied & basically consumed the Blog and is very smart about Color Theory, all from reading the Blog only ........... if she can can learn an entire Cosmetology course from our Blog - so can you ! 

    She solved all of her hair problems and was a Level 2-3 and you should see her beautiful blonde (brass-free) hair. It is truly beautiful....truly I don't even believe what she has accomplished ( I will make her Post some photos - so you can see what she has done and you can see with a little reading and old fashioned can have the most beautiful hair of your life. SHE DOES! 
    I think its going to help having her viewpoint for some of you, as soon as she gets settled I will have her respond to her own Posts to you. But we had to go to war with Facebook as I joined when they were brand new and I couldn't get her on it(I feel so old sometimes in this whole e.commerce world!) But, we won that war and she will be tied directly to you as of now via both Facebook and especially Pinterest.

    Her hair is amazing for how dark she is.....naturally....simply amazing.

    Take it away CG. . . .

    Let me introduce myself

    I am a long time Crib Colorist, I cannot reveal my age… but I am definitely on the wrong side of 30. I have four awesome children, the youngest is going to kindergarten and the oldest is college bound, the other two are somewhere in between…so yeah, I’m not really a planner. Anyway, I found KC about three years ago after a box color disaster that resulted in a neon orange halo around my head.  At that time, I did not realize that you could not use color to lighten color… I know, I know, but this is truly a difficult concept for most people to understand and I learned it the hard way.  Since I’m always so busy with my family and life in general, I’ve never had the time to sit in a salon and pay hundreds of dollars for something that I didn’t ask for.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve asked for Mariah Carey and have gotten Carrot Top.


    I was ecstatic when I discovered Killerstrands blog and store and learned that I could control what happened to my hair with actual professional hair products…. I mean, it’s my hair and I want what I want.

    Finally, there is someone out there that wants to help us!!! I’ve made mistakes along the way, so I suggest that you read and read carefully. If you are new to this wonderful website and store, welcome, and please know that good hair and patience are one in the same.
    I’ll see you around!

    Crib Colorist

    She wrote a wonderful little Post on going Blonde and  being as it IS #ATOMICBLONDE week ..... I may as well Post it Now.. . . . it reveals the pitfalls in getting to (brass-free)  blonde and I can tell from what she wrote she made a few mistakes in getting there ! 
    I think many of you will appreciate and relate to it. . . .


    Going Blonde?

    Here are some Tips for the Crib Colorist… from a Crib Colorist
    1.       If you have damage….STOP!!!

    If you have next level damage, using a lightener or bleach will just #highlight the damage and your hair will end up like straw when dry and gummy when wet.

    2.       Choose the Lightener or Bleach for your level of experience
    I find that cream lighteners like Killerstrands very own Creamy Oil Bleach Kit, give you a little bit more working time because they do not dry out as quickly and are gentler. Remember, once the bleach is dry…it is no longer working, meaning all it is doing is drying out the hair which leads to damage. Whatever you do, please do not buy drugstore lightener, lightener from Sally’s or shopping sites like Amazon because you will almost always pay for it later.
    3.       Make sure that you have everything you need at hand
    Nothing ruins your day like finding out that you do not have everything you need to go blonde. Order weeks in advance and don’t forget your toner!
    4.       Do not use cheap brushes!!!

    Invest in good quality brushes. Low quality brushes will pull and snag your hair…remember, you want to be as gentle as possible when doing any kind of process to your hair.

    5.       Do not bleach squeaky clean hair.

    Wait at least for third day hair…longer if possible, letting those natural oils build up to protect you hair, especially if you plan on using lightener or bleach on or near the scalp.

    6.       Know what is in your water
    Depending on where you live, you may want to consider investing in a shower filter. Minerals metallics, chlorine and even some medications can cause a chemical reaction with the lightener, which can sometimes cause the hair to smoke or even melt.
    7.       Don’t be Basic!