Tech Tip Tuesday: How to Achieve the Ultimate Red

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Autumn leaves are falling and we know we are at the brink of a new season. Fall has many significant meanings to many hairdressers – it is time to brighten up our clients world with fresh color. Just as the vibrant rich reds, ambers and oranges of the changing leaves, we would like to bring some of these rich tones to our color world and clientele.

All of us know that red hair color can present its own challenges. Why is my regrowth the beautiful vibrant red I desired but the ends and midshaft still so brown with the red not as visible? Why does the red seem to fade so quickly from the midshaft and ends?  My client’s regrowth area seems to be too warm, almost hot, why would this happen? How much brown should I add to my formula to achieve grey coverage while still not browning out the reflect?

These challenges are something many colorists have faced and have to overcome to create beautiful rich reds for their clients.

How to Achieve Perfect Grey Coverage

Let us first address reds and how to achieve perfect grey coverage at the same time.

Higher percentages of grey will require other tones to be added to the formula in order to have a vibrant yet solid grey coverage.

Without neutral or gold added to the formula it would be like putting red paint on a white wall, giving a hollow color and some instances a pink tone or hue.

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A good rule of thumb would be:

  • Note the percentage of grey since it will dictate what percent of  neutral base must be to added to the formula. For high percentages of grey, at least half of the formula needs to include a natural/neutral series base.
  • Then, midshaft and ends can be analyzed to see what is missing.  Rarely the natural base will fade and you are able to mix a formula with the straight red to add rich vibrancy back into those ends.
  • There may be instances of higher percentages of grey but the desired result is extremely vibrant. In this scenario, your professional judgement will dictate how much to adjust the neutral base without compromising the coverage.

To tackle a situation where the regrowth is the exact shade desired, yet now the ends look darker and too brown, it may be necessary to slightly purify the midshaft and the ends before applying your new formula. This will allow you to match the beautiful vibrancy of the regrowth and remove some of the excessive brown blocking the red’s vibrancy.

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Fadage can be a problem when creating and maintaining the ultimate red.  

In some situations, you may want to re-pigmentize the hair if your starting base is extremely faded or you are covering previously blonded ends. Another tip would be to also process for a  longer amount of time in this scenario. Always be sure to send your client home with a corresponding shampoo and conditioner to protect their new color. Color Protection Hair Bath, Mask, and the Color Protection Veil will all assist with their new color adding longevity to your fun Fall warm hair color.  

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