07/29/2015
 
Posted By: Admin DreamingCode

Every Tuesday at Stilisti, we spend the day advancing our team and perfecting our craft. There's always some type of educational session or discussion happening, ranging from product knowledge classes to in-house advanced color and cutting techniques, and everything in between. We'll often have outside educators come in to lead these classes, but we also like to take advantage of this time to have our own team members collaborate on teaching and learning from one another. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to lead a color correction class for the whole team, and thought I'd take this chance to share some of what we discussed!

Color correction is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but is often misunderstood. To break it down a little, a color correction is any situation where you're coloring hair that has previously been colored. Once you've colored your hair, that pigment stays within the hair strand until it has grown out and been cut off. So yes, almost everyone (except those rare hair color virgins!) will fall into the color correction category.

When we get into the specific details, things can get a bit tricky, but it's important for anyone considering color correction to understand some of the basic theories and techniques behind it. Hair color isn't a simple matter of adding a fresh coat of paint, so to speak – there are a number of factors to take into consideration for a color correction. The natural color of our hair is dictated by the melanin or pigment within the hair cuticle, so we have to add pigment when we darken hair and remove pigment when we lighten it. Every hair color, whether natural or dyed, has underlying pigments, meaning that the color you see is determined by all of the existing colors within the strand of hair. As a result, hair doesn't simply go from one color to the next when dyed – rather, all of these tones are exposed during the coloring process. This is most commonly referred to as warmth or brassiness, and any natural brunette who likes to be blonde will know what I'm talking about! Factoring in elements like different textures, grey hair, and previously colored hair, and we've got ourselves quite a project! So, technically, any color service done on hair that's been previously colored is a color correction. To avoid too much salon-speak for this post, however, we'll use "color correction" to refer to anything that is a significant color change requiring multiple steps.

Our model for this class – let's call her Anna – was not an existing client, but had reached out to me saying that she was unhappy with her hair color and really wanted a fresh start with it. Years ago, she had thick, curly, blonde hair that required little maintenance beyond semi-regular visits to her colorist to keep her roots under control and, at home, just used shampoo, conditioner, and a little curl cream to get her curls bouncy. Five years and two rounds of chemotherapy later, though, Anna's curls had become lackluster, and she had also transitioned into being a redhead (both with her coloring and her wig.) She had gone to a salon a few times to try to get rid of the red, so her hair was much lighter, but it was still quite copper. With her treatment behind her, Anna came to us wanting to focus on moving forward. People often have a very strong and sensitive emotional connection to their hair and hair color – blonde hair reminded Anna of a time before any health problems, and she hoped to get that feeling back. Think about a time you had a hair color or cut you didn't love, or, better yet, hair that you did love. Just thinking about it can bring anyone right back to that place emotionally. So, when listening to Anna, I knew she would be the perfect model for a color correction class.

We brought Anna in on a Tuesday and we were staffed with seven senior stylists, two junior stylists, three assistants, unlimited time, and no other clients in the salon. First, I had a consultation with Anna. Even though I already knew what she wanted from our previous conversation, this is an important part of any new hair service. After that, the whole team went to the color mixing room, and I had everyone write down a blueprint of what they would do if Anna was in their chair – after all, there are multiple routes to arrive at the same destination. Once everyone had shared their ideas (many of which were similar), we decided our first step would be to try and get out as much of the copper as we could, as quickly as we could. At the sink, we did a color removal service using a gentle lightener on damp hair, and were pleasantly surprised by how much of the copper came out. The next step was to paint on a base color all over to cover any grey hair and to provide a fresh canvas for dimensional work. After that processed, we washed it out, put a conditioning serum on, and did a rough blow-dry to prepare for the dimensional work. Then, I went in using a combination of highlighting, lowlighting, and hair-painting to achieve the desired natural dimensional look and finished up the color service with a glaze to provide toning and overall shine, much like a lip-gloss to your lipstick. After a good trim and re-shaping, Anna's hair transformation was complete. Although her hair texture probably won't ever get back to being exactly like it used to be, with the right cut and home care (we used Davines curl shaping cream and curl mousse), it certainly looks and feels much better. And, most importantly, Anna left the salon that day with hair that made her feel like herself again. In order to maintain her color, I recommended monthly visits to cover the greys and every other month to freshen up the dimensional color and cut.

All told, this process took about 5 hours, with our entire team pitching in and no other clients in the salon. So just remember – when you're looking to have a color correction, there is much more than meets the eye. And when you see celebrities making drastic color changes, just know that there is a whole team with plenty of resources behind the scenes (including wigs and extensions, but we'll save that for another post!).

The fact remains, though, that almost anything is possible when you need a change. With the right team, your hair color dreams can be a reality, and you can find your way back to that special place in your memory or set out on the path to a beautiful new future. And, wherever you're going, we're always happy to help you get there.

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