Here at the Studio, we get asked tons of questions about hair coloring.
“How do you say that b-word?”
“Can I make my hair this ashy blonde?”
“How long will this take?”
“How long will this last?”, etc.
But rarely do we get asked how hair color actually works- most of the time we’re just shown pictures for inspiration. (Which we actually really love, by the way! It helps us get on the same page to start your hair color journey.)
What a lot of people don’t understand with these beautiful Pinterest hair pictures of an “ashy blonde balyage” (pronounced “ball-ay-ahj”), is that most of the time 4-10 hours of work have been put into creating these internet famous masterpieces and can cost upwards of $500+. Let’s be real, unless it’s a corrective color, no one in our local area hasve the time or money to spend that on their hair, and because of this we must do big color changes in smaller, 2 hour ($110-130) sessions to slowly and safely achieve the look our clients want.
But how? How do we change the color of your hair? From Molly and Kayla at the Studio, we want to give you a few basic ‘Frequently Not Asked Questions’ about hair coloring to help give you a better understanding of that smelly stuff we put on your hair in tinfoil, and why our process takes so long.
1- What is hair color?
Hair color is used to permanently, or not permanently, change the physical appearance of your hair. It can be used to darken, lighten, or simply change the tone of your hair.
Permanent hair color is used to cover greys, permanently darken your hair, or permanently lighten your hair. Once this has been done, you cannot ever “go back” or “erase” these colors to return to your natural hair color. These require more upkeep- when your hair grows from the scalp, it will reveal your “roots” that are your natural color. We recommend anywhere from 4-8 weeks to keep your hair looking fresh. If you wait too much longer, it could be a lot of extra work to make your results more consistent.
Demi/Semi-Permanent hair color temporarily changes your hair color. It can be used to “camouflage” grey hair, add shine to your hair, or temporarily darken your hair if you’re wanting to try a new color. After a few weeks of regular washing and styling, semi-permanent hair color will eventually fade and there won’t be any “roots”.
2- Lightening hair? Why is it permanent, and why won’t it fade?
We use bleach to lighten hair. Plain and simple. Powder lightener is mixed with a cream developer to make a creamy concoction that lifts the pigment out of your hair. Most of the time it will remove your natural (and artificial) hair color pigment (melanin) in your hair strand, leaving you with “blonde” hair. This has to be done in steps if you’re trying to go extremely light. It raises the cuticle layer of your hair, which can cause damage. We do everything we can to prevent damage from happening, but at home care is just as important.
3- Why does my blonde hair change color, lose its “ashy” tone, or go brassy after a few weeks?
When the artificial or natural pigment color is removed from the hair, it's left in a pale yellow state most of the time. To counteract that, we use a “toner” to cancel out the yellow, or make it the tone you requested. “Golden” would be a buttery, champagne blonde. “Ashy” is a cooler, violet or silver toned blonde. These toners only last 4-5 weeks with the recommended every other day wash. Purple shampoo is recommended to keep up with ashier blondes, since its a violet based shampoo.
Water buildup is another factor in the color of your hair changing. Copper and iron are both present in our water, and when it builds up in your hair, it can create a golden, brassy look. Consider buying a water filter if you’re blonde and committed to keeping your hair the perfect tone.
We try to keep our clients as informed as possible at the Studio, and carry a line of Verb shampoo, conditioner and styling products that are all cruelty free, sulfate/gluten free, and paraben free to help your color last as long as possible. We welcome any and all questions (no question is stupid to us!) and if you have one, feel free to ask.
P.S. Leave a comment with the burning question you've always wanted to ask your cosmetologist!