Welcome to the world of color melting. You should get to know this awesome process, which truly makes dye look all your own. Color melting is basically seamless blending, with colorists going as far as using their fingers to get the desired effect; think of this as refined finger painting you never knew your hair needed. In the quest for natural looking color, we must say that melting is going to be a definite go-to. We checked in with Shelley Gregory, L’Oreal Professionnel Ambassador and Farouk Systems Global Artist Rocky Vitelli, for everything and anything color melting.
(image via Instagram)
COLOR MELTING 101
“Color melting is when you blend 2-3 colors into each other without leaving a demarcation line,” Farouk Systems Global Artist Rocky Vitelli tells us of the technique. Shelley Gregory, L’Oreal Professionnel Ambassador, adds to this. “It’s using hair color to give a melted look from light to dark, or vice versa,” she clarifies. To get hers perfect each time (even when color is definitely not natural) she will usually start with a dark color at the base of the hair, and blend down into a lighter color. To ensure a super smooth transition, she will blend throughout, going at least three shades lighter then the base.
Melting is different from other techniques (balayage, ombre, oh my) because, as Rocky explains, “you are using your fingers to blend the techniques together at the connection between the two different colors.” It’s is all about the blend, which creates a smoothness to the look. “It really makes the color pop with dimension while still appearing soft,” says Shelley, who reminds us that color melting can be done with natural or rainbow colors. “Instead of blending the colors side-by-side, vertically, you blend the colors horizontally on the head,” she tells us.
To get his color perfectly melted, Rocky takes a section of the hair, applying one color from the root to the shaft. He then mixes in a second color, about 1/2 inch from where the first color stops, and through to the ends. He’ll then work his way back, blending in the same direction. He uses two fingers to fuse the colors, making sure to push the first color into second, for an even look throughout.
That there are many different ways to achieve your desired look, Shelley explains. “You can melt down from someone’s natural color with a balayage; you can foil a full highlight and then tone with multiple toners to melt/blend down—or you can do a full bleach out for more bright or pastel looks,” she notes of the technique’s versatility. However, in all instances, your colorist must be hyper-vigilant in the application. “It has to be really saturated,” she explains of the color. To make sure her clients locks are always even, she uses a special blending comb. She swears by the W.O.W comb, which has wide teeth and a built-in, spinning spine to move color down the hair shaft.
YES, IT’S FOR YOU
So is it right for you? Both experts agree, of course! And, good to know, it’s super suited for ladies who like a more hands-off approach to color. Request this if you’re looking for a dimensional look, or if you love a really evenly blended array of colors. “It’s great for someone who wants a low maintenance look, because their natural color can be incorporated into the melt,” explains Shelley. However, if you’re particular about your placement, you may want to think twice before you try it. “You should avoid the look if you don’t care for color with a darker base or root, and if you prefer your dimension to be vertically on your head,” she shares.
COLOR MELTING CUSTOMIZATION
The color selection is endless when doing a melt. For Rocky, it’s all about gradation. “I like using purple and pink or green and blue for progressive color melts, but you can use it also with different levels of browns and reds,” he says. Honestly, it’s up to you and up to your colorist—there’s no wrong when it comes to color melting. “It is completely customizable!” gushes Shelley. “I personally love using the colors that give the most shine and contrast, i.e. dark brown to caramel to bright blonde, or steel grey to pastel lilac to baby pink.”
To get the look, Shelley uses all L’Oreal Professionel products, while Rocky reaches for CHI Chromashine. “For the direct dye/semi-permanent colors, the L’Oreal Professionel #colorfulhair line gives so much shine for a beautiful melt,” she says. “I also love their Demi-permanent DiaRichesse line for more natural colors and longer staying power.”
It’s important to remember that because of the nature of the technique, the longer your hair, the better. You also should be mindful of your melt if you have layers. According to Shelley, ladies with length reap the benefits from having more variations of colors to blend into each other. “Always consider your hair length when going to your stylist,” she advises. The same goes for how your hair is cut. “If you have a ton of layers it can make the color break apart and move around more, which can take away the aesthetic of the melt,” she cautions. As Rocky explains, it’s best to consult your colorist. “This technique is designed to work for everybody,” he says, adding, “It’s the intensity of the colors chosen that determine who it is for. It’s all dependent on your lifestyle.” Thanks to Rocky and Shelley, we will definitely be investigating color melting on our next trip to the salon!