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Did You Know You Can Apply Hair Color With a Sponge?

When we heard colorists were now applying color with a sponge we were like, “oooh, ahhh, where, how” and then settled on, “whaaa?” To get the full color sponge story we went to the creative source, Joico’s Global Hair Artist & Educator, Ricardo Santiago, to find out all the need-to-knows on this game-changing technique.

(image via Instagram)


Because you’re using a new tool to apply color (a color sponge!) you want to be sure your tool is in great shape, or as Ricardo describes it, make sure you’ve got a “solid sponge.”

So your sponge application can be customized to achieve your desired look, “you want to start with a solid sponge,” Ricardo tells us. Once you’re confident in your sponge, Ricardo advises that you “pull out chunks to create an almost Swiss cheese effect.” After this, lay down a base color and then use a darker tone to lay right on top of the existing base color. “It helps to use Meche to separate the sections, but I found that coloring on top of another color is a lot easier and gives a cooler effect, versus coloring on dry blonde hair,” he describes.


There are a ton of possibilities when applying color with a sponge—the best part is how intuitive it is. “I love the simplicity of this technique and how versatile it can be. You can literally come up with so many different color and design combinations and apply with minimal effort!” Ricardo enthuses


You don’t need a lot of experience to get great results, Ricardo confesses that although he is relatively new to the technique it hasn’t stopped him from doing great work. “What makes this technique different is how fluid it is,” he explains. “The placement and application, as well as the color choices, should really be very creative and organic.” You don’t need to worry about R-U-L-E-S when it comes to color sponge application. As Ricardo says, there’s no need to focus on do’s and don’ts, aside from typical dye-handling safety, of course. “There’s no real structure, just having fun and painting away!” he says of color sponge application.



Request this from your colorist to immediately free you (and maybe even them) from any kind of rut. “I think anyone who is ready to make a change, and go for something that’s pretty different from your other rainbow hair technique is the right fit for this. They really just have to be open to something fun and creative!”

Of course, as with most dye-jobs, it’s better to seek out the professionals then DIY-ing—as fun as it may sound. “I wouldn’t recommend doing this yourself, although the technique itself is pretty forgiving, I think you need to have a pretty firm grasp on color theory to execute it properly. So, I would say go see your favorite salon professional to get something like this done,” says Ricardo.

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