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MUST KNOW: Holding off the Base [Color]

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It is often asked in the world of hair color, why is it that my hair has so much red? How do I get back my natural color? Well, here’s an inside look to the world of color:

It is only natural for us to start freaking out the minute we see that first, tiny silver strand of grey on our scalp. So of course, naturally, we run to our local hair salon and put a base on our head to make sure it’s covered everywhere. Little do most of us know, a base color touching the hair that isn’t gray will always oxidize warm and brassy. Yes, it will look beautiful the day you walk out of the salon, but give it until your next visit and you will see red sneaking right on in! Why? Permanent color, over time [whether it’s from the sun, or just the normal oxidation process our hair goes through every day] causes the cuticle to open and the hair to go warm and there is just no way around it.


I often have clients come to me that have been getting a base put on for X amount of years, but are only about 5-20% gray. The only way to break up the old base is to create a paper fine highlight back to back over the entire head, and then deposit back in a neutral color that matches the natural base color. We do this so that when the hair is growing out, it will blend right in just like a beautiful, natural color.

How does this work?

By highlighting back to back, all of those freshly depigmented highlights are going to grab onto the brand new neutral color that is being deposited back in. Yes, there may still be some red in between those highlights after your first session, but give it a couple of times and the red will slowly make it’s way out! Not to mention, there is very limited upkeep.

But what about my 5 strands of gray?

By paper fine highlighting, people cannot tell the difference between a highlight or a silver strand of hair. Colorist like to call this “gray blending.”

So keep in mind folks, the next time you see that gray strand, hold off on the base color until it is actually necessary!

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