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The Dreaded Colour Correction - Inside the head of a Hairdresser Part 3

The Dreaded Colour Correction - Inside the head of a Hairdresser Part 3

by Lyndsey - Salon Promotions Educator

So, this week I gave in and sat in a 20 minute queue with the kids in the car at McDonald's. It was the quietest 20 mins of all Lockdown as we sat there and (not ashamed to say it) completely enjoyed our burgers ?! There is no way on Earth I am brave enough to tackle the almighty Primark queues yet!

It's amazing to see some salons now provisionally open their appointment books. We’re almost there guys (fingers crossed)

This week I want to write about the importance of the lightening curve and colour wheel. Last week we conquered the larger regrowth, now let’s discuss the clients who couldn’t resist the temptation of a box dye, gave in and now we have a colour correction on our hands and a waiting list as long as our arm of clients all wanting to be in the hot seat.

Once we have conquered the art of the consultation and we know exactly what we are up against, the most important thing we HAVE to think about during each consultation is the Lightening Curve and Colour Wheel. These two pieces of absolute gold, will determine whether our colour results are amazing and we have met our clients expectations, or we have an unhappy client, with a colour they are not happy with and another appointment we need to magic out of thin air in an already mile long list.

What exactly is the Lightening curve? Why is it so important? What does it tell us?

The job of the Lightening Curve is really quite simple; it’s there to tell us the underlying tone that is found at each depth. During any lightening service, it is crucial that you take into consideration the underlying pigments.

If anyone has had any of the Salon Promotions education team in salon, you will be very familiar with a little train journey we take you on ?. I personally have seen so many ‘light bulb’ moments when we talk about the Lightening Curve in this way. Let me explain:

A lovely client is a natural depth of 6 (orange) and she has seen a post on Instagram and would like to go to a lovely clean blonde at a depth of a 9 (pale yellow). Our little train journey is starting at station 6 (her natural depth) and our destination in station 9 (her desired look). Along the way, our train is going to also stop at station 7 & 8. To achieve the cleanest blonde we can, and to see your client jumping for joy and feeling a million dollars, we HAVE to make sure we neutralise every station along the way.

So what would happen if our train didn’t stop, and we drove past one station without stopping?

If your train decided to not stop at all stations along your route, you would still get your client to her desired level of a 9, but the beautiful cool tone she has been looking at for weeks may be a more golden or warm.

So what’s the Colour Wheel? Why is it connected to the Lightening Curve?

Now we have taken into consideration the Lightening Curve, we need its partner in crime; The Colour Wheel. The purpose of the colour wheel is to show us what tones are used for neutralisation. Remember: Opposites Will Neutralise.

Let's go back to our lovely client:

We know the start of our journey and the destination. Now we need the colour wheel to know what tones to use. Travelling from station 6 to station 9, we will visit orange, orange/yellow, yellow and finally we will arrive at pale yellow. So, using the Colour Wheel we know that blue will neutralise orange and violet will neutralise yellow. Magic! We have a happy client, with the exact tones she has been dreaming about and is going to shout from the roof tops how amazing her stylist is ?.

The next level - Using the 3D colour wheel

What is this? Is it really that important? The answer is absolutely. When neutralising, we need to think about colour as a weight. If we see a strong yellow, we need its opposite to be just as strong to fully neutralise it. A really easy way to think about it is to think of a see saw.

If you put a child that weighs 3 stone on one side of a see saw, then put a child that weighs 1 stone on the other, what is going to happen? The child that weighs more is going to drop the floor and the lighter child will fly up in the air. If we swap the 1 stone child for a child that also weighs 3 stone, the see saw will balance and it's exactly the same with hair colour.

Taking all the above into consideration, choosing the correct toner from within the Neal & Wolf Colour is a lot less daunting. If your client has lifted to a beautiful pale yellow (it does happen sometimes…. Honestly) a delicate tone can be used, for example 10.02. If a client has a stronger yellow tone and will just not budge anymore, you will need something stronger, such as a 99.02 to fully neutralise.

A reminder on Neal & Wolf Colour Hair Toners

  • 10.01, 10.02 & 10.89 - 1 part tone (a single shot of gin as we like to think of it)
  • 90.01, 90.02 & 90.73 - 2 part tone (double shot of gin)
  • 99.02 & 99.25 - 3 part tone (triple shot of gin)

Next week I'll be covering toning on the correct depth

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