Fantasy hair: DIY or hit the salon?

Salon manager Jessica Smith has done hair for 14 years. She is a master designer at Ulta Beauty and a Redken certified colorist. PHOTO/NICOLE MORSFIELD

OU News Bureau

Hair is a medium through which people express themselves. Like clothing and accessories, hairstyles and colors can be personality indicators.

Coloring hair dates back a long way. An article in Byrdie mentions how ancient Egyptians used henna to mask gray hairs. Later, during the 1930s, women dyed their hair to resemble Hollywood starlet Jean Harlow.

If the hair is not lightened enough, a blue color like this could appear brown. PHOTO/NICOLE MORSFIELD

Others make statements by dying their hair every color of the rainbow. Singer Katy Perry has hit the red carpet in several different colors, including blue, purple, pink and green.

Unnatural hair colors go by many names: fantasy colors, color pop, rainbow hair — even unicorn hair. Opting for the unusual means deciding whether to pick up a box color kit or schedule an appointment with the nearest salon.

Both options have their pros and cons.

Hair must be lightened to the palest possible blond before applying the final color. This is where problems might arise when using a do-it-yourself color kit.

“Lightener or bleach is very hard to do yourself,” said Jessica Smith, manager at the Salon at Ulta Beauty in Rochester. “I’ve been doing hair for 14 years, and I still would never even attempt to bleach my own hair.”

John Gray, master designer at Ulta Beauty and Redken certified colorist, said everyone’s hair has different undertones. Undertones are the yellow, gold and brassy colors naturally present in hair.

Lightening the hair exposes the undertones, and they have to be removed enough for the final color to look right.

“If there’s too much yellow, blue will become green,” Gray said. “If there’s not enough orange, reds can look pink.”

John Gray is a master designer at Ulta Beauty and Redken certified colorist. PHOTO/NICOLE MORSFIELD

People who don’t know their undertones may leave lightener on for too long or not long enough. Smith said leaving it on too long can overprocess the protein bonds that keep hair strong and hold it together.

The hair breaks off wherever it’s weak, resulting in what Smith calls a “chemical haircut.”

“It could be an inch from your scalp, it could be the last few inches on the ends,” she said. “And it tends to look like wet spaghetti.”

Bleaching aside, over-the-counter color kits tend to be “one size fits all.” Since everyone’s hair is different, not everyone will get the same results.

People with darker hair, Smith said, won’t immediately see the same vibrant color that people with lighter hair would. It would take several steps to turn dark hair to hot pink.

Salon professionals can tailor their colors.

“We know exactly how strong to mix something to get the result we want,” Smith said. “You’re going to get the healthiest end result for your hair.”

Box colors also tend to be harder to remove from the hair, Smith said, since they’re deposited into the hair differently than professional colors.

“We customize them so they’re going to be easier for us to remove,” she said.

Salon visits have their cons, too. Smith said fantasy colors aren’t cheap. It can cost up to $150 or more to have an entire head colored by a professional.

And vibrant colors aren’t easy to touch up at home, Gray said. That means more visits to the salon.

Box color kits, on the other hand, are inexpensive and can be used at any time. Gray said if that’s the only option, at least “take the time and do it right.” Whether using a DIY kit or seeing a professional, fantasy colors require high maintenance.

“Don’t skip any steps,” he said.

Another way to go is to recruit a friend or family member to apply the color. People can’t see the backs of their heads, which may result in uneven color. Even a mirror can’t ensure that every inch of hair is covered.




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Posted by on Feb 1 2018. Filed under Featured article, Oakland County. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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