Color Formulation: Creating Contrast

It’s all about the dimension, right?


This is a dear client of mine who was away for 5 months on the West Coast.  One of the reasons I adore her is because she loves to have dimensional hair, and since that’s kind of my *thing* we really work well together!  But, during her time away, her hair morphed into a golden (dare I say, brassy) palette that was no longer interesting or dimensional.

How I Fixed Her HairColor

Step One:  I decided to use foils for her highlights because its easier for me to use foils when I am trying to do a multi-step color application in minimum allotted time.  Meaning: Since I needed to do her highs, lows, and her base at the same time, foils are easier.  I did two back-to-back foils per sub section for maximum contrast.


Step Two:  Her base color was applied as a “root stretch” application, that way I could really feather through the previous root touch up applications and control the warmth. I am guessing her last three base color applications on the West Coast were an 8N, so I’m dropping it 1/2 level plus I’m using a formula with a lot of control to help take the edge off and add depth.


Step Three:  This is when the real magic here happens.  Once the foils and the base are in place, I painted large balayage panels of lowlights to really get the contrast we were looking for.  I used an acid-based gloss for her lows since she is so porous, and… it only needs 20 minutes to get maximum deposit.


Step Four:  After she processed, I rinsed her and then toned her with an icier gloss to really matte out that golden color she came in with.  She left looking like herself again, and let me tell you, she looks like a million bucks!

Her Color Formula


Natural level: 7

Percentage of Gray: 75%

Underlying Pigment: Orange

Existing Color: 8G

  • Base: Lanza 20g 8AX+ 30g 7N + 3g “S” mix with 50g 20 volume
  • Highs: L’Oréal Multitechniques with 20 volume
  • Lows: Shades EQ 7N with 15 volume
  • Gloss: Shades EQ Equal Parts 9T + 8V with 15volume

Finished with Olaplex.

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