What to Expect on Your Hair Journey
Over the past few years fashion colors have taken the Internet and therefore the world by storm. No longer is it the domain of angst-ridden high school students with access to Manic Panic. Alternative, unnatural hair colors have become more widely accepted in the workplace, which in turn makes ours even more fun.
How does one get fashion-colored hair? Well, I’m glad you asked. Instagram and Pinterest lead you to believe it’s a quick, easy process to go from, say, dark brown to Kelly Osbourne’s lavender, but the reality can take several hours and is generally not published on anyone’s Instagram story.
What happens when you throw blue paint on brown paper versus white paper? The lighter canvas reflects the true pigment more effectively, and the same principle applies to hair. To achieve rainbow-unicorn hair the canvas must be lightened first, a process which can damage the hair. It’s imperative to have a thorough consultation discussing what has been done to the hair over its entire lifespan (FYI: hair grows about six inches a year). Being open and honest with your stylist will ensure that s/he takes the best approach to lightening your hair, so don’t feel embarrassed if, say, your college roommate has been throwing box color on your head every month for a year. (We’ve all been there, right?) Sometimes the intended goal requires more than one step to make sure the hair’s integrity stays intact. Upgrading your service with a deep-conditioning treatment such as Olaplex will absolutely help protect and improve the health of your hair.
Darker, richer colors tend to last longer than pastel tones, which have a more translucent appearance. I typically recommend shooting darker than the intended result to compensate for fading. What you use at home on your hair directly affects how well the color stays. Because Aveda color is derived from plants, it works best with our plant-based shampoos and conditioners (Color Conserve and Damage Remedy are two of our faves, though all Aveda lines are color-safe). Other brands (even other professional lines) can be too harsh and strip the color. Shirley, a Creative Stylist at Parlor in the East Village, recommends avoiding shampoos that contain sodium lauryl sulfate. “SLS is a detergent that’s unfortunately used in a lot of shampoos, and it’s the exact detergent in Dawn dish soap. If you can imagine what using Dawn would do to your color, you can imagine why using shampoo that contains detergent is a bad idea.” Yikes! We also recommend not shampooing every day, as each shampoo can fade those pigments. Aveda’s Shampure dry shampoo and (brand new) dry conditioner can help you get the longest wear out of your style and color.
In regards to fading, Master Stylist & Aveda Color Educator Autumn has the following insight:
“Fashion colors made with oxidative hair color (two-part product) generally fade more gracefully than direct dyes (one-part product). How long the pigment lasts in the hair also has a lot of variables. If the color is deeper and more saturated, it has the potential to last longer in the hair. However, if the hair has been pre-lightened to get the desired look, hair can be more porous underneath the fashion color, so it’s important to seek guidance from your stylist on what home care can ensure your color stays vibrant as long as possible. The size of the color molecules also can affect how it fades. Colors with blue in them tend to fade most quickly because the size of the color molecule is larger than red or yellow molecules. Tones with some element of red in them still fade but have more longevity than straight blue. I’ve learned to be a little more flexible and open-minded and try to teach my guests the same regarding fashion colors, because they’re less predictable than natural tones.”
Before you decide to go for all-over rainbow hair, consider what kind of upkeep you’re willing to follow. Does your lifestyle and budget allow for a root touch-up every four weeks, or do you need something more low-maintenance? Is this something you want to rock for the next six months or do you see yourself going back to your natural color in two? Constantly changing your color can do a number on your hair’s health. (Just ask literally any hair stylist ever; we’re notorious for doing this to ourselves and each other.) So if you feel like you might want something different in the near future, consider doing something less dramatic, like peek-a-boo panels of a funky color.
Fashion colors are definitely an investment of time, money, and quality at-home care. There are plenty of factors to consider before taking that leap, and the right stylist can guide you to what is best for you and your hair.
by Jenny Davis
Salon Stylist at Parlor