Why can’t my hair stylist get my hair color right?

Why can't my stylist get my hair color right?
Why can’t my hair stylist get my hair color right?

Have you ever wondered why your hair stylist never seemed to get your hair color correct? It is either too light, too dark, too brassy, the wrong tone; it has dark or light spots in odd areas of the head, or it is too dull looking. I am here to shed some light on this never-ending  problem.

I have been a hair stylist for 24 years, and I have lived in different states, and I have found this to be a trend across the board. So, what is the reason for this? There are many reasons for this, but I find there are three main reasons for this.

Education or lack of

The main reason is, education. Just because a hair stylist has his or her license or has done hair for many years, does not mean they are educated in their field. I have found that many stylists have not had any continuing education or professional training since beauty school. Does this really matter? Yes, it does. Let me give you an analogy to make things clear. It is like when you first get your learner’s permit to start driving, you know enough to pass the test to get your learner’s permit. However, you don’t have enough knowledge to pass the test to get your license. Passing the state boards of cosmetology is kind of the same thing, consider it your learner’s permit. Now, imagine getting the rest of your knowledge from others who only have their learner’s permit. Kind-of scary, right?

When I was in beauty school, I was taught three basic haircuts, a basic men’s short cut, a women’s basic short cut, and a women’s long layered cut. By the way, no one has ever asked me for the long layered haircut I learned in beauty school. If they would have, I would have declined, it was that bad. As for color, I learned how to apply color, not how to formulate my own color.  The job of the beauty school was to teach the student’s what they needed to know to pass state boards. So imagine all those people working in salons today and getting the rest of their knowledge from their peers, it’s like the blind leading the blind.

However, most states require continuing education to keep your license active, but not all states. Sad to say, but Virginia is one of those states. (Be sure to check if your state requires CE) This is a huge problem. Clients are going into salons expecting they are going to get a stylist who is highly experienced and knows what they are doing, they are expecting a “specialist.” Continuing Education should be required in all states to ensure every single stylist knows what they are doing.

So what happens if you are looking for a hair stylist, and you happen to live within a state that does not require CE? Do research on salons and the stylists, check with the state board and see if the stylist and salon’s license is active, check reviews with reliable review sites, call and speak to the salon owner and ask what their CE policy is and when they have had their last CE class, make an appointment with your stylist for a consultation and ask them when, what and where their last CE class was? Make sure their classes coincide with the services you will be getting. Thus meaning, if you are a color client, then you want someone who is a “certified specialist” in hair coloring. Especially in color correction because chances are your current hair color will need to be corrected.

Condition of the hair

Okay, let’s say you did your research, and you found the perfect stylist; she has the education needed to do your service; she is highly experienced; she has raving reviews, and you have seen her work. You have now gone to your new stylist a couple of times, but your hair color still isn’t what you expected. The chances are; it’s the condition of your hair.

Things that affect the condition of your hair are; using store bought hair products, not using the correct products for your hair type, and the biggest thing is not conditioning your hair properly.

Let’s address the store bought products first. Store bought products are watered down; they are filled with glycerin to make hair easy to comb through, but it builds up on the hair making hair dull, flat, lifeless, and it also strips out the hair color you paid big bucks for. Why would you spend big bucks for a hair color and not buy the products to maintain it? It’s like buying a new car and never taking it in for service.

Now choosing the correct products for your hair condition and hair type. There are so many products out there, and it makes choosing one difficult. Here are a few simple rules to follow when choosing which product is right for you. First take a single strand of your hair and wrap it around your fingers like you are going to floss with it. Now hold the hair, so there is no slack in the strand, lightly pull hair a few times and see if it stretches and returns to normal. Try this on a few strands from different areas of your head. If they hair stretches and returns without breaking or staying stretched out, then your hair is good condition. If not, then your hair needs to be repaired.

For hair that is in good condition, you can use almost any professional product on your hair. If you have color treated hair, use products for color treated hair (you can switch off with moisturizing products as well). If your hair has a tendency to be frizzy, then use products for that hair type, etc.

For hair that needs to be repaired, there are several things and professional products you should do and use. One you should deep condition your hair weekly (at first). I always recommend protein treatments first. This is different than your everyday conditioner or the ones that say leave on 10-15 minutes and rinse. These are not enough for your hair at the moment; you need real protein. The hair is made of protein and moisture; therefore, it needs both to survive and stay in good condition. If your hair is in good condition, you can do almost anything to your hair, and it will not matter. Your hair is made of three layers, and when your hair is damaged it pokes holes and damages these three layers causing hair to become brittle and break off. Protein helps to repair the hair from the inner-most layer of the hair (medulla) out to the outer layer of the hair (cuticle); it fills the holes and starts repairing the damage. Moisturizers work from the outside layer (cuticle) to the middle layer (cortex). It is not powerful enough to penetrate through the cortex or the medulla; it can only go as far as under the cuticle. There it smooth’s down the inner cuticle and the outer cuticle sealing in the protein. After the first month of doing protein treatment, I usually recommend switching off between protein and moisture for another month or two. Then just as needed. By then you will know what healthy hair feels like, and you will know what your hair needs.

Once your hair is in good condition it will be naturally smoother, your natural curls will come out and be more manageable and more universal, your hair will be naturally shiner, your hair will be less likely to tangle, your hair will stop breaking off, and your hair color will look more like the magazines. You see, the condition of your hair matters just as much as the knowledge of the stylist.

Not knowing or using the correct terminology

Not knowing the correct terminology or using the wrong terminology can be devastating in the overall outcome. Even though this should be rectified during the consultation, unfortunately this is not always the case. If you are unsure of the correct terminology, let the stylist know that you are unsure of the correct terms. Using the correct terminology and especially the correct terminology for the area you are in can make a huge difference. Hence the word bang in some countries means, in a polite way to have sex, while the word bang here is different. The word fringe in other areas means bang, but to us, it means textured hair around the face. So you can see where this can get a little hairy. Excuse the pun. Ha

I hope this helps you understand better how hair works when it comes to hair color and other chemical services. As much as we, as hair stylists, would like to be magicians with magic wands, we are not. We can only make hair look as good as the hair condition it is in itself. The better the condition of the hair the better the hair will look.

Feel free to comment.

Ombre vs Balayage vs Sombre vs Color Melting vs Foils

Ombre

Ombre is another freehand color technique, Ombre has been an extremely popular color trend over the past few years. When it is done correctly, it gives the hair a graduated effect. The roots are usually much darker and have a rich undertone and gradually gets lighter as it gets closer to the ends. The color tones can be of any shade of color the client desires within the same color family.

Ombre
Ombre

 

Balayage

Balayage is a freehand color painting technique that is used to add a soft dimension to the hair instead of traditional foils. Balayage is more subtle than with traditional foiling, often giving a natural sun-kissed appearance to the hair. It is very popular with celebrities, giving them beautiful, rich, and dimensional, without any harsh regrowth. This is a very advanced technique, therefore you should consult a specialist for this color service.

Balayage hair color in Virginia Beach Hair salons
Balayage hair color in Virginia Beach Hair salons

 

Sombre

Sombre is a third way to use a freehand color technique. The term is used to describe the combination of using two different techniques, Ombre and Balayage. It is a great way to combine the best of Balayage with the trend of Ombre, in a more natural way. The difference between the root color and the end color is a much more subtle change than using the Ombre technique its self.

Sombra hair color Virginia Beach hair salon.
Sombra hair color Virginia Beach hair salon.

Color Melting

Color melting is a technique that is used using three or more colors and melting them together gradually. Color melting can be in any combination with dark at the roots or starting with light at the roots. By melting these colors throughout the hair, it gives the hair a nice natural grow out period.

Color Melting
Color Melting

Foils

Finally we’ve come to traditional foils. Foil highlights are still the most popular way to add dimension to the hair, with a more controlled application for a more precise color application. The options are endless, a client can have a very subtle appearance to a very bold appearance.

 

Foil Highlighting
Foil Highlighting

Battle of the Oils!

Argan Oil vs Moroccanoil
Battle of the oils

Who has it right and who doesn’t? It seems that Argan Oil and Moroccan Oil are all the rage in hair products these days. So. What’s the difference? Is one actually better than the other?

Native to Morocco, Argan Oil comes from the Argan Tree. It is a golden-colored oil that is extracted from kernels produced by the tree. Coveted for centuries, Argan Oil is highly praised for its rich gourmet ingredients for the betterment of health, as well as an age-old beauty secret.  As a beauty regime, however, Argan Oil has many benefits. It contains very high levels of Vitamin E and fatty acids, ideal for helping to treat many skin ailments and blemishes.

Now Moroccan Oil, if you haven’t already guessed, yes, this is Argan Oil too.  The difference here is Moroccan Oil often has additional ingredients already added to it, depending on the brand you choose, that have added benefits to them.  Made with Argan oil, Moroccan oil is a lesser pure form of Argan Oil, because true Argan oil is so expensive. That being said, however, Moroccan Oil still has many of the same great benefits as Argan Oil.  It can help to smooth down the cuticles of the hair, calming frizz. It helps improve the appearance of dry, damaged hair, and it delivers brilliant shine to any hair type. So which oil is better? It’s really a matter of personal preference really. Due to the high cost of “true” Argan Oil, the price alone can be a definite factor for a lot of people. In addition, the fatty acids found in these oils, while beneficial, can also sometimes cause skin breakouts and acne. This is due to the presence of oleic acid, which can clog pores and cause inflammation. A quick read of the ingredients will help you decided, beware not all oils are always packaged in their truest form. Some companies list their products as Argan Oil, when it actually has very little, if any in it at all.

Personally, I like both products, each one has its own set of pros and cons. Sometimes it just comes down to the fragrance, since true Argon Oil does not smell nice, each company adds their own fragrance to their product. I like each product for different hair types. The brand “Moroccanoil” is great for hair that is curly, highly processed hair, color treated hair etc. Pretty much any hair type, but extremely fine hair (Moroccanoil also makes a light version for fine hair). I like the brand “Agadir” best for fine hair. Agadir is also great for all types of hair, but I find it may not be enough for overly processed hair or really coarse hair. Each product has a liquid form and a spray form. Another factor to consider is the environment, sometimes one product works better when used different times of the year. The hotter it is or the more humid it is, one product may work better than the other.  Experiment with them both using them on dry hair and wet hair and see what works best for your hair.

Simple Facts About Hair You May Not Know.

How hair works.
How hair works.

Hair is made of two structures, the first one is the follicle, located in the skin, the second, is the shaft, is what you see on your scalp. The hair follicle is like a tunnel or a straw. The epidermis extends down into the dermis. The follicle has several layers that serve different purposes. The base of the follicle is called the papilla, the papilla contains capillaries, or tiny blood vessels. This is the only living part of the hair. These blood vessels are located at the very bottom part surrounding the papilla, called the bulb. The cells of the bulb divide remarkably faster than any other cell in the body, on the average every 23 to 72 hours. There are two layers that surround the follicle, the inner and outer. These structures protect the growing hair shaft. The inner layer guides the hair shaft and ends below the opening of a sebaceous gland. The outer layer continues all the way up to the gland. The sebaceous gland is vital because it produces sebum, which conditions the hair and skin. As we age, the production of sebum begins to slow down.

The hair shaft is made of a protein called keratin. Keratin is made up of three layers; the inner-most layer is the medulla, the cortex is the middle layer and the cuticle is the outer-most layer. The cortex makes up the majority of the hair shaft. The cuticle is a tightly formed structure made of tiny scales-like structures that line the outer part of the hair protecting the inner parts of the hair. The cortex and the medulla together makes up the hair’s pigment, giving it its color. **Hair needs both protein and moisture to survive. This is why it is important to deep condition your hair using both protein and moisture products.**

Hair Growth Cycle

Hair on the scalp grows about ½ an inch a month or about 6 inches a year. Our hair sheds naturally. Our hair is in a constant stage of growing, a stage of transition, and a stage of shedding. These stages are called Angen (growing), Catagen (transition), and Telogen (shedding)

Definitions provided by http://www.webmd.com/

  • Anagen is the active phase of the hair. The cells in the root of the hair are dividing rapidly. A new hair is formed and pushes the club hair (a hair that has stopped growing or is no longer in the anagen phase) up the follicle and eventually out. During this phase the hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days. Scalp hair stays in this active phase of growth for two to six years. Some people have difficulty growing their hair beyond a certain length because they have a short active phase of growth. On the other hand, people with very long hair have a long active phase of growth. The hair on the arms, legs, eyelashes, and eyebrows have a very short active growth phase of about 30 to 45 days, explaining why they are so much shorter than scalp hair.
  • The catagen phase is a transitional stage and about 3% of all hairs are in this phase at any time. This phase lasts for about two to three weeks. Growth stops and the outer root sheath shrinks and attaches to the root of the hair. This is the formation of what is known as the club hair.
  • Telogen is the resting phase and usually accounts for 6% to 8% of all hairs. This phase lasts for about 100 days for hairs on the scalp and longer for hairs on the eyebrow, eyelash, arm, and leg. During this phase, the hair follicle is completely at rest and the club hair is completely formed. Pulling out a hair in this phase will reveal a solid, hard, dry, white material at the root. About 25 to 100 telogen hairs are shed normally each day.

Zavi Hair Design Studio Nominated Top Salon 3 Years in a Row!

Best of Virginia Beach

Zavi Hair Design studio nominated as best of Hampton Roads 2010 through 2014. We are a full service hair salon located in Virginia Beach, VA. Services include haircuts, hair color, highlights, color correction, special occasion hair styles, hair styling, blow dry, perms, men’s haircuts and children’s haircuts.