With everyone still stuck at home and about to come out of "self isolation" or "quarantine," you may come across the occasional client who has decided to give up on their bleach blonde hair and wants to go back to their more natural brown or dark blonde colour.
Let's be honest, some people will want to do it anyways for hair that looks healthier and shinier in a rich hue.
This is not a simple one step process - it is a colour correction that requires a colour filler (or your beautiful client may end up with muddy or *yikes* green hair). Do not skip the filler part - bleached blonde hair NEEDS it to go back darker to balance out contributing pigments in the darker colour.
For this example of a tint back provided here, all the colours used were easily obtained via a professional account with Mat & Max ; however, you can also subsitute correctly formulated colours from any other professional colour line.
Keep in mind that it is very important that you explain to your client that their hair will never look EXACTLY like any picture that they show you. Also it is very difficult (usually not possible) to recreate their natural haircolour with artificial hair colour. Be very clear that you will get them AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE to their desired colour. Underpromise and overdeliver!
Why does bleached blonde hair need a filler to go darker? For two main reasons:
- Bleach blonde hair is palest yellow blonde, which means it is missing other pigments. If you were to apply a dark blonde or brown colour directly on top, the green pigments could take over resulting in green or muddy results in your client's hair. To prevent this, you need a filler with a vibrant red or orange tone to neutralize the predominant green pigments in the darker colour that you will be applying in the second step.
- Bleached blonde hair is also very porous due to the prior lightening process(es). Using a filler before the darker tint back will also ensure that the darker colour lasts as long as possible.
In this example, the model had previously attempted to tone her hair with a level 9 gold blonde about a month prior, and the toner would not take due to extreme porosity from bleaching her hair for over 6 years. So we decided to use a copper-gold toner at the level 8 range to make it a little deeper. 10 volume was used to open the cuticle slightly so that the colour molecules could achieve better penetration into the hair strand.
The filler used in this hair is from a demipermanent colour, Wella Color Touch. Wella Color Touch is ammonia free and provides high shine. We used demipermanent for a filler because we are not looking to lift the hair colour or cover any greys - we just needed to deposit pigment.
We mixed: Wella Color Touch 2/3 8/03 + 1/3 8/43 with 10 volume. Wella Color Touch is mixed with a 1:2 ratio with the developer. The filler was applied in very small sections, roots to end on dry hair and allowed to process for 40 minutes so that the colour molecules could fully develop.
The final step in this tintback was to apply the desired colour in the model's hair.
Once the filler was washed out, the hair was dried to prepare it for the colour application.
Hair colour is not an exact science - it is a chemical change that can vary from person to person based on several different factors.
In this case, the hair colour formula was selected based on the model's natural hair colour, which she wished to return to as closely as possible, and neutralizing any unwanted undertones from filling in previously bleached hair.
The Colour Formula
Once again, demi-permanent colour from Wella's Color Touch line was used. The model required no grey coverage and only needed to deposit pigment; therefore, it was unnecessary to use permanent hair colour. This way, if she ever decides to go back to blonde or wants to add highlights or a balayage later on, the pigment deposited into her hair will be much easier to remove, because it is demi-permanent.
We mixed: Wella Color Touch 1/2 6/71 + 1/4 7/71 + 1/4 7/75 with 5 volume. Wella Color Touch is mixed with a 1:2 ratio with the developer. The filler colour applied in very small sections, roots to end on dry hair and allowed to process for 40 minutes so that the colour molecules could fully develop. 5 volume developer was selected because we wanted to only deposit pigment.
Stay tuned for an update on the model's toner when this demi-permanent starts to fade and she gets a colour refresher!
The Theory (From the Books)
The above was an example of a completed tint back based on the model's natural hair colour.
What do the hair textbooks have to say regarding the best practices for tint backs?
When colouring hair back from bleached/lightened blonde back to a natural colour, the Milady text book recommends first softening the new growth of a level 6 with a level 6 violet base permanent colour with 20 volume. Process for 20 minutes, rinse and towel blot. Then, a demipermanent glaze can be applied to the bleached hair that is a mix of equal parts of level 8 neutral blonde and level 9 very light blonde red-orange. Once this is rinsed and towel-dried, you may apply a demipermanent final-deposit only glaze. If the client's natural colour is a level 6 dark blonde violet at the roots, formulate with the lightened hair colour with 1 1/2 ounces level 6 dark-blonde violet and 1/2 ounce level 4 light brown gold base. On the client's next visit, analyse her hair to determine which tones by need to be added or corrected as the filler and final glaze have started to fade (Milady, 2011, 662-663).
Cengage Learning, Milady Standard Cosmetology, US, 2011