Celebrity hair

Seven Steps To Take Blonde Back to Brunette

by akesha / last updated December 4, 2018

blonde back to brunette - dua lip blonde

Celebrities flip flopping from blonde to brunette is nothing new. Following a short spell as a peroxide princess, Kim Kardashian West miraculously transformed from blonde back to brunette – with no visible signs of damage or discolouration. And the same for pop princess Dua Lipa.

But is really that easy? If your salon has been busy turning brunettes blonde and they’re now bored with their look, can’t handle the upkeep, or just want to go back to something more natural, here’s what you need to know.

“Taking clients back to brunette is a delicate and sometimes difficult procedure,” says former British Colour Technician of the Year, Clayde Baumann. “I would recommend attending some advanced colour courses before proceeding with this service. Alternatively work with your in-salon colour specialist if you are unsure about how to proceed. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you achieve your rich brunette results on previously lightened hair.”

Blonde Back to Brunette: Top Tips

1) The textbook rule is that if your target shade is two or more levels darker than your current shade, always pre-pigment the hair. Failure to do so will result in reduced colour longevity and/or the infamous translucent khaki green/gold hue that is often found at the end of an incorrect colour change.

When pre-pigmenting, always refer to your brands undertone or RPC (remaining pigment contribution) chart. Always make sure that you are replacing the undertones that you would require to achieve the target shade.

For example, if you trying to achieve a rich level 5 result on previously lightened hair, the undertone of a level 5 is Red-Orange so you need to replace the red and orange in the hair before you apply your target shade to the hair. The undertone supports the final shade the same way a prime coat supports the final coat when painting a wall.

2) A good way to boost your takings while also ensuring a long-lasting result on your clients’ hair when going back to brunette is to build the hair up with protein treatments in the weeks leading up to your colour change.

This does require some proactive thinking, so remember to recommend a good reconstructive treatment ahead of the final colour change, thus ensuring a good amount of protein and inter-cellular cement in the hair. Since colour science dictates that pigment is stored in the cortex of the hair, and the cortex of previously lightened hair is always structurally compromised, you are ensuring that there sufficient protein in the hair to anchor the artificial pigment.

3) As with pre-lightening services, I cannot stress enough how important a porosity equaliser is. Products like Wella Blondor Seal & Care or Joico HKP are fantastic at levelling out the porosity. What does this mean for you clients’ hair? A remarkably even result. Hair that is pre-lightened or over processed will have uneven porosity. This is especially true when trying to achieve a flat, natural result. uneven porosity can result in green tones or the target shade going too dark.

dua lipa brunette - blonde back to brunette

4) I personally recommend only using semi-permanent or quasi colour when going darker and my reasoning is quite pragmatic. You are first and foremostly going darker and, as such, do not need any ammonia to open the cuticle or peroxide stronger than 4% because it is a deposit-only service.

You may find that in using permanent colour ranges your result may still be too warm or too light. Also, most modern day quasis and semis are fitted with technology that will counteract the effects of overly porous hair. They are generally easier to apply and absorb better because most are usually a cream or lotion consistency. Also, in the case of adverse colour reactions in the hair, semis and quasis are easier to remove gently.

5) In your final stage of the appointment, it is pivotal that you inform your client that all first-time colour-in services are likely to fade. Express your concern for their hair and recommend a good course of home-care to maintain and protect her colour.

A rebook in this case is essential. Explain to your client that you would like to examine the colour within a six-week period, in much the same way a doctor would recommend a check up. This shows professional concern for the clients’ hair and also guarantees your next appointment with your client.

6) I have found that in the case of colour-in services, it is extremely helpful to recommend the client does not wash her hair for up to 72 hours after the colour change. The reasoning behind this is that colour molecules vibrate in the hair when they are oxidising. In this time, and for a time after, they are susceptible to factors like temperature or hygroscopic change. Washing a freshly-coloured head of hair in a hot shower shortly after the service will probably result in dislodging the colour.

Kim Kardashian West - blonde back to brunette

Also, as hairstylists, we know that the best hydration and nourishment comes from the sebaceous oils on the scalp. Allowing these oils to move down the hair shaft aids in equalising porosity as well as nourishment.

7) Be realistic with your client and educate her. A head of hair that has been pre-lightened and then pre-pigmented and coloured is going to have some degree of sensitivity. In this case I generally recommend a decrease in the use of heated tools like irons and hairdryers. This doesn’t mean stop using them, but rather limiting use to no more than twice a week.

[Images: Via Instagram]

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