The right color is nothing less than transformative. It complements your eye color and skin undertones. It elevates your style. The right lightening technique—such as a beautifully executed balayage—can be surprisingly low-maintenance. Best of all, it’s a way to showcase your personality—the bright, vibrant way of moving through the world that’s so uniquely you. These are just a few reasons why we’re absolutely smitten with color here at Progressions.
Today, master colorist Julia Mateu shares the most important 10 things you will need to know before receiving color—from preparation and consultation to the service and at-home care.
1. Always start with an in-depth consultation
At Progressions salon spa store, we emphasize detailed conversations, which allow us the opportunity to really grasp the exact result you are trying to receive. “Service providers review what it is the guests currently like about their hair and at least one feature they’d change if they could,” Julia says. “When is the happiest you’ve ever been with your hair? Why?”
Once your colorist has a good sense of the direction you want to go, they’ll give you an idea of just how much time and how many color sessions it will take to get there. They’ll also tell you how often you’ll need to come in to maintain the new look.”
2. Consider maintenance and follow-up visits
Some color services grow out subtly, such as balayage, which can look gorgeous for months, while others color services are notoriously high-maintenance. For example, when we take a guest’s hair to a platinum blonde color. Guests will need to visit every month for touch-ups and toning. If your dream ’do turns out to be a bigger commitment than you’re able to make, our team would suggest a plan B. Our intention is that you love your hair and know what to expect regarding maintenance.
“Alternative options and suggestions are subsequently made to achieve something as close to the desired result as possible,” Julia says.
Keep in mind that a color that grows out with a subtle line of demarcation, balayage or ombre color, may be revived with a simple serum treatment, which prolongs the life of these effects while adding shine.
3. Your dream color may require more than one appointment
Please know that if you want to lighten your color, you will be looking at “a level of compromise in the hair,” Julia says. “Home care is vital. The price point is higher because the work is more complex.”
“It could also take a few color sessions in order to achieve the final result,” Julia says. “For example, if your hair is naturally dark brown, it will require a number of sessions to lighten it to your preferred level without compromising the hair’s integrity. This depends on color history as well as the natural color of the hair.”
4. Know the crucial difference between techniques—or ask your colorist
If there’s a trend you want to try out, touch base with your colorist to make sure what you’re asking for is really what you want. For example, ombre and balayage services are both beautiful lightening techniques, but there’s more of a difference between them than you might think.
Balayage is a technique in which the color is painted directly onto the hair using a brush. Ombre is a visual result in which the hair gradually fades from dark to light, but it can be achieved using any technique, including traditional foils. For example, you could use balayage to achieve an ombre effect. Both are useful terms for describing what you want to your colorist and both leave the roots a little darker. That means the regrowth will be more subtle and less maintenance can be expected. These are all very important considerations. We always like to use photos as tools, which provide a clearer understanding of the desired result.
5. If you’ve used box dye, your hair might require corrective color to achieve your desired result
If you’ve used box dye on your hair or colored it in a salon and now want a drastically different look, you may require corrective color. “These types of colors oxidize unexpectedly, and combined with an application that may have been performed incorrectly, can lead to an undesired result,” Julia says.
It may be that there’s nothing “wrong” with your current color, it’s just drastically different from the outcome you are looking for. If this is the case, “the colorist is going in with a process to make a shift in the overall color itself, meaning there is ‘corrective’ work involved, which is an added step,” Julia explains.
6. Bring inspiration photos…and lots of them
Colorists are professionals who can work with you to find a color you’ll love. That being said, a little direction goes a long way. A Pinterest board full of hair colors you like can be a great tool.
“Photos are ALWAYS helpful as well; we all love pictures,” Julia acknowledges. “The service provider can see what the guest means when they are describing a particular color they like, and if needed, they can formulate a color that will look, at the very least, similar.”
Plus, lots of colors are open to interpretation. Your idea of chestnut brown might be significantly different from your colorist’s. “It definitely helps ensure that everyone is on the same page. For example, there are various types of ‘red’ that someone could desire and a photo would help both the client and colorist know exactly what shade and tone of red they are looking for.” Julia says.
7. Tell your colorist about your hair’s history
No matter how long it’s been or what you have had done, when it comes to past color services, disclose, disclose, disclose! Your hair’s integrity is on the line.
“Even though it might have been a long time since their last color service, it’s still there,” Julia explains. “Chemicals will still react. When there is both color treated and non-color treated hair on one head, they will react differently and thus the results will be different. The service provider needs to know past color use in order to formulate the color in such a way that it will provide the best result possible.”
8. Come to your appointment with clean hair
This will help remove product build-up or oil that may interfere with your color application and result.
9. Add shine for maximum impact
To add polish to your look, consider a glaze or conditioning serum while visiting. This also supports the integrity of the hair.
“Conditioning serums and glazes will boost shine to the hair after a color service,” Julia explains. “These will keep your color vibrant and rich.
10. Remember to schedule follow-up appointments to keep your color fresh
After your color is complete, remember to reserve your next appointment at the interval your colorist recommended to maintain picture-perfect color. (We’re here if you need us.) Then go out and celebrate your new look and savor the compliments that roll in. Enjoy our referral program for additional savings! We love referrals.