Posts Tagged ‘colorist’


photos/post: Kristin Ess

photos/post: Kristin Ess

We don’t usually go into heavy detail about hair color around here because TBD isn’t a website geared toward industry pros (although I know some of you are, hey hunnies!!), but lately I’ve had a lot of people asking me about how to get more natural looking depth, contrast, color variation, whatever you personally like to call it. You sometimes will lose natural looking contrast over time, depending on the way your colorist does highlights. Adding some lowlights in between your highlights is one way to go but occasionally I see a new client and I just need to “start over”. I do that in 3 steps: coloring most of the hair back to it’s natural color, doing a fresh highlight, and then toning. If you feel like you’ve just lost that natural look and your hair is starting to look too solid for your liking, ask your colorist if you’d be a good candidate for this!

Who’s a candidate for this process?

  • someone who is a new client that comes in with wayyyy too many colors and tones from various processes.
  • someone who has been getting a base color + highlights (double process) who wants to return to a more natural look.
  • someone who has been in for repeated highlight appointments but never lowlights, losing contrast/color variation through the ends over time.
  • someone wanting a complete change of color, something that looks more natural.
  • someone who does not have overprocessed, weakened or broken hair.

The process:

  • I evaluate my clients hair. Emily (above) had a very heavy root growing in when I met her. She had multiple rounds of balayage in a short period of time.
  • I put some of her blondest and any weakened/delicate pieces into foils with a conditioner so I didn’t have to re-lift those. Those were mostly in front.
  • I colored the rest of her hair back to her natural color.
  • I blowdried that and then did my normal highlight over that adding Olaplex to my formula for additional insurance that she wouldn’t get any breakage.
  • I toned the hair to give it some glossy shine and to remove any unwanted warmth.

Things you should/shouldn’t do:

  • DO Make a consultation appointment with your hairstylist. Talk it over and look through photos together.
  • DO Ask them if going back to something close to your natural color and then re-highlighting would be okay for you. You want to make sure your hair is in good enough condition to handle the process. (Luckily with the advancements in color + Olaplex, this process isn’t necessarily hard on your hair the way it used to be, but still get the advice of a pro.)
  • DO Book and plan accordingly. If you’re going to do this process, just know it will take a little extra time. Make sure both you and your hairstylist have enough time to do it!
  • DON’T try this at home. I know there are some people who do a base color or even a mini highlight at home. This is not something I would suggest. It’s complicated and there are too many risks involved in doing this yourself. Leave this one to a pro.

Here is Emily’s hair curled and in the sunshine. If you want to know about these gorgeous waves, you can find the tutorial right HERE!

best beach waves ever the beauty dept


photo: holly blake post designed by kristin ess

You’re in the mood to change things up. You decide on red for your new hair color. You pick that vibrant coppery-red that’s doing incredible things for the girl on the box. Take it home, apply it, let it sit and hope for the best. After washing it out, you step closer to the mirror and realize it’s insanely bright at your roots. Strange tones of pink and sherbert shine though in some places and muted tones dull your hair in other places. Stop right there and call the salon. Don’t try to fix it yourself.

Most of us have had hair color mishaps once in our lives– but red is not a color to experiment with at home. If you’re craving change and want to visit the idea of being a redhead, the bottom line is you should see a professional. There are SO many different types of red out there and SO many things that can go wrong when trying to do it on yourself at home. Red is one of the most difficult colors to correct and can be a very expensive fix.

Red hair has become more popular than ever and when done right, it can be absolutely stunning. Just make sure to go about it the right way. Go in to your colorist, take pictures, talk about which red is best for you and your skin tones, and make your appointment. Simple, slightly more expensive, but stress free way of going red.

xx Kristin


photo: allure mag   post designed by kristin ess

When it comes to the root-y look, are you in it for the long haul or are you over it already? Have you tried it and not been able to achieve it? Tell us below. We want to know!


photo: kristin ess/  post designed by kristin ess

This one’s for the pros, not for doing your hair at home. Trying this out at home could seriously end up damaging your hair, so please don’t even attempt it. I get emails every single day from fellow hair colorists wanting to know how to achieve super natural highlights that fade into a lighter color toward the ends. So this is for them. Also, we took these using my assistant’s iphone and the pictures aren’t exactly… stellar. In the future, we’ll be doing more color posts in studio, but I figured we should get this up now since this is the time of year when our clients want to start lightening things up!

1. You’ll need: foils, clips, lightener with 20 volume (I use Schwarzkopf Igora Vario Blonde Plus Dust-Free Powder), fine tooth highlighting comb, a regular comb and a color brush.

2. I start with air-dried hair so that I can see the natural wave pattern. If hair is blown out straight, mist it with water to get the natural wave back. I like to choose sections that would naturally lock together. I start at the back in the bottom and work my way to the front. This way it’s easier for me to rinse the foils as they reach the desired color. Lightener is progressive so your sections will be ready at different times.

3. Here I’m showing you a highlight toward the top of my client’s head because the light is better, but the technique is the same throughout. Back comb lightly about 2 inches away from the root (or where ever you and your client wants the highlight to start). Light teasing before applying lightener breaks up the more prominent line that’s typically created when using normal highlighting/foiling technique.

4. Apply lightener liberally about half way down the section. Make sure to saturate well to avoid inconsistencies in your color.

5. Now flip your brush from painting lightener horizontally to painting with your brush vertically. “Feather” up toward the back combed section and overlap into it just slightly. Be sure to stay on the foil so that it doesn’t bleed into the rest of the hair.

6. I always like to lightly smudge the very top of the lightener with my thumb to make sure the fading effect is soft. (Be smarter than I was! Use gloves when you do this.)

7. Fold your foil into vertical thirds, this way there is no crease in the middle of the foil. Creasing your foil can result in inconsistent color, skips or bands when doing this kind of highlight.

8. I usually put my clients under the dryer for 5-10 minutes on med-high heat for a little boost, but that’s it. Volume and dryer time are up to you as a professional.

**I always like to finish these highlights with a toning gloss in the appropriate shade, which is your call as a professional! I do this to seal down the cuticle and make the desired tone last longer.

This post is for professional colorists only and should never be attempted at home. It is intended to fulfill the inquiries made by professional colorists. Kristin Ess and/or are not responsible for any attempts or results of this or any other hair color tutorial.