Posts Tagged ‘instructions’


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.


photos:photos:, mona hanson-kay,,,, chloe, sonia rykiel  post designed by kristin ess

Over the years, I’ve heard so many stories from women who were tortured by their curls growing up. Little girls with little halos of frizz and no clue on how to deal with it. Luckily today we have so much information readily available to guide us in the beauty department. When you’re armed with knowledge and you’re willing to put some time into trying things out, you can become the boss of unruly curl in no time. Here are some of my favorite steps for these very different types of curls…

KINKY CURLY- letting it be. your goal is to minimize frizz and retain natural oils.

– use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner to avoid stripping natural oils from the inside of the hair shaft.

– comb your hair out while in the shower as you rinse conditioner through.

– swap out your towel for a t-shirt. this is the best trick. the smoothness of the t-shirt vs. the roughness of a towel minimizes frizz!

– my favorite products for kinky curly hair are coconut oil and jojoba oil because they moisturize and enhance shine but don’t feel oily. “curl stretch cream” is great for lengthening coils if your hair tends to shrink up.

– always apply product when hair is t-shirt dried, but still thoroughly wet.

– refine curls by twisting individual locks together with your fingers, then scrunch again with the t-shirt to remove excess water or product.

– anyone with kinky curly hair shouldn’t even own a brush! only a wide-tooth comb. brushes will pull curls apart causing frizz.

– air drying is best, but if you need to dry it in a hurry or want a little lift at the root, make sure to use a diffuser.

***if you want to refine this natural curl with a curling iron, try a 3/8″ barrell, twisting hair around the outside.

VERY CURLY – keeping it down. Your goal is to tame curls and keep your medium/coarse texture hair from getting too wide.

– shampoo using a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.

– wash hair every 2-4 days to avoid stripping hair of its natural oils.

– use a wide-tooth comb in the shower to detangle.

– avoid combing or brushing this hair after you get out of the shower. the more you break up the curl’s natural locks, the more frizz will haunt you.

– swap out your towel for a t-shirt. this is the best trick. the smoothness of the t-shirt vs. the roughness of a towel minimizes frizz!

– this hair naturally lacks moisture so avoid using anything with an alcohol base. I like mixing a styling cream with coconut oil. smells amazing and it gives it the extra “moisture weight” it needs.

– next day, mist hair with water and re-apply the same product.

***if you want to refine this natural curl with a curling iron, try a 3/4″ barrell, twisting hair around the outside.

NATURAL WAVE – keep it simple. your goal is to hold it together and not break the pattern of the wave by brushing too much.

– shampoo and condition as normal, but comb hair out using a wide tooth comb in the shower.

– towel dry when you get out of the shower. no more brushing.

– shake hair to unlock the wave pattern. comb with your fingers.

– flip hair over and scrunch with the towel again.

– apply a lightweight curl enhancing cream from roots to ends. ask your stylist if you aren’t sure what that is.

– use a diffuser to dry 50% of the way. air dry the other 50 %.

– use a small amout of argon oil or anti-frizz serum to lock ends together using a twisting motion.

***if you want to refine this natural wave with a curling iron, try a 1″ or 1 1/4″ barrell, twisting hair around the outside.