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Adding Depth to Over Lightened Hair

Maintaining natural depth is always the preferred method to pop brightness, but sometimes that’s not possible. Hair can easily be over lightened, either by another stylist, the sun, or after multiple lightening sessions where the lighter is overlapped. Some clients also like to change up their look often and this usually requires adding lowlights. 

Lowlights can fade warm or make things more difficult to lift through, so formulating properly for a lowlight is really important. 

For brunette hair, a cooler lowlight is generally better because they tend to fight more brassy tones. For blondes, a warmer formulation helps to keep things bright and reflective. The porosity is generally higher in blondes, so a warmer formulation will help the hair to not grab super quickly or dark. A warmer formulation doesn’t necessarily mean a warmer result, it is more of a buffer for the porosity in the hair. Because lowlights generally have to process the same amount of time as the lightener, you want to make sure it's a formula that will be appropriate for a longer processing time. If your goal is to add warmth, it helps to include a stronger type of warmth than just a gold. Again, most times when placing a lowlight it’s because the hair is over lifted and this means porosity will be an issue. A simple gold is not enough to balance this. 

When working with lowlights, it's best to add wider and/or thicker sections to actually create dimension. When weaving out a section it can diffuse too much and make someone feel darker without actually creating depth. Placement is really important when low lighting. Remember that depth pushes light, so when placed properly it can really make a face frame pop! Adding a lowlight does not always mean, “ making things darker” . It has many benefits, including making the blonde pop more, placement shifting and creating a more ribbon like effect. 

Leaving depth towards the root is a really great way to allow for an easier grow out. It is also a widely requested service now and the lived-in look seems like it’s here to stay. Your client does not need to grow their hair to achieve this type of look. The smudge and color melt are amazing tools to be able to give your client this look right away. This is also known as a shadow root. 

Adding a shadow root is a wonderful way to give someone depth that doesn’t necessarily need a low light. This works well for any hair color, but brunettes and brondes tend to want things a little more rooty. It’s a more natural and low maintenance approach that can flatter any skin tone. 

Natural is always most cost effective, but when we think about things like cost of maintenance, adding depth could help. When there is a harsh line of demarcation towards the root, adding a smudge or lowlight can help blend this making the grow out much easier. This generally means someone does not need to come in as often to maintain their color. So, while you might pay more for adding these things, in the long run it's going to save you from needing more appointments. Generally someone can expect to come in every 3-4 months with a lived-in color. High lift blondes, traditional foils or root retouches require closer appointments, which can be as close as 3 weeks. 

Remember that adding synthetic pigment means there will be natural fading of the tone. This can cause some brassiness in the fading process, which can be frustrating. It’s nearly impossible to pick out those same pieces and adjust the tone. This is why strong knowledge in formulation is really needed. 

Low lights generally fade more natural when using a translucent/acidic color line. When we are too aggressive with the level of color, it can really cause a disconnected finish. Unless someone is asking for a truly exaggerated look with intense color blocking, most people want a more blended look. 

Like mentioned above, smaller sectioned lowlights or weaves will result in someone feeling too dark all over. It almost puts a muted cast over blondes especially. Learning proper placement can help achieve some of the most beautiful dimension! Everything should connect in a cohesive way. 

To learn more about formulation and color theory, join thousands of hairstylists in The Confidence Behind Formulation online course. Learn to build your confidence as a stylist and formulation expert! Are you ready to take your colors to the next level? Click below!