The art of color correction is something that is difficult to write about, since it takes a knowledge of color theory, chemistry, and years of experience. As a color correction expert, I have had to fix nearly every haircolor disaster imaginable. While it would take pages upon pages to describe the artistic and scientific process involved, I’ll attempt to give you a professional’s point of view on how to tackle a color correction.
A thorough consultation is always the first step. I’ll examine the level of existing damage to the hair and try to get an idea of the final result desired by the client. Sometimes, the hair is in such bad shape that it is impossible to give the client the color they want, but almost always I can come up with an alternative. As I consult, I also contemplate “backup” plans; this way, if things go wrong, I can always take the hair back to a “safe” color. As a very wise instructor once told me, “If nothing else works, you can always make it brown.”
My first job is to get the hair to the right level, which means the right amount of darkness or lightness. At this point I’m not concerned with the final shade; that comes later. The goal is to gradually take the hair closer to the desired color one small step at a time. Too many stylists worry about getting the level and tone right in one step, but it’s always better to get to your color goal incrementally. Very few color corrections can be done in one step.
After the hair has been taken to the right level, it’s time to think about tone. This is what makes a color “pretty”. Tonal quality doesn’t refer to the lightness or darkness, but rather the degree of warmth or coolness in a color. When we think about tone, we think about things like auburn, chestnut, gold, ash, red, copper, and platinum. These words don’t imply darkness or lightness, but rather the tonal quality of a color.
Once the level and tone have been achieved, the battle is mostly won. However, there are other factors to consider. For instance, if the ends of the hair are extremely damaged, they will tend to “pull” ashy and drab tones, while rejecting warm tones. This must be taken into consideration since it can greatly affect the final result. To ensure an even color result, it may be necessary to cut some of the length. Other considerations include highlights and lowlights. The dimensional effect of these techniques will make any color correction look better in the end.
Color correction is complex, which is why salons charge a lot of money. Even experienced stylists have trouble correcting color, so the chances of failure are very high if you attempt to correct your own color. If, however, you wish to undertake this endeavor, it’s always a good idea to have a nice shade of dark brown dye on hand. If all goes wrong, you can always go brown.