Rainbows & Oil Slicks & Jewel Tones, Oh My!

inspirationrainbowAlright, fellow Pinterest fiends. Let’s talk rainbow hair. Pinterest is well-saturated with gorgeous, long, colorful locks that give us all a hearty case of #hairenvy, but are they real? What’s the reality of achieving #mermaidhair status? Stylist Elizabeth Croft and I are going to take you through our 9 hour journey of “replicating” our very own “Pinterest-worthy” hair.

Now, “replicating” deserves the quotations because we went into this with the understanding that exact replication when it comes to hair is nigh impossible due to differences in hair texture, health, starting color, etc. along with the fact that every stylist utilizes different coloring techniques. Not to mention a little thing called Photoshop, infamous on Pinterest for not only enhancing, but completely altering the hair color. (Ever seen the same photo in six different colors?  Yeah, that’s good ol’ Photoshop.) Inspiration is awesome, but expecting precise replication just isn’t realistic.

beforepicrainbowHair color is a journey, and mine came to this new leg of the adventure with an extensive history already. It sported a heavy balayage/ombre with a demi-permanent purple over top for seven months, along with a root color 2-3 levels darker than my natural color. To top that off, I had approximately five weeks of regrowth. All of these factors play into how your stylist formulates your color, and for a project as big as ours, it required several steps.

Step One: All over foiling of the Center of the Hair Strand

First, we needed to lift the existing color from my hair. We used lightener on the center of my hair, leaving the roots and ends.

Step Two: Bleach wash on the Ends

Next, we washed the lightener off of the center and then did what we call a bleach wash—a combination of lightener and shampoo—to remove the purple from the ends of my hair. Elizabeth says, “I chose to do it that way because it gave me more control over how much color lifted and kept lightener on the ends for the least amount of time.”  She added that, “It’s less damaging that way.”

processStep Three: Lighten the Roots

Elizabeth explains that, “Previously colored hair and virgin hair process lightener and color differently. Because of this I chose not to include the root in the initial foil. Once I got the midshaft to ends, or everything but the root of her hair, to the right levels I went back and lightened just at her root.”

Step Four: Toner Time

Next we toned all over to create a more even surface for the color melt that was about to take place. Elizabeth adds, “You might notice that I didn’t lift all of her hair to a very pale blonde. I wanted some remaining pigment in her hair so that the fun colors I used would process more as rich, jewel tones rather than very bright, shocking colors. The “oil slick” look has been on trend so that was part of my inspiration.”

colorbowlsStep Five: Color Melting! 

For the next two hours, Elizabeth created an artistic masterpiece on my head, blending four colors onto every strand of hair. “When I started the color melting process on her hair I used a brighter magenta at her root because I wanted a surprising pop of color in an unexpected place. The contrast between the deeper purples, blues, and greens against the more vibrant magenta added the dimension I needed to keep the color very interesting, but also wearable.”

Considering drying time in between each step and how much hair I have (a lot!) it took the better part of nine hours to complete the entire process. We chose to do this all in one go, but often this process would have taken 2+ visits to fully achieve the look. Having rainbow hair is pretty amazing, and it was totally worth it, but any color this extensive should definitely be viewed as an investment. The cost involved, along with the more frequent salon visits necessary to maintain the look should be considered when deciding if you want to jump into the creative color world.

Talking through what you want, along with what’s possible for your hair is always the best way to begin a new step in your hair journey, whether that’s going lighter, adding in new colors, or creating a whole new look. We offer complimentary consultations with the stylist of your choice for any service, so whenever you’re ready to take the next step in your hair journey—give us a call!


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