We’re living in an era of instant gratification—at least, when it comes to hair. Social media makes every technique and trend accessible to even the most inexperienced beauty newbie. If you’ve ever considered breaking out the bleach at home and regretted the results, you know what we’re talking about.
Daniel Mason Jones, L'Oréal Professionnel artist and brand ambassador, is passionate about the continued importance of pro colorists in an age when fantasy shades are all the rage. That’s particularly crucial when it comes to figuring out how to keep your hair strong while you color. When working with bleach and pigment, only a professional can adequately safeguard the structure of your hair while achieving your dream color.
We sat Jones down for a chat about what the modern woman should know before attempting any serious changes on her hair. You’ll want to pay attention to this one.
Plan Your New Color
It takes mere seconds before Jones mentions the online beauty gurus who take beautiful photos of their colorful hair and sometimes document DIY hair transformations. Coloring your hair can seem very simple, but it’s actually a very technical process. For fantasy colors, bleach will always be used to lift color from the hair. One mistake on your own could land you with crispy, brassy strands instead of the soft blush you really wanted.
When it comes to the strength and look of your hair, it’s important to note that these tipsters might recommend practices that your trusted colorist probably wouldn’t. They also may have years of practice coloring their own hair, but that doesn’t always mean following the same steps will work for you.
At-home coloring techniques have actually driven more women to the salon, according to Jones. For the first time, they’re asking questions about the strength of their hair and how to color in a way that minimizes damage.
“I feel like I’ve had more conversations in the past year than I have in 15 years as a hair stylist talking about bondifiers or conditioning treatments or glazes or glosses just to understand the integrity of the hair and how it works.“
If a color or technique seems too good or affordable to be true, it probably is. That’s why it’s so important to consult a trusted professional before thinking about applying any chemicals.
“Say you’re a blonde and you wanted to take your hair to a different and deeper tone—you can’t just go pick up a color off the shelf and make it that color,” Jones says. “There’s a whole process that has to happen where you’re putting back in the primary color pigmentation into the hair so that the hair color will actually neutralize and hold the color.”
In short: After you’ve decided on a color, it’s time to call your trusted local salon. Coloring hair is a true art form.
Turn To A Trained Colorist
Bleach is no joke, particularly in the hands of an amateur. Professional colorists practice for hours to attain their official certifications. They’ll also have a willingness to talk to their customer about what’s going to happen to their hair and will work with their clients to ensure it is done safely and achieves the desired results.
If I were a consumer looking for someone, I’m going to go to someone’s page that has a lot of engagement,” Jones says. “For me it’s never been about followers or the likes, it’s about the engagement happening.”
If you’re seeing a reputable colorist, they will take the time to schedule a consultation and understand both your color goals and lifestyle. You shouldn’t ever feel rushed or pressured into a shade.
Once your plan is in place, you’ll need to schedule regular appointments to gradually lift color from your strands with bleach. According to Jones, an icy blonde can require three or more appointments over the course of 12 weeks.
“The first visit, your expectation should be that you’re going to leave with a beautiful caramel or honey tone balayage or highlights,” he explains. “The second time, you’re going to be a little bit cooler. That third time, I’m actually going to be able to achieve that beautiful cool blonde.”
The willingness to form a relationship with a client and take multiple appointments is another trademark of a professional.
“I think [it’s important] to have an intellectual conversation with a guest at the time that they’re in the chair and just kind of really guide them through with my professional experience versus just, ’Hey, I’m going to make your hair blonde and then really damage it.’”
Understand What Your Hair Needs
As every professional will tell you, you hair color is only as good as the products you use to maintain it. Contrary to common belief, the first part of your hair care routine actually begins at the salon.
Once you’re home, crucial to maintain your color with salon quality to products. For the best results on a regular basis, Jones advises keeping your colorist in the loop about what you’re using.
“There’s a lot of shampoos and conditioners on the market,” he says. “There’s a couple of [brands] that are out there on the market now that are claiming some pretty big things that all the professionals know really aren’t true. So the clients are putting these products on their hair at home and then it may strip out everything that’s on the hair and then when we go to color it may absorb the color differently.”
Hair color is an investment, so spend your time and money carefully. When in doubt, always run your worries and color goals by a trained colorist. Now that you know how to choose a professional and maintain strong, beautiful hair, you’re all set. It’s time to book that appointment.