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Lighten, Brighten, & Treat – An Organic Color Take On The Soap Cap

For years we have been trained that artificial hair color does not lift (lighten) a previously applied artificial color. It’s a simple rule that all colorists have had drilled into them. You can deposit color onto hair and add different tones all you like, but you cannot lift the hair a single shade if it has been artificially colored previously. When your client comes in, and decides that it is time to lighten or brighten, there are a few key elements that a colorist should consider in their approach and consultation.

First, I would always recommend starting with a wet stretch test to determine the hair health and condition of your canvas before starting any color service. A wet stretch test will reveal the moisture and protein levels in the hair, both of which needs to be present and maintained to support the hair color. It is the most effective metric for determining whether the hair needs to be pre-treated with moisture or protein. It is vital for any good hair stylist to determine the condition of the hair prior to any services in order to obtain the best results. Allowing the client to see the results in the mirror, will give you an opportunity to educate your client, and recommend the best products for them.

Once you have determined whether your client’s hair needs a pre-treatment, you can proceed. Considering the rule that color does not predictably lift color, but may affect it, you must gently mix a lightener formula to lift to the shade you desire in the final look. This is what I refer to as a Naturlite Bath or Brightening formula; this our organic take on the soap cap to brighten your clients hair.

Begin applying your Brightening Naturlite Bath formula to the mid shaft of the dry hair first, as this is where most of the pigment deposits. The new growth area at the scalp, and the more porous ends will lighten much quicker than the midshaft area. Ensure even and complete saturation by using clean thin sections when you apply the Naturlite Brightening Bath, and continue to work the mix through the midlengths of the hair. You can apply the mix with either a bowl and brush or a bottle. The mix might be a bit watery in consistency, so you may want to consider applying it at the shampoo basin. Work the product through this area by massaging and working into lather. Watch closely for the lift to begin.

Once you start to see the midlengths lift a level or two, you will want to start your application out to the ends and finish through the new growth or scalp area. You should continue to move the saturation around making sure that every part of the head is completely covered and that the mix remains wet.

If the hair is stubborn to lift, you may consider putting them under heat for a few minutes until you see the amount of lift you desire. Once you see the remaining pigment for the level you want for your end result, you can rinse the mixture completely from the hair with tepid water. I suggest rinsing very well and not shampooing as it is unnecessary to take the pH back down if you are planning to color over.

Now, you are left with specific undertones of the hair color from the lightening action. Use this to formulate your final color application. If you are lifting to a level seven with undertones of orange, do you want to neutralize out the remaining orange or use it to naturalize your color? This could be a perfect base color for someone wanting to be a nice, bright, light red copper color. Often we think that we need to lift to platinum and then deposit a level 7 darker. This will in turn fade faster, as the hair pigment was lifted further than necessary. Use your remaining undertones from the lifting process to create your final formulation.

For example: Lifted to level 7 colored hair with natural contributing or remaining pigment of orange. Use the orange to embellish your final formulation. 7CR and 10 volume will give you a bright Copper result.

If the hair was lifted to a level 7 and you did not want to have an end result with warmth, you could formulate with the 7AH and LXAH to neutralize the unwanted orange pigment.

Model: Starting Level: level 5 with 25% grey and ends previously colored with 4MO.

Desired End Result: Level 8 Bright Copper

Formula chosen after lifting to a Level 8
yellow orange undertone.

Top: 7BC and 8CR with 20 volume developer.

Under Occipital Bone: (Zig Zag part to separate top and bottom sections) 7CR and 6BC with 20 volume developer

As always, I hope you found this Technical Tip helpful.