As you know, Wella Professionals’ Color Discovery Tour made its stop in Dallas (well, Arlington) this past weekend. I stopped by the event, and had a totally great time. If you’re in Chicago (July 31, August 1), San Francisco (August 14, 15), or Los Angeles (August 20, 21), look those guys up and go check them out!
They weren’t doing actual color treatmentsÂ at the event (because those appointments can take a few hours), but you could sit down with a professional stylist, talk about your hair and what you wanted for your color, and they’d write down some recommendations for you. Â Every participant left with a 25% off coupon for their next service, and a free Sebastian product (which I forgot to ask for, because I was so busy talking). Â But I believe it was their volumizing spray. They were also giving away a $200 salon gift card every hour.
I sat down with Ale Bonilla of Esoterica Studios. He made some personal recommendations for my color (and assured me that my extremely grown out roots were totally fashionable on the west coast right now). Â Then we got down to the nitty gritty of how to get the best possible color experience.
I’ve heard over and over that your hair should be slightly dirty when you go get color done. I asked him why, and he said it didn’t really matter whether your hair was dirty or clean, so long as it was completely dry. You can’t put color on wet or damp hair, so if you come in that way, your stylist has to blow dry before he or she can start the color.
Ale said that if you have a sensitive scalp, or if you’re rough when you wash your hair, the natural oils in your hair can protect your scalpÂ from irritation by the peroxide or ammonia. Plus he assured me that your stylist will not be horrified to see you with dirty hair.
I asked him what I could do to make my color last between appointments, and he said the top five enemies of color were:
- Hot water (makes sense; you wash bright colored clothes in cold water).
- Non-color-protecting shampoo and conditioner. Ale says, “cheap shampoos clean so well they actually clean the color right out of your hair.” He recommended using something formulated to protect your color.
- Thermal damage from styling. Heat damages hair, and healthy hair holds color better.
- Low-quality coloring product. I realize this was a Wella event, but apparently Wella is the most moisturizing color option out there. It’s color + treatment, and uses less ammonia than other options on the market. Ale says, for example, Wella reds last 15% longer than other brands.
- Sun, chlorine, sea salt, smoke. I asked Ale if he believed in sunscreen for hair — he said he does.
So what if you’re addicted to heat styling? Ale said to try cutting back on the frequency of your washing (common sense). He also said to incorporate a styling product that offered thermal protection and to make sure your tool had a thermal gauge — some degree of control beyond “on/off.” He said if you are a natural blonde, redhead, have permed, colored, chemically treated, or naturally fine hair, you should be using low heat to style.
We talked about boxed color — the do-it-yourself home kits. I know you’re not surprised that Ale was against them, but I thought he made a reasonable point. He said that boxed color contains the highest levels of active ingredients (ammonia, peroxide), to make sure they work on all hair types. He said that a color-virgin was much more likely to have a good experience coming to a salon (than trying a box and ending up in a salon to get it fixed).
He also made the point that you fall in love with the picture on the box (and I’ve seen this in action myself), so bring in that picture. He was actually strongly in favor of bringing in a few pictures to demonstrate what you’re going for. Â He said words can be flexible (not everyone has the same mental image of “strawberry blonde”), but pictures are a good way for you and your stylist to get on the same page.
He did say that he asks his clients to put away their pictures before he starts working. Â Your stylist’s job is to translate that picture into the right shade for you. (Sometimes you see a celebrity wearing one lipstick, but you’ll need a different shade to achieve the same effect.)
If you’d like to get personalized recommendations from Ale, Esoterica Studios has locations in Grapevine and Fort Worth — but the salon is also totally up with the times, and they offer free consultations via Skype. Call 817.924.1500 to set one up.