THE EVOLUTION OF HAIR COLOUR Upgrade your shade
A dramatic hair-colour change can feel terrifying and identity-defining in equal measure. But with a tidal wave of new in-salon techniques and clever dye technologies, you’ll be venturing beyond the balayage in no time
YOU ARE In recovery from past hair-dye damage TRY Charged dyes and new-and-improved henna Colouring your hair is one of life’s great mood-boosters – but if your locks (and scalp) could talk, it’s unlikely they’d share in the joy of it. Perma-colour has always involved bleach and pre-lighteners to strip existing colour, before a new one is superimposed. So despite the healthy-looking results, your natural assets are invariably hit hard – and need a load of TLC to recover.
But it seems the dyes, they are a-changing. Japanese manufacturer Kao, working
“Copper, ginger, paprika and sunset are the tones to try”
with experts at Fujifilm and the Technische Universität Dresden, has taken 17 years and 1,000 hair-dye molecules to develop a process called
‘HD3’,* and salon brand Goldwell has snapped it up. Using small electrically charged molecules that form a concentrated ring of colour around the hair cortex, it colours with a lack of bleach and chemicals, meaning the gee-whiz wonder dye has been given a pat on the back from the SCCS (Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety at the EU Commission) for its low allergy risk. That means even those of us with sensitive scalps or vulnerable hair can dabble.
With sensitivity such a talking point, it’s only right that L’Oréal Professionnel should jump on the bleach-free hair-dye bandwagon as well. Using plants instead of peroxide, henna isn’t new, but what this lot are doing with it really is. Henna may have been used for yonks as a natural hair dye, but the results have been, let’s say, disappointing until now. Adding purified and pressed Indian cassis and indigo leaves to the formula along with some mind-bogglingly innovative technology that uses hot water rather than chemicals to anchor the dye to the hair, L’Oréal has concocted a highly pigmented product that lasts at least a month. Called
Botanea,* it isn’t arriving until May, but we’re on tenterhooks to try it. And while we’re on the subject of allergies (still), Clairol has produced a new dye molecule known as ME+. Now used in its Nice ’N Easy colourants, £6.49, it reduces the risk of developing reactions from home hair colour.
YOU ARE Bored of blocky highlights TRY Sponging, stencilling or spotlighting Thought you were on the money with your streaks? Old news. Sponging, stencilling, spotlighting, shadow rooting and marbling are where it’s at – essentially, it’s colourists freestyling.
“Colour sponging [from £145] means backcombing the hair and working through a lighter tint at random to create twinkles of colour,” explains Ava Welch, colourist at John Frieda Salons.
Stylist Jamie Stevens is following a similar concept at his salon, applying colour using a small make-up sponge or marbling colours onto a mesh surface and pressing onto hair (from £100). On the other side of London at
Hari’s salon, colourists are beginning to create gold stars (£40) on clients’ hair as well as egging on early-trend adopters to try shadow rooting, from
£50.“It’s perfect for those who want to stop having highlights but want the blonde to continue standing out, as it melts a slightly darker colour into the root to give contrast,” explains Fran Dixon, senior creative colourist.
YOU ARE Scared to go red-red TRY Vintage hues and faded apricots Put those rose-tinted glasses on, girls, because the key colour spectrum for spring 2018 is red. Stop yawning at the back – we assure you it’s not all been done before. Copper, ginger, paprika
and sunset are the tones to try, but the effect is sepia-inspired, not crass and synthetic-looking. Think Ellie Bamber and Jessica Chastain, not Jessica Rabbit. Muted, dusty and a little worn in,
Schwarzkopf Professional’s new insalon Igora Royal colour, from £40, is centred around these vintage reds and faded apricots. To you and me, that means it’s OK if your colour’s a bit lighter on the ends after a few washes. And for those who want their dimmed dye to linger as long as possible, John Frieda is launching Red Boosting
Shampoo and Conditioner, £6.99 each. The first dedicated colour-care collection for redheads, it’s proof positive that brands are on red alert.
YOU ARE Still in love with the pastel craze but it feels so five years ago TRY Metallic-finish dyes and clever temporary shimmers Pastels have been pimped and laced with metallic-effect finishes. That means opal instead of aqua, and amethyst instead of lilac. L’Oréal Professionnel is unveiling ‘Majirel Metals’, from £20, a new collection of permanent metallics – glistening crystallised colours that create 3D, light-reflective tones. Meanwhile, Schwarzkopf Live Urban Metallics, £5.49, and Redken’s new semi-permanent colourants, Shades EQ, from £10, include rose quartz and silvery greens.
Shiny hair halos can be polished at home, too, using upgrades on the tacky cans of hair glitter you used to stockpile for the Friday-night disco at your local leisure centre. Joico InstaTint Cosmic Color Shimmer Sprays, £4.95, can be used to create strands of iridescence that look like coloured shards of Cellophane, or go all out with a full-on colour wash that will stay put for up to three days if you dodge the shower head. David Mallett
Gold Dust, £55, meanwhile, imparts tiny particles of metallic powder to hair and plumps strands at the same time. Genius. And if you’re happy to use heat, try Clairol Color Crave Hair Makeup, £7.99. Paint on the dye, then blast with your hairdryer and the crystallised pigments will remain until your next wash. Featuring everything from amethyst and ruby to bronze and platinum, the light-reflective force is strong in this range.
YOU ARE Lacking the funds to go in-salon but feel let down by boxes TRY Online consultations and shade shots International colourist Josh Wood tints the likes of Kylie and Edie Campbell, but he’s also pretty good at serving the less loaded. Having spent two years devising a comprehensive set of at-home colour formulas, he’s devised an online consultation so you can nail your base shade. You can then accessorise with tinted accoutrements. Think blending brushes, root-smudgers, shampoos and conditioners, and his real babies: ‘Shade Shots’,
£5 (designed to be added to his ‘Everything Mask’,
£15), which keep colour looking radiant. The consultation also means you get the exact colour match every time; he’s even created ‘half shades’ so you can build up colour in baby steps. The trickiest task in creating these athome customisations? The pigments in the Shade Shots. “It’s not easy to get the right pigments in semi-permanent colour. Most brunette home hair colour has plummy undertones that make the hair look a bit blue, so I wanted to create something that was a red-based chocolatey shade to counteract dullness,” says Wood. With two brunette and two blonde tones that tick off both warm and cool bases, the shots are akin to an anti-tarnish filter.
These products have an innovative ingredients list too. As well as hydrolysed quinoa (because who doesn’t want quinoa with
everything?) to bulk up hair with proteins that keep colour effervescent, he’s cottoned onto the power of Kakadu plum extract. “The most damaging thing for coloured hair is the environment,” says Wood. “But research shows this fruit can help stop free radicals and UV pollution attacking colour.” Give this man a Nobel Prize…
“It seems the dyes, they are a-changing”