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3 Permanent Hair Colour Tips For Trainee Colourists

Sarah Oglesby - April 13, 2017 Hair Colouring

3 Permanent Hair Colour Tips For Trainee Colourists

When undertaking the training of a trainee apprentice or student, colour theory is one of the most challenging topics. For some trainees, this topic can create copious amounts of frustration and anxiety. As an in-house trainer, where do you start? The science of light? The science of colour theory?

By nature, hairdressers are visual and tactile. A high percentage of individuals in our industry learn best by seeing and doing. In my experience, starting with product knowledge and colour application creates interest and enthusiasm. From this receptive foundation, you can then build your delivery of colour training to include colour theory and the science of colour formulation.

With this in mind, I’ve compiled 3 tips covering the essentials of permanent hair colouring in terms of product knowledge. Use them to ensure your trainee colourists know the basics.

Tip 1 – How permanent hair colour works

Permanent hair colour is a flexible colouring product that can lighten, darken and add tone to hair. Permanent hair colour can provide 100% white hair coverage, natural, rich or vibrant intense tones.

Pivoting Colour Gradient Charmaine Piche

Pivoting Colour Gradient by Charmaine Piche

Permanent hair colour is mixed with 10 vol (3%), 20 vol (6%), 30 vol (9%) or 40 vol (12%) hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), known as an oxidant. The choice of oxidant is key for achieving the correct target shade and depth.

The average tube of permanent colour is made up of 10% alkali, 20% H202 and 70% colour molecules. Once mixed with the correct H2O2 to achieve the target shade, the permanent colour goes through three stages of development:

  1. Softening: The alkali in the formulation softens the cuticle layers to allow the colour molecules to pass through to the cortex
  2. Penetrating: The colour molecules penetrate through the cuticle layers to begin the oxidation process
  3. Linking and changing natural pigment: The new colour molecules begin to swell and link together at the same time that the H2O2 dissolves a percentage of the natural pigment to allow room for the linked artificial pigments to expand.
Permanent hair colour molecules

Permanent hair colour molecules

Tip 2 – How to choose the correct hydrogen peroxide for permanent hair colour

10 volume or 3% H2O2 is used to add tone or darken the hair. 10 vol (3%) is mixed at a ratio of 1 part colour to 2 parts oxidant – 1:2

20 volume or 6% H2O2 is used for white hair coverage, to add tone or to life the hair colour 1 depth lighter. 20 vol (6%) is mixed at a ratio of 1 part colour to 1 part oxidant – 1:1

20 vol (6%) oxidant deposits tone, covers grey and provides 1 level of lift

20 vol (6%) oxidant deposits tone, covers grey and provides 1 level of lift

30 volume or 9% H2O2 is used to lift the hair 2 depths lighter.  30 vol (9%) is mixed a ratio of 1 part colour to 1 part oxidant – 1:1

30 vol (9%) oxidant provides 2 levels of lift

30 vol (9%) oxidant provides 2 levels of lift

40 volume or 12% H2O2 is used to lift the hair 3 depths lighter 40 vol (12%) is mixed a ratio of 1 part colour to 1 part oxidant – 1:1

40 vol (12%) provides 3 levels of lift

40 vol (12%) provides 3 levels of lift

Tip 3 – The difference between permanent hair colour and high-lift tint

This distinction can often cause confusion for learners.

High-lift tint is designed to lift darker hair lighter. It’s purpose is to lift hair lighter than the 3 shades that can be achieved with a permanent colour and 40 vol (12%) H2O2. To do this, a tube of high-lift tint has more H2O2 and less colour molecules than a tube of permanent colour. The alkali remains at 10%. During processing of high-lift tint the focus is on lifting the hair lighter and the end of the processing time is focused on depositing the tone.

Pure Veil 2 by Charmaine Piche

Pure Veil 2 by Charmaine Piche

High-lift tint mixed with 30 vol (9%) H2O2 at a ratio of 1:2 can lift the hair 3 depths lighter

High-lift tint mixed with 40 vol (12%) H2O2 at a ratio of 1:2 can lift the hair 4 to 5 depths lighter

High-lift tint is designed to lift darker hair lighter

High-lift tint is designed to lift darker hair lighter

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Check out our articles temporary and semi-permanent colour and quasi or demi-permanent hair colour for additional teaching ideas.

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Virgin tint application using permanent colour with Bee Dixion

Virgin tint application using permanent colour with Bee Dixion

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