Addressing Texture: Color for Straight, Wavy and Curly Strands
When working to achieve dimensional color, there are a variety of factors that come into play – and those factors can have an impact on how we achieve the perfect, end results. One such element is texture: Whether straight, wavy or naturally textured, how a client styles their strands can change the look of a color application. Read on to get some ideas on application tips and tricks for getting the perfect effect, every time – and help take your clients look from ‘so-so’ to sensational.
Texture – and light
Texture, combined with your client’s chosen method of heat styling, can affect the way the light hits her color – which can play a big part in how your color application wears. Here’s why.
- Straight strands. Straight hair is one-dimensional. Because of this it can be difficult to see a contrast in levels (the heavy curtains hide dimension that’s been placed on the interior of the hair). To achieve contrast on straight strands, add dimension at the top subsection.
- Wavy tresses. Wavy hair is two dimensional, and as such, it both reflects and absorbs light. As the hair waves and opens, color placement is visible below the top layer; dimension is subsequently created with movement. To create contrast, the interior can be darker. I like to use the progression technique (dark to light, such as tipping or hair painting) to impart the perfect variation in levels.
- Curly locks. Coils and curls are three dimensional, and they absorb light. This can make application tenuous – and tricky. If your client has this texture, color can appear spotty if not applied correctly. To discover my complete how-to for coloring coiled or highly textured strands, go here.
These natural texture variables can change your color placement techniques. But what happens when you have clients with wavy or curly strands that occasionally like to straighten their hair? Though this isn’t uncommon, it’s important to be transparent with your clients. Be sure to ask your clients how they plan to style their strands, and explain how you might be able to meet their expectations.
Here are some options:
Wavy to curly hair: Natural level 3, desired Level 5
- Level choice. At the new growth, use a level 5. On the mid-lengths and ends, apply a level 6, and add pieces of a level 7/8 for dimension. This will add brightness to curly ends, and prevent them from appearing too dark.
- Technique choice. Apply a standard new growth application with a level 5 color. Backcomb the ends using a tipping technique, using a color that’s 2-3 levels lighter than your desired end results. For the mid-lengths and ends, gloss with a level 6 between the foils.
Curly to straight hair: Natural level 3, desired level 5
- Level choice. At the new growth, apply a level 5. On the mid-lengths and ends, use a level 6, and add a level 5 low light along with pieces of a level 7/8 for dimension.
- Technique choice. Opt for a standard new growth application, implementing your level 5 color. Next, take diagonal slices to create a shadow, using a level 5 color. Backcomb the ends using a tipping technique, with a color that’s 2-3 levels lighter than your desired end results. Add a gloss between the foils to the mid-lengths and ends using a level 6.
Straight to wavy: Natural level 3, desired level 5
- Level Choice. At the new growth, use a level 5. On the mid-lengths and ends, use a level 5 for the base, and add backcombed pieces of a level 6/7 for dimension.
- Technique Choice. Implement a standard new growth application using a level 5 color. Next, backcomb using a tipping technique with a color that’s 1-2 levels lighter than your desired end results. Finish by glossing the mid-lengths and ends between the foils with a level 5.
These examples can act as a roadmap to creating the perfect color on various hair types and textures. And though the techniques vary, the visual results will be the same. Remember to always ask your client how they will be wearing their hair – and use that as a springboard for applying their color.