Toning Shampoos: A Personal Testimony

If you haven’t heard about “purple shampoo” or “color depositing shampoo” by now you may be living under a rock. While color depositing shampoos have been around for decades, it is gaining a whole new respect.

Previously, the purple/silver/blue products were used on those with white or very grey hair to keep the unwanted yellow tones out of their hair from environmental pollutants. There were also commonly shampoos for red deposit and dark tones for brunettes.  More recently, it has been reinvented with the surge of interested in “over-toned” hair that is silver, fashion colors, or an extreme cooled blonde as well as the addition for all natural hair color.

For the past several weeks my wife (who is blonde) and myself have been experimenting with several different brands and tones to see what brands we prefer and the effect these different lines have.  It has been especially interesting to try on myself due to the fact that my hair is light but “red.” I prefer the gold, copper, and orange tones so it was really visible in my hair to see the effect of the shampoos.

This wasn’t my first rodeo with the color depositing shampoos. I have used some in previous years when I actually had blonde hair. They have come a long way in just a few short years. It seems like almost every major line has some type of “blonde shampoo” or a specific “color correcting” shampoo. The tonal deposit ranges from nearly nothing to extreme. So extreme that, if you have light enough hair and you want to experiment with a true temporary color (i.e. pink, blue, etc.) you can with just a simple shampoo.

The lightest tonal deposits came from brands like Pureology, Redken, Goldwell, and Sexy Hair. Not that I don’t like these, they just did nothing to my hair. My hair was too warm to see any difference with the minimal tonal deposit contained in these shampoos/conditioners. Now, on someone with lighter hair, it was evident that there was some cooling effect on hair with only minimal yellow tones to cancel (which  make sense seeing that purple does not correct orange/brassy tones).

What I consider to be the mid-range in tonal deposit were the Matrix,  Framar “color lover” shampoo, TIGI, Pravana, and Clairol “shimmer lights.” These had a softening effect on my color and made a huge difference on my wife’s hair. With prolonged exposure (repeated washing or longer deposit duration) her hair was noticeably brighter, or even silver-toned.

The most tonal deposit came from the Celeb Luxury lines: VIRAL and Gem Lites.  I will also add that with the Framar “color lover” and the Matrix “so silver” and “brass off,”  if these shampoos were left on in excess of 2 minutes their toning power became much more potent. Back to the Celeb Luxury… These shampoos are crazy! They have two sub-lines. One is designed for the fashion colors such as green, pink, red, purple, yellow, just to name a few. The Gem Lites sub-line was more suited for natural colors. It was nice to see that you were able to deposit for all shades of blonde (warm and cool) as well as brunette, and red. They left the hair very shiny. I personally really liked the ginger/orange red depositing shampoo. It was marketed for strawberry blonde tones and it was right on target. I did personally try two VIRAL shampoos as well. I used the light pink in my hair to try to replicate a “rose gold” color. It worked. And it worked well. Crystal tried the lavender, purple and silver. All of which made her hair those colors. Within two washes all the tone was gone.

So what’s the catch? Well, here’s my opinion. All of these shampoos have something in common. They are depositing a superficial pigment into your hair. This means there is a layer of substance sitting on the outside of your hair’s cuticle layer. In my, and my wife’s experiences we weren’t in love with the way out hair felt after using these shampoos. Some were so minimal it was barely noticeable (Matrix, Pureology, Redken, Goldwell). While other were apparent (clairol “shimmer lights”,  Color lover, Celeb Luxury “VIRAL” and “Gem Lites”). It was nice to play with color but I did not like how my hair had an obvious feeling of residue. It doesn’t bother most people but I am a person who doesn’t like ANY product feel to my hair, so I am especially sensitive to it. I have talked with many other people and some of the more extreme shampoos don’t even bother them.

Conclusion, I think these shampoos are an amazing way to maintain the color of your hair or to play with a fashion color without to full commitment. I think that a color depositing shampoo should be in every blondes shower. I’m going to say that again. I THINK A TONING PRODUCT SHOULD BE IN EVERY BLONDES SHOWER. They are worth it when it comes to maintaining the vibrancy, tone, gloss, pigment, brightness, whatever you want to call it of a blondes hair. They don’t need to be used every single day, but can be, and they help rid your hair of unwanted yellow or brassy tones. To me that’s a win!

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Unicorn Hair: EXPECTATION vs REALITY

Unicorn hair, mermaid hair, holographic hair, whatever you want to call it is a trend that just can’t quit! BUT there are some things we have to talk about before you dive into this investment.  Yep, that’s right INVESTMENT. 

The color options are endless.

The patterns are only limited by your imagination.

Every color company has a “vivid” color line to quell your desires.

So what’s the hang up? Well, here may be several. I feel like we have reached a point in this trend where it’s very important to share some critical information about vivid, neon, pastel hair color.

1)  IT IS NOT PERMANENT.  It’s not even semi-permanent. It will not last forever.  In most cases it’s not going to even last a month. These colors are made by using “direct dyes”. These are large specialty pigment molecules that deposit a tone (color) onto the hair. This means it is very superficial. So many times I feel that my guests are let down because they love their color but after a few washes the colors have faded so much that it’s barely noticeable. This is a reality that you will have to accept if you want to go on this journey. You can extend the life of this color by washing less frequently, using the BEST quality products, and using less heat on your hair. 

2)  IT IS AN INVESTMENT.  You will be spending some money on your hair.  In some cases I have spend 6 hours lightening a guests hair multiple times to achieve the needed level of lift to allow their hair to become he canvas I need to deposit these colors.  This means an investment of your time and money. It also means investing in product!

3)  BATHROOM CLEANUP.  If you love your white towels don’t use them!  Your bathroom/shower, bed clothes, towels, and sometimes your clothing can become a casualty!  When you turn your hair magenta and then decide to get a sweat session on, your sweat then becomes pink. No lie, it’s happened to me.  My head was so sweaty the hair color left on my head/hair ran down my face and neck and the collar of my t-shirt was a nice purple color.  When you wash your hair some pigment will come out, and if you aren’t taking time and proper care to rinse your shower out, you may be left with a nice ring of whatever color your hair is.  And those poor towels… sigh…. time to get some dark colored towels haha. 

4)  MAINTENANCE.  What you are left with when all those colors fade is going to be some varied shade of blonde.  It’s not always pretty.  So you need to be mindful of this as well.  If you’ve made your whole head fire engine red, when it fades is probably going to be a nasty orange-yellow color. You may need need to pre-book weekly or even bi-weekly appointments to have your hair color refreshed in order to keep it looking nice. 

I personally have had every bright color imaginable.  I have put my hair through the ringer. I LOVE all of these hair color trends.  There’s nothing better than expressing your individuality with a custom vivid color. And I am by no means trying to talk anyone out of these colors. 

I have two clients in particular who only color their hair with these fun colors.  Their hair always looks amazing and fresh… but only because they play by the rules. It can and does work under the right circumstances.

So let’s sum this up. If you want to have the latest trend in vivid hair color then you must be willing to do your research, invest your time, invest your money, and play by the rules! Don’t be afraid to schedule consultations. In fact, I highly recommend, and in some situations insist, on having a sit down, face-to-face consultation.  I hope this doesn’t discourage anyone, but offers a more detailed breakdown as to what to expect!

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