Glossing Part 2: Perfect Blonde, Brunette and Redhead Hues

With summer fast approaching, you might find that your clients are looking to fine tune their style – and that definitely includes their hair color. Luckily, you don’t always have to implement a huge change in order to see a shift – particularly when it comes to enhancing blonde, brunette and red hues. Instead, try a glossing service. Glossing services (sometimes called toner or a mid-length and end service) can serve many purposes. They can act as a conditioning treatment, plus add shine – resulting in a more even, reflective and saturated color. Read on to learn how you can use glossing services to up your revenue – and get more beautiful and creative results when coloring blond, brunette and red hues.

On the Scalp Application

Blondes. When ‘blonding,’ I find that there are a lot of opportunities to use gloss – and glossing the mid-lengths and ends is simple, plus super fast. If you’re satisfied with the level of your blonde, and only need to neutralize, enhance (to make warm) or refine (to make cool or ash), a clear gloss + tone would be the ideal choice.

Reds. It’s a well known fact that red is the most difficult color to keep looking natural – and oh, so glossy. So, when processing permanent red formulas, I often let them rest for 10 minutes longer than the manufacturer recommends. This technique helps my client’s reds to stay punchier, longer (because it gives the color more time to fully deposit). Post-shampoo, I’ll add a clear-based 10-minute gloss, with the appropriate pure tones. Layering gloss over red helps to add dimension and shine.  

To further keep the red from fading fast, I’ll blow-dry a protein-rich conditioning spray into strands – dry completely – and add a gloss over the dried-in protein spray.

Brunettes. A bold style choice – brunette locks are always on-trend. But keeping that color from becoming dark and flat, or alternatively hallow, can be tricky. Because of this, brunette clients should be glossed at least every other color service. For the perfect reflective sheen, apply as follows: after shampooing out color, add a clear gloss + yellow/orange tone (which is our shiniest tone); let the formula rest for 10 minutes.   

  • A note on yellow. When we visit the ‘Natural Remaining Pigment Chart,’ you’ll notice that yellow begins to appear at a level 6 – but hair colors at or below a level 5 need extra shine. If you’re using a system that allows you to control how much yellow/orange you add to your formula, only add as much as needed to achieve that shine. Alternatively, if you’re using a premixed color, you can try diluting it with a conditioner.

Just as with red formulas, I keep brunette hues (mid-lengths and ends) intact by utilizing a protein rich conditioning spray, prior to blow-drying.  

Hair Painting/Balayage

Blondes. As you hair paint or balayage, gloss the hair that isn’t being painted with bleach, and make sure to use a formula that creates contrast, in tone or level. At the end of the service, put a clear gloss over the entire head, which will give a polished, shiny finish.

Reds. To create dimension, follow the ‘blonde’ hand painting/balayage techniques listed above. Use a glossing formula that will complement your red tone, or work in an analogous pallet. This can give your reds a subtle point of difference, and add understated dimension. For examples of complimentary and analogous color combinations, check out Johannes Itten, Visual Design and Color Specialist, here.   

Brunettes. To create dimension, follow the above directions. Keep in mind that levels 5 and below will need added shine – so don’t be afraid to add a touch of gold to your formula.

Foil work 'blonding' 

The trifecta: Blondes, reds, and brunettes, alike. When you’re finished with your foil work, ask yourself: What am I doing with the hair between the foils? As foil work processes, I recognize an opportunity to address the hair between the foils, with a gloss. I use the following guidelines.

  • If I like the level: Use a clear gloss + compliment tone from the foil color. This will give your blondes the most amount of dimension, without adding a level, which could subsequently lead to a darker looking hue.
  • For a soft tone: Use half level and half clear + tone.
  • For contrast: Use a level with tone.

Clear Gloss and Color Conditioner 

Some conditioners deliver clear shine, and can be used as a gloss. Conversely, some conditions contain color. These can be used as a gloss as well – plus they’ll deliver, moisture, shine and color, in one step.

Glosses can have a variety of impactful effects. From refining our finished product and banishing unwanted tones (as discussed in ‘Glossing, Part 1: Correcting Undesirable Tones,’), to enhancing and defining blonde, red and brunette hues, glosses are one of a colorists most valuable tools. So use this simple, two-part glossing guide to learn how you can easily incorporate the product into your services – and embrace the ‘no hair left behind’ approach to color.