Color-Techniques 101, Part II: New Growth, Mid-Lengths and Ends

Let’s face it: Working behind the chair can be challenging. Certainly, we all love this crazy lifestyle – but sometimes, hectic schedules can be limiting – and demand getting back to the basics.

While incorporating new and fun techniques can help to break up the monotony of a jam-packed schedule, it’s important to keep a few basic methods in mind. Read on to get my exclusive tips and tricks, and learn how you can streamline your color application techniques – to get the best results, every time.


Highlighting with foils can be tricky. You can expect to run into challenges: From sliding foils to foils that ‘bleed,’ plus uneven lifting, working with foils can introduce a certain amount of unpredictability. Find out how to combat wayward results, here.

  • Take the fuss out of a next-to-the-scalp application: Take your parting, weave, or slice, and over-direct strands away from you. Slide the foil to the scalp, and bring hair over the top of the foil. Slide your foil over your comb, and apply pressure on the scalp. Then, bring the hair down onto the foil and slide your comb out. The hair will hold the foil in place, allowing you freedom of movement.
  • Sliding foils can be problematic. To keep them from shifting, adjust your subsections to the width of the head. If you place a foil in an area of curvature, you’re likely to end up with an unstable foil. After folding the foil, crease one side with the teeth of a pintail comb (find out which one is my favorite, here), using the palm of your hand for resistance. When used in combination, these simple techniques will anchor the foil, and prevent it from slipping and sliding.
  • Though it my seem counterintuitive, it’s important to know that ‘bleeders’ are not created by applying product close to the scalp; they are created by applying too much product on the foil close to the scalp. To avoid over-application of color, use the tip of your finger to wipe off excess product prior to sealing the foil.
  • To prevent the unsightly results that are a product of uneven lifting, make sure to ‘roll’ the hair with product, as described in Part I of this series.


Described as a backcombing technique, the ‘tipping’ technique provides a soft and diffused finished; it’s most commonly used to create an ombre-like finished product. If not executed with technical precision, this method can leave you with a strong line, or a dip-dye effect. Find out how to create soft transitions, here.

  • Determine where you’d like the color transition to begin, and start with a diagonal parting, here. Alternatively, you can opt for a ‘weave effect,’ using three to five ‘weaves’ per foil.
  • Rough up the hair (slightly) with the teeth of your comb. To find out which comb will work best on your clients’ unique texture, go here. Drop the comb into the hair and press up, once. Press up one inch past where you’d like to see the gradation begin; this will be the one-inch border that will help you to create a soft and seamless blend.
  • Apply your formulation to the hair, staying below the one-inch mark.
  • Using a conditioner or clear-base product (blending formula), apply product to the backcombed hair; this will provide you with an adequate safety net. Next, pick up more of the blending formula, and carefully pull bleach into the one-inch border, making sure to ‘roll’ into the hair (see Part I).

By following these simple techniques, you’ll be guaranteed a line-free application, and a soft, diffused finish.

Quick Tip: If the hair is cut at an angle, or frames the face, be sure to work with and not against the angle. Take a diagonal parting, and walk the hair around to the front to see the horizontal line in the haircut; follow the backcombing steps.

Remember: Just like hair cutting, the elevation at which you hold the hair and backcomb ultimately creates graduation and dimension. Follow these simple tips to create intentional effects.

  • For dimensional ends: Hold hair down to the floor and back comb up.
  • For dimensional midshafts: Hold the hair at a 45-degree angle from where it grows, and back comb up.
  • For dimension close to the scalp: Hold the hair at a 90-degree angle from where it grows, and back comb up.

Shampoo out left-behind color

Leaving hair color (even in trace amounts) on the hair can cause porosity issues – which can lead to premature fading. So read, here, to learn how you can properly remove color from freshly tinted strands – and leave your guest looking and feeling their very best, post service and beyond.

While implementing basic techniques can feel tedious, it’s important to remember to ‘begin at the beginning.’ Taking short cuts can lead to less than stellar results – and less than satisfied clients. So, when you’re crunched for time, and booked back-to-back, rely on these basic techniques to give you beautiful results that you can count on.

Thanks for joining me in this two-part series!