Re-Fresh: Brighten Blonde Mid-Lengths and Ends

Calling all colorists: Do you struggle to keep your blonde’s mid-lengths and ends bright, shiny – plus free from brassy tones and fade-out? When we first hair paint, balayage or lighten strands, we’re left with a brilliant and beautiful finish (see how, here). But as time goes by – if we continue to use the same formula – we can begin to see uneven tones, and this can show up as slightly darker or muddier mid-lengths and ends. 

Avoiding this undesirable aesthetic – and extending the life of your blondes – can be simple, and should be addressed every second or third service, depending on the porosity of your clients hair. Here’s how:

Mid-Lengths and Ends: The Re-Fresh Formula

Safely lifting mid-lengths and ends can be fuss-free. Simply use an Enlightening formula, and combine it with a low-level developer, 5 volume or water, and further dilute the solution with a conditioner or universal 0N, an ammonia free clear base.

Remember that the lift is achieved via the bleach, not the activator. Instead, your activator is your timing for how long you want the bleach to work. For example: when shifting the tone at the bowl, bleach with hot water is used.

The conditioner (or universal 0N) will help to blend out and dilute the Enlightening formula, which will provide the perfect amount of shift instead of over-lifting the mid-lengths and ends.

Achieving an even Finish

Use the above formula to refresh dark or muddy mid-lengths and ends, while using your original lifting formula in the areas that you’d like to add dimension. Apply a layer of conditioner (or Universal 0N) and blend through to the ends. Your finished look will be balanced, with brighter mid-lengths and ends, plus dimensional pieces. You can repeat this process every second or third service, depending on how much brightness you are trying to achieve.

Remember that when you’re pricing your services, communication is key. This process will add time to your already-existing blonding service, and clients should be charged accordingly (learn how you can establish a base-line for pricing, here). Speak with management and front-end support staff to create a baseline price for this additional brightening service.


It’s crucial that you adequately remove your Enlightening formula – and for this – I recommend shampooing three times (learn about my system, here). This is because leftover bleach can adversely affect subsequent glossing/toning formulas. I follow with PHinish by Aveda, which is a neutralizing conditioner. Before applying the conditioner, thoroughly towel dry strands. Apply the conditioner, and allow it to rest for up to five minutes. Rinse thoroughly, and apply your favorite deep conditioning treatment, prior to glossing/toning.

Brightening and lightening your client’s mid-lengths and ends can be a snap, using this failsafe formula. And remember: never be afraid to communicate in regards to price increases due add-on services.

How do you lighten, brighten, and extend the life of your blondes?