Common mistakes when going from darker to lighter hair

It’s a transformation many clients have contemplated – and underestimated! Be mindful of these common colour issues before you pick up a mixing bowl to take a client from darker to lighter hair

The celebrity world always makes it seem like an overnight transformation is possible, but while we professionals may appreciate the work that is involved (or the array of wigs used!), many clients don’t. Just a few minutes of browsing through social media can have some clients assuming that a total transformation of colour is possible, and many will underestimate the time, process, and cost. 

Katie Geddes Headshot

Pulp Riot artist Katie Geddes is very conscious that most clients think they can switch from brunette to blonde in a flash,  achieved in a simple, one-sitting appointment. And while that might be the case for a lucky few, it certainly isn’t a given. She advises that when taking a client from dark to light, “it’s important to get their full hair history and carry out a thorough consultation.” When faced with such a big colour switch-up it’s also vital to strand and allergy test, to avoid any future complications.

Once the key conversations have been had during the consultation process, there’s still much to consider when delivering a major lightening transformation. Here, Katie breaks down some of the common mistakes to avoid making the next time your client wants to pull a Kim K…

Five mistakes to avoid when beginning a lighter transition 

Overpromising and under delivering 
Avoid promising a level 10 white-blonde in one session when the reality may be a level seven or an eight. Explain to your clients that these procedures take time and to enjoy the process of going lighter; some people discover a colour they really like during the process.

Under-toning, over-toning or not using the correct toners/gloss 
Tone to the level of lift you’ve got and utilise your colour wheel. Lilac hair is cool, if that’s what you’ve agreed on, but over-toning with purple is not (always)!

Client with light, lilac tone wavy bob
Client with dark root smudge blended out to blonde tips

Low and slow developer wins the race every time 
Let your lightener do all the heavy lifting, don’t rely on the developer to lift the colour. I often use 2 per cent, especially around the hairline and nape, which also has the benefit of less damage on the hair than using 20, 30 or 40 vol. 
Time management 
Appointments like this can’t be rushed to achieve flawless results. Make your client aware they are going to be in for a certain number of hours, even if it’s just an estimate. Sometimes it is good to keep it casual by suggesting they bring some snacks if needed! 
Not managing expectations 
Consultation is key, and it’s always vital to make them aware the process will take several appointments. Really drill that into them. Keep a progress record by photographing your clients dark to light journey and show them photographs of different tones throughout. And lastly, but by no means least, make them aware of the cost before you begin to avoid any awkward conversations later. 

Client with brown wavy bob and red lipstick
Client with mid tone blonde with brown

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