Don’t dismiss putting a root on reds…

We’re all familiar with root shadowing on blondes and brights, but colourist Jo McKay believes the technique is criminally under-utilised, especially when it comes to reds. Here, she demonstrates how some simple tonal layering can create depth, definition and a flattering result

“Xanthe’s colour transformation involved creating a root shadow using a copper red. The aim was to add depth and dimension, and by using a product that doesn’t create lift, I was able to keep the depth at the root to frame the face. I used Aveda’s new Demi+ range, working with 20g of 0N clear and 5g of a red tone with 20g 10 Volume to achieve this result. You need to use lower developers with tones like Xanthe’s to prevent lift and keep the base rich – and as there is no natural in the colour formula, you are just seeing the red/copper without the brown. Xanthe is a natural Level 6 at the back, and the front of her hair is a 7 – this is what gives the finished shade a brown foundation, so I didn’t need to add any more base colour in. If I did, it would only dilute the effects of the red.”

“Working with just tone and no level is a great way to create richness and reflection in a client’s hair. Most clients have blonde highlights, and so it also provides an easy way to transform their look as we move into autumn/winter. This colour would also work on old balayage, which is more caramel on the ends, and the overall result would be deeper. Xanthe’s hair was more one dimensional, with solid blonde mid-lengths and ends from old highlights. By adding depth at the root and the perimeter, it has now made her hair look thicker and shows the details in her base line and cut. Her skin looks brighter, with a more peaches and cream glow thanks to the copper flecks, and by utilising her natural base, it also makes it look like she could be a natural red head!

“The splices of powder pink and tangerine that I introduced to Xanthe’s finished look added dimension on the sides, creating the appearance of texture which opens up her face and brings out her features. The colour of her eyebrows is also really important – I made sure to take note of the depth and tone to harmonise with the root shade of her new red.

“I worked with large sections as that always works well when you are on the salon floor doing a colour change and need to work fast. As I didn’t pre-lighten the hair, this also shortens the time of the service and relieves some pressure (it’s always a challenge to lift and tone in a short space of time!) Finally, at the back-wash, I applied Aveda’s protein treatments as a finishing touch to even out the porosity of the hair on the ends.”


Jo McKay