Four mistakes to avoid when lightening textured hair

When it comes to lightening textured hair, it’s important to get it right. We asked texture expert Lisa Farrall about the common mistakes to avoid in the salon

Image: @lisafarrall

When we see a client with dark coiled/textured hair we immediately think, ‘wow thats going to be hard to lift’ and that is because we are looking at the natural depth of the hair. We all know that dark hair will take longer to lift to a 10 level, but there are signs that we can assess that will be giveaways on if the hair lift faster. Here are some tips to help you analyse the hair for a cleaner lift.

The reasons behind why it’s more difficult to lighten textured hair lies in the cuticle. These are a few considerations to look at before lightening the hair. Reading the hair will give you all the answers you need and, if your eyes fail you, a porosity test is a great next option.

  • Is the hair textured? Hair that has natural movement, whether waves or coiled will allow the product to penetrate the cortex quicker. It’s all to do with the cuticle layers being slightly raised. 
  • Is the hair fine? Finer hair doesn’t contain a medulla (scientists say this doesn’t effect what we do in the salon). However fine hair usually has less cuticle layers and so could lift more easily.
  • Natural elements: It’s all to do with oxygen, for example if you live by the sea and the salt in the air makes that cuticle raise (and the fact that its always windy!) 

Four mistakes to avoid when it comes to lightening textured hair

Texture expert Lisa Farrall explains the main points to take into consideration when it comes to lightening textured hair.

Going in with a high developer because the hair looks dark

“This is a no go! The key is low and slow. You want to maintain the curl pattern and not over process the hair, so it’s important to go slowly and make a plan with your client to avoid damage to the hair. High volume can compromise the integrity and hair can become extremely compromised, resulting in fragility of the hair, breakage, and even completely changing the curl pattern permanently.”

Over-promising to the client 

“Don’t over promise and be transparent about a journey of hair colour and maintain. The end result you want to achieve and how to get there is so crucial for hair health. Yes, your client want to be seven shades lighter but are they willing to commit to the colour journey, with long appointments and treatments to maintain hair health and toning and treatments in between appointments?!

The aftercare questions we often put off until after the appointment are crucial during the consultation, because if a routine isn’t kept up for high maintenance colour it won’t last well and reflects badly on the salon.” 

Image: @lisafarrall

Image: @lisafarrall

Not thinking of alternative solutions

“Don’t say yes because you feel you have no option – offer an alternative and a solution if you feel that the hair can’t take the desired look. Even just doing a strand test to show your client helps if they have tunnel vision, and Instagram-filtered hair colours  (that aren’t realistic!) are what they’re asking for.”

That the hair needs to be straight to colour

“Definitely not! Work with coils and curls to personalise the colour. The less heat, the better. So let the coils and curls be free and the colour shine through.” 

More advice on working with textured hair >


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