The colour journey made beautiful

Social media is saturated with extreme colour transformations, but we rarely see the work it takes to get there. Conor Doyle, winner of L’Oréal Colour Trophy Ireland 2017 and hair colour specialist at Peter Mark shares how to make each step look stunning…






Platinum blonde. We hear it, constantly. Highly sought after, yet very few are willing to commit to the journey. We have visions of going through a spectrum of orange and yellow, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Thinking outside the box, with an open-minded client, can unlock secret possibilities in between.

Meet Sadbh. Little did I know when she walked through our salon doors that she would bag us the Irish Colour Trophy Award and even some international accolades… But that’s another story!

Sadbh’s hair at the beginning…

The dream was an even silver base, root to tip, scattered with some pastel detailing, but the hair was simply not ready for that process just yet. When I first got my hands on her hair, I was met with a multitude of issues that needed correcting.

At a glance it seemed fairly straight-forward, but closer inspection exposed bands and rings for days, conflicting levels of sensitivity throughout and just a little tinge of green towards the ends for good measure. Lucky for me, I had the most open-minded being in the seat in front of me so we could really explore making this journey striking and beautiful at every stage.

The first priority is condition. Always. If it’s not there, the colour ‘journey’ comes to a grinding halt with nothing but the murky outline of your desired result lingering. The second priority is to create an even base as a foundation for our future colour. With condition in mind, it was possible to gently lift darker bands and remove some of the previous colour residue on Sadbh.

Now, this halfway result was still yellow – extremely so. But that’s where creative license comes in. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a gross ‘in between’ colour, let’s think outside the box. Going with the warmth and laying on some gold looks a bit naff, and ash is darkening, which was against our goals. So, having tried out a few swatches, I went with rose, copper and beige colours, ending up with this beautiful rose blonde.

Rose gold at the halfway point…

What was great about this colour was that every wash was a different fade more beautiful than the last, and our precious undercoat underneath remained even and true. After a few months of regular treatments and TLC, we were ready for the next step in the process. With an already previously evened out undercoat, lifting the hair to the next level and adding the holographic tones was a dream, and we reached our end goal.

The holographic end result!

So, how can this translate for our commercial client? Introducing Allanah…

The beginning of Allanah’s colour journey

This was the scenario: the dream was platinum blonde, but the reality was a hairstylist’s worst nightmare – naturally outrageously warm, with a mixture of old highs and lows, and the condition was compromised from both external and internal aggressions. So where did we start on this journey?

Using cleansing agents, I gently exposed the previous blondes that may have been lost while also lifting out some residual toners. Once again, the result was less than ideal visually, with eye-watering yellows and oranges alike. So, we went in with a heavy mauve to kill off that unsightly yellow and added just a pinch of copper to camouflage any glaring areas. This gave Allanah something cosmetically pleasing to wear, while she worked on getting the health of her hair up to scratch before lightening.

The first step…

Fast-forward and once the hair’s sensitivity had improved, we began to lighten out the previously coloured hair as much as the condition would allow. Why not just bleach the whole thing at this point? Because the natural healthy hair would lift with no issues, whereas the ends may not have caught up, creating unevenness among other problems. Disaster!

So, we worked from the most difficult area upwards. Treating the ends separately allowed us to closely monitor how the old hair reacted to colour – and pinpoint when it needed to be taken off. We were in complete control. The top section was defused with some low oxidant babylights to blend into our new pale blonde. At this point we allowed the hair to rest, giving it a break from colour and leaving plenty of time to work on condition when coming up to the last step – global lightening.

The second step…

Once we were happy that the hair was at its optimum health, we could reach our end result. Thanks to our pre-mediated lightening and treated ends, minimum work was required. We were in full control of the strength of the hair, knowing it was just a case of lightening the natural hair and blending it into the ends. Most of the work was already done – the result speaks for itself!

The final result!