The first thing I discuss with all of my new color clients are the different types of color.
Permanent color: It's sort of what it sounds like, but not. It's definitely a process that permanently changes your hair, but the color will fade. What!? Yes, you read it correctly. See, the key here is that the way permanent color works is by lifting the natural pigment from the hair, and depositing a "permanent" pigment in its place. When the color fades (come on, even your natural color fades as it grows) what's left is a faded version of the artificial tone. When you get the color touched up, we refresh the ends so they are bright and on tone again. This type of color is not nearly as widely used as it was even a few years ago. Today we have much better colors to work with such as semi and demi-permanent color products. Permanent color is really only necessary for lightening hair, or working with extremely resistant grey.
Demi-permanent color: Personally, this is my favorite type of color product. This type of product doesn't lift the natural pigments from the hair, so the natural color is still there. This means when the artificial pigments fade, it doesn't fade "off tone" (think orange/gold, what we think of as brassy). Demi-permanent color is much lower upkeep, since the regrowth is softer, and it leaves the hair in much better condition as well. The drawbacks are that the grey coverage is slightly less, and you can't go lighter with this type of color product.
Semi-permanent color: This product is very similar to demi, but even less "permanent". Semi-permanent color fades almost completely in a few weeks, and won't really cover grey very well at all. The advantage is, very little commitment.
In case you're not sure, bleach is permanent!
The second thing I like to discuss with my clients is upkeep.
Permanent color has the most upkeep. This type of color really does require touch-ups of 3 to 5 weeks. The regrowth will be very obvious, and really, the color can't be kept up properly with too much time in between.
Demi-permanent color is the least upkeep! The line of demarcation (professional speak for regrowth) is very minimal unless a lot of grey is being covered. It leaves the hair in great shape, and so doesn't fade as quickly; and since it fades on tone, it looks good for quite some time. This type of color should be touched up in 4 to 6 weeks, but I have a few clients who go as long as twelve!
Semi is sort of in-between. It leaves the hair in good shape and fades on tone, but since it fades so quickly, it needs to be refreshed more often. Somewhere between 3-8 weeks depending on how picky the client is!
There are other types of color as well, mainly things like cellophanes, a somewhat old type of color that isn't really used much now. It doesn't really leave the hair fit for any other type of color service, similar to henna, a type of color I absolutely loath. First off, true henna is very rare, and really, think Lucille Ball. Henna is kind of like a torrid love affair. Hot and gorgeous for a while, but when you burn out on it, you'll wish it had never happened. It destroys the hair over time, and is generally not fixable when things go bad, and they most likely will. Then we have temporary colors. They wash out when shampooed, and don't do much for the modern woman. Think grandma's blue rinse. Having said that, however, there are a few products of this type that can be handy for a color client. Several companies now make temporary touch up products that are used to camouflage grey in between appointments. They paint on much like mascara, but don't have the stiff or sticky feel, and they wash out completely when the hair is shampooed. And anybody who knows me, knows how I love my blue hair. It's my trademark. I use Inkworks by Paul Mitchell, It's a temporary color, it will usually wash out with one or two washings, except if you pre-lighten the hair! One strange benefit of bleach/lighteners, is that they make the hair very porous, like a kitchen sponge. Once it's stained, it's almost impossible to get it back to plain bleached hair. You start to see how complex it is, right?
One other topic, color correction. There's a very good reason to discuss this. In my experience, if you do your own color at home, or bounce around from salon to salon trying out the newest "most fabulous" stylist in town, you're going to need this service. There are so very many things that can go wrong, believe me I've probably done them in my 25 years of "practicing" the art of hair color. The difference is, I don't charge you to fix the mistakes I might make, and I have tons of products to work with, and can usually fix my mistake in about a half hour without ruining your hair. It might take you days to get an appointment, and I guarantee you, it will be veeeeery expensive. Usually no less than $250.00, don't be shocked, I've spent over 10 hours working on a case of accidental black to medium blonde-goth halloween costume, trick or treat! And this was a "temporary" color. At least that's what the package said...
Owner and Master Stylist