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Hair Color Techniques

Spring Shift: Honey Blonde Hair
By Tamar Slaughter, Product Club Educator (@Tayslaughterhair)

For anyone who lives in a multi-seasonal hemisphere, the month of March marks the beginning of the transition from winter to spring. In alignment with that change, many hair color specialists will notice more requests for brighter and lighter hair color, especially from clients who are already a part of the blonde family.

From face framing to full highlights, warm or neutral blondes to cool high-lift blondes, or vice versa, there is one hue of blonde that is woven between all these desired outcomes - Honey Blonde. Read on to learn the key points to consider when identifying the right situation, selecting the right formulation, and choosing the best color placement for this invaluable hair color.

a smiling woman with voluminous, curly honey blonde hair. Her eyes are gently closed, and she has a joyful expression, as she touches her chin playfully with a manicured hand. Her makeup is done in natural tones, accentuating her features, and she's wearing a deep red lipstick that adds a touch of glamour to her joyful demeanor.

Let's Define Honey Blonde!

The shade of honey blonde lives within levels 6-8, right in the middle of the beautiful browns (levels 2-5) and luminescence of high lift blondes (levels 9-12). This tone can be quite tricky to achieve, due to the warmth exposed in the hair from the contributing underlying pigments during the lifting process. Proper formulation is key to ensuring that adequate balance is maintained when attempting to create the perfect honey blonde hair color.

How Sweet is the Honey to that Blonde?

Although many people choose honey blonde as their preferred hair color aesthetic, it is also used as a base tone for highlights or a springing off point to achieve a golden or icy blonde hair color. When the latter of these is chosen, success is only achieved when the hair safely transitions from its starting point (levels 2-5) to its desired destination (levels 9-12). This means the hair must travel through levels 6-8, while maintaining its color balance and healthy hair structure. Honey blonde hues serve as a secret ingredient to ensure that journey is a success.

Lush swirls of honey blonde hair strands artfully spread out on a white background. The various shades of blonde ranging from deep gold to light honey tones intertwine to showcase the rich, dimensional color and silky texture of the hair. The curls and waves of the strands highlight the dynamic and versatile nature of honey blonde hair, perfect for a range of styles and looks.

Let’s Dive a Little Deeper!

The reality is that all hair cannot endure the process of traveling through all, or even most, of the hair color level system. The texture, porosity, and elasticity of the hair determines if this is possible. It also provides an estimate of the number of hair color sessions required to safely reach the desired destination, without incident.

When brighter, cooler blonde tones are desired but require multiple haircolor sessions to achieve, it is important that the hair is properly toned throughout the lifting process. Honey blonde is a neutral warm hair color, often achieved by adding neutral and cool bases to balance the aggressive warmth (exposed by contributing underlying pigments) as the hair travels through levels 6-8, during the lifting process. This is why the value of honey blonde hair color is priceless, as it can be used both as a stand-alone hair color or in concert with multi-dimensional color applications.

The Duality of Texture

All hair is comprised of two types of textures.

  • Formation texture refers to whether the hair grows out of the head straight, wavy, curly, or coily.
  • Diameter texture refers to whether the size of the hair strand is fine, medium, or coarse.

The combination of these characteristics is the main factor in determining which technique to use for achieving the perfect honey blonde result.

Here's an Example:

A client who has straight, fine, or medium hair can be the perfect candidate for a traditional balayage technique. However, because of the challenges that are present when lifting coily hair (whether fine or coarse), a series of techniques to create the brightness of a traditional balayage technique must be considered.

Porosity and Elasticity

Texture determines how you should approach your honey blonde formulation and color application techniques. The combination of porosity and elasticity will tell you whether the magic of those tones will serve as a beautiful rest stop or if it should be the final destination.

Technique vs Outcome

Clients will often tell their stylists the technique they want on their hair. However, what they are really communicating is the visual effect they desire. It is the job of the colorist to determine the best strategy to achieve that goal.

Let’s take balayage, for example. Many times, when clients say they want balayage, what they are really looking for is a color result that looks lived-in and natural. As previously stated, hair texture determines whether the balayage technique is the best way to achieve that goal or if another approach that incorporates the look of balayage is best.

Hot Tip

One of my favorite strategies when creating a lived-in haircolor look on curly/coily hair is using balayage color placement on weave sectioning. This strategy allows for the smaller partings that are necessary to achieve a high lift, while creating the diffused line of demarcation that is the key element of lived in hair color applications.

High or Low Maintenance

One of the great benefits in the honey hues of the blonde world is the low maintenance it offers. Whether as a single tone or a base tone for highlights, this hair color choice can allow for simple single process retouches, using root smudge color melting techniques. With a maximum of 4-6 weeks between root retouch applications, accompanied by toner refreshing services for highlights, quarterly or semiannual double process retouch applications can become the new norm.

What's in your Product Club Arsenal?

Here are my favorite Product Club tools for achieving the perfect honey blonde haircolor in any situation.

  • 2-in-1 Brush: Quickly and easily section, paint, and foil with just one brush, regardless of hair length or texture.
  • Balayage Paint Brush: Use during balayage and freehand painting color applications to effortlessly maximize timing and customize placement with soft feathered bristles that makes it virtually impossible to create a hard line of demarcation.
  • Color Comb: Ideal for creating seamless color melts during retouch applications.
  • Digital Color Scale: To create the perfect Honey Blonde formulation, you must be able to precisely weigh and measure product for exact measurements and consistency in formulas.
  • Foil/Balayage Board: The curved edge of this translucent, lightweight acrylic board allows it to lay flush around the circumference of the head to maintain even tension when creating balayage and other free hand painting techniques.
  • Applicator Bottle: This is the perfect tool for glossing. The ergonomic design is easy to squeeze and embossed with measuring scales for precise formulation. Its extra-long narrow tip is ideal for parting hair for a precise color application.
  • Curved Thermal Balayage Strips: The polystyrene materials allow for hair of all textures to adhere to the strip as soon as product is applied. This provides ample opportunity to focus on the actual application of the color technique versus controlling the hair itself.
Tamar Slaughter, Product Club Educator

Follow Tamar (@tayslaughterhair) and Product Club (@productclub) for more expert tips on social media, salon ownership, and hair color education!

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