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Mastering Lowlights and Lived-In Color: A Professional Colorist's Guide
By Kristen Linares, Product Club Educator (

Let's dive into the exciting world of lowlights and lived-in color techniques that can seamlessly transform your clients' looks from summer to fall. With the right tools and techniques, you can create stunning, natural-looking hair that your clients will adore. And what better way to achieve perfection, than with the help of Product Club color tools and accessories!


Lowlights are your secret weapon to giving new life and that “pop factor” to faded summer color. They are perfect for clients who are looking to break away from monotone hair color and embrace a multi-dimensional look. The key to successful lowlights lies in the choice of color and application.

Selecting the Perfect Tone

When choosing a lowlight tone, opt for a color that is 1-2 levels darker than the client's base color. This will create a natural shadow effect and add movement to the hair. Consider what shade you are lowlighting over; if it’s blonde hair, you will need to add some warmth to your formula to avoid a flat tone.

Hot Tip: Warm tones look brighter and cool tones can appear darker.

Seamless Application

To achieve a seamless lowlight, use a fine weaving technique. For stronger ribbons, use a wider weave. Instead of highlighting and lowlighting at the same time, try applying your highlights with pop-up foil or roll foil first, then strategically place the lowlights under your foils with contoured meche sheets. Apply your formula from the base to the mid shaft, leaving out the last two inches of the hair. The last two inches tend to be more porous, which can result in uneven tone if applied all the way down to the ends. Using foils and meche sheets to differentiate between your formulas allows you to visually determine where you need to add depth.


Often referred to as "root smudging" or "root melting," this technique is the art of blending a client's natural root color with their newly chosen hair color. This technique has taken the world by storm, offering a beautiful, gradient look that requires minimal upkeep.

Blending Roots

For lived-in color, use a shade that is 1-2 levels deeper than the client's natural root color in a demi permanent formula after your highlight/lowlight placement is done processing. Demi permanent color allows the color to grow out softly and expose highlights near the base gradually as time passes. Apply the color to the roots using an ergo brush, creating a gradual transition from the roots to the mid-lengths. The Product Club variety brushes - 3 pack are designed for precision and control, making lived-in looks a breeze to create.

Hot Tip: If your client is new to this look and is nervous about looking too dark, leave the hairline out and gloss with your lightest formula only.

Creating the Blur

For a subtle gradient effect, you can formulate a mid-tone for the mid strand that is 1-2 levels lighter than the root tone. This softens any harsh lines and creates a natural, lived-in effect. The feather bristle brush is an ideal tool for this step, allowing you to achieve that perfectly blurred transition.

Lowlights and lived-in color techniques are your gateway to creating breathtaking, dimensional hair. With the right approach and the perfect Product Club tools and accessories, you can take your skills to the next level. Remember, the journey of a professional colorist is all about growth and learning. Embrace these techniques, explore new shades, and let your creativity shine through every color application. Here's to vibrant, multi-dimensional hair that tells a story of artistry and style! Happy coloring!

Kristen Linares, Product Club Educator

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

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