Hair-Stylist

"How much would it cost to get blue, silver, pastel or rainbow colored hair?"

If I received a dime for every time I was asked that question, I wouldn’t actually have to work. Although…I still would. 

The question is not a simple one to answer. In fact, so many factors weigh into this equation that quoting a price over the phone or in an email is never an option for these hair color overhauls. It’s not just your natural pigment that can affect the overall outcome of your professional color service but everything from hair texture, hair length, medications one is currently taking, hormonal fluctuations, thyroid issues, existing gray hair, product usage, chemical history performed on hair (such as perms/relaxers/brazilian blowouts), and hair color history all play an extremely important role when making a significant color change. 

And box color or henna? Don’t even get me started.


Today I had a great example of how expectations and reality sometimes just don’t line up and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share with my clients, my friends and my family a little bit of what actually goes into our world of hair color. 

If I bore you with technical names or terms, my apologies! Feel free to ask me any questions here if you would like me to elaborate or clarify. 


So today, a young adult who I had never had the pleasure of meeting came to me to receive the makeover she had been wanting for quite some time. A pure, icy lavender. 

Photo courtesy of Pinterest


This bright young girl was excited and nervous about the hair color and the best part? She wanted it done just in time for her dance…tomorrow. 

Now normally, if someone calls me up and asks me about this, I always always always stress coming in for a quick (and free!) consultation. This is when I ask a million questions about you and your hair and give you some sort of timeline and price point that we are shooting for. It’s also not uncommon for me to test a strand of hair to tell if you are, in fact, a good candidate for the color you are searching for. In this case, we had very little time to make such moves and I happened to have a cancellation on a Friday evening so I told my client’s mother…we may not be able to achieve exactly what she wants but we will achieve something beautiful. She just has to be okay with that and trust me. So we proceeded.


So at 4:15 this afternoon, a bubbly bright young lady sat down with me and we had a nice long chat in the waiting room about her hair while her friends and her mother sat around and listened patiently. She then disclosed a bit about the history of her hair in the past few years. She had not had it cut in months and she had a few layers of box dye on her waist length hair. She showed about 3-4 inches of medium brown new growth with dark mid-lengths and ends, oversaturated due to the home hair color. I explained to her that the artificial color would be the most challenging part of the entire process and that I could absolutely, in no way, guarantee any sort of light lavender in her hair upon leaving the salon that evening because to get that lavender, the base has to be the lightest blonde possible. Although, with her fine hair and natural level, I was confident that we could achieve some sort of violet as long as she agreed to let us experiment. 

I promised her one single thing: when she left, her hair would look and feel healthy because the integrity of the hair was the single most important thing to me. 


So we began.


A color remover was used as the first step. I have learned that Effasol Color Remover  works brilliantly to break up old color without resorting to the harshness of bleach right away. Formulated with 20 volume developer, I apply quickly from the line of demarcation (where the old color visibly starts) down through the ends in small subsections, making sure to saturate well, and processed up to 50 minutes. After shampooing and drying, an even coppery brown shade was the result. 

So we kept marching on:

Next, I mixed up Kenra Lightening Powder and 40 volume developer (the strongest I will ever use) and applied from the same line of demarcation and down in the same fashion as the color remover. I then moved on to her new growth (her virgin hair) and applied the same lightener with 30 volume developer. Processed, shampooed, deep conditioned and dried.

At this point, she was obviously still very brassy and orange towards her ends. The stubborn box color was proving to be as vigilant as ever and had we more time, I may have offered to lighten again with a lower developer and an added Olaplex treatment, but lest, the clock was ticking and her spirited crowd was growing tired and hungry. So she left it up to me to mix up a customized violet formula just for her and throw caution to the wind. 

Who said that you can’t blend color brands? Here I mixed a blend of Pravana Chromasilk Vivids in Violet and Magenta and Joico Color Intensity in Cobalt Blue and Magenta.


4 hours and 3 inches later, we ended up with a beautiful violet and wild orchid color melt. It was no lavender but we did the best we could with the time and the tools we had to offer. The best part? Her hair felt softer and stronger than it did when she walked into the salon. 

Artificial hair color is subjective and truly an art. Many people may not understand the chemistry that is involved with hair color but to be truthful, many stylists may not want you to know. 

Well I want you to know because the best outcomes seem to be born from a father of knowledge and wisdom and a mother of fearlessness and trust. 


So next time you ask your colorist for a price, first ask her or him for the possibilities. You may just receive something better than you imagined. 


You can find me at Davis Brown Salon in Grand Rapids, Michigan and at https://www.styleseat.com/jenniferbartlett

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I have had quite a bit of fun with my mannequin lately! This lady used to be a blondie but I gave her a dye job yesterday and now she has black and blue hair! Then I did a thermal set on her (the first picture) and gave her a pinup/rockabilly hairdo! I’m really pleased with how this turned out! ✨💙✨