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Patrick McIvor Guest Blog: Better Summer Hair Color

Given the climate conditions where some of my friends live, it is effectively summer all year round. But for those of us in climates that have a traditional 4 seasons, summer can be more of a 3-4 month time span that can make coloring hair different. In summer, hair color is different from winter hair color, but it has very little to do with the actual formulation that is being used by the salon professional. Instead, it has more to do with how the hair returns to the salon after the guest has been outside. Why? Well, it's mainly because of the season and how it changes the guest’s "normal" routines. Many times the guest is experiencing extended time both in the sun and water, not something that we have to deal with of the effects of Fall, Winter and early Spring. Honestly, even if you live in a more temperate climate, that has more 2 or 3 seasons, the tilt of the Earth still creates a more powerful effect for the sun in the summer, It affects hair color, sometimes for good and sometimes for the worse.

So, first we have to realize that some color can get better with sun, like natural highlighted blondes, some highlighted brunettes. Others like brunette single process or vibrant redheads, can get worse real fast. And the best offense when tackling these challenges can be a good defense.

Hot Tips for Better Summer Hair Color

Glaze Before They Fade Or Go Brassy
Hair color management is a lot like pain management. If you feel a headache coming on and you take an aspirin before it gets bad and you continue if you feel it coming back, you can manage the pain. The same is true with color that is starting to fade or go brassy.  If it’s a little brassy or faded this month, it’s going to be harder to control next month and could even be a corrective situation then too.

History Does Repeat Itself
If the guest’s haircolor faded or went off tone last year, don’t hope for better this year.  Instead, start fighting the fading now before it even starts.

Pick Your Battles
As a general rule for me, once I hit the month of June I don’t lowlight anymore and many times I actually stop in May if I know the guest is going to spend a lot of time in the sun and hates brassiness.  The challenge with lowlights in the summer is that the hair is porous, the sun is stronger and we are trying to get something darker that needs some degree of warmth in it to take naturally or neutrally when we put it in to hold. The odds are stacked against us, so instead I like using level 8 demi-permanent colors that have less warmth than a darker lowlight and place it in-between foils randomly for contrast without having to worry about excessive warmth when it lightens.

Don’t Forget Take Home Care
From color saving shampoos and conditioners, to UV protectant sprays and even color enhancing or brassiness controlling shampoos and conditioners, there are many options that will help make sure the guest’s color lasts. And they work! But like so many doctors who complain that they prescribed the right medicine, but their patients don’t take them and then still complain they have problems, we as salon professionals too do suffer the same challenges. Just make sure you aren't part of the problem. Suggest the proper retail and even better, hand them the products they need or have it at the front desk when they are ready to check out.

2 is better than 1
Make sure the guest is working with you. If the guest doesn’t want to wear a hat when they are outside, or get a glaze, doesn't purchase the right take home haircare or listen to your advice, there is only so much just 1 of you can do.  You are probably fighting a losing battle.  When the guest’s color is challenged by the summer, it’s going to take both of you working together to win.

Summer is coming, and now is the time to plant the seeds to make sure that it will be a beautiful summer and not a total washout. So start talking with your guests and make sure you are both working together to make sure this summer works for their hair! —Patrick McIvor