Rooty blondes 101:

I came up this this concept about 4-5 years ago when ombre was just starting to trend. Everyone was moving away from the traditional weave of 2 highlights to one low light, and moving towards this grown out look. We called it “organic” “Lived in” “dip dyed ends” “Sombre” and so on. We just kept re-inventing the the ombre based on what was trending. I myself wear hair extensions, you see I have this problem with my real hair where it only grows about 6 inches all over my head creating sort of a mullet effect…Remember that flippy Meg Ryan cut? I rocked that for years because thats how my hair grew. Ok so that was over a decade ago, and I was determined to have Victoria Secret Hair.

Here was the problem with that fabulous ombre everyone was rockin, I just didn’t have enough natural length to ombre. If you have short layers in your hair and try to ombre the extension hair, your layer ends before the ombre ends in the extension hair.  This creates a dark window where you can see the end of your real hair and where the extension hair starts. You can imagine how this was not creating that seamless blend I needed for my extensions. I was determined to have this grown out look. So I began rooting everyone. From here it began to evolve into a creative hand painting piece of art.

How many times do we have clients who bring in photos of long balayge hair ( Guy Tang 😉 and say “see something like this”. I try to communicate to my clients that it is hard to create this look when they only have 4 inches of hair to work with. This is when I recommend a soft rooted look. 9 out of 10 times they are just looking for a softer grow out.

The Solution:

I am very much a foil girl. I think because working with my own hair and others like me I prefer the control in a foil and it is faster for me. However I also love balayge and have learned many different ways to get from point A to point B, as have many good artists. To create this soft rooted look on both these clients I started with baby lights. What is a baby light? This is great for clients that you have been doing just a base color on and they are starting to look a little brassy on top. This is also great if you are not doing a base and just want to bring up the highlights a little.

I start on the part and slice out sections while weaving out a very tiny piece. ( remember, your not going for a ton of coverage, so your foils don’t need to be back to back.) This helps to break up the root. The only way to get out of the red or orange phase is to lift past it, into to pale yellow phase. Then tone over to soften your lines. I prefer to tone at the shampoo bowl. I don’t Say the word “tonner” to my blondes 😉 I Just tell them we are softening or smudging the roots a bit. I use Redken Shades to do this and watch for 3-5 minutes. Remember many think to tone with ash…but we are not trying to remove warm tones because we have already lifted into the pale yellow or even white phase. We are depositing color. One rule that works for me is lift with ash deposit with warmth. That being said my tonnes are typically warm, unless we are trying to achieve a silver or grey effect.

After I have done my baby lights I then go in with my base color. I also like to look at the ends of the hair. One thing I see a lot after a client has gone 6-10 weeks, is the ends are too light and the roots are to dark. This is why I add light to the top and then Balayge the last five minutes on some of the ends with redken shades EQ to give them a little dimension and tone down the ends a little. This will take them from brassy to classy.

All of these clients are wearing NBR hair extensions which I have costume colored to match their real hair. Remember to stay tuned to my blog every night this week, I will be sharing a new hair tip.

Happy Painting Visual Artists!