Want to know how you can get the best results when using vivid colour on Afro hair? We asked the pros to share their tips to help give you confidence and diversify your salon services.
Image credit: Tim Scott-Wright
Consultation is Crucial
As with any colour consultation, you will need to assess the hair’s health and condition as this will directly impact your results. One thing to look out for is if your client has previously coloured their hair. “You must make sure that the hair’s condition is suitable and strong enough to take the colour,” says Lathaniel Chambers, Avlon Educator. So, it’s important to ensure that you are open, honest and clear during the consultation so you and your client know what to expect.
It’s also beneficial to find out your client’s aftercare plans and how dedicated they will be to maintaining the look. Claire Martin, stylist at Salon 64 Soho, advises: “Ask whether they are committed to looking after their hair even after the colour appointment.”
For Afro textured hair, it’s generally beneficial to specifically assess features such as whether your client has regular deep treatments, breakage, loosened curl patterns and the hair’s porosity in addition to what you regularly look out for during colour consultations. Melissa Timperley, owner of Melissa Timperley Manchester, recommends the ‘4 Cs’ method; cut, colour, condition and care.
Ensuring Your Colour Results are Vivid
As Afro textured hair is naturally darker, you’ll need to lift so the vivid shades can pop. “Pre-lightening creates a clean base for the colour to be applied to,” explains Lathaniel. Melissa adds: “It’s good to use a low developer to pre-lighten, going low and slow.”
Additionally, the desired colour shade determines your pre-lightening method. “For warm colours, such as coppers and reds, I only pre-lighten to a warm yellow or orange undertone. So, the background undertone is enhanced by the actual colour pigment,” says Claire. “For vivid fashion colours like purple, blue, pink and neon colours, you should tone the hair after lightening. This is an attempt to cancel out any warmth and leave a white canvas.”
It’s also important to note the way that Afro textured hair absorbs colour. “Although Afro hair will soak up colour like a sponge, its structure means that bleach can take a while to penetrate through to the cortex,” Tim Scott-Wright, Schwarzkopf Professional Ambassador and owner of the Hair Surgery, explains. This quick absorption means that it’s important to reapply the colour a few times. What’s more, Claire advises that between lightening the hair and applying the colour, you should dry the hair to help provide optimum absorption.
Sophia Hilton, Founder of Not Another Salon, adds: “I recommend to just do the lightening process once – you only need to lift the hair one or two shades to get something completely different.” It’s essential to note that the colour will take a long time to lift initially, but once it starts, it will lift quickly.
Speaking of shades, have you seen the new Pantone Colour of the Year?
Maintaining moisture after colouring Afro textured hair is key to achieving the best results, so using oils will undoubtedly provide and retain the hair’s moisture. Claire recommends the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate System as it restores the hair's pH, and the bonding care complex keeps disulphide bonds intact, so the curl pattern is maintained.
Meanwhile, Tim suggests: “Use a plastic cap while bleaching the hair to ensure it doesn’t dry out, and avoid using products with a high alcohol content as this will also dry the hair out.” And to finish? Consider deep conditioning treatments for added moisture.