Hair color is incredibly cool this season. Daring bold reds and rich browns are joined by new trends of (temporary) bright blues and purples. To help us break down the techniques behind the funky, fierce shades, we enlisted the help of Clairol Professional celebrity colorist Kiyah Wright to help us figure out how to work the top looks. Wright says to “always consult a professional stylist” when considering a new hue, but gave us some great tips for those at-home hair warriors.
EBONY: What are the top color trends for fall?
Kiyah Wright: Reds are really back. Bold colors are really trending again. The style trends are infused with tons of turquoise and bold purples, so bold reds are a really great look for hair. Red-copper, red-gold, red-violets and red-browns are all popular. Adding a red rinse or semi-permanent is also good way to tone down a loud blonde.
EBONY: Reds are hard to maintain. What’s the best way to keep them vibrant?
Kiyah: Reds tend to fade the fastest. My tip is to create your own shampoo rinse. Take an applicator bottle and mix about ¼ cup of shampoo with ¼ cup of a semi-permanent rinse and create your own shampoo rinse. As you cleanse your hair, you’ll also be depositing fresh color onto your strands.
EBONY: What’s the best way to achieve a color that really pops?
Kiyah: You need to lift the hair, first. Possibly to a level 8. Follow it up with a semi-permanent like Clairol Professional Jazzing, which adds richness and hydration to the hair. It’s a two part process to get really eye-popping color.
EBONY: Concerning the ever-popular ombre trend, what are some tips to really mastering this look?
Kiyah: Ombre is really nothing more than a technique. It became somewhat of a trend and I did it for Ciara earlier this year at the Grammys because she really wanted something drastic. We’re moving into fall and a lot of people went really drastic with the jet black and blonde combo, and now people are suffering from a lot of hair loss and breakage. It was too much. Way over the top. If you want to tone it down, put a semi-permanent on top of it and drop it down a few shades. A lot of people are doing blonde browns.
EBONY: Can you explain how to do the new chalking method of coloring?
Kiyah: First, you have to make sure that you lighten your hair – primarily your ends – to a bleach blonde. The chalking is done with sidewalk chalk. You can literally go into your local store and get regular chalk. Go with the bolder colors like turquoise or green. You straighten your hair, first, then you dampen the ends and you just kind of roll the chalk down the shaft of the hair. You can literally brush it out. It’s very temporary and only lasts for a few days. It depends on how porous the blonde is.
EBONY: What tips do you have for naturals who have never colored their hair?
Kiyah: If you’re natural and you’re a color virgin, you’ll need to use 30 volume developer (a crème or liquid that lifts your natural hair color). Get it up to a caramel brown (level 8). You can stain it once you’ve lifted the color.
EBONY: Are there any secret celebrity tips to getting great color?
Kiyah: A lot of celebrities don’t really want to put color on their hair. These girls are getting their hair done every day. This is why you typically see them wearing wigs and weaves. Katy Perry can pop in all of this color every two weeks, but our hair – ethnic hair – isn’t strong enough to color it every couple of weeks, so we have to have alternatives. The secret is to use extensions.
EBONY: What are the keys to properly coloring extensions?
Kiyah: If it’s pre-colored already, then you can’t color it. Make sure that it’s virgin hair and do a strand test with your color to see if it will lift. Always use 30 volume developer. A 20 volume developer won’t give you enough lift.
EBONY: Which products should color gurus keep in their arsenal?
Kiyah: They should definitely have a hydrating shampoo and conditioner. Make sure your products are formulated for color-treated hair, but make sure not to use them on extensions, because it won’t have much body. Use a regular cleansing shampoo on the extensions. Also, don’t use conditioner on extensions – just a little leave in conditioner. Any little bit of product weighs it down.
EBONY: What’s your ultimate top tip to maintaining color-treated hair?
Kiyah: It’s really important to condition your hair when you have color. For those that heat-style, I tell them to put olive oil on the ends of their hair, but not too close to the roots. It will weight your hair down. Naturals can use it all over because the hair tends to be dryer. Saran wrap your hair and walk around for a few hours. Or you can do a great hair mask. You should absolutely be conditioning your color-treated hair every time you wash it.