Living in Color, By Matthew Sco

As a long time colorist, color educator, and now as the manufacturer of Salon Restore® Brand Salon Cleaning Products,  I love to share some of the best tips that helped me to achieve my dreams. I share those tips with you now
Q: “Why do the older stylists say that Filling is ‘complicated’ but they never really explain it to me? Rebecca B. , Sacremento, CA.”

A:  You know what Rebecca, they told me the same thing! I came to believe that the reason they never explained Filling is because they didn’t really understand it themselves. So I’ll tell you, and it’s very simple. Filling is simply replacing the missing underlying pigment. And there are only two times you perform a Filler, either 1: when you are coloring the hair three levels or more darker, or 2: When the hair keeps fading and won’t hold color. But don’t worry too much about example number 2 as the Demi-Permanent color lines of today can refresh the hair in a snap and minimize fading completely (my favorites include VeroChrome Creme Demi and the new Lumishine Liquid Demi). So, when a client comes in and say they are a level 9 or 10 blonde shade and they want to  go to a level 6 or darker. I would suggest first trying a Demi color so they can see what it looks and feels like to be darker and if they don’t like it you can let it fade out, shampoo with clarifying shampoo, and High Light right through it … And Demi Color typically doesn’t need a filler so as long as your formula is “rich” with warmth (gold, copper, or red) you can get good results. But let’s say you’ve already done that and they love being darker and want to be darker permanently. Once you Fill and Color the client permanently you and your client must understand that it will be permanent and not easily changed. As for the formula and technique, consult your color brand, but the general rule of thumb is to replace the underlying pigment of the level you want to go to, or one level lighter – the reason to aim one level lighter is to avoid the hair looking overly red or copper. So, if you want to Fill and Color and client to level 6, you will want to create an Orange Filler, Orange being the underlying pigment of level 7 (remember, think one level lighter than your target for the filler… if are going to a level 6 then you want to replace the underlying pigment of level 7 which is Orange, if your target is 5 you would use Red-Orange,  and if you want level 4 or darker, you generally use Red) When using Permanent color for the tint back, I like to use Permanent color for the filler too, as the dye molecules will better be able to lock in and work with each other.  Demi lines like to tell you that you can fill with them, and you could, but I suggest permanent color is the right choice. Mix your Filler formula with a 5 vol (if you don’t have a 5 vol. you may mix 10 vol. in equal parts with something like Joico’s H.K.P Protein Spray or another Protein or Porosity Equalizer). Important: Filler is not color, so don’t apply it like color. Apply the Filler formula thin and evenly, and then take a dry towel and blot off the excess – you want it to be so thin that in about 10 minutes the Filler feels dry on the hair. After that 10 minutes, you then apply your target color formula right on top – no real need to shampoo- just layer color on top of Filler and then process per normal timing for your color. And that’s it! Easy? Yes. I hope that helps and I thank you for your question!



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