Colour matching tricky blondes: Blonde highlighted hair

When it comes to colour matching for clients, some are certainly more challenging than others.  There is no question that arriving at the door of a client with black hair is set to be a much simpler process than a client with blonde highlights, however there are steps you can take to deal with this issue.

So, as a hypothetical situation you arrive at a client’s home, and see that she has blonde hair with a number of different highlights.  As an example we have chosen a picture of  Jennifer Aniston, famous for her character Rachel Green in NBC show Friends, and someone who regularly changes her hair, however always sticks to a variation of blonde highlights and lowlights.  After discussing the extensions with your client you pull out your colour ring and struggle to match as confidently as you might when matching a brunette for instance.  There is no need to be disheartened however, as there is a solution to this problem.

Firstly, you need to identify which colours are a close match to your client’s hair using your chosen colour ring.  You may not be able to get an exact match straight away due to the mix of colours, but there will always be a close match.

Choosing colours

Make sure you pick a minimum of 3 colours.  You will want to pick the clients base colour first, as this is usually the easiest, and generally found at the back underneath section and up at the roots.  Often with blonde highlighted hair, the base colour is their natural shade which are sometimes not as vivid in colour as coloured hair.  Don’t worry about this too much as this colour will mainly be placed underneath and therefore if the colour has slightly more depth than their natural shade this will still look absolutely fine in most cases.  You will then want to locate the lightest shade, usually found at the front of the face where a higher degree of highlights have been placed, or exposure to the sun which can lighten hair.  Once you have found the lightest shade you then need to look for the third colour, the most important colour.

The importance of the third colour is the key to the hair extensions looking natural and blending.  This third colour should be a shade that is in-between the base colour and the highlighted colour you have chosen.  This does not need to match the hair exactly, but needs to be a neutral colour that does not stand out too much against the 2 colours you have picked.  For example a common mix may be base of 8, highlights of 16 and a third shade of 14.  As colour 8 and colour 16 are distinctly different, the 3 shade which is in-between the 2 colours will prevent the hair from looking stripy and unnatural.

By using a selection of 3 colours, all very close to the client’s colours, you will not need to worry about a colour match, as you have enough variation to ensure a natural blend.  You can of course use more than 3 shades if the client has a higher mix of colour, but a minimum of 3 should be stuck to as a general rule.

Purchasing your hair and quantities of colour

When faced with this kind of situation, it is always better to be prepared, and therefore we would recommend purchasing equal amounts of each colour.  By over compensating in quantity you will not have to worry about running out or miss-judging the ratios of colours, which will make for a far more relaxed fitting.  Any excess hair can then be returned to the supplier (if it has remained in its packaging unused) or kept to one side as spares for similar clients that may arise in the future.

Not even a close colour

If you have not been able to find even a close match, this will most likely be due to the colour of the clients hair, for example, some blondes can have a khaki tone if they have not been done correctly, which could not be matched with hair extensions.  Similarly, the client may be a brighter, lighter blonde than what you have to work with from your supplier(s).

In these instances honesty is the best policy.  You will need to explain to your client that whilst you have been able to find similar colours, you are not able to find a perfect match due to the unusual tone of their own hair. If the client would still like the extensions fitted you will need to discuss additional colouring options which could be to have additional highlights put in once the extensions are fitted to pull the colours together, or for the client to re-dye their hair to try to find a more suitable match.  If the client’s hair is brighter/lighter than the extensions you have available, you can suggest the client uses a silver shampoo to lift the yellow tones from the extensions.

If opting for any of these options, you would need to make sure you client is fully informed on the negative impact colouring techniques can have on the extensions, and that colouring after the extensions are fitted would be at their own risk, and you would recommend they seek a reputable salon for this if you are not able to offer this service yourself.

You would also need to ensure that your customer disclaimer includes information on the colour match, and that the client is aware that a colour match has not been located, but she is happy for the fitting to take place.

By following these steps you are ensuring your client is completely informed on the process of colour matching, and is aware of any limitations or complications.  This also covers yourself in knowing that the client has understood the process and happy to continue.

Following these simple steps should help to take the pressure out of more complicated colour matches, and the more you do, the simpler this process will become.