Creating low lights with high lift hair colour

23 Feb


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Created as a source of advise education knowledge skill experience a place to share thoughts post comments and idea’s on matters relating to hair colouring skill and techniques and anything industry related.


Low Lights: The  most natural from of High- Low Lights:


When we think about low lights the idea of that natural sun kissed look comes to mind.

Those tones shades that natural lightening created from manipulating the hair’s natural pigment. Enabling us to use those tones just a few shade lighter than our natural base shade that add dimension tone and shine a really natural look.


In so many cases a client will ask for low lights that  give a few shades of lift for a natural look. However on so many occasions.They can end up with a bleach decolouriser cocktail lightening the hair to then have a stylist re add pigment or toner to control the lift. Why can this occur?  How does this happen. Poor consultation. sadly lack of creative skill and technical knowledge.


A Different approach:

Consider this. A natural hair level 1, 2, 3,4,5 These are what would normally be considered as the darker shades. Brown through to Dark brown even black: {Asian hair}


Lifting these shades to get a lighter streaked look can cause problems due once again to the pigment that is going to be exposed through the lifting process.

{We will be at these levels dealing with shades of red and orange!}


To create Low lights that sun kissed look we have to have a target colour in mind. We need to asses the hair so we have a clear idea of the pigment we are going to expose and how we are going to control it!

During this consultation time it should be noted that considering the hair’s history.  This plays a very important role in decisions made has the hair been coloured before? If all over Colour has been applied be it professional or over the counter it will effect the the choices you make and the out come.

You cannot lift colour with colour!! So if a previous chemical history trying to create a low light using  a high lift blonde formulation will not work.


Remember in most cases you cannot lift colour with colour:

{ some products now days will defuse pigment and allow this but i question how good they are}

My reason for raising the above issues are because what i want to suggest is using is


High Lift Blonde permanent colour: to create low lights:


This method dictates  that you fully understand pigment lift deposit. That you trust and understand the pigmentation of your High lift blonde range                    DOES THE PRODUCT

Have enough pigment control to give you the desired tone shade lifting through red and orange?



Above are examples of high lift Blonde shades:

Normally the mixing ratio for these high lift shades is one part colour to two parts 40 Volume Hydrogen Peroxide development time up to 50 Mins {That being 30mins lift 20mins deposit} Heat should not be required { heat can be very bad in the colour process} It can cause bleeds due to product expansion.

You can see the various shades Ash, Beige, Violet. Gold. 100 is a clear. With some products you can us this to get an extra bit of lift maybe a shade, but remember when adding this to a formulation you are diluting down the pigment available in the formulation so if using the clear as a booster no more than 20%  should be used in any formulation.

The 100 series on it’s own will give a nice low light but will not control any pigment exposed it is just lift pigment free. So any lift will create a low light exposed from the natural hair pigment.


Given that most manufactures claim 4 levels of lift from

High lift blonde what can we expect?

Well given a natural level 4 we should be able to get a low light around level 7.

As we know that a natural level 7 has an orange under tone using a formulation with ash should give a nice sandy controlled honey low light .

The 40 volume Hydrogen giving you the four levels of lift the Ash pigment controlling the pigment exposed!


The shades shown are realistic tones that can be reaches with this method. Although using a higher volume of peroxide i think it still better than using a bleach to lift and then re pigment or tone the hair.

Multi shades very natural looking:







Low lights Done with this method have less tendency to fade due to the fact you have worked with the hairs natural pigment base.

Do give it a try although the time for development is longer like most services in a salon time management is key to being a success.

You don’t need to rush or force colour development you just need to manage your time effectively forcing hair colour development with a plastic cap and heat will not improve your colour.

Hair colouring is an equation of formulation lift deposit and timing!

Think of  of it as. Formulation, Mix, Timing!   Just like baking a cake recipe ingredients over temp Timing. perfect cake perfect colour!

have fun let me know how you get on!

Mike B2MR


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