7 Tips for Achieving Metallic Silver Hair

Colin Caruso (@colincaruso) knows a thing or two about color. As the Artistic Director of Color for John Paul Mitchell Systems, he’s constantly experimenting with new ways to achieve the hottest trends. American Salon caught up with Caruso at Salon CARU, his quaint salon in Hoboken, New Jersey, to learn more about Paul Mitchell’s Muted Metallics Collection, and hear his tips for achieving the silver shades your clients are craving. Check out the video below and jot down these tips for later.

START WITH A BLANK CANVAS. In order to achieve the best result with metallic silver, starting with a blank canvas is key. Caruso calls on Paul Mitchell Dual Purpose Lightener to give his clients the highest level of lift while maintaining the hair’s integrity.

PRE-TONE THE HAIR. When depositing a fashion color, it’s important that the canvas is both clean and consistent. After lightening to the desired level, Caruso uses Paul Mitchell Flash Finish in Icy Blue-Violet to remove any unwanted yellow without dropping the level. BONUS: It processes in five minutes so it’s easy to apply at the shampoo bowl.

SHAMPOO THOROUGHLY. After toning, Caruso likes to work with a post-color shampoo to ensure that the dye molecules stop working. Often times, when toner isn’t washed completely out it interacts with color application and leads to an unwanted finished result.

FOCUS ON ZONES. Caruso says colorists often forget about zones. He likes to look at the client’s hair from a birds-eye view and divide their hair into a top, middle and bottom—this will help add dimension to your silvers and also provide structure for your application. Note: Don’t overcomplicate the sectioning because you need to remember what you did when your client comes in for a touchup.

USE YOUR HANDS. A brush is great for precision application but when it comes to saturating each section to ensure even color deposit, your hands are the best tool you have. If you’re using your hands, you’ll be able to feel if something isn’t fully saturated.

KEEP YOUR COMB WITH YOU. Rather than putting your comb down in between sections, keep it in your hand while you paint. It will require some practice, but it will eventually help you speed up the application process. When you’re working with silvers, it’s crucial to be quick.

DON’T PAINT BY NUMBER. “As colorists, we consider ourselves artists, but we follow the same patterns,” Caruso says. “If you’re an artist, don’t paint by number.” Instead, choose your colors, develop a concept and then work with the hair as you go. “Knowing how to do something makes you capable, knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing makes you professional,” he adds.