Tips for Helping Clients Transition to the Dark Side

Scarlett Johansson transitioned to the dark side last spring, but many clients are taking the plunge this fall | Photography: Shutterstock

Autumn arrived heralding a spate of changes including dips in temperature, colorful leaves and shorter days. It’s also the perfect season for clients to reinvent their look with darker hues. To that end, “colorists should always keep hair texture in mind when going from lighter to darker,” says Sharon Dorram, color director at Virtue and owner of Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger. “If the hair is super-porous and over-processed, I prefer to have clients start off with a great conditioning treatment or mask such as Virtue Restorative Treatment Mask, having them undergo the procedure several times before the actual coloring application commences to prepare the hair fibers and ensure they’re in optimum condition.”

Here are Dorram’s additional tips for helping clients successfully transition to the dark side for fall.

1. Once the hair is conditioned, slowly deposit color. Always go two to three shades above natural color, as hair may soak up color quicker if the hair is porous. It is easier to add than take away. “Going gradually darker ensures the hair doesn’t soak up the hue,” says Dorram. “You don’t want it to end up looking matte, flat, monotone or inky. I prefer using a semi-permanent color to add shine and luster,” she adds. “If the hair is thick and healthy, then you can use a more permanent hue to go darker, layering it with the semi-permanent shade to seal in the new darker hue and help prevent color fade.”

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2. In over-processed situations, stylists may need to “fill” the hair so it doesn’t become drab, ashy or green. Dorram’s product of choice when a fill is called for is red henna. “It stains the overly dyed platinum to a warm strawberry blonde shade,” she says. “From here, you can work with any shade of red or brown, from light to dark, to deepen the color.”

3. Apply a demi-permanent rinse as the last step. “This seals in the color and enhances overall shine,” says Dorram.