Hairbrained Runway Edition: Fashion Color & Shadow Roots

A snapshot look at New York City’s fashion week proves that when it comes to hair color, anything goes. And though ever-popular, Instagram-inspired ‘fashion colors’ still reign supreme, they’ve taken a turn, merging with cunningly-placed shadow roots that draw inspiration from a rainbow of hues.

Here, Lupe Voss, Hair Color Magic Owner and Operator, shares her tips and tricks for creating on-trend fashion colors, with a decidedly modern twist.

“To create colors that are a bit more interesting, trying using various combinations and aim to melt them together,” says Voss. 

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Tip 1: Pre-lighten and Prep. Pre-lighten the hair, and before depositing color, prep strands that have become porous during the lightening process. The best way to do this is by coating tresses with a protein-rich, hydrating spray, which will fill in any holes or grooves in the shafts. Properly prepping the hair will help to ensure the longevity of your fashion color.  

Tip 2: Color pallet. Carefully consider your color pallet. Decide whether you’d like a monochromatic shade of varying intensities, or whether you’d like to paint two to three different colors into the hair. Examples are:

  • Monochromatic: Use a single color on the roots, mid-lengths and ends.

    Example: The root will be more saturated (darker), the mid-lengths will be less saturated (medium), and the ends will be the least saturated (light).
  • Two ColorsMix two colors, and vary the saturation.

    Example: If you were to choose red and yellow, you would apply a saturated red to the roots (darker). Next, you would apply a less saturated red to the mid-lengths (medium). Lastly, you would apply the yellow to the ends (light). Alternatively, you could apply red to the roots, only. Then, you would apply a less saturated yellow to the mid-lengths (medium), and an even less saturated yellow to the ends (light). 
  •  Three Colors: To accomplish a tri-color application, you would apply one color to the root, another to the mid-lengths, and a third to the ends.

    For example: The model above has a tri-color melt—blue/violet at the root, violet in the mid-lengths and orange in the ends. All three colors represent the same level of saturation.

Tip 3: Blending. Blend carefully using a tipping technique. Use a one-inch line, and work with care to make sure that the colors don’t neutralize one another.

Tip 4: Shadow root. You can create a point of difference by implementing a shadow root, making sure that the colors are extremely varied.

Example: Take a parting, and apply the new growth color one inch from the new growth. For the next parting, apply new growth color two inches from the new growth. Take a third parting, and apply new growth color three inches from the new growth. Repeat the sequence until you’ve covered the entire head of hair.

Lupe’s Quick Tip: Avoid Color Bleeding. “In order to create a flawless color melt, you’ll want to take extra care when shampooing the hair; I find that it helps to have a second set of hands.” Wrap the ends of the hair in a towel, and thoroughly rinse the root area (or the darkest color) first. Be sure to avoid contact with the medium and light shades. Next, shampoo the mid-lengths, and finally, the ends.

“Make sure to shampoo each section, well, and condition,” finishes Lupe.

Through creative placement, you can create a fresh new look using fashion colors from seasons past. Try melting your colors – and unlock your creative freedom, with ease.


About: Founded by two like-minded hairdressers: Photographer and hairdresser, Randy Taylor, plus world-renowned educator and platform artist, Gerard Scarpaci. Both share a deep love for the industries professionals and the craft alike. @hairbrained_official