5 Questions We Asked a Colourist (+ contest)


How to meet your blond ambition goals

After years of bleaching, wearing extensions and flat ironing my hair, my mane was struggling to regain its strength. Brittle as can be, my hair was screaming for help escaping a dull, yellowish orangey blond. And just when I thought all hope was lost, I got the chance to meet one of the best hair colourists in Montreal (read: the country!) at chic hair salon Orbite (Hallelujah!).


Like an angel sent from above, Susan Carter, haircolourist for L’Oréal Professionnel, greeted me with her expert, analytical eye, ready to do anything to bring my strands back to life. After discussing the condition of my hair at length, followed by an exhaustive search for the colour of my dreams on Pinterest, Carter briefed me on her three-step plan. First, she would redo my blond foundation by eliminating the dull zones as much as possible, and then cut the ends in order to breathe new life into my ‘do. I would then have to come back to maintain the colour—and the ends! —before ultimately getting darker strands in order to add depth and a more natural look to my mane.

Blond being one of the most difficult colours to maintain (it’s also a colour that is very harsh on the hair), making sure that your colourist takes good care of it is key. Carter spent over two hours perfecting my strands on that day, the work of a real pro.

Home or salon colour treatment, which one should you choose? The L’Oréal Professionnel Portfolio colourist gave us the lo-down on the pros and cons.

Why is it better to get our colour done at the salon rather than doing it at home?

It’s better to do your color at the salon than at home for many reasons! First of all, we have different products available to us, which are not available in drugstores.  Those products have varying goals, whether it is to add shine and glow, to cover those first few white hairs, or to cover more resistant white hair.  All these products have different PH and ammonia content. Second, we are experts in understanding the laws of colour and how it works with hair!  We can formulate to give an exact result, and we also know what hair can actually do, and what is not possible! Third, at the end of the day, colour is a chemical service and it can damage hair to no repair, and even break it off if you don’t know the limits.  As professionals, it is our [job] to make sure you leave with hair in better condition than when you walked in the door!


What is the difference between drugstore and salon products?

The main difference between drugstore products and salon products is mainly drugstore products are meant to be one size fits all.  They use a standard volume of developer (peroxide) for all of their products; the main objective is to cover white hair.  At the salon, we have a variety of products with different objectives because we know not all hair is the same!  We can use products with no ammonia or very low ammonia content if that is all that is required to get the result we want.  In the end, this will be softer on your hair.

How often should we pay a visit to our hair colourist?

The ideal frequency would be three to four weeks for reds and blondes. Brunettes can maybe go a little longer, the reason being red tends to be the fastest-changing colour and blondes tend to start with a darker natural colour.  It is much easier to lighten hair with a small regrowth as opposed to a large one.  Brunettes tend to be brunettes naturally, so there won’t be a big discrepancy with their natural colour, unless of course white hair is an issue.  A brunette with a large percentage of white hair tends to come to the salon every three to four weeks.

Are highlights harsher on the hair than a complete dye job?

Overall, it is fair to say that working with lightener for partial highlights will tend to make hair feel a little drier than a global colour. The technology is completely different as lightener’ main objective is to break the colour molecule into tiny fragment to make the overall appearance lighter.  A global colour does not work this way at all. Its main objective is to travel inside the hair cortex and deposit pigment.

What should we do to best protect our coloured hair?

The key to having long lasting colour is to treat your hair as you would a cashmere sweater.  You need the right products for washing and conditioning, in this case, a colour-protecting shampoo like Vitamino Color shampoo and conditioner or if you have a faster fading colour, use a sulfate-free shampoo such as Delicate Color by L’Oréal Professionnel. If you use styling tools, it is imperative that you protect your hair from heat damage, as this will have a direct impact on your colour.  Treat your hair with love and it will give you so much love back!

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