Post-highlight pics & other color ramblings…

31 Jan

As you know, I recently touched up my highlights…

*DISCLAIMER* I am not a cosmetologist & this post was not intended to be used a guide. If you have any doubts or fears regarding color exploration, you should see a licensed colorist. By coloring your hair at home, you assume all risks & responsibilities thereof. There are many variables that determine the outcome of a hair color (such as density/porosity, past chemical exposure) which is why you should do your research & perform a strand test before taking the plunge. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’d like to share my process for choosing these colors…

Hair color is classified in two areas:

  •  Level – the lightness (or darkness) of a particular color. This is measured on a scale from 1-10 (1 being black & 10 being platinum blonde).
  • Pigment – the base tones of a particular color. This aspect of a hair color determines whether that color is warm or cool & is usually represented by a letter (RB for red-brown, Y for yellow, etc.).

So now we know that Honey Blonde (6G) is a level 6, dark blonde w/ golden base tones & Cherrywood (4RC) is a level 6, light brown w/ a red-copper base. 

Back in my permie days, my hair was extremely porous, so the dye always processed quickly & the color was just as vivid as the picture on the box. Why? The chemicals in a relaxer permanently destroy the several layers of cuticle. This process leaves microscopic holes in each strand of hair that enable hair color to penetrate the cortex with a quickness. Adding insult to injury, colors fade faster on overly porous hair because it escapes through those same holes. *WHOMP WHOMP*

Healthy, virgin hair, on the other hand, is resistant to change. Unless it has sustained  severe heat or mechanical damage, it has the strength to resist dye, resulting in under-processed color. I have existing highlights from March 2011, so only portions of my hair are virgin. My natural color is a level 2 (dark brown) & I was striving for a level 3 or 4 reddish-brown. I was never interested in having blonde hair, I just used it to lift some of the darkness, so that the Cherrywood could show. If you wanna see my steps in greater detail, check out this video…

Why highlight your hair at home?

  • I’m tender-headed. One time a stylist INSISTED on pulling my hair through the cap although it was clearly too long for that highlighting method. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. If you’ve ever been stabbed in the head w/ that hair-pulling hook, I know you feel my pain.
  • I’m picky. The last time I got my color professionally done, she put 7 foils in the crown of my head. Before getting started I asked her to place them off-center. Back in those days, I wore my hair parted to the side, so placing them slightly to the left would allow my color to show on both sides of the part. She ignored my request, therefore my highlights were too heavy on one side & too light on the other. *SMH*
  • I’m cheap.That 7 foil highlight job, along w/ my wash & style cost me about $60. That was several years ago, on permed, chin-length hair. Now $60 is just a base rate. They charge extra for curling/straightening/styling your hair, AS IF anyone wants to walk out of a salon w/ wet hair (but trust, I’ve done it before). They also charge more for natural hair & hair past your shoulders. It costs extra to incorporate more than 1 color (highlights & lowlights) & extra if you want color in more than just the crown of your head. Thanks, but no thanks! I used about 30 foils to distribute the color evenly around my head & spent $20 in the process. All I had to buy was the dye because I already owned the other supplies. #WINNING!

How often do you color your hair?

  • Twice a year. I typically wait 6 months in between colorings, but this time I waited 10.

How do you maintain your color?

  • I started using Clairol Textures & Tones after I went natural. I love it because my color does. not. fade. When I had a relaxer I used to use an assortment of  semi-permanent rinses, color-keeping shampoos & tinted conditioners to keep my color vibrant throughout the year.
  • If fading is an issue, then your hair is probably dry. Be sure to deep condition it often (for added moisture) & do a protein treatment every now & then (for added strength).


My color is subtle & not very noticeable indoors…

But this is how it looks on a sunny day…

And my ends are the lightest…


6 Responses to “Post-highlight pics & other color ramblings…”

  1. pgrip February 1, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    thanks for the information on levels and pigments and your hair looks great!

    • Sham February 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

      Thanks Pam!

  2. Roni Lee February 1, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    You hair color is freakin’ amazing! I love your hair! =)

    • Sham February 15, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

      Thanks Roni! If you don’t stop gassing me up, Imma hafta put you on payroll… LOL!

  3. Zoe February 1, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Sham, your hair is amazing. I am a new natural, I have slightly past shoulder length hair and I stopped wearing braids and extensions because my natural hair is very fine and those styles, no matter how fly always thin it out and stress my scalp. Anyway, my hair told me to tell you, it wants to be just like you when it grows up. I love you hair, I love your tutorials. You are beautiful and inspirational. Go head with your bad self girl! Werk!!! (I’m not American – so I hope I said that right???)

    • Sham February 15, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

      ZOE!!! I am soooo excited to hear from you 🙂 Your English is perfect by the way. Everyone thinks fine hair is so cute, but we know the other side of the game, don’t we? Every time I have gotten my hair braided I always had a few slip out… LOL! I gave that up. Have you named your hair yet? You definitely should. Giovanni says “Hi” & we love you back!

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