Playing With Color



I have had an amazing year! So far, only one month has fully passed in 2012, but already I have had an amazing time meeting my new mentee, Spread The Love Graduate-Natalie Fox, and all the Salon Centric Consultants in New Orleans, hanging out with some of the greatest Matrix Artistic Educators in Irvine, California and then the rest of the greatest Matrix Artistic Educators in Tampa, Florida.  We have had so much fun celebrating what we can do with haircolor and in between with some friends like Sandra Smith, Derek Rutherford and Julio from Canada, we have been working on some really cool new ideas to celebrate. So, I thought I'd share some of the things we talked about Celebrating Redheads.


Though not the most popular color when you walk down the street, redheads are so important to the success of a salon.  Red may not be the color that everyone asks for, but an amazing redhead is the color that people admire, talk about and notice when they walk in or out of a salon. What are the keys to a great redhead? For me there are two that I focus on - wearability and the second/third reflect.


Salon created redheads have long suffered with the challenge of fadage, and with new technology, education and the right take home products, this is no longer a problem we hairdressers can't fix.  It used to be the color and not having the right products for the guest to maintain what was beautiful in the salon from washing away.  Today with new technology that allows color to "grip" hair in new ways enabling the color to become more stable in the hair and resist fading, combined with Ceramides that help improve hair quality while coloring, fadage is something that is more cause-effect (like going the beach without a hat) than washed away.  I love proving to salons guests that we can create a great fade proof red with the right products - I love Matrix color, as you know, and the right professional products for at home use to maintain color, again I love Matrix.  In three visits, we can create the red they always wanted.  When you want to challenge a guest and show them that you can create the red they have always wanted, tell them to judge your work/their color on not just how it looks when they leave the salon (that should always be great), instead tell them to judge how great their color is by how it looks when they return for their appointment 4-6 weeks later.

The Second and Third Reflect

With redheads, the fact that the hair is red, is not really what your eye is picking up on, it is the second and third reflect that really excites our eyes.  Is it red/red, red/violet, red/orange, red/copper, red/gold or red/brown?  Sometimes even red/copper/copper or red/copper/gold or even red/copper/brown, but it is always the copper, copper/gold or violet that is really grabbing our attention. So, next time you want to have fun with a redhead, play with the second and third reflects - it can make a winter red have new pop for spring summer.

This year I am Celebrating Haircolor all year long and want to share ideas that will have us Celebrating Your Color that you create everyday.  If you have a great tip for redheads, let me know…and the next blog will share ideas for blondes or brunettes.





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As one of the most respected colorists in the industry, the former Color Director for Nick Arrojo and Rodney Culter in NYC, is a cultural junkie inspired by international cosmopolitan influences from fashion and global trends to technology. He specializes in social media and salonable haircolor, and creates new experiential educational formats highlighting technology, technique and culture. The ideas he shares with stylists build business and connects them with community so they can “Take Back The Social Network.”

Get more education from Patrick McIvor at


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Shari Alvarado    
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Houston Texas  |  February, 10, 2012 at 04:00 PM

I do a lot of red. I have also worn a lot of red. A few years ago it was really hot until we started to soften our reds to more strawberry blonde, also a fun color. For my reds I custom mix everything. For a richer red, I also add 1 inch of 2N or 3N to my mix to add depth. I use this one levels 7 to 5. For any darker levels, I mix not only the dark, but I add a splash of intensifier in copper AND blue/red in equal amounts. For many reds, especially on gray clients, I use half copper base and half violet base to counteract that ugly "red wear" I get in a few weeks. The balance wears well, no matter what level. Red is tricky. The trickiest part is to create a color that fades well and the only way I have been able to combat that is with undertone management because that's what reds are about.

Abbey Strine    
Report Abuse  |  February, 13, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Thanks for the great info about redheads. Interesting info on the second and third reflect. I look forward to reading about blondes and brunettes!