As a recent beauty school graduate, and an editor for MODERN SALON with a HUGE passion for color, I am touring advanced academies, certifications and training programs across the country to give you the need-to-knows on how YOU can be the best hairdresser possible. And? It all starts with education.
I just completed Wella’s Essential Color class held at The Studio in Woodland Hills, California, where I participated in a "boot camp" on Wella’s full house of color: permanent, demipermanent, lightener and special effects… we covered it all. But in order to truly understand the principals of Wella color, and why the color results, when formulated appropriately, are so predictable, one must have a strong foundation of color law—which is why educators Victoria Thurman Hall and Richelle Evans sprinkle in color theory throughout the entire Essential Color class.
click image to zoom After introductions were made, the first thing we dove into was the International Numbering System, pictured here. Once a colorist becomes familiar with this coding system, formulating becomes much easier! Take a look at the picture, then see if you can follow the steps below to learn how to read a number.
7 = Level 7; medium blonde
/ = stroke
4 = primary tone (red)
3 = secondary tone (gold)
If, for example, the 7/43 became a 77/43, that extra 7 does NOT mean double the pigment, it actually means it’s just more intense. You will never see 87/43, however. The number of intensity will always match the level (33/-- or 66/-- or 77/--). Then, we addressed natural level, percentage of gray/white hair, texture, porosity, chemical history, target shades, developer choices and application—all to help colorists new to the line be able to formulate with precision.
VIDEO: Watch Educator Victoria Thurman Hall demo how to determine the hair's natural level, using her hilarious technique: "Spread it thin, put it in, and stick it where the sun doesn't shine."
Then, we jumped into Koleston Perfect and the technology behind the line. Koleston Perfect is the permanent color that has three components behind its Triluxiv Technology.
Koleston Perfect deposits lipids evenly onto the porous parts of the hair and balances the hair structure from roots to ends. This foundation ensures precise navigation of the color pigments into the hair for even and dense distribution.
HDC (High Density Color) Molecules in combination with Koleston Perfect Crème Developer enable the most intense color development. The result is long-lasting, radiant hair color and improved color balance.
The HDC Molecules link to light-reflecting shields in the cuticle of the hair for color brilliance. The hair is left in better condition, is more brilliant, lasts long and is full of shine.
There are six tonal families under Koleston Perfect:
Pure Naturals: Pure natural-looking color from radiant blonde to full, dark tones with total gray/white coverage. Pure and true.
Rich Naturals: Natural-looking color with refined, fashionable accents. Elegant and sophisticated.
Vibrant Reds: Expressive and distinctive reds from luminous copper to exciting violet.
Deep Browns: A wide range of brunettes from cool and sophisticated to warm and seductive.
Special Blonde: Seductive blondes—pure and expressive. For clear, shimmering blonde effects.
Special Mix: Provocative, creative and unique. Pure mix tones that expand tonal creativity.
KOLESTON PERFECT STATS
Koleston Perfect Pastel Crème Developer
1:1 for “normal coloring”
|Processing Time on regrowth with No Heat||
30-40 minutes for “normal coloring”
Up to 100%
Permanent (with regrowth)
|Levels of Lift||
|Degree of Commitment||
|Service Opportunities: Transformation
- 100% gray coverage
Next up? Color Touch. This is Wella’s demipermanent line that was developed to complement and match Koleston Perfect—working together with the same shades and numbering system as in the permanent color... which definitely makes it easier to find the right Color Touch and Koleston Perfect match—with the exception of Special Blondes. Color Touch uses Light2Color Complex, which creates plays of light in the hair resulting in highs and lows that shine through for iridescent, hyper-natural results.
Three light-reflecting color ingredients help to deliver multidimensional color:
Oxidative colors Partly penetrate the hair’s fiber for lasting color richness
Direct Dyes Deposit within hair’s cuticle for shine and color brilliance
Glimmer Pigments crystal structure is highly reflective
Color Touch changes the way light interacts with color in three ways:
• Fiber proteins smooth the hair creating a flatter surface that better reflects lights
• Natural waxes leave the hair exceptionally shiny—illuminating colors in different lights
• The ammonia-free formula won’t compromise the hair’s natural internal structure
COLOR TOUCH STATS
1.9% (6 volume)
|Processing Time without heat||
15 minutes (with an optional additional 5 minutes)
Blends up to 50%
Up to 4 to 6 weeks with little to no regrowth
|Levels of Lift||
|Degree of Commitment||
|Service Opportunities: Enhancement
Following Koleston Perfect and Color Touch, educators Victoria and Richelle gave us all the need-to-knows on Color Touch Relights—which, full disclosure—was a little confusing for me and our class to understand at first. It is a demipermanent chemical service that can be used following a color service to enhance and refresh color, shine and gloss.
The Smart Selective Formula in Color Touch Relights acts on the porosity of highlited hair and guarentees shading or refreshing of blonde and other fashion highlights. What does this really mean? Hair color or highlights are refreshed, pumped up and embellished while the surrounding hair gets a shine without changing its color.
Relights cannot, however, be mixed with products from another line such as Color Touch or Koleston Perfect. Relights is acidic (where Color Touch is alkaline) and is designed to close the cuticle (alkalines open the cuticle). Relights is perfect for someone with breakage and split ends, as it repairs the hair and closes the cuticle, or is perfect for someone looking to really enhance their color following, or in between, a service.
COLOR TOUCH RELIGHTS STATS
Color Touch Emulsion
|Processing Time with No Heat||
Blondes: 5-10 minutes
|Longevity||Up to 4 to 6 weeks depending on texture and porosity|
|Levels of Lift||
|Degree of Commitment||
|Service Opportunities: Enhancement||
After going through the color lines, we then were introduced to the full spectrum of blondes from warm up to the coolest tone. There are currently four lightener options under the Wella umbrella: Extra Cool Blonde Powder, Blonde Seal & Care, Multi Blonde Powder, and Soft Blonde Cream.
Each one has its own perks, but they all have the same strength (up to 7 levels of lift). In fact, one of the color theory topics we discussed in the class was the importance of understanding developer strengths when using lightener. Often, colorists have the misconception that they need to use high volumes of developer when, in fact, a lower volume would do the trick AND maintain the integrity of the hair.
Educator Victoria gives an interesting analogy to help digest the information: High developers are like using a jackhammer to create the statue of David out of a piece of marble. Low developers are like using a chisel and a mallet. Though it’s slower, it’s much less erratic than a high volume and can ensure successful results. “My dad always said, ‘If you don’t have the time to do it correctly now, when will you have the time to go back and do it again?’” she says. In other words, take your time... if it's a gradual progression that takes longer, take pride in knowing you took the appropriate steps in maintaining the hair's integrity... AND, you can ALWAYS charge more for the extra steps it'll take to get your client to that level she's looking for.
The four options when choosing a lightener:
|Extra Cool Blonde Powder||
For visibly cooler blonde results, a 2-in-1 technology of lift and light cool blonde toning in one step. Suitable for natural and pre-colored hair from the tone depth of 4-8. Perfect for highlighting techniques and full head applications. Recommended to mix with Blondor Multi Blonde Powder for a softer coolness.
|Blonde Seal & Care||
Conditioning treatment for lightened hair that locks in blonde color and adds shines. It has a double benefit when used with the Extra Cool Blonde Powder by conditioning while acting as a sealant to lock in the special dyes.
|Multi Blonde Powder||
Has Anti-Yellow-Molecules Technology for even blonde results—perfect for on- and off-scalp application.
|Soft Blonde Cream||
Gentle to hair and scalp with protecting lipids and chamomile extract. Especially recommended for on-scalp treatments. Great for color correction.
Now that the class was up-to-date on lightening, we launched into one of the most exciting, yet definitely intimidating/fascinating!, topics: Wella’s Magma Ultra Lifting Powder Color—which, first and foremost, is a lightener, NOT color. However Magma allows colorists to lighten hair up to 6 levels while depositing vibrant color in one step.
I know you’re probably thinking, “Whhhaaaaaaa???!!” Don’t worry, that’s what we were thinking too! Usually if you add lightener to color, the lightener eats through the color, right? Well with Magma, which uses Oxyresistan Technology, these direct dyes and pre-colored, micro-dispensing dyes, do not react to oxidation. This means they are visible in the powder of Magma, and though exposed to the lightening action, will not be eaten or change color. The lightening effect of Magma is permanent.
All Magma shades can be intermixed for unlimited creative color effect—but this isn't for clients who like to switch it up. This is a service for the client who commits to color—as you can either color over the deposited color with a darker color, you can never lighten what has been deposited through Magma as the dyes are resistent to lightener. One thing to ALWAYS keep in mind... this is LIGHTENER, NOT COLOR. So be very careful as to not reapply lightener to previously lightened hair unless the hair's integrity analyzed first.
I'm seriously excited about Magma, but will be sure to do my full research first—as this is an entirely new category in the color market!
After we got the full breakdown of the color lines, and several hours of theory, we moved into the hands-on studio! This was such a fun part of the day. Victoria and Richelle let us "play" with the color on swatches to experience creating color.
Today was what I like to call a Wella Hair Color Boot Camp. I am so thrilled I attended this class—not only for the Wella knowledge but for the huge, kick-in-the-butt refresher on color theory and color law. The Studio in Woodland Hills, California, is PACKED with classes to help colorists, no matter the age or experience level, be the best colorists possible. For more info, and future course dates, "like" The Studio on Facebook at facebook.com/thestudiosusa.
VIDEO: Hear from Educator Victoria Thurman Hall on why you should attend a Wella educational class AND all the different options out there for you to become the best hairdresser possible... and it all start with education.