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Colour Balancing: Colour retention condition


 Created as a source of advise education knowledge skill experience:

mike vallance

Colour Balancing:

Colour retention condition


As stylist how much consideration do we give the idea of Colour balancing should we be bothered with mixing up a different colour formulation that will not compromise the condition of the clients hair.

Does it take more time?

Is it cost effective?


Why should colour balancing be considered as the norm not the exception.

We firstly have to consider or ask the question. What is colour balancing?




For many this is something that is carried out as part of any normally colour service being delivered, sadly this is still not always the case. Consider when re doing a permanent colour application its normally a regrowth or root issue along with fading of past colour.

Colour fading is normally caused by long term over processing lack of condition and moisture in the hair. How does this happen? A client comes in to get her roots done and have her colour refreshed. The stylist delivers a consultation and the colour is recommend based on clients wishes, having considered skin tone, eye colour all the area’s that one should consider including if applicable percentage of grey hair. The over processing takes place when the wrong formulation is used on the mid lengths and ends over time this leads to the hair not being able to hold onto the colour and it fades [Tyrosine one of the amino acids and is responsible for colour retention]

Alterego itlay porduct lines


Grey hair requires a different formulation depending on the percentage some time this means mix different root formulation to address any given zone on the head. Delivering a great colour experience is all about knowledge skill and the right products. The normal rule of thumb with a Grey formulation is dependant on the assessment of Grey percentage  and what ever that assessment is the formulation will require that amount of the N series for the roots application {This formulation should not then be used to colour balance or as a root application on the area that are not grey}


Here is an example of a re -growth colour formulation with 25% Grey hair.

The formulation: Working with assessment of 25% we have to include some of our N series in the formulation to replace lacking pigment, this will give our colour depth of shade and tone without drab-ing out our target colour our vibrant copper, the models natural hair is level 7.

6 grams of 7N 25% + 18 Grams of 7.43 { Copper Gold } total 24 grams less tan 1 ounce or a third of a tube!  for our roots application we will be using 6% or 20 volume developer 36 grams just over 3 oz  total formulation for root application 60 grans 2 ounces. This formulation will also expose the natural warm pigment found at this level, we are opting to utilise the pigment exposed at this level. process time 35 Mins so we have to work fast with our colour balancing.


The client has come in for her colour the formulation for the re-growth or root application has been worked out and applied the right amount of product having been mixed for this application. The normal process time for a root application using a 6%0r 20 volume is 35mins. Plenty of time to think about the mid lengths what do they need to refresh them. What condition are they in? How do they look and feel? How much fading has your client experienced over the last weeks? It is with this information you make your decision on a formulation options that will best address the issues and help with the colour retention. Semi permanent. Demi permanent. Colour re-fresh with colour conditioning gloss. the whole process can develop at the same time efficient planning and application. The most important tool we have have is knowledge skill and continued education this is what enables us to make an informed decision as to what might be the best way to proceed.


The choices of semi or demi application what ever the application choice you should be able to explain options to a client. What are the features and benefits? How will it help them? With such is a minefield of products shades on the supermarket shelf all claiming that they can get great results at home. A stylist cannot afford to create hair colour that fades looks dull and seems like a waste of money.


Colour balance formulation following on from above root application

I am going to use two products by Alterego Italy and formulation  one will be there Techno fruit” with only 10 volume or 3% developer for deposit only the other will be using a direct dye, The Passion colour mask a gentle deposit only colour.

My first colour balance formulation is 8.4 yes one shade lighter than the roost the ends are faded they don’t require more lift and the this will balance perfectly with our roots application, given the lift we will be getting from our 20 volume or 3% root application.

Formulations: 8.4 25 grams. Developer mixing ratio 1 to 1.5 developer 37 grams or just over 1 ounce. Total product 62 grams. Again just over 2 ounces. Finally I also want to add some texture and vibrancy to this colour balancing with our passion colour mask this come directly from the pump applicator into a bowl for this I have mixed two shade together caramel 15 grams 1/2 ounce and Orange 15 grams 1/2 ounce mixed well together I check the shade chart to make sure that these two shades complement each other when mixed.


My goal was to apply the two formulations at the same time working the 8.4 formulation in med length to ends and pulling out selected free hand style chunks an d running the brighter “Passion mask” formulate through these areas I pulled out or selected the lighter or more faded strands for the brighter formulation.

*In total we used less than 2/3 of a tube of  “Techno fruit” permanent colour.

* 1 ounce of “Passion colour mask”

*just over 2 ounces of developer  3% and 6% this was an application on shoulder length hair this ratio make the product very appealing when looking at salon costing essential in the salon today, mixing the right amount to give adequate satiation is essential to often to much product is mixed and wasted this cost the salon greatly over a year. Process time for the roots application 35mins for the colour balancing 30 mins speed is essential when doing this sort of application as is being thorough with ones application preparation time for mixing and being organised hep greatly with this.


Finally rinse off working the colour up to lift it from the skin /scalp prior to washing and conditioning prior to styling.

The Alterego Italy professional colour ranges afford a stylist some many options so much choice. For this exercise we will be look at using Techno Fruit a professional permanent colour that can also be use dot colour balance and refresh. Its is a low ammonia based hair colour supported with the {KDS} Keratin delivery system with many additives to help with moisture and condition. Garcinia Mangosteen anti ageing qualities. also other conditioners and softeners.



The formulate for the mid lengths and ends would be target colour mixed with only 3% or 10 volume some might say that this formulation will still lift the hair and to some degree they would be correct the thinking being that 3% or 10 volume will expose pigment at the level you are working in. However with todays pigments being only partially oxidised they require a certain amount of hydrogen peroxided to work with or develop the colour molecule this is counters by the added ingredients of the colour cotton oil. linseed oil, honey, coconut oil. We have to trust in the product we use and the choices we make, we also need to make sure that we read an digest the technical manual.


Recently whilst refreshing colour I used the Techno fruit on the roots with a 25% Grey formulation and then colour balanced with just my target colour.

I then to give some more dimension I used the “Passion colour mask” This is an ammonia free product that is direct dye or fully developed colour molecule with a shorter process time of about 15 minutes it will only deposit in the cuticle layer of the hair it and also has a low Ph so keeps the cuticle closed.  I applied my Techno fruit mid lengths to ends but left out some chunks these. I applied a brighter more vibrant passion colour mask too it gave great dimension and is great for refreshing and colour balancing. It also provides the option to customise the shade you want to mix.If doing this always measure tout your formulation and keep up to a dye records to be able to emulate it.

It would be wrong of me not to mention demi lotion a another option offered in some colour rages this again has a low volume of developer to work with the colour molecule wand will provide tone on tone colour deposit.


Final thought:

Over the years hair coloring techniques. What we do with hair colour and dye has become more and more skill and product knowledge focused. With these changing times and demands comes the pressure of staying current in both techniques application and product chemistry. The constant demands for new looks for individual looks requiring new techniques and skills ones that allow us to create new looks to correct and possible camouflage poorly or badly done hair colour.


These demands have to be met by the manufacturer with the products they provide us and the support they give both salon an stylists by offering education events and training.


This is why I am so enjoying discovering all the amazing possibilities that Alterego Italy offer to me and you, with their comprehensive range of products offering a product for every situation even look every hair type, the support and education they offer to the professional innovative creative and inspiring.


Remember always carry out a strand test.Get professional advise or a consultation. For those wanting to try a darker shade. Without care thought and attention to the process a Gothic look caused from going to dark can happen. Bad hair Bad High lights can be quite common place,always research your products think about your formulations.


For more information on the products or the Brand new Uk Academy here is the contact information:Phil Clark

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