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How to Apply Color Products

From temporary to permanent, we take a look at how to effectively apply the most popular color products.

The method of applying a hair coloring product will vary depending on the desired effect, product used and hair type. There are however, general rules and techniques that can be applied in most instances; these have been developed for use in modern salons using the latest hair colors and lighteners. In all cases protective gloves should be worn. Do not use a strong acid conditioner where red tones have been added to the hair, these can cause premature loss of red pigments.

Plant-Based Color
Hot water is added to this product prior to application; make sure that this has cooled down before applying on to the hair.
  • Pre-wash and towel dry the hair
  • Start on top of the head by taking a triangle section
  • Apply the product on the full section
  • Place the section round the top of the head
  • Work around the head, taking more sections and place them on top of the previous colored sections
  • Work your way down until all the hair is covered

Temporary Color
Conditioners and lotions containing added pigments should normally be applied to pre-shampooed, towel dry hair. Excess moisture will dilute the product. Setting lotions or rinses should normally be applied directly from the bottle or applicator. Spread the product through the hair using a comb and process for the indicated time. Thoroughly rinse out shampoos and conditioners; setting lotions are leave-in products.

In the case of coloring gels or paints, these should be directly applied to dry, styled hair. If necessary, use fingers or a styling brush to distribute evenly.

Semi-Permanent Color
This color group does not normally include added ammonia-based ingredients or hydrogen peroxide. Care should still be taken not to get chemicals on to the face or neck or on to clothing.

  • Pre-wash and towel dry the hair
  • Divide the hair into sections for overview 
  • Deposit the product on the hair with a brush or application bottle 
  • Use the tail of the comb only to divide the sections
  • Emulsify or distribute evenly with a wide toothed comb

Demi Permanent Colors
These products will normally use a weak hydrogen peroxide solution; apply a skin protection cream around the hairline and use protective clothing.

  • Divide the hair into sections for overview 
  • Do not take sections wider than 1-2 inches, depending on hair thickness
  • Deposit the product on the hair with the brush or application bottle
  • Use the tail of the comb or brush to divide the sections
  • Emulsify or distribute evenly with a wide toothed comb

Permanent Color
Permanent color requires the use of peroxide-based chemicals, hence special care needs to be taken when applying these. Before application a barrier cream may be used around the hairline to protect the skin on the face and neck.

A wide range of techniques are available to the hairdresser, these will partly be influenced by whether the hair has been previously colored or not.

Oxidative Tints

  • Divide the hair into sections for overview 
  • Do not take sections wider than 1 inch, depending on hair thickness
  • Deposit the product on the hair with a brush
  • Use the tail of the brush only to divide the sections of hair
  • Do not comb through