8 Highlight & Glossing Tips From Celebrity Colorist Tracey Cunningham
8 Tips For Naturally Beautiful Blends: Foils, Paint & Gloss
When clients come in requesting naturally dimensional blends, they’re most likely bringing in a screenshot of Tracey Cunningham’s (@traceycunningham1) celebrity clients—think Jessica Biel, Lily Aldridge, J Lo and Khloe Kardashian. That’s why we snagged Tracey’s best highlight and glossing tips from her live class at Redken Symposium 2019. Plus, Khloe’s platinum blonde color formulas! Scroll for it all.
1. Highlights > Base Bump
If your brunettes want to go lighter, don’t lift the base—do a full highlight and gloss. This will not only make you more money, but also prevent unwanted warmth. “Colorists are superheroes fighting red,” shares Tracey.
2. Control The Color
Tracey always highlights her clients from roots to ends. After the hair is lightened, you will have a better canvas to control the color results at the end using Redken Shades EQ. Then, go back in and apply a darker gloss to the root for a more lived-in look.
3. Tip Out The Ends
Prefer foils but looking for blended balayage results? After highlighting Zones 1 and 2, Tracey will balayage the ends and secure in foil. This will achieve that same balayage effect by using foil highlights and only tipping out the ends.
4. Foil Placement
Don’t place all the foils on the top, but go off the hairline and frame the face instead. Pay attention to their haircut, natural fall and work closely around baby hairs. “Hair is a frame,” shares Tracey. “If it’s not the right width and color, it will look weird. I want to see how it falls.”
Tracey demoed her celeb blonding process on a lucky audience member!
5. Formulate A Gloss For Every Zone
For a natural blend without warmth at the root, Tracey uses different gloss formulas in every zone. Start by applying a dark ash to the root, similar to the base color or a little bit lighter. Then, move into Zone 2 with neutral or natural tones like Redken Shades EQ 9N or 9NB.
6. Final Rinse: Gold or Ash
After custom toning each zone, blow-dry the hair and check in with the client. Ask if they like the color or if they want to see more gold or ash. Then, apply a rinse. “Most people’s skin are complemented by gold,” says Tracey. “But if you apply gold on top and they walk around in the light, they will think their roots look red.”
7. Don’t Mix ‘Em Up
When you’re doing a lowlight and alternating gloss formulas, use a dark bowl and a light bowl. If you get distracted somewhere in the process or have multiple clients at once, this will help you prevent mixing up or applying the wrong color.
8. Khloe Kardashian’s Platinum Highlight & Gloss
Tracey also shared how she achieved Khloe’s recent platinum transformation. Tap the beaker for the color formulas! For the blue kicker, “Measure it by just pouring about a quarter of the lid,” shares Tracey. “I painted this ‘drop gloss’ at the root and then poured it all over—it’s basically a blue drop and it goes on and off.”
- Formula A (highlights on brunette hair)
Redken Flash Lift Lightening Powder + 40-volume developer + 1/4 oz. Olaplex No.1
- Formula B (highlights on previously lightened hair)
Redken Flash Lift Lightening Powder + 10-volume developer + 1/4 oz. Olaplex No.1
- Formula C (gloss)
Redken Shades EQ 4oz. Clear + a drop of 01B + Shades EQ Processing Solution
Instagram via @khloekardashian
BTC’s Mary Rector-Gable with Tracey and Ryan Pearl (@ryanpearl23) at Redken Symposium 2019.