How-To: Smoky Silver Ombré
When we posted her work on Instagram, you ALL wanted to know how Deborah Parkinson (@supernatural.stylist) of Studio O Salon in Saratoga, Calif. achieved such a flawless, graduated color melt. And now, Deborah has spilled all her secrets—including her color formula and application tips. Here’s how she took her client (over a three-week, three-visit period) from a Level 1/2 to a gorgeous, icy metallic ombré.
Natural level: 1/2 Asian hair
Formula B: Schwarzkopf Professional BLONDME + 40-volume developer (1:1.5) + Olaplex No.1
Formula C: Schwarzkopf Professional BLONDME + 30-volume developer (1:1.5) + Olaplex No.1
Formula D: 60g Fanola Silver Hair Toner + 90g 3.5-volume developer + Olaplex No.1
Formula E: 60g Fanola 6.11 Dark Blonde Intense Ash + 90g 10-volume developer + 20g Fanola Silver Hair Toner + Olaplex No.1
1. Create five horizontal sections, starting from the bottom hairline and working up to right below the crown.
2. Start by taking baby-fine slices and applying Formula A to the first 4 to 5 inches, melting into Formula B on the midlengths to ends. Deborah used long-cut foils with a bookend foil technique (sandwiching the hair between two foils), working up to the crown.
Pro Tip: Applying lightener 1 to 2 inches from the root will help reduce slippage and bleeding and will make touchups easier. “Also, do not fold the foils in half at the middle or seal them together tightly,” says Deborah. “Rather, corner-fold the top and bottom foils together and make sure to leave an air pocket in the foil. This will help you achieve a lighter final color!”
3. On Level 4 or darker hair, process for 45 minutes, then check your starting foils, inspecting the entire foil, roots to ends, for lift.
4. Reapply Formula B to the midlengths, starting again in the bottom hairline. Process for another 30 minutes.
5. Apply Formula C to the ends, starting in the bottom hairline. Process for 20 to 30 more minutes, lifting to a Level 10.
Pro Tip: “Midway through the processing, move the foils in the opposite direction and clip,” says Deborah. “For instance, if all the foils are facing the ground, the bottom foils will get too hot because of body heat and unevenly lift. So rotate them toward the crown, clip and after about 30 to 45 minutes, remove the clip, letting the foils return to their original position for the remaining time.
6. If needed, apply low heat to the foils applied last to give that area more lift.
7. Rinse with low water pressure and cool water. Apply Olaplex No.2, processing for 10 minutes.
8. Mix ½ oz. Olaplex No.1 and 3 oz. warm water and apply to hair that has been bleached. Process for 10 minutes. Apply Olaplex No.2, clip hair and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
9. Repeat steps one through six on the crown and Mohawk section, carefully checking the hairline during processing. “The hairline processes at two times the speed of the rest of the hair, so be careful!” says Deborah. Deborah also recommends leaving the sides out and coloring them after the top section has finished lightening.
10. Once the top sections have finished processing (about 45 minutes to 1½ hours), rinse all bleached hair, then apply Olaplex No.2. Process for 10 minutes. Rinse and reapply Olaplex No.1 for 10 minutes, then Olaplex No. 2 once more. Clip hair out of the way.
11. Repeat steps one through eight on the sides, again watching the hairline.
12. Once a Level 10 is evenly achieved on the sides, rinse with cool water and low water pressure. Apply Olaplex No.2 all over, process for 10 minutes, then rinse and reapply another mixture of Olaplex No.1 and 3 oz. warm water to all hair.
Pro Tip: “NEVER wring water out of hair,” says Deborah. “Only gently pat! Also, no shampoo is to be used until this point.”
13. Shampoo using Fanola No Yellow Shampoo, applying liberally to sections using an applicator bottle. Let sit for 15 minutes.
14. Do one last application of Olaplex No.1 and 3 oz. warm water.
15. Shampoo and apply Fanola Nutri Care Restructuring Mask. Pat dry with a towel, and brush with a wet brush using low tension.
16. Apply Formula D all over, and process for 20 minutes. Rinse with cool water and apply Olaplex No.2, then shampoo and condition.
17. Gently towel-dry, and section hair into quadrants.
18. Apply Formula E to towel-dried roots, about five inches out. Process for 20 minutes, gradually blending the color down with a comb or your finger after seven minutes to soften the line of demarcation. “You need to be very careful doing this,” says Deborah. “Consider enlisting the help of a friend to hold the hair while you blur the line in sections.”
19. Grab hold of the ends and rinse with cool water, making sure not to let the root color rinse into the midlengths or ends, as they will darken. Apply Olaplex No.2.
Pro Tip: “You can go back in with a paste mixture of bleach and 40-volume developer and quickly apply to any lines or spots you want to fix,” says Deborah. “This will only take 5 to 10 minutes to process. If this is needed, reapply toner to these spots as well, and let the toner spot-process for 20 minutes before rinsing.”
20. Shampoo with Celeb Luxury Shampoo in Silver and leave in for 3 to 5 minutes. Rinse, apply Fanola Nutri Care Restructuring Mask and rinse again.
21. Apply Fanola Nutri Care Leave-In Restructuring Spray Mask 10 Action. Deborah then blow-dried with a round brush and curled using the Hot Tools 1½-inch curling iron. She finished with Fanola Nutri Care Restructuring Fluid Crystals serum.
22. Extensions were applied by Vasana Thongphet (@hairbyvasana) for extra fullness.
Total chair time: three, six-hour visits (with a week break in between each visit)
Pricing: $85/hour or $450 for a half day (six-hour) process