Articles > Instagram’s Biggest Colorists Share Their Tips
May 5, 2017

Instagram’s Biggest Colorists Share Their Tips

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Having three color superstars (with a combined 1.1 million Instagram followers) on our BTC “On Tour” stage in Los Angeles was magic, especially because they spilled their secrets on creating that Instagram-worthy hair we all love. From prelightening to maintenance (capped off with styling from @philipwolffhair!) here’s what @rebeccataylorhair, @hairgod_zito and @bescene do to create those incredible haircolors.


See all the photos from the b3 team onstage!


One secret they all share? b3 Brazilian Bond Builder. “We are extreme colorists,” @hairgod_zito (aka Rickey Zito) said. “We take hair to its limits. You get tired of blow-drying hair and sticking it in your back pocket! b3 helped me push my limit a little further.”


Want more from b3 artists?
See Rebecca Taylor and Mustafa Avci in BTC University!


@philipwolffhair, @glamiris and b3 Director of Education @alfredo_lewis.



Prelightening Is Key
“For me, lightened hair is the art,” Rickey said. Here’s what he does when he needs a client to be totally blonde before he starts melting Pulp Riot colors into her hair.


1. “I go in 3 inches from the scalp and I blast it,” he said. “I never go over 20-volume developer. I like it to cook low and slow. No heat—30 minutes, no questions asked.”


2. Fully shampoo, but don’t blow-dry.


3. Apply lightener with 7-volume developer from scalp to ends, and let that sit for an hour and a half. At that point, she should be where you need her to be.


Rickey lightens hair “low and slow” to achieve a Level 9/10.


Lifting Asian Hair
@bescene, aka Linh Phan, is great at getting very cool tones on typically lift-resistant Asian hair with red-orange tones. What’s his secret? Watch the video to find out!



@bescene working on his girlfriend’s hair. Hey @theniksters!


Grab A Banana?!
Follow Rickey’s “banana guide” to determine what vibrant shades you can use.


  • “Inside of a banana” yellow: you can do any pastel shade.
  • “Outside of a banana” yellow: you should only use vibrant tones.
  • “Darker than the outside of a banana” yellow: stick with blues and purples only.


@hairgod_zito demonstrates his painting technique.


To Pretone or Not To Pretone?
Rebecca Taylor pretones when she wants to achieve a silver or baby blue by using a violet shampoo first, then toning with a 9V to cut warmth (Rickey does the same thing).


But for Linh, pretoning is rare. “I don’t pretone unless I’m doing a very vivid, bright color on dry hair,” he says. “I need the starting base to be as light as possible, and I work on damp hair because it’s faster for me to apply the color and achieve blend. If I pretone, I knock it down a level, and I don’t want that.”


Rebecca usually uses random color placement and
follows her intuition while she colors.


 @hairgod_zito’s Melting Technique
Watch Rickey melt! His technique breakdown: “I go heavy at the scalp with color and apply it at a 90 [degree angle], and I do a wipe-through pretty far. I’m leaving a lot of hollow hair up here so I don’t have to put purple on my hands, then I overlap with pink almost fully to create that melt and fill the hollow spots.”



Brush or Hands?
“I use a brush to apply root color because it saturates and helps you section,” Rebecca said. “But there’s no better tool than your hands to feel the saturation as you apply vibrant colors. It’s important to do it mechanically with these colors because there’s no oxidation in the color to expand the hair.”


Rickey uses both: a brush to apply that root shade, then he uses his hand almost as a board to get the color on flat sections, using side-to-side strokes.


Keep the section flat and work from side-to-side for the best saturation, Rickey says.



Linh’s Secret Formulas
OK, so they’re not exactly secret (he shares many formulas on his Instagram), but the truth behind his formulation is that he practices. Here’s his advice on what you should do to improve your formulation skills.



The Maintenance Conversation
The upkeep vibrant or pastel shades require is an important part of your client consultation, and Rebecca says to be very honest. “Low-maintenance people won’t want to come in every four to six weeks, so I start them vibrant so it fades into a pastel,” she said. “I’ll do five to six different shades of one color (like pink) because the dimension fades nicely.” And she recommends offering pigmented conditioners as either an upsell or built into the price of your service.


A multi-tonal look will fade nicely, Rebecca said.


BONUS: Styling Conversation With @philipwolffhair and @glamiris
When Mustafa Avci had an emergency appendectomy and couldn’t come to “On Tour,” Philip Wolff stepped up with only 24 hours notice (like a BOSS) and created a gorgeous ‘do on another BTC friend, @glamiris! Watch Philip work, and hear what Iris has to say about Brazilian Blowout.



@glamiris looking gorgeous!