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Last updated: June 29, 2020

Is Pre-Toning Necessary? Read This!

Kelly O'Leary-Woodford @hairbymisskellyo Knowing When To Pre-Tone Before Applying A Fashion Color
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Should Every Colorist Pre-Tone Before Applying Fashion Colors?

Pre-toning the hair before applying fashion colors—is it a must? Depends on who you ask. While some colorists are team pre-tone all the way, others like BTC Team Member Kelly O’Leary-Woodford (@hairbymisskellyo) don’t consider it a requirement. “When doing fashion colors, personally for me, a part of that creativity is using the color wheel to achieve the perfect vibrant tone,” she shares. So keep scrolling to learn two reasons why Kelly doesn’t pre-tone AND how she uses the color wheel instead.


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If the end goal is a bright color, Kelly won’t pre-tone for two reasons:

  1. It’ll require more time.
  2. It creates a barrier, making the colors a little less vibrant.


If she’s painting a rainbow masterpiece, instead of pre-toning, Kelly gets strategic with her color placement:


  • Areas that are holding some brass is where she’ll add pink, purple, orange or red. “That yellow undertone will give it that punch and something to hold onto,” shares Kelly.


  • For areas with less brass/a more even canvas, Kelly will place blues, greens and lighter tones.


“If a guest is open to fashion color, chances are that they will be open to you using the wheel to correct,” notes Kelly.


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