Articles > Hair Color > Perfect Summer Haircolor: Tips, Tricks, Trends and Formulas
Last updated: April 18, 2018

Perfect Summer Haircolor: Tips, Tricks, Trends and Formulas

Summer brings with it an array of new and interesting haircolor trends…and a heap of hair dilemmas. As you’re busy creating hot hues, sun, chlorine and salt water are working equally hard to destroy your sublime shades. If your beautiful blondes have become green goblins, your ravishing redheads look more like watered-down koolaid or your brunettes turn brassier than grandma’s candlesticks, don't lose your cool--dive in! Implement these trendy new formulas and helpful tips from the beauty biz's best colorists and you're good to go.

Perfect Summer Haircolor:
Tips, Tricks, Trends and Formulas

By: Angie Manson

Summer brings new and interesting haircolor trends…and a heap of hair dilemmas.  That’s because, while you’re busy creating the hottest hues, sun, chlorine and salt water are working hard to destroy your sublime shades.  Your beautiful blondes become green goblins, your ravishing redheads are suddenly sporting watered-down Kool-aid and your brunettes turn brassier than grandma’s candlesticks.  Don’t lose your cool—dive in!  Just implement these trendy new formulas and helpful tips from the beauty biz’s best colorists.

Get Low
Beth Minardi, BTC’s Color Education Director and owner of Minardi Salon in NYC, says to “prep” your clients for summer by adding lowlights to the hair…yes, lowlights! Weave in tiny darker strands so that as the sun lightens the hair, the color doesn’t appear faded all over. Try Beth’s favorite lowlight formula for redheads:
Mix 1½-oz. Wella Color Touch 5/4 + ½-oz. 4/77 + Emulsion 1.9%
“This formula makes red color ‘wear’ like crazy during the bright summer months,” Beth claims.

Purging Pool Disasters
If your client’s hair is super stressed from numerous dips in a chlorine-ridden pool, Farouk’s Lisa Marie Garcia recommends shampooing hair with a cleansing shampoo like CHI Clean Start and then washing with a clarifying treatment like BioSilk Clarifying Treatment for five minutes to remove chlorine residue. To remove a green cast, Lisa Marie uses Sunglitz White lightener mixed with Red Brightener, 10 Volume and BioSilk Hydrating Shampoo. She shampoos the hair for about five minutes. “This has been one of my saviors in the salon during the summer,” she says.

Creating Sun-Drenched Effects
The best way to protect hair from the scorching summer sun is to stay out of it, says John Simpson, Goldwell North American Guest Artist and NAHA Colorist of the Year. But since most women can’t rock a big floppy hat or a parasol every day, you need to offer durable color, he adds. When lightening up the canvas for summer, Simpson suggests creating a “worn” effect so it looks natural and lovely even as the sun does its damage.  He diffuses the color off of the scalp, focusing more intensity through the mid shaft and ends. This method allows the hair to grow in much softer. To create a perfect sun-drenched effect with the color placement, start from the temporal bone at the ear, then travel in a deep curved section over the top to the opposite ear and create a two-inch wide section around the face. At the same starting point, take diagonal paper thin partings and diffuse color approximately ½-inch from the scalp to ends. Continue with this pattern across the section with either your base or a glaze formula in between and process.  Just don’t over lighten the canvas, and make sure the hair is conditioned! Simpson uses Goldwell Silk Lift to add condition while lightening.

Lighten Up
Joico Vero K-PAK International Artist Sue Pemberton says that as a general rule, most clients like to go lighter for the summer months. For brunettes, she suggests using Joico Vero Ultra in Toffee, Caramel and Butterscotch tones for a one-step highlight. For blonde clients, create highlights using a high lift color and lightener like Vero K-PAK Crème lightener then use different volumes of developer to achieve different blonde levels. Tone with Vero K-PAK Color TSB Toner Silver Blonde and Vero K-PAK Chrome V9 Platinum and voila, you’ve created a superb summer blonde!

Summer S.O.S.
Glenn Mitchell, owner of Red Jasper Salon in Alabama, can’t stress enough the importance of educating your clients. While you may be well-versed on the effects sun, chlorine and saltwater can have on hair, your clients may not be! “We assume clients know they should wet their hair with tap water before entering the pool to keep minerals from being absorbed deep into the hair,” she says. But they may not, so be sure to offer tips to your clients to keep their hair looking stunning during the summer. Glenn also suggests assembling “Summer Saver” kits that contain a great leave-in conditioner (preferably one with sun filters like Aveda Hair Veil or PureOlogy Essential Repair line), a shampoo that removes mineral deposits and a hair mask clients can use after a long weekend at the pool, beach, river or lake. Red Jasper Salon packages the kits in a cute reusable beach tote to keep clients looking trendy while they’re poolside.

When Brass Attacks
Are your blonde beauties getting brassy from outdoor summertime fun?  Goldwell North American Guest Artist Deborah Gavin of Fresh Hair Studio turns to Goldwell Elumen to kick brassiness in the butt. Try Deborah’s favorite Elumen formulas:
To eliminate yellow/gold tones:
In an Elumen bottle, mix 10 mls of GN@ ALL to 100 mls Clear. Mark this mixture then add 10 mls of this diffused “lime” into clear or AB@ 9. Apply to clean hair to keep it beautiful and on tone.
For a fashion-forward beige blonde:
In an Elumen bottle, mix 10 mls BB@ ALL and 10 mls VV@ ALL with 100 mls Clear.  Mark this mixture “pastel blue/violet” then add into clear or AB@ 9 to create beautiful pale beige blonde.
Send your client off with styling products that have UVA and UVB filters and anti-oxidants like Goldwell Color Brilliance to protect her freshly lightened locks from fading.

Warm vs. Cool Rules
Marie Ferro
, colorist and owner of Marie’s Hair Studio in Malibu, CA, deals with sun-stressed locks on a regular basis. She uses Malibu Wellness to remove chlorine before applying any color. “It’s an insurance policy for bright, clear color,” she claims. Plus the actives in Malibu Wellness remove the stiff, chlorine-buildup feeling. Malibu (the city) is all about bombshell blondes, so Marie uses Goldwell Silk Lift for super-conditioned styles—a summertime essential. If your client has blue eyes or redness in the face, use cool tones to brighten the skin. If she has sallow skin, use gold tones to warm the skin. Marie’s general rule: if someone tans easily use warm tones and if they burn easily use cool tones.

Customized Care
There’s no better time to write a customized “Hair Rx” for your clients than in the summer, says Davin Dawson, lead colorist at Tom Brophy Salon in Beverly Hills. Protecting your clients’ hair—and all that they have invested in it—is top priority. During summer, Dawson incorporates in-salon treatments into his clients’ color maintenance routines to compensate for the increased exposure to the elements. And because each head of hair is different, he creates a treatment specifically catered to each client’s needs, addressing any deficiency in the hair, including protein, lipids, pigments, protecting polymers, or simple pH adjustments. “Treatments vary by the condition of the hair, making customization crucial,” he says. “An acidic color gloss treatment that contains both direct and oxidative dyes applied between regular color appointments will sufficiently maintain condition, color and shine,” Dawson adds.

Spicing it Up with Red
When the final days of summer draw near, consider spicing up your client’s look with a touch of red color. It’s the perfect accent color for late summer and fall, says Patrick McIvor, Matrix Artistic Color Director and owner of patrick mcivor color studio and studio two. “The celebrities, models and salon clients that want to stand out this season will go red,” he adds. “The key is using a haircolor that combines the right amount of high definition, sophistication and durability.”  He uses Matrix SOCOLOR HD Reds with Color Grip Technology to create long-lasting color that will stand up in the summer sun. 

Beam of Light
Celebrity stylist Marcia Hamilton is using a color technique she calls the “Laser” on her clients this summer. “Basically it’s coloring within a triangular section using one color,” she explains. Hamilton places a diluted formula on the perimeter of the section and then applies a concentrated formula in the center. “The finished look is like a laser beam, with soft hues on the outside and uber-bright hues on the inside,” she says.

Catwalk Color
The blonde color palette is really in this season, says Christel Lundqvist, hob salons head color technician and current British Colour Technician of the Year. The looks on the summer catwalks are inspired by the 1980s, with a fun yet grown up feel, she adds. Lundqvist is embracing cleaner and more feminine blonde shades like ivory, vanilla and whipped cream, amped up with accents of pastel tones ranging from candy floss peach to mint green. “Treatments are also ideal this time of year to re-hydrate and nourish tired, worn out locks,” Lundqvist adds. She likes Wella Professional Lifetex Nutri-Care Sun Protection Shampoo, Spray, Mask and Splash.

Application Ace
colorist Abbey Theis says it’s all about the application. She has spent the summer placing peek-a-boo highlights in veiled sections to create a sexy, beachy look. Her technique is to section out triangles below the round of the head, lightly back comb these sections and paint a Level 10 honey tone color onto the hair that was not back combed. Then add a few weaves through the bangs and around the front hairline. When the underneath pieces are rinsed, the color “melts” out from the natural hue to the blonde color, without a line of demarcation. To keep locks luscious throughout the summer, send clients home with a protein packed hair mask like ARROJO Hair Repair Mask to counter damage from chlorine or salt water. Try one of Abbey’s favorite summer color formulas:
Honey Tones: Wella Koleston Perfect 10/38 + 30-volume developer
Toffee Tones: Wella Koleston Perfect 2 parts 9/17 + 1 part 9/1 + 30-volume developer
Soft Copper Tones: Equal parts Wella Koleston Perfect 8/34 + 8/71 + 20-volume developer

Get on the Brunette Bandwagon
Marjorie Clark
is warming up clients up with a lovely brunette hue this summer. The color has been seen all over runways and red carpets. Clark’s favorite formula for a warm brunette is equal parts of Color Fusion by Redken 5BC + 5CR. And while it’s important to send your clients home with an arsenal of summer bummer blockers, you also need to keep your backbar and station stocked so you’re ready for any summertime hair emergency. To fend off chlorine calamities, Clark keeps a clarifying chelating shampoo close by, like Joico K-PAK. For a quick pick-me-up, Clark uses Tressa Water Colors to bring vibrancy and shine back to the hair. It’s also good to have a color-specific shampoo and conditioner combo on hand. For trendy summer brunettes, try L’Oreal Artec Coco Bean shampoo. And of course, spritz clients’ locks with a sunscreen spray to protect hair from harsh heat and color fading.

Preventing Hair Drought
During summer, if your clients want to lighten their previously colored hair, you need to educate them about how to prevent strands from becoming dry, especially at the ends, says Marco Pelusi, colorist and owner of Marco Pelusi Hair Studio. The longer the hair is, the older the hair is, and the more levels of color and chemicals are present. Plus longer hair doesn’t have the benefit of the sebum or hair oils produced at the scalp to keep the hair shaft healthy and shiny. Always remember (and remind your clients) that shampoo is for the scalp and conditioning is for the ends. When your clients condition, they need to allow the conditioner to remain on ends for several minutes. And don’t over- shampoo the hair because it dries out the hair shaft. All your clients really need to do is shampoo their scalp and let the shampoo rinse down the ends.

Mending Ends
Summer means spending time at the local swimming pool, and that means hair is primed for chlorine and chemical damage. Celebrity stylist Billy Lowe says it’s important to keep your clients well-stocked with plenty of products so their hair stays in prime shape throughout the season. Prior to swimming, advise your clients to wet their hair with warm water and apply a leave-in conditioner like Billy Lowe Daily Hydrating Conditioner through to the ends and do not rinse out. This helps saturate hair and prevent chlorine build-up and damage. A repairing serum can also help mend split ends before or after a dip in the pool.


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