Articles > Prelighten Up: 4 Tips for Your Best Blonde Base
July 26, 2017

Prelighten Up: 4 Tips for Your Best Blonde Base

lightener lightening prelighten blonde

A good colorist knows the key to beautiful pastels, metallics, vivids, color melts and everything in between is to start with a flawless foundation—and that means prelightening is the most important part! Here, three platinum pros—Rickey Zito (@hairgod_zito), Guy Tang (@guy_tang) and Zach Mesquit (@zachmesquit)—share their best tips to prelighten with ease.  



Go Low and Slow

  • Start by applying lightener three inches from the scalp, says Rickey. “I never use over 20-volume developer,” he says. “I like to cook it low and slow.” Process with no heat, about 30 minutes.
  • Next, Rickey shampoos, but doesn’t blow-dry, and applies lightener with 7-volume developer from scalp to ends.
  • “Then process for 90 minutes, and she should be good to go!” he says. 


Tools of the Trade
Zach also prefers to lift low and slow, so he rarely uses foils when bleaching. Instead, he uses Professional Haircoloring Meche from Colortrak. “These are great because you can reuse them!” says Zach. “Just rinse and hang them up to dry.”


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Color correction vid, love the metallic violet undertone it has, Steps below… •@magiclightener +20volume +@f18hair on root, processed to level 9 •lightener +30 volume on all the dark little pieces throughout, isolated in @colortrak meche sheets •once those were lifted out applied 20 volume lightener all over everything left out, processed to even level 10 •washed, toned with @fanola_usa neutral toner with a drop of violet to get a beige violet blonde •finish off with fanola no yellow shampoo for a final silver sheen • • • #mouniiiir #hair #blonde #blondehair #longhair #silverhair #balayage #colormelt #whitehair #greyhair #makeupvid #mua #like #kyliejenner #style #fashion #beauty #nails #tutorial

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The Banana Test
Follow Rickey’s “banana guide” to decide which vibrant shades you can use after prelightening. If the color is…

  • Inside of a Banana Yellow: go with pastel shades.
  • Outside of a Banana Yellow: use only vibrant tones.
  • Darker than the Outside of a Banana Yellow: stick with blues and purples only.



Take the (Yellow) Edge Off
When you’re creating a metallic end result, you must, must, must prelighten the hair to Level 10. No ifs, ands or buts about it. If there is any yellow remaining in the hair, and you tone with a metallic shade, you’ll see green.


Try this: If you lift and lift and the hair simply won’t get there, advises Guy, hit it with some Kenra Professional Rapid Toner in SV or BP while it’s still damp to take the yellow edge off.




Now that you’re a prelightening pro, here are five blonde color formulas you’ll want to keep in your arsenal!