Prelighten Up: 4 Tips for Your Best Blonde Base
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.”
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.