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Last updated: June 07, 2024

When To Use A Soft Base Break Instead of A Shadow Root

Hybrid Toning Soft Base Break Natural Base Shift Instead of Shadow Root with Ashlee Norman @ashleenormanhair using tbh - true beautiful honest permanent hair color
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Photo Credit: Instagram via @ashleenormanhair

Why Ashlee Norman is Saying Goodbye to Shadow Roots—Meet the “Hybrid Color” Melt

Do you ever think about base breaking instead of shadow rooting? According to blonding expert Ashlee Norman (@ashleenormanhair), you should. Known for sharing powerhouse color education with her 289k Instagram followers, she recently posted a permanent color formulation method that has us rethinking every color melt of the past.

 

By adding a “Tone Softener” into her permanent color formulas, Ashlee creates a hybrid color that allows her to lift, tone, deposit and gloss for a range of desired results. Keep reading for a crash-course including her hybrid toning and anti-shadow root techniques.

 

 

Let’s Talk Formulation: How Ashlee’s Hybrid Color Melt Works 

  • How It Works: Dilute permanent color to create a “hybrid color” for a soft base break without going too warm or leaving harsh lines of demarcation.
  • How To Formulate: Ashlee mixes Schwarzkopf Professional® tbh – true beautiful honest® permanent color with tbh – true beautiful honest Tone Softener, which is a 4.5 pH conditioning agent, to drop the alkalinity for a cooler lift and to dilute opacity.
  • The Result: “This is why I call it “hybrid” color,” says Ashlee. “It’s more permanent than a demi-gloss, but not as aggressive as a true permanent. It’s somewhere in between.” 

 

Get Ashlee’s formulation tools you need—see the tbh – true beautiful honest shades!

 

Hybrid Toning: Tone & Softly Shift the Natural Base 

It’s not your old school base break that will create unwanted brass. It’s also not a traditional shadow root with an opaque tint that may leave hard lines. Ashlee’s hybrid color melt method allows you to shift the natural base to soften the contrast between the dark color and the highlighted hair at the same time as a shadow root and gloss. 

 

End Goal: Expensive Brunette 

  • Foilayage on natural Level 4 with Schwarzkopf Professional BLONDME® Precision Lightener 
  • Formula A (roots): tbh – true beautiful honest 5-06 + 6-volume developer + tbh – true beautiful honest Tone Softener (1:1:1)
  • Formula B (mids): tbh – true beautiful honest 7-16 + 13-volume developer + tbh – true beautiful honest Tone Softener (1:1:1)
  • Formula C (ends): tbh – true beautiful honest 9-49 + 10-19 + 13-volume developer + tbh – true beautiful honest Tone Softener (1:1:1)

 

Follow These Steps: 

1. Apply Formulas A, B and C from darkest to light from roots to ends. 

Hybrid Toning Soft Base Break Natural Base Shift Instead of Shadow Root with Ashlee Norman @ashleenormanhair using tbh - true beautiful honest permanent hair color
Photo Credit: Instagram via @ashleenormanhair

 

2. Use one end of a wide-tooth comb and flip it before pulling through to avoid cross-contamination (aka overlap.)

Hybrid Toning Soft Base Break Natural Base Shift Instead of Shadow Root with Ashlee Norman @ashleenormanhair using tbh - true beautiful honest permanent hair color
Photo Credit: Instagram via @ashleenormanhair

 

3. Feather the application and use your fingers to blend one formula into the next. 

Hybrid Toning Soft Base Break Natural Base Shift Instead of Shadow Root with Ashlee Norman @ashleenormanhair using tbh - true beautiful honest permanent hair color
Photo Credit: Instagram via @ashleenormanhair

 

4. Process for 10 to 20 minutes based on how coarse the hair is. 

Hybrid Toning Soft Base Break Natural Base Shift Instead of Shadow Root with Ashlee Norman @ashleenormanhair using tbh - true beautiful honest permanent hair color
Photo Credit: Instagram via @ashleenormanhair

 

Scroll through the bombshell “expensive brunette” finished look:

Photo Credit: Instagram via @ashleenormanhair

 

 

Why tbh – true beautiful honest Tone Softener? 

The tbh – true beautiful honest Tone Softener [4.5 pH conditioning agent] cuts down the alkalinity as well as dilutes the opacity to get a more sheer deposit as well as avoiding too much exposure of warmth, says Ashlee. The multi-dimensional permanent shade range also has a cooler base to it, she adds. 

 

The “Anti-Shadow Root”: How to Apply an Alkaline Color Melt 

For high-contrast blonding on Level 4 and darker, Ashlee’s alkaline color melt softens the contrast between a dark natural base color and the highlighted hair. The key to this method is applying teasylights slightly off-scalp before melting, so the “shadow” is actually the natural Level 4 base. 

 

The ideal client for this technique – Level 4 base: 

Hybrid Toning Soft Base Break Natural Base Shift Instead of Shadow Root with Ashlee Norman @ashleenormanhair using tbh - true beautiful honest permanent hair color foilayage
Photo Credit: Instagram via @ashleenormanhair

 

  • Teasylights (slightly off-scalp) on Natural Level 4 with BLONDME Precision Lightener 
  • Formula A (midlengths): tbh – true beautiful honest 7-16 + 13-volume developer + tbh – true beautiful honest Tone Softener (1:1:1)
  • Formula B (mids to ends): tbh – true beautiful honest 8-64 + 10-19 + 20-volume developer + tbh – true beautiful honest Tone Softener (1:1:1)

 

Follow These Steps:

1. First apply a Level 7 hybrid color (Formula A) just off of the natural base.

Hybrid Toning Soft Base Break Natural Base Shift Instead of Shadow Root with Ashlee Norman @ashleenormanhair using tbh - true beautiful honest permanent hair color
Photo Credit: Instagram via @ashleenormanhair

 

2. Melt into a lighter Level 9 (Formula B) through the ends.

Hybrid Toning Soft Base Break Natural Base Shift Instead of Shadow Root with Ashlee Norman @ashleenormanhair using tbh - true beautiful honest permanent hair color
Photo Credit: Instagram via @ashleenormanhair

 

3. Process for 10 to 20 minutes.

Hybrid Toning Soft Base Break Natural Base Shift Instead of Shadow Root with Ashlee Norman @ashleenormanhair using tbh - true beautiful honest permanent hair color
Photo Credit: Instagram via @ashleenormanhair

 

Here’s Why: This leaves the natural Level 4 as a shadow root while starting to shift the natural base through the midlengths and ends at the same time as toning. This creates a double-blend, a fade from dark to light in both the natural base and highlights. 

 

Hybrid Toning Soft Base Break Natural Base Shift Instead of Shadow Root with Ashlee Norman @ashleenormanhair using tbh - true beautiful honest permanent hair color
Photo Credit: Instagram via @ashleenormanhair

 

Get an up-close look at the cool, blended base shift:

Hybrid Toning Soft Base Break Natural Base Shift Instead of Shadow Root with Ashlee Norman @ashleenormanhair using tbh - true beautiful honest permanent hair color
Photo Credit: Instagram via @ashleenormanhair

 

Try Tone Softener for yourself—shop at SALONORY!

 

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