What is a color correction?
A “color correction” is meant to fix a color service that had undesirable results.
Most people can understand that a color correction is needed for brassy, orange highlights, or at-home color
that came out differently than desired (picture green or jet black hair instead of medium brown).
Something that may seem like an easy fix or regular color service, though, isn’t always so cut-and-dry.
Some color corrections can be simple, like doing a toner to cut out gold, but others can be a
triple-process to lift dark color out. The latter is where time and cost can drastically increase.
Could the dark brown color you’ve been getting professionally colored for 6 years need to be
“corrected” to get cool blonde highlights? Absolutely. Even though you’ve been getting desired results from
your stylist for a long time, you need to remember that changing things up may be more difficult than you think.
In the salon environment, stylists see a color correction as when a guest wants to take previously colored hair at least
2 levels lighter or take previously colored or virgin hair at least 2 levels darker.
What happens during a color correction?
When hair gets lightened, color is actually being taken out, not put in.
Unfortunately, other things come out along with the color, such as protein, leaving the hair
damaged. If it needs to be lightened again and again, that’s more structural
elements that are being removed, too.
Many times, overzealous stylists think they can do a color correction
in one sitting and end up damaging the hair structurally so much that the only fix is a
substantial haircut. One way to protect your hair from a ton of damage is to spread out the service
over a couple weeks. While you won’t leave the salon with the desired result in one day,
you will leave with your hair still on your head.
If a color turned out too light or the guest wants to go a lot darker, the hair will need to be “filled.”
“Filling” means depositing pigment back into the hair. This isn’t as simple as picking a color and putting it on;
that’s how you end up with muddy or green colors. Once the hair is filled, it will need to be colored
at least once more to get a desired shade.
Because a color correction can be more involved, the cost will most times be substantially higher.
Some stylists charge $100-$200 per hour for a service that could take 5 hours to complete. That cost reflects the
amount of color used and the amount of time your stylist needs to work on your hair.
Why do you need to warn your stylist about a potential color correction?
While most color corrections aren’t that drastic, your stylist does need to know what to expect
when a guest sits in his or her chair. If you scheduled a one-color process and it needs to be a four-process
correction, the 2-hour appointment just doubled in length. Not only that, but the next two hours
of her day just had to be rescheduled on very short notice.
A good idea for anyone contemplating a drastic change (see: what a stylist sees as a correction),
or anyone who had an unfortunate experience with color, is to contact their stylist before they schedule an
appointment. He or she may want to see a picture of what you have color-wise,
and what you want. An in-salon consultation may also be needed
before your stylist will schedule the service.