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Patrick McIvor Guest Blog: Tips and Tricks from ABS Chicago

I had the amazing honor of sharing ideas at the America's Beauty Show with Cosmetologist Chicago, so I wanted to share some of the tips, tricks and secrets that we went over in my class.

As a hair colorist, there are a few things that are very important to me. Color has to be cost effective, be time effective and leave the hair the best-possible condition. For example, during a double process, hair will be damaged, but it’s important to keep that damage as minimal as possible.

It’s also important to keep costs down. As a salon owner, I know that if we are not charging for the color we use, we are slowly putting ourselves out of business. If a look requires six ounces of hair color to create it, we need to charge the guest the full amount. Guests that can afford over complicated, excessive techniques will still get them.

Finally, being time effective is very important for my guests and me. Not only do hairstylists charge for products, we also have to charge for our time.  Today guests bring us pictures from Instagram that say in the descriptors that, "The color took two 8-hour sessions over two days." That may mean that this color cost between $500 and $2000 dollars. This financial reality is a reality, because the guest needs to pay for the full cost, otherwise I am losing money and time.

In addition to the logistics of running a salon, I also wanted to share a technique I love, Dimensional Glazing.

The fastest way I can change a color is with a dimensional glaze.  Using two colors—for the example a 10 violet acidic Demi-permanent color and a level 8 gold acidic Demi-permanent—I shared how to create 3 unique and distinctly different outcomes.

For the first technique, the level 8 gold was applied to the base in a retouch application. Once the application of the 8 gold is complete, working from the nape up, a 1" slightly diagonal, horizontal parting is dropped and divided into 3 sections.  In the 2 outer sections, 10 violet is applied from the 8 gold through the ends and then twisted for control and to isolate.  Then apply the 8 gold from scalp to ends on the middle section.  Continue working up dropping 1" horizontal sections using slightly diagonal partings, divide the horizontal section into smaller 1-1.5" sections applying the 10 violet or 8 gold down the strand and twisting, working up until the head is complete.

The second and third techniques are the same steps in a different order, which creates dramatically-different results.

For the second Dimensional Glazing technique, the 8 gold acidic Demi-permanent is again applied in a retouch application but before this is applied, the 10 violet is first applied off the scalp and down the strand where the dimensional change from the 8 gold to the 10 violet is desired.  By applying the 10 violet first, the 8 gold will easily melt together with no visible line or need for excessive brush blending.  Apply the 8 gold starting in the nape and working up towards the crown and then work on each side starting on the hairline above the ear and working up towards a center part.  This results in an 8 gold base into a 9N where the 2 colors combine before finishing with a 10 violet in the mids and ends.

The third Dimensional Glaze begins with an all-over, scalp to ends application of 10 violet.  Then again, working from the hairline in the nape, small horizontal sections are dropped and the 8 gold is applied directly over the 10 violet that is already processing scalp to ends.  The 8 gold is most easily applied with a brush exclusively in this step of the technique, because the brush gives the colorist the ability to push the 8 gold into the 10 violet mixing them together creating approximately a 9N at the scalp that transitions into a 10 violet in the mids an ends.

People often ask does this take a lot longer and the answer is yes it takes a little longer.  But my analogy is this, when hairstylists first started point cutting, during and after a haircut, stylists thought that was going to take too much time too. Instead, we have learned that point cutting, like dimensional glazing, is how we create effortless beauty and add our signature to every style.   — Patrick McIvor

[Image courtesy of Patrick McIvor]