A Little About Hair Color. A Video. Getting Ready for a Talk Show.

img_2398“Hold! Hold! I hear the raspy voice say. I had begun to doze off in an eyes open kind of way. It had been another no sleep until 3am and a 7:am kind of start for me again.  “Hold, Hold!”  I hear again.  Rotating sides, behind the client, as if we were doing a new style of dosy doe dance, I think, how had I gotten here? I am holding hair, for highlights.  Obviously not very well.  Hair in one hand, sticking straight up pony tail Samari warrior style. If I wanted to I could pick this client up out of this chair by their hair.  Standing in my favorite black leather Jimmy Choo flats, my feet sweating, I start to press rewind in my brain and back to the beginning. My decision making.  Had I made the right choice? At least I had made a choice, and this is Duabi after all…

That was then.  Several years ago.  The full story will come later.  Now.  Sitting on the edge of my bathtub checking the water before I rinse my friend’s hair, I laugh.  A video recording is happening.  I hate to be in videos and certainly do not like to have my picture taken.  Other people’s photography usually comes at inopportune times for me. I am sleepy or five pounds heavier or too skinny or in the wrong shirt.  Whatever. Right now is one of those times.  I can’t worry about a video, however.  I need to rinse the color.  The bleach really.  The color stops working but the bleach, unless it is really dry, and even then, needs to be rinsed.

Hair color is a science.  Most people don’t understand this as they sit down in their hair colorist’s chair.  I didn’t.  The human body is science and hair is a part of the human body. So, hair and hair color is science.  Many things affect the way one’s hair takes color too.  Family tree and heritages, medication, age, times of the month and color lines used are just a few.

The test for a Cosmetology license has been around since the 1950’s and has not changed. Some regard it as antiquated, but if isn’t broke, why fix it? Client safety (the most important), how hair grows and the rate depending on the season, anatomy and physiology, chemistry of hair color, how to run a salon (in theory) and state board mock tests are a few things learned in the California Cosmetology 1600 hours certification. It takes about ten and a half months. At least that’s how long the process was for me at the Toni & Guy Academy. Other states have lower hour requirements, for this reason, I am not sure.

Take a look a few photos and a silly video below.  Whether at a luxury hotel, like the Four Seasons or in home (depending on the home and the client, of course) the process is pretty much the same.

Karen needs her hair done for a talk show appearance.  The Talking Dead.  She has just finished shooting the television show Fear the Walking Dead and wants to lighten her hair up a bit.  For Karen’s hair I used Majirel color with 20volume developer.  The 20v developer lifts and deposits the hair color.  One to two  shades lighter than the desired color for the OPC (one process color) or base hair color should be used for the hair line.  The baby hairs will absorb the color more and as a result become even darker than intention and the hair will have a shoe polish look.  I use bleach on Karen’s hair at the same time the color is processing.. I cover with a plastic and secure with clips once bleach is applied and with blower dryer and defuser attachment heat ends of the hair to accelerate the process.  Hair is usually naturally lighter on the ends.  The technique I use is called balayage.  Balayage means “to sweep” in French.  This is the most natural looking of the highlighting processes in my opinion.  The way little kids hair looks at the end of summer after playing in the sun is a great visual reference.  Natural. Lighter on the ends.


example color charts and pigments
my chair
my chair
a dual process tray set up
L’Oreal Hair Color used for Karen’s hair…
bleach of choice.. over processing comes from blasting the cuticle open with heat and high developers and the hair becomes more porous and damaged.. bleach need to be watched..sometimes lower volume developer and more application and processes is better..
hair up close..
hair up close..
shapes and texture of hair as explained in Cosmetology book
hair and how it grows..
basic tray set up fro Karen’s hair..



round one highlights..
round two highlights..under different light to check the tones..
backstage before appearing on the “Talking Dead”


Instagram post from on set HMU

I only do hair really for friends these days, especially if it is important. A talk show, a red carpet, or commercial.  As I mentioned in my “Night with the Boys, Men’s Grooming (Bourbon & Barbering)”post, I have truly lost my passion for hair.  I am thankful for my friends for asking me when they need me and do not want to pay top dollar prices.  It helps keep my skill up. I will note, I do do my own hair and given all these silvers recently, how could I forget my skill with an every three week OPC. As for you, next time you are in your hairdresser’s chair, perhaps you will have a slightly different perspective and appreciate what they for a living a little differently.  Don’t skip the extra shampoo.

To see more of Karen’s hair and her hair color (by me) and learn more about this actress and her career in progress, please see related article below.


Until Next Time…



Karen Bethzabe Stars in the AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead”

Beauty School Requirements

A Night with the Boys!  Men’s Grooming, Bourbon & Barbering