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Hair Color/High Lift Blonde


My hair dresser was doing blonde highlights in my dark ash blonde/light brown hair. She would use 20 volume and bleach and I got a very light blonde from that, level 10 I guess. Eventually it was nearly all blonde, so we decided to switch to a highlift blonde on my roots only and she said I could continue touching up my roots at home if  desired (as she was moving away). She used L'Oreal Majiblonde 900s with 30 volume peroxide. The roots came out brassy blonde - probably level 8/9. Very shiny though! She said that if I use the very light ash blonde color 911 it will likely cut the brass, but I am not so sure. I think it needs more lift. Should the peroxide volume increase to 35 or 40 or is that too hard on hair? (my hair is quite fine). Also, when touching up roots, can the color overlap slightly onto the prior color (example 1 cm?) or do I have to be extremely careful not to touch the prior blonde colored area? I know that with bleach any overlap is a no-no.  Thank you for your support!!  Julia.

ANSWER: Hi Julia

If your color is coming brassy it's because your base is not that light to begin with. You can go to a 40 developer for your color, ( if I could see your hair I would tell you for sure.) However,  It will make a small difference between the 30 or 40. The only thing to do is to lighten the base and do highlights over it, so it will mask the brassy tones. It's how we do it in the salon.

The only thing to be careful is, the fact that the color is an ash tone, if it overlaps the blonde too much, it may create green/grayish tones. Ash should never go on highlights. Again, YES, be careful about overlapping!!

I hope this helps.

All the best


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you Nick. I think highlights on base is a perfect solution for me.

Just two more little questions if you are okay with that. Do you have a favorite/preferred high lift blonde brand / color product either professional line or boxed color? Do some offer a bit  more lift than others? I am so close to the lift I need, and a few years ago I used Garnier 100% in very light ash blonde and it lifted to a nice color, but I noticed it was a bit harder on my hair. I have a wonderful hairdresser who will do my roots for me, but she works out of her home and is not familiar with high lift at all (I think her clientele are older and just use level 9s because they have lots of grey).
Thanks again!!

ANSWER: Hi Julia

High lift blondes out of store bought boxes are nowhere near the power lifters as professional salon products. Below I've outlined some of the best color companies in the world. If your friend is a professional hairdresser she should be able to get a color from them. I could work with any of them , and have. All these companies have high lift blondes that are premium brands. Most high lift colors get mixed as 1 part color 2 parts 40 Volumed developer and they stay on the root for as long as 45/50minutes. Choose a shade you like. Obviously the ash series or natural series will give you less warmth or unwanted brass tones.

My question to you is, why not go to a knowledgeable hairdresser in your locality and see what they use and perhaps move on from there, at least you would have it done right (I hope). You see, it's hard for me to pin point the answer, when I don't know how old you are, what your hair feels or looks like, and especially see your natural base. I'm getting a feeling that you are a young woman with no grays and this is why you are having this brass issue. Anyway, keep firing away at the questions..that is what I do here.

All the best


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you Nick. My hair is soft, straight and fine. It was blonde in childhood and turned a yucky flat ash color somewhere between blonde and brown as an adult. I do hope that in the long run the high lift will be more gentle than 20 volume and bleach, but from what I have read, some hair dressers do not think so.  The reason I am considering the lady who works from home but is not knowledgeable about high lift blondes is because when I consult hair dressers in the salon, they always just want to do highlights which I am tired of!   Do you find that the good quality high lift blondes you have worked with are harsh or can the hair still be in good condition following color process?  My roots which have high lift on them do have a nice shine that I don't see on the highlighted hair.  I am hoping that the bump up from 30 volume to 40 will give that tiny bit more lift that I need. That's my last question. Thanks!


Some hairdressers choose to do work that they are comfortable with. It makes sense to do highlights, since it is the easiest way to break through the brassy tones. All the companies I have highlighted to you above make premium colors, and they work!

Some hairdressers chose to work at home for different reasons, some may be quite good and others may be just mediocre. Now, going into a salon makes more sense to me, because those hairdressers are working with others, and seeing more work and sharing ideas on the old and the new. But seriously, maybe your girl is sufficient enough to do what you want, but is what you want what you need? A real professional knows the answer and has the right product to use....and should have it on hand.

You told me that she only works on older women and because of gray hair touch ups, she only works up to a level 9....that makes little sense to me. She should have everything at her disposal to do what ever comes her way.

Your last part of the question...30 or 40....does it matter? Of course it does. 40 volume will give you at least three levels of lift and should cut through on the unwanted brassy tones. So...go ahead and try it, but keep on eye on the hair, we don't want breakage. (That's the hairdresser's job!)

Good luck and please rate all the answers and questions, as it helps my rating.

I wish you all the best.


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The PsyCOLORgist


Ready to color your hair, and don't have a single clue on how to start? I will try my best to guide you in your new or old hair color venture, whether you are going to a professional or trying to do it yourself. If you are going to see a professional I can help by answering all questions regarding your initial consultation, what to say to your colorist, how to describe what your wishes are and well talk about realistic expectations. Everything starts with a good conversation; learn how to discuss hair color in terms which make sense to a colorist.


I started as a young assistant at Vidal Sassoon in 1982 and got the training that has always sustained me throughout my professional life. I first became involved in hair color in the mid 80s when I realized that my passion for painting was a vehicle understanding hair color. I joined the industry of hair color teaching and began a career as a platform artist in 1991. The next 25 years, took me across the USA and North America doing all hair shows, demonstrations on both hair cutting and hair coloring. I went from regional education, to national, eventually crossing into North America and being promoted as the USA Artistic Director for It&lyhairfashion, N.A. My hair salon is an award-winning destination for hair expertise, and I am proud to say that I have one of the most elite hair expert teams working for me.

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Involved in hair shows and teaching professional hairdressers for over 25 years.

Awards and Honors
Best Hair Colorist of 2011 awarded by "Westchester Magazine" in New York. Featured in Modern Salon as one of the top national hair colorists.

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