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How To Dye Your Hair Coral: The Complete Guide

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Oct 182019
By Amy Lawrenson
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Want to know how you can add a hint of colour into your hair this season? Read on for our top tips!

Coral is 2019’s hottest colour and if your clients want to add a hint of this trending hue to their hair, we have just the thing: the new So Color Cult in Starfish Coral. Not only is it a shade that works beautifully on most bases but Living Coral is the Pantone Colour of the Year, which means it’s trending more than any other shade. Now, we know what you’re thinking, creative colour is not something all clients want to jump into. But, thanks to the formulation, So Color Cult Starfish Coral can be diluted to give the hair a beautiful wash of pastel peach, that’s a pretty way to play up balayage.

“I feel creative colour should still look natural, I know people think I’m mental for it, but if you get the skin tone right a creative colour can look natural,” says Ashleigh Hodges, Matrix Artistic Director, “especially if you add a high-shine gloss over the top.”

With the party season just around the corner, we called on Hodges to share her top tips for using So Color Cult in this season’s must-try shade Starfish Coral so you can add a little cheerful colour to your clients’ tresses.

Star Fish Coral Model

How to Get Bright Coral Hair?

The brilliant thing about So Color Cult is that all the vivid shades can be diluted using So Colour Cult in Clear. Applied neat, you can create the most striking and bold monochromatic coral colour on very blonde or pre-lightened clients. But, the more you dilute the Starfish Coral shade the more pastelised the effect will be. Want just a whisper of rosy peach? Dilute 10 parts Starfish Coral into 60 parts Clear. Pastels are generally an easier way to sell the idea of colour trends to a client, plus it’s a fun way for your client to update their balayage. “Even if they’re not coming in for a balayage, a creative colour  can be a great service to add to a cut and blow-dry service as a way to update their balayage,” suggests Hodges.

How to Add Coral to Balayage?

If your client comes into the salon and is open to balayage with a side of creative colour, then you’ll want to balayage their hair slightly differently. “When working with a creative gloss I go slightly chunkier with the balayage pieces, by creating larger zig-zag patterns at the scalp. That way you will get proper flashes of coral coming through on the finished look,” says Hodges.

The key with So Color Cult shades is to create the exact shade you want when you mix it. Test it by brushing the colour on to a piece of paper towel and really drag it through to check the tone. “It’s always better to formulate the colour exactly how you want it, rather than when it’s on the hair and thinking I’ve got to get it out!” notes Hodges. You don’t want to end up in a situation where your client ends up with a shade they didn’t want. By formulating right, if you do end up leaving the colour on longer, it will simply help with the longevity of the dye, which is no bad thing.


TOP TIP: Always put clear in first then add your So Colour Cult creative colour and build up the tone. It gives you more control.

So Color Cult Shades come in two formulations: Direct, a semi-permanent and Tone-on-Tone, which is demi-permanent. “If your client has porous hair then use Direct. Tone-on-Tone works well on strong, non-porous hair. A great way to utilise both is in problematic clients where panels and ends are porous but the roots are healthy. You would use both Tone-on-Tone and Direct to essentially colour correct the hair with creative colour,” advises Hodges.

Always apply So Colour Cult to damp hair, “it drags better. You want to apply colour when the cuticles are open, if hair is dry you don’t get the same end effect,” notes Hodges. “Really make sure you’re smothering the colour all the way through to the ends and keep applying again and again to ensure it’s even, otherwise you’ll get a deeper colour through the roots and a lighter colour through the ends. But, if you want, you can apply to the roots and drag to the ends as this will give you a slight ombre effect.”

The So Color Cult consistency is great for allowing you to play and be creative. What’s great is that on natural hair, Starfish Coral will give the hair a rosy tint, “which, when applied all over, helps blend in the balayage pieces making them look more natural and really pretty,” says Hodges.

And remember, you won’t always need to pre-tone your client’s lightened sections. “The base you put the colour onto is really important, when working with warmer tones it’s not always best to tone the blonde. Go pack to basics, the colour you’re applying and the base shade will equal to your end result,” says Hodges.

Will Coral Balayage Suit Me?

A lot of clients are likely to ask this question. Coral generally suits people with a warm skin tone, but “Starfish Coral works on lots of different bases from rich chocolate to blonde. It has warmth to it and a pinky glow, which is perfect for autumn,” notes Hodges.

Neat Starfish Coral has an almost blood orange vibrancy and richness to it, but when diluted it takes on an almost rosy, peachy hue which is also really beautiful.

If your client has a cooler skin tone or prefers cool shades, then there are so many So Color Cult hues from Clover Green to Mermaid Tail that can be worn vivid or pastel, so all clients can find their perfect shade to play with.

Want to go beyond just diluting? “You could add Disco Silver into Starfish Coral to make it dusty,” suggests Hodges. “I’m all for adding shimmers of greys, as it adds that extra shine! Making a shade slightly more ash gives you that high-shine which means the light reflects off it that little bit more.”

Disco Silver

How Long Will Coral Last in the Hair?

This is definitely something your client will be wondering and it all depends on the condition of your client’s hair and how well they look after it. “Think of a dirty wall, if you paint over it it’s never going to look nice. It’s the same for hair and condition,” says Hodges.

Now, you can’t add Bond Ultimate to So Color Cult Direct but it does have conditioners built into the formula, so it will nourish the hair. The key with colour clients is to get their hair in its healthiest condition beforehand, which may mean a Bond Ultimate treatment before touching the lighteners. Once they have a So Color Cult shade in their hair, at-home care becomes critical to how long it will last. Hodges always recommends the Keep Me Vivid range, as it was formulated especially for So Colour Cult clients.

“The Lamination Spray is a real in-salon game-changer. Rather than shampooing your clients hair after applying So Color Cult, use the Lamination Spray as it’s highly acidic and locks in the colour. “Your clients can feel like they’re at that back wash for so long during a creative colour treatment. Hair is already shampooed after lightening, the Lamination Spray is brilliant because it’s a quick service that can be applied with a head massage,” explains Hodges.

Watch Hodges apply So Colour Cult Starfish Coral to a balayage client here:

She used Lightmaster with Clay Additive - 30 volume, 9% and Bond Ultimate.

She didn’t pre-tone the hair but went direct onto the pre-lightened strands with Starfish coral 10mls to 30mls of So Colour Cult in Direct Clear.

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