Blotchy vivids? Here's how to stop it before it happens.


Ever done a vivid color after a lightening service only to have it come out blotchy, spotty, or all together uneven? I don’t know if there is anything more frustrating than fully expecting a beautiful color at the shampoo bowl and seeing flashes of empty tones instead. I would know, I’ve done it - in fact, i’m sure most of us have. There are many different reasons for why this could be the case, but i’m going to go over the seven main ones here:

  1. Uneven saturation:

    • When you’ve already been with your client for 2.5 hours it can be difficult t:o slow your roll and be precise, but it’s necessary when you’re applying direct dyes. Take fine sections and saturate fully. In this case, too much product is better than not enough.

  2. Uneven porosity:

    • Any time you lift hair you’re dealing with different levels of porosity, which can absorb colors at different levels. I highly suggest using a porosity equalizer (most lines have them) while hair is still damp and then blowdrying it in.

  3. Mixing oxidative colors with your vivids:

    • I have a whole post just on this here : they don’t mix. Separate the services or you will run in to the developer from one eating the molecules of another.

  4. Uneven lifting:

    • If the hair has bands of different tones you can expect the same when the direct dye is put over it. Make sure your palette is even or use a toner to even it out before your final application.

  5. Uneven pretoning

    • As I stated previously, this can cause the same issue as uneven lifting. Be careful with your toning application and make sure you’re fully saturating all levels to create an even canvas.

  6. Shampoo/conditioner:

    • Read the directions for use with whatever vivid color line you’re choosing. If you’ve pre lightened, I suggest doing a couple shampoos to make sure you’re getting all of the lightener completely out of the hair. Left over lightener will eat away at the color molecules in your final application and cause banding or empty spots.

    • Some lines advise not using conditioner before your final application. Conditioner can create a waxy barrier on the hair that has adverse affects on the final product.

  7. Hot water

    • Whatever you do, don’t reach for the hot water on your final rinse. Use as cold of water as your client can possibly handle and apologize in advance if its winter. They’ll live - it’s worth the outcome. A final hot water rinse can ruin the last three hours you spent carefully formulating and applying.

As with any other service, make sure that your client knows the guidelines for aftercare. With vivid colors they need to be followed extremely closely for the best possible outcome and the longest lasting color. The last thing you want is for them to leave with a gorgeous color only to have them rinse it that night in hot water and ruin all of your hard work. No one wants to receive that text, and its your job to make sure they know whats expected of them.

Got questions about other applications? Comment below or find me here on instagram and send me a quick DM!

Esther ChapmanComment