How to achieve a better blend
“That blenddddd though.” A phrase that is being tossed around on hairstylists social media pages like wild fire lately. Transitional colors are, and will remain, all the rage (thankfully, because they are way easier on the eyes than those tiger stripes of the early 2000’s.) Maybe its a vivid color root in to lighter ends, balayage that looks unrealistically seamless, or baby lights that seem to grow right out of the scalp: either way, the blend is in. Here are some tips for upping your blend game when it comes to transitional colors:
length of transition
The transition i’m referring to here is the section in between both colors, the place where they marry and separate to create the perfect movement from one color in to the next. I like my transitional section to be between 1/2 inch (baby lights with a root smudge) to about 1.5 inches (seamless balayage.) Transitions outside of this scale tend to create more lines. Keep in mind that a natural transition is typically dropped down further in the back of the head and kept higher towards the face.
Yes, you can blend warm colors in to cool and vice versa - but I suggest you nail your blend before you go in to this territory. It can be more difficult and can create muddy middles if not done correctly. Also the larger the level difference between what you’re blending, the harder it’s going to be to get a seamless blend. I recommend trying to stay within 3-4 levels of difference between root to end. Anything higher and you will want to use a third color to really nail that transition down. Example: Roots are level 2. Ends are level 8. Transition a third color between the roots and ends with a toner or mid-lowlight of a level 5-6, making each transitional area a level difference of only 3-4. This is not always necessary, but generally it is a good rule of thumb.
Nailing the blend really comes down to being precise with your sectioning and application. This is where everything can get really messy and go to hell in a handbasket. Your colors should be the correct consistency, and you should know why you’re doing what. I always suggest mapping out what you’re doing and the why behind it before you get started - it makes it a lot easier to keep it clean and precise.
the right tools
Invest in different color brushes for different jobs. Have blending brushes like the iblend brush from Olivia Garden or the WOW comb to marry colors together (Seriously my two favorites.) Keep meche strips, foils, cotton, and plastic wrap stocked so that you have the proper separation tools for whatever job you’re doing. All of these make a huge difference in my outcomes behind the chair. I honestly don’t know how I survived so many years with just foils, gloves, and a typical applicator brush… but i’m glad i’m not doing that anymore.
And lastly, of course, is practice. Keep practicing! If you’re finding that your blend isn’t coming out the way you want, try implementing these tips and switching up your method - you might just find that what feels uncomfortable is going to be what gets you there.
Got some favorite blending tools? Tell me in the comments so we can all try them out!