All colorists know that silver can be a tricky hair color to reach. It requires the perfect balance of cool, ashy tones to ensure the heavy metal hue is at its most luminous. Throw in a dark base color that’s in need of lightening, and you’re setting yourself a real challenge, which means you’ll want a few extra tricks up your sleeve for a flattering end result...
1. Pre-Lighten Dark Locks
For silver hair to shine, any base color darker than a very light blonde will need pre-lightening. Use Blondor Freelights with a higher volume to reach a very pale yellow hue before toning. As this is a balayage look, the placement of your lighter ribbons is key, so stroke through the mid-lengths, ends and face-framing layers for the most flattering finish. If the hair has previously been colored darker, it will take a few sessions in the salon to achieve this lightness. Pairing the lightener with WellaPlex can help to keep hair strong throughout the process.
2. Try Foilyage
Adding foils to a balayage technique is ideal if you’re working with darker hair, as it allows for deeper penetration of the pre-lightener and an overall brighter result. This process is known as ‘foilyage’, as it stills sees the color painted freehand, but with the extra lightening bonus of using foils.
3. Find the Dream Formula
The best silver toner is light-reflective and beyond luminous. Our pick? Illumina Color; a permanent formula that elevates light to its highest spectrum. Look to the Cool Collection of shades for a kaleidoscope of silvery hues or try Opal Essence by Illumina Color in Silver Mauve for a pale metallic with a purple sheen.
For lower-commitment color, demi-permanent Color Touch offers so many shade options, with its Rich Naturals Portfolio serving up from deep, smokey tones and light almost-platinums. Try 7/86 for a inky violet grey, 9/96 for an icy rose silver-blonde or 9/86 to reach a pearlescent metallic that light-haired clients will love.
4. Add a Bond Strengthener
The brightest silvers require plenty of lightening, so make sure you add a bond strengthener. Try WellaPlex, which can be mixed into the lightener to reconstruct hair bonds through the coloring process. If you’re trying silver balayage yourself, it’s also wise to add the No3 Hair Stabilizer to your at-home routine, as it extends the shine-boosting, strengthening effects of the WellaPlex treatment. And, remember: the better the condition of your hair, the longer the silver hues will last.