Decoding Colour

Decoding Colour

Hair colour has the power to transform. But how do you get the most out of a trip to a salon? Our Toni&Guy experts reveal their top tips to achieving your best colour yet

Before your appointment

Think Longterm ‘Think about the maintenance of a colour. If you can’t commit to an appointment every five or six weeks, then full bleach is not for you. But there are alternatives. Highlights, for example, are less commitment,’ says Lee Brown.

Treat Yourself ‘If you are lightening dry hair a preliminary treatment is a must. The label.m Lab Remedy Treatment adds protein to strengthen hair from within, in just 15 minutes,’ says Lee. Becky Morris advises clients to take their time. ‘Don’t rush a big colour change. A course of treatments will achieve the optimum result,’ she says.

Strand Test To guard against an allergic reaction, Stephen Martin recommends booking in for a strand test at least a week before your colour appointment. ‘We can test to see what the colour will actually look like, which is particularly good for strong, vibrant shades,’ he says.

Dirty Hair Don't Care‘ Try not to wash your hair for at least 24 hours beforehand as this can make the scalp more sensitive. It also allows us to see what condition your hair is in, without it being masked by products,’ says Amanda Bolton.

Prime with Product Use label.m Protein Spray, £14.25, for about three weeks before your appointment. This will make your hair less porous, ensuring a smoother, more even colour application.

On the day

Picture This ‘Visuals are a great way to show your technician what you’re hoping to achieve,’ suggests Amanda. Images are better than trying to explain colours. ‘Ginger to me means copper or red, but if a client says ginger, a lot of the time they mean a warm blonde, so be careful what terms you use,’ says Lee.

Go For The Chop Surprisingly, a haircut can really make your colour pop. Discarding damaged hair will also achieve the best colour all the way through from the root to the tip. INSURE YOUR HAIR Billed as ‘insurance for your hair’, Olaplex allows you to push the boundaries with your hair colour by restoring elasticity. ‘If hair is already light, Olaplex enables us to take you even lighter without compromising the condition of the hair,’ says Becky.

Pamper Yourself Reap the rewards of a Toni&Guy spa treatment. Becky recommends the hot towel application to strengthen and reinforce the hair before you have your colour added.

Take Home A Colour Pack Ask your technician for a colour pack.‘They prolong colour by staining the hair and are prescriptive to your individual colour. We’ll mix them up in salon so customers can take them home to use afterwards,’ says Stephen.

At Home Aftercare

Don't Wash Your Hair ‘Don’t wash your hair for at least a couple of days after your colour to let it settle. You should only wash your hair every three to four days anyway as it’s better for your hair,’ recommends Lee.

Tone It Down ‘Every three weeks you can book in for a toner application (a toner and conditioner all in one) from £15 – this will tone, refresh and condition hair to prolong your colour,’ says Stephen.

Touch Up Big event planned? Book in for an express service to touch up your hairline as a temporary fix.

Don A Mask ‘Wrap a hot towel around your hair after applying a mask. Leave it for around 5-10 minutes and your hair will feel like silk. Try this once a week - it’s great if you’re staying in with a glass of wine,’ suggests Lee.

Hair-Rescusing Masks

Therapy Rejuvenating Mask, £18.25 This concentrated mask contains Rejuven-8 Complex to address the five key signs of hair ageing.

Honey & Oat Mask, £15.75 This lightweight mask can be used up to three times a week to prevent brittleness and is suitable for all hair types.

Intensive Mask, £14.25 Formulated for dry hair, it helps to restore manageability and elasticity with Cupuacu Butter to promote silkiness.

Shield Your Hair

Look for styling products that contain the Enviroshield Complex. A powerful combination of avocado oil, Barbados cherry and UV filter to optimise shine, protect against sun and to slow down the colour fade process.


Balayage: A French word that translates as ‘to sweep’. Colour is painted onto the hair freehand, for a bespoke, natural looking result.

Foiling: When foil is folded around the hair to separate strands that are to be lightened (used for highlights or lowlights).

Glaze: Also known as a gloss or toner, this is applied after colour to help hair develop into the proper tone of the desired shade.

Lumi-ombrage: This Toni&Guy technique is a form of hair contouring. It gradually lightens hair towards the ends and uses brighter tones around the face to enhance features for a luminous finish.

Microlights: Working with fine strands of hair, colour is overlapped and alternated with an illuminator for a multi-tonal finish.

Pre-lightener: Used when someone wishes to achieve a brighter blonde shade.

Toner: Applied after colouring to cancel and correct unwanted tones, it can also be applied in between appointments to refresh tired colour and disguise roots.

  • Words: Catriona Taylor

  • Photography : Andrew O’Toole, Jemima Marriott, Ben Breading, Daniel Rodrigues, Federico Ghiani, Kristina Yenko