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Curious about Vivids, Silver or Platinum?

A trend once thought to be tacky and for rebellious teens is quickly making its way to mainstream. More and more companies are now accepting of their employees wearing unnatural hair colors. Gorgeous blends of color from pastels to neon to silver are popping up on even some of the most unexpected heads. Men and women in all age groups are dabbling with an array of colors that allow their personalities to shine through. You've probably seen them on various social media outlets but do you know what it takes to get (and keep) these specialty colors?

The first step in getting a luscious vivid, baby soft pastel, or shimmering silver is to prep the hair. Any previous color must be removed to create a clean slate. We do so by using various different products that go inside the hair, seek out the color molecules, and then actually shrink them so they can be shampooed away. The results from this process can vary depending on the use of box colors versus professional colors. Your stylist may also use a chelating product on your hair to remove any mineral buildup or other residues that may be present. This portion can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and a half.

The next step is the lightening process. This part of the process is the most tedious and time consuming part of the process. In order for a vivid or a platinum color to be achieved in its true intensity the hair must be lightened to a minimum of a level 8 (medium blond) and to as much as a level 10 (pale yellow, like a banana). Naturally light hair can achieve this usually in one visit, however, darker hair may need to repeat the lightening process to get to the end goal. This process could prove to be very damaging but recent advances in technology using rebonding agents has allowed hairstylists to push past previous boundaries and achieve amazing results with minimal damage in most cases. This process can take up to 2 hours.

Once the hair has been lightened to the necessary level, a toner is applied to neutralize any remaining warmth (not always necessary for darker vivids). This is an important step for pastels and silver. In order for them to show well and with full intensity the hair must be almost white. A toner may be applied at the bowl in the form of a shampoo or rapid toner that tones in just 5 minutes.

Once the hair is dry the actual vivids application begins. This can vary depending on the desired look we are trying to achieve. It may be as simple as applying an all-over color or as complicated as a balayage with a root smudge and 5 or 6 different colors. A rebonding agent is recommended during this process to help strengthen the hair and add to the longevity of your color application. You can expect 45 to 90 minutes for application and processing time.

Once the vivids have been rinsed your stylist may recommend a deep conditioning and/or protein treatment to get the hair back into shape, increase shine, add softness, and to help seal the cuticle layer to protect your color. This is often an important missed step to protecting both the integrity of the hair as well as your investment in your color.

Overall, vivids can be a fun and very enjoyable experience. The feeling of the final reveal of a your favorite rich and vibrant or pale and soft hues can be very exhilarating. The possibilities and combinations can make for fun and endless looks. Be prepared for the time and process it takes to achieve these looks as well as the maintenance and proper home care.

Happy coloring!


Here are some important tips for preserving your color and protecting the health of your hair.

1. Use a professional sulfate free shampoo and color preserving conditioner on your hair.

2. If recommended by your stylist, alternate shampoos with a colorwash (such as Celeb Luxury) that adds pigment back into the hair to keep vibrancy.

3. Deep condition weekly.

4. Use a home rebonding agent, such as Olaplex No. 3, weekly or biweekly for more fragile hair.

5. Keep up with recommended in-salon rebonding and protein treatments to protect the integrity of the hair.

6. Use dry shampoo to go an extra day between shampoos.

7. DO NOT wash in hot water. Use lukewarm to cool water to prevent premature color fadeout.

8. Turn down the heat on your styling tools. Excessive heat can damage the color molecules instantly in some cases (not to mention your actual hair).


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