Hair Banding & Corrective Color

Color Banding

banding chart

Causes of Color Banding  

May 1st, 2017  

With box hair color we often see a situation we refer to as banding. Banding can occur when box color is repeatedly used to make hair lighter. Look closely at the chart above. See how color imbalance is shown in overlapping. Incorrect application and inconsistent formula are why because both need to be perfect to go lighter.  

 Color Banding and Salon Hopping  

An industry term for clients who don’t commit to a salon is called salon hopping. Salon hopping can cause banding and bad color results in general. Salons use different color lines and stylists use different techniques. Maybe someone is not getting what they want, or just looking for a better deal but salon hopping is common. Research, then be patient and consistent because bouncing from salon to salon is never a good idea. Especially with color.  

Look For a Color Salon   

Salons are not created the same. Some are haircut focused and some are beauty salons. Finding a salon that specializes in color will prevent banding. Good hair color is done in color salons, so avoid salons that don’t request consultations. 

Consultations figure out if what you want is possible. If you want to fix your hair color, you’ll need to frequent one color salon. To go lighter we have to remove color, so try to stick with the same colorist too. Even in a color salon, it’s hard to follow someone else’s plan to detail. Getting your hair color corrected has to be done before you can schedule color maintenance with whoever is available in a color salon.  

Consistent color results require consistency, in and out of the salon. So, look for a salon that talks about this first, then be consistent with your stylist and your maintenance.  

Head or Floor? 

Stylists want to create beautiful hair. Healthy hair is beautiful hair, so we get uncomfortable when a client asks us to aggressively bleach hair. Whether we do it depends on if a client is difficult to deal with.  Hair services are personal so treat stylists like people. Show you want a friendly working relationship. Stylists’ shutdown when you start making declarative demands. If a colorist develops a color plan, follow it. Planning comes with experience, and planning time is how we get results. Complaining about time when you want to be lighter is not a good idea. Time is how we make hair blonde and it stays on your head. Rushed bleach work can make you blonde, but your hair may be on the floor because it melted off.

Manage Your Expectations

I train staff to do color on our terms because doing a corrective color is pointless if the person will be back for another fix in 6 months. We are responsible, but hair color maintenance is a client responsibility. No such thing as one and done color when going lighter. Unless you keep your color goal on the same level of maintenance you’re willing to commit to, you’ll never be happy with your hair. We have release forms that state risks and a box you must check that says results are done over time. Baffling is when we explain everything, someone says “ok” then wants a refund. It’s always because they are impatient or don’t want to pay for future visits. Salons are businesses. This website is dedicated to explaining services, but I can’t make someone read this anymore than I can force them in the salon. 

Color Results & Color Responsibility

 Color results don’t just fall on a colorist. Good hair color comes with the personal responsibility of following our professional advice. Salons aren’t wish factories because color is situational, and situational awareness can be hard for new clients wanting lighter hair. Before asking for a refund, ask yourself if you’ve followed the professional plan. Asking salons for a color refund is like asking a mechanic for a refund because you don’t like your car. 

It’s not about money for us. 

 Taking someone from brown to blonde in a day is easy for me but I must have a senior assistant (or two) because it takes a lot of time and work. It is expensive because it takes a lot of salon resources and brain power to perform. When a client goes to another salon or doesn’t come back for 6 months, I won’t do a corrective color again. Regardless of cost. Good working relationships are important for stylists who have years in this industry. I’d rather invest that time with a regular client, or a new one who wants in regularly. 

A visit or two will be an improvement, but don’t expect hair to look just like the Instagram pic you show because building color is like building a house. Good color relies on a foundation. Just like a house, if the foundation is done incorrectly it won’t last. Color correction is similar. Correcting hair color banding must be done first before lighter levels can be done later. Color banding is caused from 2 main things, DIY color, and salon hopping. DIY color and salon hopping are usually due to a clients budget or impatience. First see if what you want us even doable, then decide whether you can afford it. After that, your color results depend on you and how consistent you are with a salon.   

Remember before you color at home, or go allover darker- you’re going to need corrective color if you want to change it later. Maintaining what we do at home, or even in another salon, isn’t realistic because that’s usually why banding occurs. 

Changing hair later should be thought of before you color. 


gemy, studio 39 salon owner

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