Rainbow hair is a lot easier on the eyes than it is on the actual hair. Hours of bleaching and coloring can take a toll on your strands, especially if you are naturally brunette. However, genius hairstylists like Caitlin Ford have come up with a solution. The St. Louis–based hair pro came up with a technique she calls “Velvet Vivids,” which involves lightening the hair as you would with traditional highlights (instead of bleaching the hair from roots to tips) before adding rainbow dyes. “The result is a softer rainbow effect that works well on darker hair because it doesn’t need to be lightened as severely,” Ford tells Allure. The technique is similar to that of this low-maintenance rose gold dye job.
Before breaking down the complete process for me, Ford prefaces that this technicolor fantasy isn’t a look you can achieve at home. Instead, it requires a professional colorist to pull off. “You really need to know color theory and have experience formulating hair-color to know what shades to mix and to lighten the hair in the most controlled way,” she explains. With that in mind, you’ll need to book an appointment with your stylist and expect to have a consultation first.
OK, now that we have that issue addressed, Ford says she starts off the Velvet Vivids process by brushing on bleach with a lower volume developer as she would traditional highlights to make her client’s hair about three shades lighter than it naturally is. After letting the highlights process, she was left with a “brassy orangey-yellow color,” she says, so Ford mixed up concentrated rainbow dyes that combine well with the orange in the highlights. Then, she applied those in a rainbow gradient that our digital deputy editor, Sam Escobar, cleverly dubbed “rainbombré.”
Depending on how thick your hair is, the total process takes three to five hours, Ford says. It’s all worth it for colorful, yet still healthy hair, and you’ll be left with a subtle rainbow for a good three to four months. Another plus: “The way the color is patterned makes it easy to replicate the same look over and over again,” Ford notes. Trust me, folks — this is about as low-maintenance and strand-friendly as rainbow hair gets.
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Read more stories about coloring your hair:
- This Rose-Gold Hair Color Is Perfect for Lazy Girls Who Hate Getting Root Touch-Ups
- Here’s How Brunettes Can Get Rainbow Hair Without Using Any Bleach
- This Salon Found a Way to Do Rainbow Hair Transformations WITHOUT Bleach
Now, learn about 100 years of hair-color history:
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