Colour reducers versus colour strippers

Haircutz

Super Moderator
Staff member
#1
Colour Reducers versus Colour Strippers.

They are different products and achieve slightly different outcomes.

Colour Strippers

E.g. Effasor and any bleach based mixes. These contains bleaching chemicals and bleaches colour (both natural and artificial pigments) from the hair. It does cause some damage in the same way any application of lightener does. You may also find some degree of patchiness depending on colour build up.


Colour Reducers/Removers

Affinage Eraser, Rusk Elimin8, Blondie Rae etc.

These shrink the permanent (artificial) colour molecules which are removed from the hair when rinsing. That's why you have to rinse the hair for at least five minutes and it also helps if you actively agitate the hair rather than just leaving the shower head flowing over it. Depending on amount of colour build up, you will probably need to re-apply 2-3 times. You can do a quick check for progress by applying a dilute peroxide mix directly onto a section of hair and give it a few minutes to see if it changes back to the previous colour.

The end result will not be the client's original natural colour though, because of the peroxide used in the original tinting process will have caused some degree of lightening.
Also, always apply another oxidising (Demi) tint afterwards two shades lighter than the desired colour. If you don't do this immediately, any few remaining tint molecules will re-oxidise naturally and the hair will still look coloured (albeit with less colour than previously so it might look a bit translucent).

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If someone wants to lighten their hair that has been tinted quite dark and/or with quite a build up of tint, I'd generally go for a colour reducer and charge accordingly as you'd need to set aside enough time to complete several processes. You might be able to use a normal tint + peroxide mix to achieve the desired outcome or depending on how light they want to go, you might still need to use a bleach mix and apply highlights or consider using a balayage technique (as this is generally quicker).

You can theoretically go from black to blonde in one day with little damage but that depends on the condition/type of the hair and the products you are using. Adding Olaplex to the mix will help reduce the damage but Olaplex cannot repair damaged or missing cuticle scales.

Also, you should always charge a realistic price for your work. After all, if the client goes down the highlighting route instead, it will take several sessions and the costs will still add up.
 

Bella93xox

Active Member
#2
I don't understand the peroxide mix test? You apply neat peroxide to a section and wait for the hair to go darker ? Also what is everyone's favourite colour reducer? X
 

Haircutz

Super Moderator
Staff member
#3
I don't understand the peroxide mix test? You apply neat peroxide to a section and wait for the hair to go darker ? Also what is everyone's favourite colour reducer? X
Permanent (artificial) colour molecules are tiny so that they can slip through the outer cuticle layer of the hair and into the cortex. The oxidisation process causes them to grow larger and then become stuck and so can't be washed out. Over processed hair has a damaged cuticle layer and that's why permanent colour tends to 'fade' quickly. In reality, it's the colour molecules falling out through the porous/damaged cuticle layer resulting in less colour pigment and giving the impression of a lighter colour.

The reducer causes the permanent colour molecules to break and shrink so that they can be washed out through the cuticle layer. However, you need to agitate the hair really thoroughly to wash all the tiny molecules away. Afterwards, any remaining molecules of colour in the hair will naturally re-oxidise just from the oxygen in the air and grow large again. If too many molecules remain, the hair will still look coloured when dried. Hair that has a build up of colour means that it has a particularly high saturation of colour molecules and so will require more effort to remove it.

If you apply a dab of peroxide solution or your preferred tint mix to a test piece, you can judge whether you need to re-apply the reducer or go ahead and apply the new tint colour.

Does this answer your question?
 

Bella93xox

Active Member
#4
Yes it does! Thank you! Why would you apply your Demi in two shades lighter?
 

Haircutz

Super Moderator
Staff member
#5
Yes it does! Thank you! Why would you apply your Demi in two shades lighter?
If you imagine the artificial colour molecules are like the polystyrene beads in a bean bag and when you try to empty it, they'll always be some left behind.
These molecules will grow large again when oxidised and depending on how many there are left, it affects the final colour you can see, particularly if you're going much lighter afterwards.

I hope I explained this ok?
 

Bella93xox

Active Member
#6
If you imagine the artificial colour molecules are like the polystyrene beads in a bean bag and when you try to empty it, they'll always be some left behind.
These molecules will grow large again when oxidised and depending on how many there are left, it affects the final colour you can see, particularly if you're going much lighter afterwards.

I hope I explained this ok?
Yes thank you. so if your target colour was a 6 you would use an 8 in case some molecules are still left over in the hair ?
 

Haircutz

Super Moderator
Staff member
#7
Yes thank you. so if your target colour was a 6 you would use an 8 in case some molecules are still left over in the hair ?
Yes! You'll probably find it's a bit trial and error until you gain more experience of using reducers. :)
 

Bella93xox

Active Member
#8
Yes! You'll probably find it's a bit trial and error until you gain more experience of using reducers. :)
Thank you I would not have thought to use a lighter target colour, learn so much from this site
 

Hayleyhair

Active Member
#9
What about if you want to remove a Demi-permanent colour? Will a colour reducer still work?

I understand that it wouldnt work on a semi as the molecules sit in the outer layer
 
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Haircutz

Super Moderator
Staff member
#10
What about if you want to remove a Demi-permanent colour? Will a colour reducer still work?
I understand that it wouldnt work on a semi as the molecules sit in the outer layer
Generally yes, but obviously check the manufacturers instructions as they can vary.
 

Peachys

New Member
#11
How long after doing a full head permanent colour is recommended before using a reducer? I did a client yesterday and she had that much build up on her lengths that the colour didn't show and is now at a level 2, I'm fairly new to this so was anxious anyway!
 

Fabby

Active Member
#12
How long after doing a full head permanent colour is recommended before using a reducer? I did a client yesterday and she had that much build up on her lengths that the colour didn't show and is now at a level 2, I'm fairly new to this so was anxious anyway!
i belive there is no time at all. if the client wants to go considerable lighter, or has buildup of box colour, straight awa would be the answer to that :)
 

#13
I have used colour remover succesfully the cheaper set's are actually pretty effective. One client was a level 4.0 natural hair was 70-80% white, box dyes. Hair was left with Red pigment and grey....re-coloured with a 7.0 looked great. Not great for hair in poor condition.
 

MariahLee

New Member
#14
Would a bleach bath be safer than effasol?
 

Haircutz

Super Moderator
Staff member
#15
Would a bleach bath be safer than effasol?
There’s not much difference between them. The decision as to which colour removing method to use needs to be based on what you’re working with and what outcome you want to achieve.
 
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