Copper and Hair Bleach…


I’m starting this post with the amazing photos of what we ended up with, but this was a pretty scary situation to be in and I feel incredibly lucky it ended up not being the end of the world…

This is a friend of mine who has been a client of mine for years. I’m talking followed me through at least 4 hair salons I’ve moved to. At her last visit we attempted to lighten her dark auburn hair to a light enough color to apply a grey tone over it in a balayage pattern. We weren’t sure we would be able to lighten it as much as we want in one visit and we ended up putting a demi-permanent color back over it so we would have some wiggle room as it faded and we would be able to clear it out more easily at the next visit. We experienced no damage other than the standard dryness associated with the use of powdered hair lightener (hair bleach) at that visit.

She came in again yesterday and I applied 20 volume lightener on the first sections I applied, and then used a mix of 30 volume with a dash of 40 volume in the last sections I applied so they would finish processing at the same time. While she was processing I started to work on another client. After about 10 minutes (guesstimating) she caught my attention and told me it was steaming and hot on her neck. Immediately we went to the sink because that is not a standard reaction. While rinsing it out I couldn’t tell how bad it was or how much damage was from heat vs chemical issues, so I fully rinsed the lightener out and applied Olaplex over her hair while I finished the processing time in the root color application.

I made the command decision to apply the grey color over the entire head because it couldn’t stay orange and yellow. After that had completed the processing time I actually had to go through and tone it a bit darker because the damaged parts of her hair turned a brilliant shade of navy blue instead of grey.

We ended up having to cut off about half of her hair length, and the really weird thing was that there were sections with 20 volume that were fine, as were most of the sections with 40 volume developer. It didn’t seem to be directly related to what chemicals were applied where on her head, it was so weird for it to be so distinctly on one side really. Our current hypothesis is that it has something to do with the water at her gym, as she usually washes it at home before seeing me and this time she had most recently washed it in the gym.

So I kept some pieces to the side after it was cut and I intend to run some additional test on them, but I believe after a little heavy digging I have found the issue: copper reacting with the ammonia in the hair lightener.

Hair lightener, also called bleach, is actually not bleach like chlorine. Hair bleach is a powdered ammonia product mixed with a liquid hydrogen peroxide as a catalyzing agent. After some excessive digging I found information on why certain cleaning systems are not suitable for use with copper pipes because of the ammonia in the products. Apparently copper is not usually used in ammonia system because it can react in an exothermic way that can also create cupric hydroxide of a blue color. Given the fact that the secondary product actually turned the hair blue and I could find nothing else even remotely related to having this set of issues I think it could be related to improper pipe care at the gym and possible older or poorly finished piping. My plan is to have the hair samples I kept tested for additional residue from this and see how that lines up with my current understanding.

Oh, and in the meantime, I’m glad she’s so nice and hasn’t murdered me for cutting off half her hair. Thank Lebowski for small miracles.


Affinage B.Red Highlift Red Series


These four pictures are all from the same client, but at three separate visits.

There’s a before photo of her natural hair color, followed by a photo of her hair after the first session with Affinage B.Red in color Red with 20vol, the third photo is about 8 weeks later with the same formula applied again, and the final photo it is again the same formula applied another 8 weeks later.

It’s amazing how much brighter the color becomes with each overlapping session. We could have used a stronger developer to have produced a more prominent color result at the initial session, but she has had bad experiences previously with damage so we felt a more subtle approach would be the right start for us, and we love how gloriously it’s become over time.

Bigger, Better, Blonder!


Working with so many brands and methods of hair extensions makes me really happy because it means I virtually always have the best option for every set of hair needs.

This particular hair extensions masterpiece includes 2 different brands because of the methods required to create this density. This client actually has moderately thick hair that’s still soft, however in order to achieve her desired color effect her density and length at the ends simply no longer exists. No amount of Olaplex fixes the damage of getting hair to a clean “white” blonde shade.

To recreate the density she could have naturally at the length she likes we use beaded weft rows for the back of her head. This allows us to quickly and easily add a high volume of hair extensions to her existing hair. For the sides of her head we use two colors of tape in hair extensions because they lay flatter to the head and it allows us to add more colors for a dimensional effect mimicking highlights and lowlights.

Overall this look takes two 12 piece partial packs of tape in hair extensions as well as two 4 oz packages of 18″ weft hair (aka “tracks”). The actual hair extension process for this takes anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours to achieve depending upon energy level. She’s often my last client of the day and we don’t even start her highlights until 5pm so you can imagine how long some of those nights are. 🙂

Hair Extension Transformation


I absolutely love when I get to make big changes for my lovely clients. This was a house call in Houston TX.

Her existing hair was already very thick had multiple shades of blonde and a bit of a shadow root/color melt effect producing a subtle ombre effect so matching her colors was really important. We actually ended up using almost 300 strands of 808 fusion hair extensions from Hair Shop in 6 different shades ranging from solid colors to some of their remade ombre tones as well.

This hair look took about 2.5 hours to complete and the resulting invisibility of her extensions was totally worth all that care.