If you have any hopes of being a professional color technician then you really have to know your colors. To begin with there are three colors that every other color is based on. You may remember these from your school years, as they are the primary colors, red yellow and blue. All the rest of the colors as we know them are comprised of various mixtures of these colors. The best way to understand color is to purchase a simple color wheel.
By knowing your primary colors and what happens when you mix them gives you good insight as to what will happen when you mix hair colors. For example if your client has yellow tones in her hair and you apply a color, that has a blue base to it then you are going to get a cast of green to the newly colored hair.
When it comes to using the products for coloring, they have specific characteristics that the colorist has to be aware of. When color is applied to the hair, it takes a specific amount of time for the natural hair to grab the color. This is called the development time and each specific color has its own developing time. The quickest is red followed by orange, yellow, purple, blue, and green.
A tint is a mixture of color so if the development time doesn?t get to its full potential then the results will not be consistent. On the other hand, you don?t need to worry about over development. Once the color reaches its maximum potential there is no further development.
Colors also have varying capabilities to hold onto the hair and remain there. This is called tenacity. The strongest being green/purple, then yellow/blue and finally orange/red. Almost the opposite sequence for development. You must be able to analyze the texture of the hair because fine textured hair absorbs color better that coarse hair.
You will also need to familiarize yourself with tones and shades.
Tones are variations of a color and shades denote how intense the color is.
A good colorist will fully understand the potential damage that can be caused from the various chemicals in their coloring products.
Another point, on which I feel strongly about, is that you should have a basic knowledge of the chemical substances in the products being used. The professional colorist must be aware of the damaging effect they could have on the hair if used incorrectly.
You need to have a good understanding of the pH scale which simple refers to something being to acid or too alkaline. The neutral point is pH7. Anything below this is acidic, and anything above it is alkaline. In regards to the composition pH of the hair this is based on the amount of sebum and sweat that is present in the hair. This attributes to the acidity. The average for the hair is around 4.5-5.5.
Any of the tints and bleaches that the colorist will used is always alkaline and must penetrate the hair shaft in order to be successful. This is the reason they have to be alkaline because that?s what gives the color the ability to open the hair shaft so the color can penetrate.