Green is made up of blue and yellow. We can all agree with this, right? But, the more important question is: how much blue and yellow?
Hi! My name is Alyssa Mongelluzzo and I am a salon owner, social media influencer, brand & independent educator and hair nerd. Between all the things this industry includes, the color wheel and color theory intrigues me the very most.
I am about to chat about the color wheel and in specifics, ash vs. green, so stick around! Let’s go over when to use ash, when to use green and what happens if you choose incorrectly. For the sake of this blog, let’s focus on pre-lightened hair.
Imagine your guest is a natural level 4 scalp to ends. You then complete a full head of highlights. The newly lightened hair has lifted to a level 7. The underlying pigment that was exposed during lightening and is left over in the hair now is gold. Gold, unless specified otherwise by a color line, is typically equal parts of underlying yellow and orange in the hair. If we go back to remembering the color wheel from hair school, we know that ash/blue is the opposite or compliment to orange. Violet is the compliment to yellow. So, in this case I would proceed to tone the hair with equal parts of violet (8V) and ash (7A). The violet in the formula will support/ neutralize the yellow in the hair and then ash/blue in the formula will support/ neutralize the orange in the hair. (I will go more in depth with how to match the value of the underlying pigment to the value in your chosen formula in another blog).
Now imagine your guest is a natural level 1 scalp to ends. You then complete a full head of balayage, or open air hand painting. The newly lightened hair has lifted to a level 4. The underlying pigment that was exposed during lightening and is left over in the hair now is red-orange. Red is typically a strong underlying pigment since it is a primary color. Going back to the color wheel again, we know that green is the opposite or compliment to red. To cancel or diminish the amount of red in the hair, I would choose the Matte Series from Oligo, which is their green line. My go to would be 4AG from their Matte Series. (Maybe a little neutral for stability in the formula and a drop of ash to help support the green on kicking the warmth!)
Take note that their green line is 80% ash and 20% yellow, hence the “AG.” This means that the green in the matte series is not an intense green and the value of the green may be less than the value of the red in the hair in some cases. In the scenario I created for you, the AG series is perfect! Since the guest’s hair lifted with underlying pigments of red and orange!
Now, I want to give you one last scenario. Imagine we took our first case on the level 7 highlights on a level 4 base and toned with green. We used 7AG over level 7 gold hair. We would be left with either green hair or just muddy looking hair. The orange and yellow in the hair are not warm enough (red enough) to support using a green tone. You may see green hues when styling which is not our goal.
In conclusion, use ash when orange is present, use green when red is present, use both when red and orange are present and never forget to custom make your formulas. This way you can add neutrals, violets, golds, and clear when needed to best support the underlying pigment and value of your canvas. You got this! Please feel free to reach out via DM on instagram, @alyssamongelluzzo Alyssa Mongelluzzo