lived in color specialists

Lived In Color Series: Grey Blending or Growing Out Permanent Color

Ah, the extensive and extremely satisfying Grey Blending experience. It’s quite the appointment, weighing in at 4-5 hours and starting at $175-$200. Welcome to this installment in our Lived In Color series. Are you just tuning in and wondering, “What is this all about?” Please go back to the last post about the pricing breakdown of all of this. It is a long post, but it provides a considerable breakdown of all of the services offered in this Lived In Color category.

Now, back to growing out that pesky permanent hair color and transitioning to that natural (and usually) grey color underneath. Each and every one of these cases is deliciously different. Chloe and I LOVE putting our heads together for these! It makes us feel like hair doctors. 🙂

Dee had been toying with the idea of going back to her natural for awhile. After the shutdown, she decided it was time. But she didn’t want to go full on Sharon Osborne and go completely silver. So we compromised with micro lowlights and micro highlights. Here is the before and after of her first appointment.

Now, some of you might be asking, what does that look like in a month, 2 months, 3 months?

Well, you just have to wait and see. It isn’t a cut and dry prescription for everyone. Some people may need more toning, low lights, highlights, or a combination.

Dee decided she wanted to continue the lowlights as she likes that it still gives her some color on top where she is mostly grey, so that’s what we do every 8-10 weeks.

Here she is at 4 weeks after her initial appointment. She came in for a cut, and we made future appointments based on what we saw.

Now let’s talk about maintenance. If you use Suave, Herbal Essenses, or basically anything from the shampoo section at Wal-mart, I’m here to tell you that this will not work for you. That shampoo will strip out that nice toning gloss so fast it will make your head spin. A toning gloss cancels out the yellow and orange pigment left behind after lightening. It makes the highlights a nice silvery blonde to match what you have going on at the roots, specifically formulated for each client. You MUST use a shampoo that has blue or purple pigments or this big expensive investment will all be for naught. Usually, that means every other time you shampoo, you will need to use the toning maintenance shampoo. During the other times you shampoo, you will need to use a professional shampoo and conditioner, usually something moisturizing since the toning shampoos tends to be a tad drying. {Ask us why at your appointment! It’s great science!}

Dee uses Matrix Brass Off shampoo as her maintenance shampoo.

Here are some other before and after examples of what can be achieved in one of these sessions.

Mindy’s first session (left) started the process of going to her natural color. That was in July 2019. Fast forward to October 2020 (pic on right), and she has completed the transition with only 3 appointments to tone or get a trim between July 2019 and October 2020.

Another beautiful example on someone with a naturally lighter base.

Now let’s look take a look at Kristi. She comes in every 6 weeks or so for a haircut. Her initial appointment (picture below) was in June 2020. Her before and after still blow me away! We planned to do a Gloss+Go during her October 2020 appointment. When she came in, I couldn’t believe how well her maintenance shampoo was keeping her blonde microlights so perfectly matched to her natural color. It was INCREDIBLE. I was so flabbergasted, I didn’t even think to get a picture. I know. Ridiculous. But please believe me, it was amazing.

Another amazing thing about Kristi is that her Grey Blending didn’t age her one little bit. Look at how her blue eyes just pop! She looks amazing! I promise I’ll get a pic of her progress next time she’s in to see us.

I have to be completely honest here. We pride ourselves on honesty with our clients. Sometimes it can be brutal. Are you ready? Embracing your natural grey can age you. Sleep on this for several nights and take a good look in the mirror. If you’re ready for that possibility, then we’re ready to take you through the process. I have to say though, every client we’ve worked with on this has blown me away with how incredible they look afterward.

It’s not for everyone. But if you’ve been even thinking about it for a second, then it might just be something to consider.

lived in color specialists

Lived In Color Series: Pricing Breakdown

We’re starting this blog series with the pricing breakdown of traditional color vs. lived in color.

First, what is Lived In Color? We’ve talked about it before, but you might still have questions. Heck, you may still have questions after you read this blog. Please ask us! We love questions.

We’ve noticed that the beauty industry has been leaning into natural beauty for some time now. After the pandemic shut down, we realized lived in color is truly the wave of the future for this industry. So many of us couldn’t get our hair done, so we pivoted to something that didn’t require as much maintenance. I was growing my short cut, and as it turns out, that was a perfect time for it. I used to get a cut every 3-4 weeks. That simply wasn’t feasible this summer with trying to get all our clients back in. Chloe decided she wasn’t going to use permanent color on her roots anymore because every time she wanted to bring her blonde balayage up, it took more time for the lightener to lift through that permanent color. Time she didn’t have.

We stopped wearing full faces of make-up because you can’t see it behind the masks. Natural is in now- in a BIG way. When we actually sat down and put our thoughts on paper, we realized we had been evolving for awhile. Our beauty needs and that of our amazing clientele had shifted.

We made a conscious decision to bring this evolution to you. We want to shift the focus of hair color in our businesses– instead of covering something up, we aim to enhance what you already have, shift it a little to make something you can spend less money and time on. We researched different color lines that would give us the options our clients were wanting but also give us, the stylists, the flexibility and top of the line standard we require. Lightener that lifts cleanly without compromising bond integrity, color that melts seamlessly, root smudges that blur the grow-out line beautifully, glosses that shine and tone perfectly. A color line that offered multi-dimensional color, longer lasting vibrancy, natural color options for sensitive scalps.

“Lived In Color” can be a demi-permanent color that is applied all over (or just to the new growth) that doesn’t 100% cover grey, but it can cover it 50-75% while staining the few more resistant greys. That means when roots or “new growth” starts coming in, the line of demarcation won’t be as harsh or defined. Demi-permanent color simply fades as you shampoo your hair. It also doesn’t fade as warmly (aka brassy) as permanent color. This science is so interesting, but that’s another post for another time. We’d love to show you the underlying tones of hair color in the salon as well. It’s pretty cool, but I digress.

Our most extensive Lived In Color experience is called Grey Blending which involves blending grey roots with previous permanently colored hair. It is important that the client have 1-2 inches of new growth so we can see the grey growth pattern and place lightener in foils accordingly. We might also use a darker demi-permanent color (that doesn’t fade as brassy) as a lowlight to blend as well. We then tone the lightened hair to a silvery/ashy blonde. Essentially, it is an optical illusion– the grey is still there. The permanent color is still there. But we blend light and dark, specifically tailored to each client’s very individual color palette. This type of service starts at $175-$200, and usually takes 4-5 hours. Home maintenance is crucial, and let me tell you, it works so well. All of our clients who have taken home a maintenance shampoo (also specific to the client) have not needed a toning gloss for over 12 weeks!

Lived In Color can also be:

-applying a root color in foils for “lowlights” to blend the mid-shaft and ends with the fresh and vibrant root color


-a root smudge applied over highlights just at the roots

-a root smudge in a “tear drop” formation to leave brightness around the face while adding more depth at the crown to give that pinterest-worthy look

-just a root “tap” (very tiny root smudge) to blur the line of micro-lights

A root smudge allows a more seamless grow-out of traditional highlights or any hair lightened with a slicing technique or teasy-lights.

{Technical hair jargon ahead!} A good example is what Chloe did for my hair back at the beginning of July 2020. She applied lightener on sliced highlights, 4 foils back to back, skipped a slice, 4 more foils back-to-back sliced, etc. She then applied a root smudge that she melted into a toning gloss after rinsing the lightener. I wanted to be really blonde without the need for constant upkeep. I maintained the icy platinum tone at home with a purple shampoo and conditioner, olaplex 6 (a MUST for lightened hair), and the occasional use of Olaplex 7 on my ends for particularly dull days, and wow! I am amazed at how long I have been able to go with just a little bit of at-home maintenance. Was the purple shampoo and conditioner expensive? Yes. But I haven’t had time to sit for another lightening session at the time of writing this post (late September 2020). And sometimes, time is just as important as money, amiright?!

Speaking of money, here’s what you’re really here for. 😉

-price breakdown of traditional color vs. lived in color-

Let’s take the average 4-6 week color client. She will come in 13 times a year if she’s a 4-weeker and 8.7 times a year if she’s a 6-weeker. At $100-$120 per visit, that is approximately $800-$1560 a year.

Now, let’s look at a Lived In Color client. We’ll look at the most expensive end of this type of color service- Grey Blending- helping a client grow out her permanent color. Let’s say that first extensive service is $200 (average price). Let’s also say she needs a cut at 8 weeks, and she decides she’d also like a toning gloss while she’s there. That would be our new Glow + Go service which is $75. If she comes in every 8 weeks for this service (and the toner is usually not needed every 8 weeks, but let’s go with it anyway), that would be an additional $375 for that service over the course of the next year. To review, that’s $200 + $75 + $375= $650. At home maintenance products run $40-$75, so let’s go with the high end of that as well. That’s $725 over the course of a year.

$800-$1560 vs. $725


Now we know that isn’t including any additional products our example client might need. But think of the time spent at the salon.

8-12 times per year vs. 7 visits IF a haircut is needed.

What about a root smudge + highlights + cut vs. traditional color?

That service usually runs around $130-$150. I’ve stretched my root smudge 11+weeks, but let’s just assume that root smudge client wants more regularly scheduled haircuts and likes to visit for her “me” time. She comes in every 8 weeks. That’s 6.5 times per year. Let’s assume that 2 of those visits are Gloss + Glow appointments. 4.5 times per year @ $150 + 2 times per year @ $75= $825

And think of the time she’s not in the salon! Those Glow + Go appointments are only 1.5 hours. I don’t know about y’all, but seeing the numbers like that really put it in perspective.

Please let us know if you have any questions. We love to talk hair and formulas!

Stay tuned for the next installment in the “Lived In Color” series. The before and after pics are like WHOA.

lived in color specialists, salon thoughts

Pandemic Beauty

Whew, y’all! It has been awhile since the last blog post.  SO much has happened since February.  I sat down to write a COVID post in March right after we decided to shut down, but our state governing body hadn’t officially shut salons down, so it didn’t feel right.  Then I started writing a blog about what was going on, and to be completely honest, it was REAL morose.  Not like us at all.  No one needed to hear our feelings because everyone was dealing with their own issues.  It didn’t feel right.

Then I sat down in April and tried to write another post.  It didn’t feel right either.  Chloe and I really struggled with what to say.  We didn’t know when they would allow us to open again. We didn’t know what that would look like.  We were working diligently behind the scenes to put a plan together for when we would reopen.  And I don’t know about y’all, but we were exhausted.  There was so much that was unknown.  The mental trauma of all of our lives being upended is just so… heavy.

And I feel so silly even typing “trauma,” but that is exactly why we have quarantine brain.  You know the thing where you forget what you were saying or you have a hard time prioritizing your list of things to do. I don’t know how many times I start walking one way, and then think, “No, I need to do that other thing first.” So I change directions and head the other way, only to stop and think, “But the other thing would make more sense.” So I change directions again.  Have y’all done this?  I’ve mentioned this to our clients, and they agree they have some form of this quarantine brain.

Fast forward to today.  We’ve gotten used to wearing masks in the salon.  We have made ourselves have a defined lunch break.  I stopped wearing makeup on the bottom half of my face.  Then Chloe mentioned she really only wears eye makeup. So I’ve gotten on board with that as well.  It does cut down on the morning routine/time.  And let me tell you something else: I miss lipstick. Wow do I miss lipstick!  I have 2 tabs open on my phone right now of nude lipsticks I keep staring at…but I can’t bring myself to click the purchase button.  Where would I wear it?

So where does that leave us for beauty in a pandemic?  Well, just as we’ve embraced going more natural with our makeup, so many of our beautiful clients decided it was time to embrace their natural hair color.   Before COVID, Chloe and I had perfected our grey blending methods.  We tailor each color formula and placement of that color to each of our very unique clients and her growth (read: grey) pattern.  Now that we’re back behind the chair, we are seeing more and more of a desire for this, and WE LOVE IT.

You don’t have to grow out permanent color in shame with the dreaded new growth line.  You don’t have to do the Sharon Osborne thing (red to grey in a day) and spend $1000+ and 10 hours in the salon.  On that same note, you don’t have to be afraid to start coloring your hair because you don’t want to face the growing out process one day.  There are SO MANY options now!  We can blend and smoothe and create a lovely livable look that won’t break the bank or require you to be in the salon every 4-6 weeks.

I’ll be posting a price breakdown comparison in the coming weeks as well as more informational posts about the many “lived in color” options such as root smudges, grey blending, demi-permanent color, and balayage.

Here’s a taste of an upcoming topic.

Three examples of what a grey blending service looks like:

Tailored specifically to each person’s coloring, natural grey placement, and budget, grey blending can be as simple as an all over demi-permanent color or as complex as these three lovely ladies who had gotten tired of the 4-6 week permanent color upkeep.  In each of these cases, Chloe and I used a combination of corrective toning to neutralize unwanted warmth (aka brassy yellow or orange pigment) from faded permanent color.  We highlighted with a very fine weaving technique that matched the grey growth pattern and low-lighted (also with a very fine weaving technique) to blend the natural color (the not grey hair).

I can’t wait to share more with you about this process!  You may be wondering, “What will it look like after a month?”  That’s what is so exciting!  Proper at-home maintenance has made it possible for a salon color service visit only every 3-6 months.  It really just depends on what YOU want.  Isn’t that nice to hear?  With so many things off-limit during a pandemic, it’s SO nice to know you can have control of your desired hair outcomes.


So here we are.

Still in the middle of this very different time of COVID.

We’re giving ourselves a little more grace.

And we hope you are, too.