In the beauty world, sustainable and eco-friendly products reign as the more in-demand beauty products of the moment. Since hair care and hair colour fall under this category, it’s only appropriate that hair salons also provide environmentally friendly options for their customers, a call that's being answered by The Color Bar (a hair salon specialising in colouring and treatments) in the Philippines. At their recently opened Estancia Mall branch, we sat down for a one-on-one interview with their Paul Mitchell School-certified chief stylist, Jof Fantone, about their use of mostly plant-based dyes in their hair colouring services.
Why plant-based dyes?
First, why are plant-based dyes even an option? Fantone, who trained as a stylist and colourist in San Diego, California for several years, shares that plant-based dyes are actually better for preserving hair’s integrity. Typical hair treatments use heat and harsh chemicals that cause damage to your hair. Processes like bleaching, which sucks out hair colour, is quite damaging on its own. To add a colouring process using damage-causing techniques will definitely be more harmful to your hair, causing breakage and split ends. That said, plant-based dyes such as those used by The Color Bar from Aveda have ingredients that protect the hair from further damage.
Organic versus natural hair dyes
According to Fantone, there is no such thing as organic hair dyes. “Organic implies farm-to-table products. Ingredients are farmed and brought or used directly in the products. Therefore, organic hair dyes do not exist.” What is available in the market are natural hair dyes that still have chemicals but also contain natural ingredients such as jojoba oil, castor oil, and more. “These oil-based ingredients protect the hair and make it healthier,” he says. This has a lesser degree of damage to the hair.
On salon vs. boxed dyes
On the difference between salon-made hair colouring and drugstore options, Fantone has this to say: “It’s like coffee. Drugstore boxed dyes are like three-in-one coffee mixtures — what you see is what you get. You can’t reduce the amount of sugar when you use it. Compared to when you make your own coffee, you customise it to your preference.” In the expert hands of a colourist like Fantone, the hair colour is personalised to fit your lifestyle and hair type.
When you get a professional hair dye, you also get access to expert maintenance tips and treatments. Fantone says that prior to any dye touching a single strand, he sits down with the client for a consultation. First, he asks how committed the client is to change their hair colour. “I do this because changing hair colours, especially bolder choices like platinum silver or blue, takes a lot of commitment. There are a lot of habit changes the client needs to do, from the shampoos they use to the treatments they need to have done at home and in the salon,” he shares. Not only that, but it also sets the client’s expectations. “We won’t be able to achieve the exact same results as the photo reference, but we can get as close as we can depending on the client’s particular hair type and situation.” Not to mention, hair colour sessions take a long time. “For hair colours such as platinum, we can do it in one eight-hour session.” It’s not just a matter of commitment from the client, but also the stylist.
The client's lifestyle also plays a huge role in deciding the hair colour changes. “How much time do they spend on their hair in the morning? Are they the wash-and-wear type?” he enumerates. For fashion colours, such as pastels, “I buy these tinted shampoos abroad, they come in pink, rose gold, purple, what have you. These preserve the longevity of the hair colour since fashion colours fade away really quickly.” There are also specific shampoos and conditioners that protect the hair colour that you can get from your stylist.
Hair colour recommendations
Interested in changing hair colours? If you’ve never had your hair colour changed, Fantone recommends going for full colour. “Start by getting a nice medium brown,” he shares. Then, you can go lighter depending on your preference.
As for mums and professionals, he swears by the balayage. “A balayage is a low-maintenance, open-air procedure that can last for four to six months. It’s a very lived-in, natural look that allows for playing with the different tones, from light brown highlights to blonder ones.”
Hair colour is very personal. It’s a form of self-expression that lasts a long time when done correctly. Our personalities and tastes are all unique, so can't expect our hair colour to be the same as others. Hair colours are not one-size-fits-all. In the hands of professionals like Fantone, it’s one-of-a-kind.
(Cover photo from: @thecolorbarph)