Color Blocking Hair: A Stylist’s Guide


hairstylist using vivid pink hair color on client
Source: Jeff Wasserman |

From rich, vibrant hues to subtle pastels, professional hair color services can redefine a client’s look and boost their confidence. One technique that’s been gaining popularity among stylists and clients is color blocking hair. Not familiar with this technique? Let’s delve into the art of color blocking and how to achieve stunning results for your salon clients. Before you get started, don’t forget to invest in salon developer options to ensure successful color blocking.

Understanding Color Blocking

Color blocking is an innovative hair coloring technique that involves applying bold and contrasting colors to specific sections of the hair. The goal is to create distinct blocks of color for a visually striking effect. Unlike traditional highlights or balayage, color blocking allows for a more pronounced and edgy statement. Coloring techniques like skunk stripe hair would follow under this category of color blocking (and trust us, it’s much cooler than it sounds!)

Choosing the Right Color Palette

The key to successful color blocking is selecting the perfect color palette for each client. Consider their skin tone, eye color and style when recommending colors. For a bolder look, contrasting colors such as cool blues with warm oranges or intense purples with bright yellows create an eye-catching look. For a more subtle approach, use analogous colors to create a harmonious blend.

Preparing for Color Blocking

Before diving into the color application process, make sure that your client’s hair is in optimal condition. Color blocking often involves lightening sections of the hair, so it’s crucial to assess its health and strength. Conduct a thorough consultation and recommend treatments to improve hair health if necessary. A well-nourished canvas will hold color better and produce a vibrant, long-lasting finish.

The Importance of Salon Developers

A vital component of color blocking is the use of salon developers. Salon developers work with professional hair color to activate the color molecules and facilitate the color process. They come in various volumes, ranging from 10 to 40, each serving a specific purpose.

hairstylist mixing hair color
Source: Elena Gurova |

Choosing the Right Developer

Selecting the appropriate salon developer is essential for achieving desired color results. Lower-volume developers, such as 10 or 20, are suitable for subtle color changes or depositing color on already lightened hair. Higher-volume developers, like 30 or 40, are essential for color lifting or drastic transformations. Remember to exercise extra caution with high-volume developers, as they can cause damage to the hair when used improperly.

Performing a Strand Test

Before proceeding with the color blocking process, always conduct a strand test to evaluate how the hair will react to the chosen color and salon developer combination. This step will help you gauge the processing time needed and identify any potential issues that may arise during the application.

The Color Blocking Process

Now that we’ve covered the preparation steps, let’s dive into the color blocking process. Remember — precision and meticulousness are key to achieving impeccable results!

Sectioning the Hair

Divide the client’s hair into manageable sections using hair clips. This ensures that each block of color remains distinct and prevents unwanted color blending.

Mixing the Colors

Prepare your chosen hair colors and salon developer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Double-check the ratios to maintain accuracy and consistency.


Now, you’re ready for the fun part: applying the color.

Application Techniques

The best color application technique depends on the desired result and your creativity. Some popular methods include:

  • Horizontal Blocking: Apply color horizontally in even sections for a more defined and structured look.
  • Vertical Blocking: Apply color vertically for a bold, modern effect.
color blocked hair in a geometric patterns
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  • Geometric Patterns: Create triangles, squares or other shapes for a unique and artistic look.

Processing Time

The processing time varies based on your client’s hair type, starting color and desired result. Always keep a close eye on the hair during processing to prevent overdevelopment, which can lead to unwanted results.

Rinse and Aftercare

Once the processing time is complete, rinse the hair with cool water to seal the cuticles and lock in the color. Follow up with color-safe shampoo and conditioner to maintain vibrant colors.

Last Thoughts

Color blocking is a dynamic and expressive technique that allows you to showcase your artistic flair while transforming your clients’ styles. With the right selection of colors, precise application and proper use of salon developers, you can achieve stunning results that will leave your clients thrilled with their new look.


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