Q&A with Ted Gibson’s Master Colorist


If ever there was something that provided for confusion, mistakes and crying in the bathroom, it is haircolor. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Jason Backe, celebrity colorist for Ted Gibson who highlights and treats the tresses of Anne Hathaway and Renee Zellweger (amongst many other a-listers!), answers our haircolor questions and offers some valuable insight into the laws of haircolor. Eureka – it is possible to create pretty results, even in the comfort of your own home!! Read on to see how, straight from the master himself…

Is it easier going light to dark, or dark to light?

Both have their own set of complications and issues. As long as you are going three or less levels darker or one to two levels lighter you should get great at home results. Anything more in either direction requires multiple steps and should be handled by a pro.

Which color is harder to maintain?

Both colors require the same kind of maintenance. A retouch on the new hair growth every three to four weeks will keep your color looking fresh and fantastic. If you are coloring your hair lighter this is the golden rule. The scalp generates heat which makes the color process more effectively.

What are the steps to going from dark to light? Should it take more than one process? (i.e. dark, to light brown, to dark blonde, to light blonde…)

Remember you are going to get the best results going light at home by staying within the one to two level lighter rule. When you are going lighter remember your scalp produces heat which acts as a catalyst and process the color more quickly. If you apply the color from your scalp to ends you will end up with color that is lighter at the scalp and darker on the ends- and as far as I’m concerned there is nothing WORSE in the world than hair color that goes from light to dark! When applying the color start one finger width from the scalp and go through the ends. After you finish, go back and apply to the scalp and process for the full manufacturers’ recommended processing time.

Is it possible to get salon results out of a box?

It’s difficult to get salon perfect color from a box! Hair coloring is as much a science as it is an art. There are things a well trained colorist knows about NRP (natural remaining pigment), color theory and formulation–just to name a few. That being said if you follow the rules of not more than three levels darker, not more than two levels lighter and the one finger rule when going lighter, you can have FANTASTIC results- and I will admit I have had several people come into the salon with very impressive at home color jobs!


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