Gray Coverage Game Changerfeaturing Rusk
2021’s biggest haircolor hack: adding an express gray coverage service to your menu at a higher rate. How? Marlo Beauty talked to three colorists and salon owners - Jessica Bartolomeo in Arizona, Sharie Steininger in Illinois and Angelina Almadanat in Pennsylvania - about their secret to 10-minute gray coverage services. Below, they share all their gray coverage go-tos, including how to save time on your appointment book, tips for handling the hairline and how to make more money charging for this service.
What are your favorite professional hair color products/tools you use for gray coverage?
Sharie: I love using Rusk Permanent Pure Pigments Deep Shine Conditioning Cream Color, and I now have another option with the new Rusk in 10, which lets me get beautiful gray coverage in 10 minutes. This is a game changer in the salon.
Jessica: Rusk in 10 has completely changed my appointment book. I’m able to get in more clients in a fraction of the time and they are LOVING the results.
Angelina: I love using Rusk in 10 for gray coverage. I am able to have clients in and out of the salon in under an hour with beautiful gray coverage. Especially during this time when clients may not want to spend hours in the salon, it’s such an asset to our toolbox to make more money behind the chair. With just 10 minutes of processing time, this definitely is a reinvention for our appointment books.
Watch Jessica’s gray coverage process! She says what used to take her 45 minutes now takes her 10.
What volume developer should you use to cover gray?Jessica: Rusk in 10 has a dedicated 20-volume developer to ensure complete, 100% gray coverage in only 10 minutes!
Angelina: When using Rusk in 10, I recommend using the dedicated 20-volume developer. However, depending on what you are using the color for, you can use different developers. Example: Rusk in 10 can also be used for express lowlights. If I am doing lowlights, I would use 10-volume developer. You can also use Rusk in 10 for express highlights. In this case, I would use a color one to two shades lighter than the natural level and would use either a 20-volume or 30-volume developer depending on what end result I am trying to achieve.
What size sections do you take?Angelina: Like any other color line, I recommend you take 1/4- to 1/2-inch partings and apply the color on the regrowth area. Pro tip: after I apply color all over the regrowth area, I recommend combing through each section to make sure the color is evenly distributed!
What are your tips for covering the most stubborn gray hairs?Jessica: We've all had clients with stubborn grays, and if you haven’t, you will! Standard mixing ratio is 1:2, however with a resistant client you can mix Rusk in 10 in a 1:1 ratio to help soften and lift the cuticle of those stubborn grays. Rusk in 10 is also not a progressive color so you can leave it on longer if necessary for stubborn hair.
Sharie: I LOVE using perm papers around the hairline to get a better gray coverage. With everyone wearing masks now, I find this trick more useful than ever.
Are there any “hacks” you’ve discovered for the best way to cover gray hair?
Angelina: Rusk in 10 is based on an American level system so that it can be used with any color line. Therefore, the color will appear about a shade lighter than the Rusk Deepshine Permanent line and a bit more translucent. I recommend that you drop a level to give your end result a perfect coverage when covering gray hair.
Jessica: Gray hair can be coarse and unruly. With Rusk in 10’s ammonia thioglycolate and terramarrine complex, you can get great coverage and healthy, soft, shiny beautiful hair. You truly don't need anything else.
Do you have any tips to speed up the process when coloring gray hair?Jessica: Rusk in 10 has actually eliminated my need to speed up the process by cutting my processing time from 45 minutes to 10 minutes!
Angelina: I would suggest having your color tray set up with everything you need for your gray coverage service - that way you can quickly consult with your client, perform her service and have her in and out within an hour. With the extra time Rusk in 10 gives you, you can share great tips and products to use to give a beautiful finish. The extra time can also allow you to walk your client through how to style their hair the same way you do!
How do you handle the line of demarcation?Jessica: When consulting with a client, always determine where there are lines of demarcation and if you will be refreshing the ends. With previously-colored gray hair, we definitely create a new growth formulation for gray coverage and then evaluate and formulate a (non) gray coverage series for the remaining hair, which can be done with Rusk in 10 or Rusk Deepshine Gloss.
Sharie: I always have a retouch formula and a refresh formula. If we are addressing gray at the regrowth area, we need to have a natural series in our formula as well as our target tone. If that formula is the same on the refresh area, it will brown out the ends and we won’t see the beautiful tones we were looking for. By pulling the natural series out of my refresh formulation, it ensures I see the tones I’m looking for.
How do you handle the hairline?Jessica: The hairline seems to ALWAYS push the color, so I start my application by outlining the hairline, giving it an extra 5 minutes to soften while I address the rest of the growth, then repeating the process as a very last step before I start processing.
Sharie: I’ve found that some clients may have a different texture around the hairline which can make that hair absorb differently - maybe too light or too dark. In those situations, I feel that two different formulas is always the best plan.
Can you foil over this color or do you need to process hi/lowlights separately?Jessica: You can absolutely foil over it - cut those double process clients down to a single process that you can rock out in a fraction of the original time!
Are there any gray coverage “myths” you’ve come across?Jessica: I've had clients tell me their gray just won't take color. With a good consultation, great product, and the right education, ANY hair can be colored.
Sharie: That using ash to cover gray hair doesn’t work. A lot of stylists like to use warm tones for gray coverage, which works - I do that too. But what happens is that the warm tones reflect light, which can make the hair appear to not have the desired coverage. I add equal portions of warm and ash in my formula. The ash absorbs the warmth, giving me perfect coverage. We always need to remember that warmth reflects light and ash absorbs it.
Angelina: In the past I’ve heard people say when gray coverage is stubborn you can use 40-volume developer and pre-soften the hairline. However the coverage with [Rusk in 10] is so good that there’s no need to do that.
What would you recommend for clients with hormonal hair changes such as pregnancy and menopause that can cause the hair to become more resistant to chemical color processes?Jessica: It’s extremely important that things like this are addressed during the consultation so you’re aware of what could happen and formulate for more resistant hair by mixing 1:1 or dropping the target shade level. You can also allow extra time for processing as Rusk in 10 is not a progressive color and won't continue to get darker.
How do you charge for gray coverage services?
Jessica: I have my standard color touch up prices that begin at a base price and go up depending on the amount of hair and time/product used. Now I also have added my new EXPRESS gray coverage at a higher rate - saves time on your appointment book AND your clients’ schedules. Everyone wins!
Sharie: I charge for a retouch and plan that most clients will need a refresh on the ends and have worked that cost into the pricing. When using the Rusk in 10, I charge an additional $10 - a convenience charge of sorts. My clients love being able to get in and out of the salon faster.
Angelina: I would absolutely recommend adding Rusk in 10 to your express service menu as an express retouch service and add a few bucks to the cost. Today, people want things fast. They don’t complain about paying extra for Netflix, right? You’re doing your client a service by getting them in and out so they have more time to do what they need to do. Why not charge $5 or $10 extra? I even know salons that charge $25 extra for this service!
Read more: Quicker Color Service with Perfect Results: Rusk in 10