Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Back in Charlotte and Ready to Do Some Hair!

Hey Everybody,

hair color specialist charlotte
So strong I can foil all day ;)
It's been one crazy year. In the last 10 months I have traveled around the country, hiked 14k foot mountains, explored ice caves, fly-fished, rafted the Colorado River, saw my first wild prairie dog, chased alligators, kayaked swamps, beat my entire family in bowling (see photo), finally saw Jack White and NIN in concert (not together, obviously ;) ), and celebrated my 3rd decade on the planet. But after all that travel, I'm ready to return to Charlotte and all the people I've missed.

Starting December 2nd, I will be back behind the chair at Re Salon and Medspa. I'm so excited to see the faces of co-workers and clients, and give lots of hugs and swap stories. My books are open and you can book an appointment by calling the salon at 704-334-8087. If you have any questions please email me at autumnlee@me.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram for hair tips, before and after pictures, product specials, and more!

If I've never colored your hair before - I would love to talk to you about your color. You can call the salon at 704-334-8087 or email me at autumnlee@me.com to set up a free consultation. Below are some sample photos of my work. I hope to see you soon!
autumn lee hair colorist charlotte
Look through my blog to see more of my work.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Balayaged Golden Blonde and More For Summer

As you find yourself venturing out in the coming summer months, in search of sun-kissed skin and late sunsets, may I suggest that you add a little of that summer time heat to your hair color palette. Winter and Spring are the seasons for icy blondes and crisp, cool brunettes, but as your skin bronzes and skirts shorten, consider youthful warm tones to be your best accessory. Below I've attached three photos from a shoot that I did the color for a few years back. I'll explain a little detail for each and try to remember their formulas. =)

Balyaged Golden Blonde - This model came to me in the midst of a color correction. She had about half an inch of level 7 regrowth, and the rest of her hair had been cleansed to a mellow orange. I wanted to leave some of the depth of her natural, but lighten up the mid-shaft and ends to a brighter, clean golden blonde. I balayaged almost every piece of her hair with a soft "V" shaped pattern near the scalp and fully saturated the mid-shaft and ends. I believe I toned her with an 8.23 or something in that range. The result was a shiny golden blonde that does not look over processed and still has some soft dimension.

balayage golden blonde hair
Balayaged Golden Blonde

Copper-Kissed Red - I love a rich, beautiful red, especially with a little copper dimension. I would rarely recommend adding blonde highlights to red hair, unless you're working with a strawberry blonde. When you're working with any shade that has a predominately RED tone, stick to coppers or copper golds to do your highlighting. For this model I believe I used a level 6 intense red-copper for her base, and added interior highlights with a level 7 intense copper-red. The dimension helps to show off the layers in her hair cut, while pumping up the shine factor with the extra warmth from the copper. If your skin gets tan during the summer I would recommend shying away from any Red-Violet dominated tones. Stick with COPPER. 

red hair with copper highlights
Copper-Kissed Red

Trusty Ombre - If you have naturally dark hair and want to lighten up for summer, golden ombre is the go-to style for you. It's easy to maintain, and even easier to tone down for winter and fall. On this model I balayaged her mid-shafts and ends and toned her with an 8.30 for that extra gold intensity. Now this was a bit of an extreme ombre look. For most I would actually recommend to bring up some of the highlighted pieces around the face to eye level. And obviously the scarf tied around her neck hides some of the blending, but this had a fairly natural blend from dark to light. 

balayaged golden blonde ombre
Balayaged Golden Ombre

Monday, May 5, 2014

Blonde Adam Levine? I say no.

So in honor of what People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive just did to his hair, I give you 16 other men that are significantly less sexy as blondes. Granted, I know that I lot of these dye jobs were done for films, and I'm all in favor of experimenting for fun, but heaven forbid the American male population actually thought this was a good idea. Don't get me wrong, I love some natural looking, sun-kissed highlights on a man. I can show you a million pictures of Brad Pitt with blonde highlights that are definitely worth drooling over. But bleached blondes and brassy blondes are just not sexy on most men. And boys, if you do get the idea to go a bit lighter for the summer, please let a professional do it. I can't tell you how many guys I've met that have turned their hair all shades of orange using sun-in and other at home products.

Now keep in mind that all of the men below were either on People's Sexiest Man list or that of another magazine. All these comments are in good fun, so don't get mad at me if you're president of one of their fan clubs. They are all still sexy, but...

adam levine with blond hair, blonde hair
Adam Levine. At least his color looks even. Sideburns are sometimes more difficult to lift because the hair is more corse.  A little red lipstick and quick shave and we're looking at Miley Cyrus. 

benedict cumberbatch with blonde hair, blond hair
Benedict Cumberbatch. I feel like this one is pretty obvious. It's amazing how bad hair can transform this normally shaggy and adorable Brit.  

brad pitt with blonde hair, blond hair
Brad Pitt. Like I said, there are plenty of times when Brad has looked great with blonde hair, but this all-over bleached style makes him look like a Ken doll. 

channing tatum with blonde hair, blond hair
Channing Tatum. This blonde is almost green...

ethan hawke blonde hair, blond hair
Ethan Hawke. While blond is usually softening on women, sometimes it can have the opposite effect on men. He looks a bit scary. 

freddie prinze jr blonde hair, blond hair
Freddie Prinze, Jr. Again, Ken doll. 

jackson rathbone blonde hair, blond hair
Jackson Rathbone. Now Jackson Rathbone is adorable and his blonde isn't all that bad, but it does wash him out and looks a little over-processed. 

james franco blonde hair, blond hair
James Franco. I can't even stretch and call this strawberry - it's orange. =(

jared leto blonde hair, blond hair
Jared Leto. He's been a pretty blonde; this is perhaps not his best. It's a unique look for sure, but the eyebrows definitely take it to another level. Kind of a runway look. 

javier bardem blonde hair, blond hair
Javier Bardem. Normally totally sexy with a swoon-inducing accent and mischevious eyes; the blonde hair transformed him into a very memorable Bond villain. 

johnny depp blonde hair, blond hair
Johnny Depp. Here is another incredibly sexy actor who has had some subtle blond highlights in the past that totally worked on him. But this color is all kinds of wrong. The tone makes his eyebrows look grey and his skin look jaundice. 

justin timberlake blonde hair, blond hair
Justin Timberlake. Oh teenage Justin Timberlake how I loved thee. We all make color mistakes - I'm sure we won't see him going back to this look. With the jacket he is pretty much entirely one color from head to hips. 

michael fassbender blonde hair, blond hair
Michael Fassbender. Meh. Not terrible, but a bit Baywatch none-the-less. 

peter facinelli blonde hair, blond hair
Peter Facinelli. Here's another poor actor tragically washed out by a Twilight movie. Facinelli along with Rathbone, Nikki Reed, and Kellan Lutz, were all given less than spectacular blonde looks for their roles in the Cullen Family.

robert downey jr blonde hair, blond hair
Robert Downey, Jr. I don't know what this was for, but the look is very high-maintenance. Ladies generally aren't looking for a man who spends more time on his hair than they do. 

ryan gosling blonde hair, blond hair
Ryan Gosling. Let's call this "disheveled Ken doll."

ryan reynolds blonde hair, blond hair
Ryan Reynolds. Sexy guy, but let your wife be the blonde in the family. Any shorter with the cut and he could enter an Eminem look-a-like contest.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Silver Hair Flashback Friday - Charlotte, NC

So in the last few days I've been going through my computer trying to see what survived a crash I had a few years ago, if anything, and I found these pictures from Charlotte's Passport to Fashion from 2011. This show was done with the Re Salon and Med Spa team and I don't know who did what so I can't give photo credit, but they are all amazing stylists and makeup artists. These pictures were taken shortly before I dunked my little Panasonic digital camera in the Atlantic and she was lost to me for forever. It only I hadn't been so intent on taking that crab's picture.... but I digress.

The first few pictures were for a fashion designer who, *slaps forehead,* I cannot remember the name of. If any of you out there know who it is, please comment below. Her pieces where these amazing, super-chunky sweaters and overlay pieces. Most of them were made from really rough pieces of wool, so they had tremendous texture. With most of the clothing colors being shades of grey and muted neutrals, the designer wanted to keep the models' pallet similar. And while I don't remember the exact directions we were given, I believe it had something to do with Victorian style, silver hair, whited out faces, and some sort of mask across the eyes... and some sort of braid. The idea was to sort of make the models look like weathered, old china dolls. Anyway, some of the girls had updos with fish-tail braids coming across the front, and others who had shorter hair were styled as similar as possible. I can't tell you how many cans of silver and white hair spray we went through. It sort of weighed the hair down, but ended up having a cool look on the runway. 

For makeup I think the girls faces were dabbed with a bit of Ben Nye Clown White and dusted with a white powder. Then a rosy cheek and lip were added, and then the mask. Originally the mask was supposed to be solid, but that had a little too much of a Batman look. The resulting mask was applied by stippling on mascara with a mascara wand. 

There was also one model that was the main model who had a similar look but different tones. Her hair was gold and her makeup was gold. She was MIA most of the night because she was in another show, so I didn't get her picture. But I found one on the show's facebook page. 

temporary silver hair
This model had a really short cut so we added some extra wool pieces.

updo with fish tail braid
Here are some of the pieces I was talking about

temporary silver hair dye
The girl with the curly hair had really cool texture in her updo.

updo with fishtail braid
Her makeup looked killer. Very black swan.

fish tail braids in hair
little scarf/BIG SCARF

temporary gold hair color on model
Here's our golden girl on the catwalk. She was fierce and had legs for days.

The next few pictures are of a model for a different show that same night. The category for the show was a dress made out of recycled materials. Our salon made this dress out of old men's neck ties. We originally tried to make a dress out of VHS tape, but I'm pretty sure we would have gone absolutely insane if we had tried to finish that. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of the full dress. It had a really awesome train. We did not win the competition (I think we were actually supposed to use tin foil or something to be considered "recycled"), but the head judge did ask if she could wear our dress to next years show.

carmel and copper highlights in curly dark hair
This is our model getting all bronzed up. A few days before the show I added some copper and caramel highlights in a triangle section around her face with Subtil Meche. She had such beautiful natural texture so we had to take larger sections to get the color to show.

fashion model with curly hair
Here she is getting laced up. The woman standing behind is the lovely Cathie who sewed our dress with her awesome antique Singer sewing machine. 

fashion model with curly dark hair
Her jewelry was made from old watch parts.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Precision Blonde Highlights - Charlotte, NC

This is what I call "kitchen hair." Whenever I visit my mom in Florida she's usually in dire need of a color refresher. She is pretty rough on her hair (heat-styling, teasing, TONS of product), so in addition to needing color, it also looks very dull. Here is what I do to get her all fixed up.

My mom is naturally a level 6 with about 30% grey, mostly around her face. I had not colored her hair since early January so she had quite a bit of re-growth. In the "before" picture below I had already touched up her base color so you won't see the gray that I'm talking about. For her base color I use Majirel permanent color in 8.01, but I actually use 9 volume. My mom's hair is fine and the 9 volume, in combination with the heat from her scalp, gives me enough lift and deposit to achieve a neutral level 7 and cover her gray.

Normally in the salon I would have done her base color and highlights at the same time, because most people don't have the time to do one and then the other; with her I did her base color about two days before. I did a full foil on her using 8 sections. The smaller your sections the easier it is to control your foil and keep it close to the scalp. Some times I'll do as many as 11 sections if someone has thicker hair or more hair surface on the scalp. (If you were trained in Aveda you know the 11 section foil =) ). I also staged my lightener. In the salon I probably would have used 10, 20, and 30 volume. But I only had 10 and 20 at the house so I mixed them to do a "15" in the middle and just let it process a bit longer. I know I said my mom's hair was fine textured, but it takes a surprisingly long time to lift.

After processing and rinsing the highlights we did a gloss with DIA Light 10.32 for about five minutes to balance the porosity, give shine, and give us that nice golden-wheat blonde. Even though I do not usually cut hair, I shaped up her haircut a bit because she had been cutting it herself. =)

Blond Hair Before Foiling Highlights
Back view of blonde hair before highlights. Look at that regrowth!
Blonde Hair Before Highlights
Side view of blonde hair before highlighting. 
Precision Blonde Foils Highlights
Blonde highlights in neat foils. Keep your work neat and it shows. =)
Natural Blonde Highlights Lowlights Demension
After - natural blonde highlights with dimension.
Golden Blonde Highlights Natural Demension
After - natural and shiny blonde highlights. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ombré Before and After Pictures in Charlotte, NC

Just a quick note on ombré: this is not a "trend" that's going away. Yes, the whole dip-dyed, mega-drastic look is probably not the hippest thing at the moment, but the softer "sombré" look is still an every present fashion statement. Here's why: it looks good on pretty much everyone. As long as the tonality is right for your skin color, some sun-kissed highlights painted through the ends and around the face make everyone look younger. That's what happens to our hair when we're kids and we spend time playing in the sun.

Another reason that as a colorist I love an ombré look is because it grows out well and it's awesome for clients that you only see every 6 months. Even though I would love to see my clients every 6-8 weeks, if for no other reason to do a conditioning treatment or a gloss, it's nice to know that if you do a nice ombré or soft balayage that their color will still look good in six months. Below are a couple of examples of some clients that I transitioned into an ombré look. Some of these pictures you've seen before, but I wanted to use them for illustration.

Ombre hair color done by Autumn Lee located in Denver CO.
So this client is the perfect example for what I was talking about in terms of maintenance. This was the first time I did her hair and as you can see, she had about 4 months of regrowth. Naturally she was a level 4, and while she wanted to be more blonde, coming in every 4 weeks for a touch up was not possible. So we compromised on an ombré look. I used a level 5n on her regrowth to give a very soft warming effect, and painted a 5gold through the midshaft. I painted some brighter pieces through the ends, but her hair was already a bit compromised, so we could not lift it much. The result was a medium level of variation from root to end. She still has some of that blonde that she really wanted, but the regrowth will be much softer and prettier as it grows out. You can't really see it in the picture from this angle, but I also did a few highlights close to the root around the face. This helps to avoid that "too grown-out" look. 

Ombre hair color done naturally with highlights.
Here is another first time client. She had box color on her hair and wanted an ombré look, but did not want the upkeep of having a lighter base color. We simply add lowlights of her natural level and balayaged highlights through the midshafts and ends. Now she has soft, natural looking hightlights that will grow out very easily. 

Ombre blonde hair done for easy to maintain hair color and styles.
 Here is Celeste whom I've shown many times before. She loves to be blonde but her natural color is ashy and she has quite a few grays coming through around her face. She was getting highlights every 4-6 weeks to keep up with the contrast in her regrowth. We transitioned her to an ombré with a warm level 7 base. She still has to get her base color touched up every 6 weeks or so, but it is much faster than sitting through a partial or full foil and more economical.  

Ombre hair blonde color done to lighen hair style.
Here is one more example. The before picture is actually an in-between shot from a color correction. She was originally a level 4 permanent color all over, but naturally about a level 7. Working her into an ombré, while time consuming because of the color correction, actually worked out easily because her ends easily lifted up lighter. To maintain her color we do a very simple partial with a high-lift blonde and lowlights through the midshaft that are a little cooler to blend with her natural and a few balayaged highlights through the mids and ends. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Throw Back Thursday - A History of My Hair in Pictures

(Warning: The following blog post contains selfies.)

So I never really got into the whole TBT thing, but since it's a lovely grey day outside, I thought what the hey? - let's throw up some old pictures for fun. Part of the reason I got into doing hair in the first place was because I loved to color my own hair - much to the chagrin of my childhood hairstylist - now I feel her pain when a mom brings me a kid that dunked her head in kool-aid. So I won't show you some of the box color jobs I did in high school, but rather some of my favorite looks from when I learned how to use professional products, and a few colors done by some other stylists. But first, a picture of what mother nature gave me...

I was a super blonde kid. Later as a teenager I would take this picture to a stylist and tell her I wanted to be that blonde again. She pulled my hair through a cap and well... it's a great pumpkin Charlie Brown.

One more kid pic. My mom fancied herself somewhat of an amateur hairdresser and thus my hair was always perfectly coiffed: teased, bangs, bow. The side pony, which was my signature look for about 2 years, was due to the fact that I tried to cut my own hair and took off a chunk behind the right ear... my quest for an asymmetrical haircut would later become an obsession. 

So this was the first really fun thing that I did to my own hair color. I wasn't in cosmetology school yet, but I was getting my platinum blonde roots touched up at a salon and then foiling in the baby pink and blue/purple with Manic Panic at home. (Word of caution: I never recommend anyone doing their own bleach and tone. Even experienced hairstylists can't see every piece of hair in the back of their heads and overlap = breakage.)   I know that there are so many fashion color brands out there, but I'm still madly in love with Manic Panic. They have some of the most awesome shades.

First week in hair school. Hair chopped off and dyed black except for some little pink pieces left through the fringe. This was for a harajuku themed hair show.

Hair school again - I finally had the guts to cut it off into a mohawk and my color instructor gave me this fun toucan look =) I touched this up myself with a lot of different colors and then eventually colored everything black because the fashion shades faded so quickly. 

Fast forward several years later and I still had a mohawk. I couldn't get enough of the short hair and I loved it being buzzed on the sides. By that point it had been through a lot of color changes including blonde, pink, green, and purple. 

Go forward another year or so and I finally decided to grow it out. But I kept working with that asymmetrical hairstyle I had always wanted. Using Subtil Color Out we lifted out the level 3/4 permanent color I had been using and started working toward a copper-red. 

As my hair grew I started balayaging highlights through the pieces around my face to achieve that natural strawberry blonde look. I love painting highlights in my own hair because I know exactly how I'm going to wear each piece. 

Two years later and I was still painting in those blonde pieces around my face and sticking with a 7.43 base color. I loved being red and it was easy to keep my hair in the same color range while growing it out. You can't tell from this picture, but it was a few inches past my shoulders and all the asymmetry had finally been cut away.  

Here's some fun with hair chalk. I did sort of a Heidi braid around the back and left out some of the blondest pieces up front. Then I used Bumble and Bumble chalk in Blush to create the accent pieces. To really get hair chalk to pop you have to layer it. I placed a piece of paper underneath each piece and sprayed on layers and let it dry in between. Once it's dry you can comb through it to soften it up. If you want curl in your hair, do that before you apply hair chalk. 

Well I finally got rid of the red. This is not a great picture, but it's the only one I have since getting bangs. My all over color (the blonde was filled first) is 4.3 and 5n in L'Oreal Majirel, and in between touching up my roots, I gloss my hair with Dia-Light in 5.07. It may seem counter-intuitive to color my hair with something warm and then gloss it with something ash, but it works out well. I've been in the sun a lot lately and so that underlying copper pops through quite a bit. The 5.07 mutes the red without destroying all the warmth in my hair. My hair is now so long that it gets caught in my armpits when I'm getting dressed and I find that extremely annoying... might be time to cut it off again soon =)