Cool Ash was the genesis for Colour Restore several years ago. My frustration, even as a colourist, was that professional manufacturers produced so few ash colourants. Yet there were so many people out there who disliked warmth in their hair and wanted a neutral, cool or ash tone. However, most colourant manufacturers seemed determined to continue giving consumers evermore warm based colourants. Therefore, I knew a product was needed to simply and quickly neutralise unwanted warmth in the hair. However, there were no types of ash toner available in either the retail or professional markets. So, the Colour Restore range was born with the concept of Cool Ash.
Just like Iced Platinum (and all Colour Restore shades) Cool Ash is a conditioning base that features a high concentrate, specific direct dye pigment. In the case of Cool Ash, the direct dye pigment is a blue-violet ash tone. If you look at the Colour Wheel you will see that blue neutralises (counteracts) orange. In the case of Cool Ash, the formula enables that orange neutralisation, thus it’s secondary descriptive of ‘Anti-Orange’. However, when I refer to orange, I do not mean bright sun orange, I’m referring to a gingery tone or unwanted warm hue. You need to consider that a second type of orange exists which is the ‘red-orange’. You will only obtain red-orange hair if a) you have attempted to lighten and not lightened enough or b) if a previous artificial red molecule is residing within the hair. In both these instances, a toning product is not applicable, and you should either re-lighten the hair or seek a colour remover to eradicate that artificial red colour molecule. You should also be aware that when you do see a ‘red-orange’ shade in the hair, such a tone could not be neutralised with a blue-violet, as red-orange requires a green-blue tone to counteract and in all instances the neutralised tone would become a deeper brunette.
With Colour Restore Cool Ash, due to the fact it is neutralising the most dominant unwanted tone – which is orange – the formula generally needs building up in the hair. So, if you want more than just a neutral non-warm shade, but instead an ash shade, you must use Cool Ash in an intensive treatment twice in succession. Initially, to neutralise the orange to create a neutral base shade, and subsequently to overload the hair with the ash, enabling that ash tone to be seen in the hair and not counter balanced by the underlying warm tone. This aspect is a crucial point to understand when using the product. In short, it is first and foremost a neutraliser. So, alone it is not designed to create an ash shade, its purpose is to counteract unwanted warmth in the hair. If you desire an ash tone, then (as stated) the product needs to be applied twice in succession. You will then need to use a blue shampoo as your regular cleanser, followed by Cool Ash as your regular two-minute conditioner. This approach maintains an ash tone in the hair. To reiterate, ash tone is one of the hardest tones to display in hair types darker than light blonde, simply because it will always attempt to act as a neutraliser to banish warmth in the hair. Therefore, the hair must be overloaded with ash in instances where the base is a dark blonde to brunette and you are seeking a clear ash toned colour.
USES FOR COOL ASH
With present ‘cool colour’ trends, there are many people who would benefit from using Cool Ash:
Hydrogen Peroxide in permanent hair colourants, lightens the natural pigments within the hair exposing warm tones. Even black artificial hair colourants lighten natural hair to some degree. This warmth is often not noticed, until a hair colour remover is applied, the artificial pigment is removed and that lightening (and warmth) is exposed. Using Colour Restore Cool Ash immediately after hair colour removal will counteract this warmth. Cool Ash is also peroxide free, meaning it will not evoke re-oxidation of the removed shade.
Another consumer sector who have great success with the product, are brunettes who use permanent colour to cover grey. These consumers tend to find the peroxide in the developer of the permanent colour lightens their natural hair colour and kicks up warmth in the non-grey hair, causing the hair to start taking on a gingery colour. In my experience, this is one of the biggest issues found with brunette grey coverage. In fact, many of our Cool Ash consumers are using the product for this very purpose.
Cool Ash is also great for metallic shades. Metallic hair is very difficult to maintain, but if someone with an artificial grey or metallic shade regularly uses Cool Ash, the hair will fully retain its metallic shade without risk of becoming merely a neutral colour or a rusty ginger.
Because we are now in a ‘Cool Toned’ hair fashion era, the core consumer for Cool Ash is vast. Whilst tending to be those of a natural brunette base who are seeking a neutral to cool shade, many light blondes also use Cool Ash to evoke a light ash-grey blonde effect. Most notably, it’s become a key product for those with balayage foundations in the hair, who want to cool down and mute undesired warm tones, whilst enabling lightened levels to display fully.