Thursday, July 15, 2010


In my color career, hiding gray often meant utilizing ammonia-containing products for perfect coverage. There have been many attempts to manufacture a color treatment without this historically vital chemical, but no matter how great the claims were, the coverage really was never the same. Containing little or no ammonia, these products were thus gentler on the hair, but the results were invariably more of a "gray blending" effect rather than 100% coverage. For some clients this proved sufficient, while others opted for full coverage regardless of potential damage.

When INOA hair color hit the market earlier this year, there was a lot of publicity with claims of its ability to change hair color as we know it. The press it garnered was endless and both hairstylists and clients were waiting to see if the effect would back up all the buzz. Let me make this very clear: I do not use INOA. I will be addressing the topic from the research I have done for my clients and for hairstylists who have sent endless emails inquiring about this product. In my research, I've asked colleagues whom I've worked with in the past who have solid experience with INOA. Who better to ask than those actually using it, right?
The one thing we know for sure is that it covers gray and is safe to use on damaged hair. But because I have an extensive color clientele of cool brunettes and beige blondes, I needed to know if I could use these product to satisfy my clients and meet their coloring needs completely and safely.


As I began, my research entailed perusing images that were used in magazines, online and in brochures. I noticed the images were quite beautiful, with gold/red tones and very golden blondes. I decided to locate videos as well and found the same—warm golden or red heads of shiny, lustrous hair. There's nothing like a shiny head of hair with sparkling warm tones, but try selling that to the client who hates anything to do with warm, red or gold tones. In a perfect world it would be ideal if all clients were unafraid of warm tones, but in reality, some women would rather go gray than have hair with obvious red tones. And as we know you can achieve shiny hair color using other color brands " if you don't mind ammonia".

So the question is: Can INOA achieve cool brunettes and blondes without warm tones?

I asked several colorists working in salons that use INOA, and the feedback was uniform. Here's what a couple had to say:

"I'm still up and down with INOA. I think it's great for some clients (like those with very dry, overprocessed hair). In these cases, the hair looks and even feels amazing. I've never tried it on a blonde, though. I've seen one done by someone else and it was ehh.... Because you must emulsify the roots before rinsing, it's hard not to get the root color on the ends, and when doing a single process color on a blonde, this can be a problem. The results are a blonde that is too warm."

"I'm having a hard time getting blondes without golden tones. We're supposed to have a one-on-one with L'Oréal to learn how... I can't imagine that it's that complicated."

What I gathered from my research was that although INOA may be ammonia-free, gold tones are hard to avoid, especially with blonde hair. It's up to the client to decide which is more important: ammonia-free color or the absence of golden tones completely (either for a blonde or brunette).

As soon as the product was launched I began receiving questions from clients as to whether or not I would be using it. I explained to them that when this product was made available, the only way to see its functionality was to attend one of the demos. As hairstylists we often get opportunities to observe and as you can imagine, observing is often not enough: I prefer to get my hands in there and see what the product can actually do without having to take someone else's word for it. Furthermore, in order to use INOA one must purchase the entire color line. Keep in mind that this is by no means cheap (with over 50 shades total). In this economy, a guarantee that INOA performs exactly as publicized is crucial. The best guarantee is for the stylists themselves to play with the product a little. Some may argue that in order to use any new color you must buy the entire line; this may be true, but other color lines aren't making the claims attributed to INOA.

Here's what another colleague said:

"We didn't take the full class. Just got a demo and while I think it's an interesting product, I don't want to invest in the full line. So I think for now we're not going to go with it but rather wait to see if it delivers."

I will continue to research this color line and bring you feedback as my colleagues share their experiences with me. At the end of the day it's wonderful to have an ammonia-free product, but only time will tell if INOA lives up to its promises. And if I start using it you will be the first to know.

Thanks for reading.
Antonio Gonzales


Thursday, July 8, 2010


Returning to work after the Fourth of July weekend, I must admit I was a little beat and needed a zap to get me back in the swing of things. Luckily I have a boss who's out there setting trends and always feeding me great inspiration. Stay tuned for up-to-date inspirations from Orlando and welcome to Dior couture!

I cant wait to see Orlando to ask him how he created those looks, who knows you could be next!!



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