Understanding Hair Color: What exactly is a Single Process Color?
Updated: Jun 26
As a master colorist, I have had many clients come in and ask for a "single process color". While this term is widely used in the hair industry, it can mean different things depending on the salon and stylist. In this blog post, I will explain what single process color is, and its different variations.
What is Single Process Color?
Simply put, single process color is a hair coloring technique that involves applying a single color to the hair in one step. This is typically used to cover gray hair or change the overall color of the hair. The color is applied to the roots and then pulled through the mid-lengths and ends of the hair, creating a uniform color throughout.
Single process color is also known as "all-over color" or "base color" because it covers the entire head of hair. Single process coloring is a relatively quick and easy process, making it a popular choice for those looking for a simple hair color change. This process does not involve foils. To better understand the foiling process, you can read one of my articles here.
Variations of Single Process Color
While single process color is a simple technique, there are variations that can be used to achieve different results. Here are some of the most common variations:
Demi-permanent color is a type of single process color that uses a low-volume developer and deposits color onto the hair without lifting the natural pigment. This type of color typically lasts up to 24 washes, making it a good option for those who want to try out a new color without committing to it long-term.
Demi-permanent color is also great for adding shine and enhancing the natural color of the hair. It can be used to darken the hair by a few shades, but it cannot lighten the hair.
Permanent color is another type of single process color that uses a higher-volume developer to lift the natural pigment and deposit new color onto the hair. This type of color typically lasts until the hair grows out or is cut.
Permanent color is great for covering gray hair and completely changing the hair color. It can be used to lighten the hair by several shades, but it may require multiple applications to achieve the desired result.
The Root Touch-Up
All about the re-growth! Root touch-up is a variation of single process color that is used to cover up new hair growth at the roots. This technique is typically done between full color treatments to maintain a consistent hair color. It involves applying color only to the roots of the hair, where new growth occurs. This helps to blend the new growth with the rest of the hair and maintain a seamless color.
Root touch-up can be done with either demi-permanent or permanent color, depending on the desired result and the natural hair color of the client. It is a quick and easy way to maintain hair color and keep it looking fresh.
Glazing aka Toning
Glazing, also referred to as a Toner, is another variation of a single process color that involves applying a clear or tinted gloss to the hair. This technique helps to add shine and enhance the natural color of the hair, without changing the overall color.
Glazing can be done on any hair type or color and is a great option for those looking for a subtle change or enhancement. It can be done with either demi-permanent or permanent color, depending on the desired result.
Toning is also a great way to blend in some of those natural changes in hair color. For example, if you have dark hair and are growing some sliver highlights, applying a Toner or Glaze is a great way to downplay any drastic color difference. You can read more here about gracefully embracing that hair evolution.
Single process color is a popular and versatile hair coloring technique that can be used to achieve a variety of different looks. Demi-permanent, permanent, root touch-up, and toning are all variations of single process color that can be used to achieve different results. If deciding which type of single process color to choose, it's important to consult with a professional stylist who can help determine the best option based on your hair type, natural color, and desired result. Don't forget, your desired look is our priority ;)