Q: What is a “base adjust”? My friend has recommended her new hair colorist to me because he uses this technique. Her
experience is that it is less expensive, less harsh and takes less time than the traditional root touch-up we’ve both been getting
for years. I’m trying to get more information about it to see if it would be right for me. She goes in only twice a year for
highlights (her hair is dark red and she gets blonde highlights). In between, for the roots (once every 3-4 weeks), she gets what
he calls a “base adjust” which he puts all over her hair and it lightens the roots and blends them into the rest of her long hair,
without changing the color of it. It doesn’t take long, only costs $20 and is far less damaging to her hair than the
highlights-with-foils root touchup she was getting from her former colorist. This process sounds too good to be true. I have
slightly darker (ashy) brown hair with more gray in it than hers, yet I’d like a similar degree of lightness to hers. Would this
technique work for me do you think? I’ve just gone through a series of very bad (salon) bleaching, trying to get my brown hair
blonde, so I want to be very careful about stressing my hair too much more.
A: I have never heard of the term “base adjust” and my research of the term also turned up no results. However, it sounds as though
what the stylist in question is doing is using some sort of mild color-lift/toner mixture, which would subtly shift the color of the
new growth and refresh the color of the rest of the hair.
As to whether this procedure would work for you depends on the condition of your hair. The best
way to find out about this process is to visit the stylist your friend sees and speak to him directly about the process he uses and
what he can offer to you to help you get the results you desire. Be sure to explain to him everything you’ve already had done to
your hair and what you hope to achieve with his assistance. Also, make sure to discuss the cost of not only the initial process, but follow-up as well.
I do want to take a moment to explain that often, stylists will create terms, such as “base
adjust” to describe processes that may be known to other stylists by other terms. Such hair terms may only be used by that stylist, or
only within an individual salon. Terms can be limited regionally, locally or could spread to be used nationally or globally. Because
of the discrepancy and potential for confusion, it is best to always discuss what you want in the simplest terms possible. And rather
than simply entering a salon and asking for something you’ve heard of, explain specifically what results you are after from a
service. This becomes important, because what one salon or stylist calls a “base adjust” can be significantly different in effect and
result from what another salon or stylist calls by the same term.