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The Silk Bath technique

Inspired by centuries-old fabric dyeing techniques, is this the hottest new way to process fashion colours?

Skyler London – silk bath technique
As the UK’s first colour-only salon, the team at Skyler London in Wandsworth need to be up to date on their processing techniques. This particular innovation of theirs doesn’t feature any brushes, boards, cotton or foils – all you need is a suitable client’s hair and a generous basin-full of water at the backwash.

Designed for use with direct dye formulas, the silk bath technique relies on hair porosity and works best on a light base. Colour is added to a sink full of clean water and mixed in to create a diluted solution. The client’s hair is then gently immersed and the colour is deposited as water is absorbed by the hair shaft, delivering a soft wash of colour that reflects their existing tonal depths.  As with all direct dyes, the result is temporary – lasting only a handful of washes – but the colour can be intensified by applying more of the formula and working it through the hair prior to the bath stage of the process.

This is for people who like to have fun with their colour,” explains the salon’s colour director, Lloyd Court. “The exact shade and tone is personalised to suit each individual and is then applied at the basin, creating a more natural coverage of colour. The water must be warm – not only for the comfort of the guest, but for the colour to work – as it opens up the cuticle and allows the direct dye to absorb better.”

“What I love about this technique is that it’s both quick and creative,” he adds. “Colours can be super vibrant or toned down with gentle pastel shades – it all depends on the concentration of the mix, the time left to process in the silk bath, and how much of the formula is applied to the hair itself. However, depending on the guest’s desired effect, they may need to have some or all of their hair lightened first (for example, those who want a really vibrant or light pastel result).”