Can I get my client to a Level 5 brown using a semi permanent colour?

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I've recently come out of training and I have this client who has permanent black hair on the ends, semi-permanent black in the mid-lengths and grey regrowth (not sure what percentage yet). She now wants to go to a level 5 brown all over using only a semi-permanent colour.

The two things I'm worried about are, how to get the hair one level to apply my semi-permanent, and will the semi cover the grey or do I have to pre-lighten that as well?

 Thank you for your advice!!

 Anon, Canada

Artificial black hair is very difficult to lighten, plus if it has had applications of colour on colour it might even be impossible. I suggest doing a strand test first to check whether or not it will be achievable.

Start by lightening the hair, you need to use a product like L'Oreal Effassor. If the condition allows, it needs to be lifted to a red orange level (the undercoat of a base 5), as evenly as possible. 

Once the hair is lifted then you can choose your colour, I would go in with a basic shade 5, but you must take into consideration of the porosity and sensitivity of the hair. It may go drab and darker than desired if the hair is too processed. If she is grey then ask her why she wants a semi permanent? Maybe suggest that a permanent colour will create an even shade and that as the ends are heavily coloured it will look better than if you went in with a semi. In the future once lots of the heavily processed hair has been cut off than maybe you could try a semi.

Suggest treatments and regular trims to maintain her hair's condition.

John Clark, Head of Colour at Brooks+Brooks, London 

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