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stlctyaly in hair_questions

The science of hair color.

I keep running across the same sorts of coloring concerns on different hair sites. One main concern is that when someone purchase a "box" color they don't get the shade they wanted. I am going to attempt to explain how to better identify the color you will get.

When you are trying go to a lighter color than normal, ( beginning of course with hair that is either )

A. chemically lightened or colored previously ALL ONE COLOR w/o Highlights
B. Your NATURAL color (never colored before or completely grown or cut out)

A new hair color will be approximately half-way between your natural A or B (above) and the applied hair color. (If you apply same color to highlights or low lights the same results only half-way between the highlight color and the applied color)

Beware that every person and every hair color has different undertones. If you purchase a haircolor with any of the below base or (undertone) colors it will counteract the opposite color.

Violet - Violet
Green - Red
Blue/Violet - Red orange

This theory works in reverse as well. However MOST supermarket and drugstore haircolor will not tell you what the base is in the color. This is where things get tricky. I can help a bit with this too, because certain words indicate certain bases.

Cool-Blue and or Violet
Warm-Red and or Orange
Golden-Yellow and or Yellow Orange

Pale,White,Hi-lift - Blue and or Violet with very hi-lift color. This color does NOT deposit color. It lifts as a bleach would do. Not a color anyone should really attempt on their own.

So if you dislike red highlights steer clear of color that has red, warm, auburns, etc. If you end up with unwanted reds, you can if you dare , try using an ash or green to get rid of it.

All in all a small amount of science and not trying to change one's own color more than 3 or 4 shades different than your own can result in fairly good results. Make sure to buy enough haircolor as creamier haircolor goes on thicker and is harder to apply by one's self and you may require more product, as well as for thicker or longer hair. I have relatively short, thick hair and use two bottles or boxes of color. You will have to judge for yourself, but you can always mix up one box, and then if you find it is enough, put the other away or return it. This way you ensure that you get your hair completely covered.

I hope I have helped some in the dilemmas and mystery's of coloring your own hair.

Any questions?


Yep, the color wheel is the best tool any colorist aside from pure talent can have.