how to perfectly CHOOSE your HAIR COLOR & TONER

law of color

we get a lot of questions about how to CHOOSE your HAIR COLOR & TONER. questions like:
  • how can I take my head from black to blonde?
  • how much will it costs to get this picture in the salon?
  • will i be able to go from brown to blonde in one sitting?

the problem is, we can never give the same answer to any of these questions.  no 2 coloring jobs are the same!  much like our journeys in life, everyone has a different story about how their hair got to the color it currently is.  

FOR EXAMPLE: if you’ve spent the last 3 years box dying your hair different shades of red you’re going to need a lot more work than someone who is coming from naturally blonde hair.  

whenever you color your hair, you’re depositing pigment.  which means the style you want may include your stylist addressing every pigment that’s ended up in your hair over the last few years.

to balance the effects of COLORING & TONING, we consult the LAW of COLOR before choosing HAIR COLOR & TONER.  

how the LAW of COLOR works

you probably remember the LAW of COLOR from styling school, but it can never be too fresh in your mind.  the color wheel should be at the forefront of your mind when you’re mixing formulas, no matter what hair color you’re trying to attain.

there are 3 TYPES of COLORS you need to know about:


  • a PRIMARY COLOR is any color that cannot be made by mixing any other colors in nature together.  the 3 PRIMARY COLORS are RED, BLUE, and YELLOW.   there are no 2 colors we can mix together to get red, blue, or yellow.

    a SECONDARY color is a color that you achieve by mixing two primary colors together.  if you mix blue and yellow, you’re going to get GREEN.  if you mix yellow and red, you’re getting ORANGE.

    a TERTIARY color is a color you get from mixing a primary and secondary color together.  mixing yellow and green together is going to give you YELLOW-GREEN.  we’ll let you figure out the rest with a color wheel.

    using the LAW of COLOR to CHOOSE your HAIR COLOR & TONER

    why are these color laws so important?  because they tell us a ton about hair!  DARKER HAIR has various different colors as pigments and as you lighten the hair, you’re going to expose these colors. you start with blue that leaves the hair the hair right away when lightening so you will not visually see this.  typically you’ll see from red all the way up to the orange, yellow, which is what we know as BLONDE.

    it’s important to know the colors you’ll be exposing throughout the process because you’ll need to NEUTRALIZE every pigment you don’t want (or that will prevent you from getting the color you want).

    if your client has a lot of orange and brassy tones in her blonde hair, you’re gonna want to tone those brassy colors out with a blue toner.  the key to making sure you don’t overdo it and scare your client with blonde hair, make sure you’re mixing accordingly and watching the hair like a hawk!

    this applies to clients with LIGHTER HAIR, too.  if you’re taking a client 2-3 levels darker than their current color, you’re going to want to fill that color with every pigment in between to avoid ‘muddy’ colors that don’t quite look natural.  sure that’s not always possible in the styling world because it takes extra time, but it is well worth it for a beautiful color at the end.

    you want to make sure that once you darken 3 levels you add the pigment back to the hair. FILLING the hair will provide a richer color and will last longer.

    keep in mind that every dye job is going to require you to look back to the LAW of COLOR.  the more you bring this practice to the forefront of your work, the more impressive coloring results you’re going to get from your colors.

    let us know if you have any questions in the comments :)

    see you next week!

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