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Hair Coloring > Color Theory


image of a color wheelEvery hair colorist should have an extensive knowledge of the color theory. Below are mentioned only the basics, which will help you to educate yourself a little and before you will have any changes done to your hair you can ask your colorist questions. With this knowledge you can also determine if your hair colorist is knowledgeable and skillful in his/her profession.

You have seen this color wheel on the HAIR COLORING page. On this color wheel you can see all together twelve colors. PRIMARY COLORS, SECONDARY COLORS and TERTIARY COLORS.

PRIMARY COLORS
are red, yellow and blue. By mixing these colors together you can develop basically any color from them. But if you'd mix equal amount of red and yellow, you'd create an orange color. If you'd mix equal amount of blue and yellow, you'd create a green color. And if you'd mix equal amount of red and blue, you'd get a violet color.

SECONDARY COLORS
are orange, green and violet. Again, they are achieved by mixing equal amounts of primary colors. At this point you can imagine six colors on the color wheel. By mixing again equal amounts of primary and their adjacent secondary color we would form six tertiary colors.

TERTIARY COLORS
are red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet and red-violet. Again, they must be mixed in equal amounts.

BLACK & BROWN COLORS
are created by combinations of "PRIMARY COLORS ONLY". Equal amount of all three primary colors produce black color. Unequal amounts of all three primary colors create different shades of brown color. (More blue creates dark brown, more red creates reddish brown, more yellow produces light brown.)

If you look at the color wheel and if you mix two opposite "COMPLEMENTARY COLORS" (like red and green, blue and orange and yellow and violet) you will create neutral brown color. It could also be stated that they cancel each other.

Next what you should understand is a "COLOR TONE". Color tone is color value in the hair, which it really means a combination of a color pigments inside of the hair's cortex. Natural hair color is any combination of yellow-red and black-brown pigments. The lighter the hair the more of yellow-red pigments in the cortex. More of a black-brown then yellow-red pigment combination creates dark hair.
The last thing that colorists should understand is "COLOR DEPTH" which indicates how dark or light color is by mixing it with white color. Obviously, the lighter the color is the more of a white color has been used in the mixture.(It's described as "levels" on boxes of color products.)

And what is the conclusion? If you use all the knowledge you could predetermine how the combination of natural hair pigmentation and artificial color pigmentation will react together. For example, if you don't want any red undertones in your hair, colorist should use a mix of tint with a domination of green (combination of blue and yellow) pigment in the bottle to cancel them. However, if you need to color your gray hair, you need a balanced tint(with red, yellow and blue pigments) for good and strong coverage.

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RECOMMENDATION: ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR HAIRDRESSER. DO NOT RELY ON THIS INFORMATION ONLY.
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