Understanding the Hair Color Wheel and How It Applies to Your Hair

Learn how to use the hair color wheel to find out which shades and hues will work for you.

The hair color wheel generates a lot of confusion among those of us who aren’t beauty school graduates. The first thing is to understand the difference between the undertones of a particular hair shade rather than a base hair color.

What does that mean exactly? Every hair color has a base color that’s visible to the eye and other lighter variations that are uncovered with the use of bleach. The hair color wheel ensures that you won’t be playing a guessing game before you bleach, and it can help you have more realistic expectations for the hair color you can achieve. You might already know that going from dark brown to an ashy blonde can be a little tricky, but do you know why?

hair color wheel brunette
Learn about hair color with the color wheel.

The first shade of hair color that you see when you lift the hair with bleach is called the undertone. If you lift dark brown hair you’ll get a shade of red. From there the color will lighten first to orange and then to yellow. From there you can take your hair to different shades of blonde. This requires the right skill set and a careful combination of products.

This is where the color wheel comes into play. You can neutralize the red and orange tones by going across the color wheel to either green, blue or purple. Analyzing your strands based on the color wheel and finding the right shades of toner will help you balance out those brassy colors and help you achieve the blonde sexy hair color of your dreams.

Understanding the Hair Color Wheel

Understanding the color wheel will help you have a more realistic expectation of what you can expect from your hair. Your hair will only go up a maximum of 4 levels for every round of bleach, and you’ll be doing a lot of damage to your hair throughout that process. You’ll want to set yourself up with realistic expectations for how light you can make your hair while still maintaining the integrity of your locks.

hair color wheel
Violet is the opposite of yellow on the color wheel, thus is the shade that can neutralize brassy, yellow tones.

Warm hair colors and hair color for natural hair are a little trickier because of this 4-level rule. Lots of brunette women are often left feeling like they just can’t kick that brassiness. This is where purple shampoo comes into play. Incorporate a purple shampoo into your regular hair washing routine to balance out some of that brassiness and keep your blonde color intact. we highly recommend Nexxus Blonde Assure Purple Shampoo to keep your hair color cool and vibrant.

Women with darker hair will likely undergo a few rounds of bleach to achieve their dream hair color. It’s important to hydrate strands that have undergone chemical processes like these and we suggest using a deep conditioner. Dove Nutritive Solutions Clarify & Hydrate Conditioner is a great in-shower option while TRESemmé Pro Pure Detangle and Smooth Leave-In Conditioner is ideal for women looking for a ‘spray and go’ option. Both are intensely hydrating and will give your hair some much-needed TLC after the bleaching process.

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