Color Theory from Clairol Professional
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Putting Color Theory into Practice

Hair color results can be summed up in a simple equation:

Contribuiting Pigment + Artificial Color = Final Result

To determine these different statements, you need to understand a few basic hair color terms.

Base ColorThe dominant color in any hair color mixture that gives a shade its overall characteristic.

LevelThe degree of lightness or darkness, regardless of Tone.

ToneThe warmth or coolness of a color.

  • Warm Tones reflect light and appear lighter.
  • Cool Tones absorb light and appear darker.

To formulate properly, you must determine:

  • Starting tone
  • Desired tone
  • How to utilize the color wheel to either enhance or neutralize a tonality
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Base Colors and Tonal Results

Base Colors and Tonal Results from Clairol Professional spacer
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Natural LevelThere are 10 Natural Hair Color Levels. Levels 6-10 are Blonde; Levels 1-5 are Brown.These swatches approximate natural hair color shades. Natural hair colors contribute their color to the final result when artificial color is added.

Contributing PigmentEvery Natural Level has Contributing Pigments, or underlying warmth. It is exposed during lightening and affects the final color result. It can be enhanced or neutralized, depending on your desired results.

Clairol Professional: Natural Levels and Contributing Pigments