Formulating For Level and Tone
FORMULATING FOR LEVEL AND TONE LOOK & LEARN What you need to know to color and style like a pro.

Level and Tone

For ease of selection and formulation, Clairol Professional crème permanente and crème demi permanente are identified by Level and Tone, and are organized in the universal Level and Tone system. When you understand these simple ""codes,"" you can make educated choices with confidence. The number tells you how light or dark the color is; the letter tells you the tone. So, for example, in shade 5GN, 5 represents Level 5 (Lightest Brown). GN represents Gold Neutral Tone. So 5GN is Lightest Gold Neutral Brown.

Tone is generally described as being either WARM or COOL. To formulate properly, one must determine:

How to utilize color wheel to either enhance or neutralize a tonality.

Neutral is best described as a Brown to Brown-Gray. Clairol Professional Neutral is a balanced brown. To create Neutral, you simply mix an equal ratio of all three primary colors (Blue, Red and Yellow).

Natural Levels and Contributing Pigment

Levels refer to the degree of lightness or darkness, regardless of tone. Natural hair colors contribute their color to the final result when artificial hair color is added.
Contributing pigment is exposed warmth resulting from the lightening process. This can either be enhanced or neutralized. For accurate results and to control contributing pigment, formulate shades that are within 2 Levels of Natural Level.


Developers are oxidizing agents. The hydrogen peroxide in the developer delivers the required oxygen gas to develop color molecules and to lighten natural melanin.

10 Volume

Use when little to no lift is desired on pigmented hair. This is the only volume suitable with powder lighteners on chemically relaxed hair and provides the slowest, most controlled lift.

20 Volume

The standard volume for covering gray and for lifting hair 1-2 Levels. With powder lighteners, 20-volume is used often on hair that is non-porous and in good condition. Only 20-volume is used with 7th Stage Liquid Lightener.

30 Volume

Fast lightening, for 2-3 clean Levels of lift. This volume can be used with Basic White powder lightener.

40 Volume

For use with high-lift (3-4 Levels) permanent hair color shades. Used in 1:2 mix ratio with high-lift blonde shades. Not for use with powder lighteners.

Benefits of Clairol Professional Developers

Stabilized for 3 years (volume will not decrease) Available in 10-, 20-, 30- and 40-volume Designed for use with Clairol Professional crème permanente and liquicolor permanente Mix pure white and clairoxide with all powder and liquid lighteners

Clairol Professional clairoxide clear liquid developer

Ideal for bottle application (may even be used with crème permanente for bottle application)

Radiance Color Infuser

A dedicated developer for use with Radiance translucent deposit-only color.