The Basics of Hair Color – Understanding Levels & Tones
Considering home hair color?
Learn more about color theory with an explanation of levels and tones, to help you
get the shade you want every time.
LEVEL (OR DEPTH)
Level refers to the degree of lightness or darkness of a color. Within each color
family, there are light, medium and dark levels. For example: light blonde, medium
blonde and dark blonde. While every hair color
brand has its own level numbering system, generally black is Level 1 or 2, and lightest
blonde is the highest level number.
Tone refers to the “finish” of a shade—its degree of warmth or coolness. Tones are
categorized as warm, neutral or cool, and are usually part of the shade description
(think terms like “gold” or “ash”). No matter what your level of color, you can
choose from a variety of tones to help you achieve your color transformation.
Read the chart below for a description of some common tones.
|ASH (Cool) ||- color which has no red or gold highlights/tones (will minimize red/gold/brassy
|NEUTRAL ||- color which has an equal amount of primary colors (balanced)|
|BEIGE & CHAMPAGNE ||- similar to a neutral, but may be more warm or cool, depending
|GOLD (Warm) ||- color which adds golden highlights/tones|
|RED (Warm) ||- color which adds red highlights/tones|