Naturtint Expert Advice: Colour Mixing & Shade Codes

Have your customers ever asked for a colour that is somewhere in the middle of two shades? Ever been faced with a shade code question relating to other hair dye brands? In this blog post, our resident hair colour expert Kerry Capewell explains the endless colour options available to you and your customers when they have the confidence to mix it up!

Switching hair colour brands can be a leap of faith so first and foremost, we are here to hold your hand! Call us, email us, chat to us online – heck you can even send us good old letter if you wish, just know that if you would like some assistance choosing the most suitable shade for you, we are here to help.

Secondly, the best place to start is familiarising yourself with how our colour code works, which is inline with most other hair colour systems and follows an industry standard, making it easy to make the switch to Naturtint.

Each shade in the Naturtint Permanent Hair Colour range (and most other ranges too, but for now we’re just looking at the most popular range) is given a code that generally (there’s always an exception!) consists of a number and then a letter. For example 1N Ebony Black, or 8C Copper Blonde.

These aren’t just internal codes – they give you a clue as to what kind of shade you can expect!

The number tells you how ‘light’ or ‘dark’ a shade is, with 1 being the darkest shade in the range and 10 the lightest;

Hair colour shade numbers explained: 

1 = Black
10 = Lightest Blonde
Hair colour shade numbers explained

And the letter after the number tells you the kind of tone you can expect from the colour;

  • N = Natural
  • A = Ash
  • C = Copper
  • G = Golden
  • M = Mahogany
  • R = Red

So, by understanding the code, we can deduce that a colour called 6A is a mid to light shade, with mainly ash tones. The 6A is Dark Ash Blonde so we would be right – go us!

You might be thinking well the name ‘Dark Ash Blonde’ tells me all I need to know, but of course names and descriptions are open to individual interpretation – your ‘Fire Red’ for example might be different to mine (Fire Red is 5R, if you’re wondering!) – so the code gives us a more accurate idea.

The code is also super helpful in working out which shades you can use, taking into consideration your own hair colour, as not every shade will work on every hair colour, which is the same for any hair dye brand.

Consider which of the ‘Natural’ tones is closes to your natural colour and then use this as your ‘base’ shade, before considering whether you want to lighten or darken hair, whether you simply want to cover grey, or whether you want to add a new tone.

Lightening hair;

Naturtint Permanent Hair Colour Gels can lighten natural hair by up to two shades – if for example your natural colour was pretty similar to the 5N Light Chestnut Brown, you could go as light as the 6N or 7N. If you try and go lighter, the chances are the resulting colour will be very brassy and orange.

Darkening hair;

Whilst you can go as dark as you wish with the Naturtint Permanent Hair Colours without unexpected tones, most of us tend to suit shades just one or two darker than our natural colour as this generally suits our skin tone. So, using the example above, if you were a 5N, you could use a 4N or a 3N to go darker.

Changing your colour tone;

Perhaps you are looking for a new kind of colour altogether? In which case again use your ‘base’ shade as your starting tone – naturally a 5N but fancy going more copper? Have a look at 5C. Perhaps you want to go a little bit lighter but also more golden? Then you should consider 6G – it’s one shade lighter and in the Golden tone family.

Covering grey;

Grey hair is hair that has lost its natural pigment and can soak up hair dyes more readily – meaning brighter shades can sometimes look unnatural. Consider painting a white wall and a black wall with the same red paint – the white wall will end up looking much brighter. So, if you have a lot of grey but fancy having a brighter tone such as a Copper (C) or a Mahogany (M) shade, we would recommend mixing it with a similar number Natural (N) tone first, for example blending the 5N with the 5M, to get those rich tones but without the colour looking too artificial.

Naturtint Colour Rings - available for your store to help customers choose the right colour

TOP TIP – If you are undecided between two shades, it’s a good idea to try the lighter one first as it is much easier to go darker on your next application, than it is try to and lighten hair that is darker than you had hoped!

When you are trying a new shade or mix for the first time, it is definitely worth taking the time to do a Colour Strand Test so you can see how your mix or shade develops on your own, unique hair colour. You need to do a Skin Sensitivity Test beforehand anyway, so why not take the opportunity to do a test of the colour result – worst case scenario you don’t like it, better to find that out on a small piece of hair than your full head! And we’re just at the end of the phone to help you get better results next time.

SOME OF OUR MOST POPULAR COLOUR BLENDS

Really, there is an endless palette of colours allowing you to create your own individual shade, but we’ve curated some of our most popular mixes below to give you some inspiration!

7N Hazelnut Blonde + 6A Dark Ash Blonde

A popular mix for customers using the 7N to lighten hair, as it helps counter any brassy tones or unwanted warmth that can sometimes be produced when colouring lighter.

7N Hazelnut Blonde + 6A Dark Ash Blonde

A popular mix for customers using the 7N to lighten hair, as it helps counter any brassy tones or unwanted warmth that can sometimes be produced when colouring lighter.

8N Wheat Germ Blonde + 8G Sandy Golden Blonde

Wheat Germ Blonde is a popular shade for those with a lot of grey hair that don’t want really obvious root regrowth. However because grey hair is hair that has lost all pigment, some customers will benefit from adding a touch of gold, to add depth to the colour.

4N Natural Chestnut + 4M Mahogany Chestnut

This kind of blend can be applied to a number of shades – if you have a lot of grey but fancy being a fiery red or an intense copper, mix your chosen colour with the equivalent natural shade, to give the depth of colour and coverage the grey needs.

4N Natural Chestnut + 4M Mahogany Chestnut

This kind of blend can be applied to a number of shades – if you have a lot of grey but fancy being a fiery red or an intense copper, mix your chosen colour with the equivalent natural shade, to give the depth of colour and coverage the grey needs.

7C Terracotta Blonde + 8G Sandy Golden Blonde

Depending on the base shade it’s applied to, blending these shades can produce a beautiful strawberry blonde shade that combines shimmering copper tones with golden highlights.

7C Terracotta Blonde + 8G Sandy Golden Blonde

Depending on the base shade it’s applied to, blending these shades can produce a beautiful strawberry blonde shade that combines shimmering copper tones with golden highlights.

5N Light Chestnut Brown + 6N Dark Blonde

5N too dark but 6N too light? Combine the two and you’re effectively making a 6 and a half N! It might seem like splitting hairs (excuse the pun!), but when it comes to hair colour, there’s no such thing as being too picky!

5N Light Chestnut Brown + 6N Dark Blonde

5N too dark but 6N too light? Combine the two and you’re effectively making a 6 and a half N! It might seem like splitting hairs (excuse the pun!), but when it comes to hair colour, there’s no such thing as being too picky!

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