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How to use a Hair Color Chart

Updated on July 4, 2010

When choosing a new hair color either at home or professionally at a hairdresser, it is important to use a hair color chart to get a better idea of the color your are choosing. The best type of chart to use is one using swatches of artificial hair which will allow you to get a much better idea of the final color result. Color charts made from printed images can vary depending on the printing process and may not be entirely accurate. It goes without saying of course that the color of the actual dye has no bearing on the final result – it can be quite alarming to see that the hair dye you mix at home is a bright red or purple color, but the end result on your natural hair color will be much more subtle unless you have bleached it first.

Hair color charts are produced by all the main manufactures of hair dye and should be available in any good salon. Most salons will focus on dyes from one particular brand and show you a chart for this range of dyes, for example a Loreal hair color chart or a Clairol hair color chart. Different brands can vary a lot and you might find that one particular formula works better on your hair. In this case you should seek out a salon that stocks dye by that particular manufacturer.

photo by torley on flickr
photo by torley on flickr

To use a hair color chart you can start by looking at the available colors and pointing out a few that you think are attractive. The stylish will remove several swatches and hold them against your hair so you can get a better picture of how different they are to your existing hair color and how well they match your skin tone and eyes. If you’re choosing a dramatic new color it is important to use the hair color chart in this way to give you a better idea of the eventual result.

There are usually many shades available for each hair color and it can be difficult knowing which will suit you best. The stylist can advise by choosing warm, cool or neutral shades depending on your color and it can also help to use a narrower selection of colors so you are not so confused by the range of choices – If you’re going red it helps to look at a red hair color chart whereas if you’re going lighter or getting highlights, a blonde hair color chart can be helpful.

If you prefer dyeing your own hair rather than going to the stylist then try visiting the websites of the major hair dye brands in order to view an online version of their color charts. This can help you to narrow down your selection when choosing a dye in store. Remember that viewing colors online is not very accurate due to differences in computer and monitor settings and the final result also depends on your particular hair color, but it can help you to make your choice when you’re not familiar with the range of colors.

Hair color charts are also produced by wig manufacturers as well as for hair dyes. Whether you’re purchasing a wig for medical reasons or just to have a different look, it can be very helpful to make your choice of color from one of these charts. Revlon has an extensive wig color chart including several shades of blonde, brunette, redhead and gray. When choosing colors from a wig color chart, you can be sure that the wig you choose will be exactly the same color as the chart as you do not need to worry about variations in original hair shades like you do with dye.


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