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Hair dyeing is a quick and easy method of changing the appearance of hair. Someone wants to hide grey, someone wants to correct the natural colour, and someone just likes to change. The modern cosmetics industry offers a huge range of different products.

How not to get lost in this variety? I hope my detailed analysis of paints will help you to make a choice.

1. Types of hair dyes

The main principle of dyes’ division is their “origin”.

1.1 Natural

This group includes henna and Basma, as well as extracts of some plants – chamomile, burdock, onion husk, etc. Some products such as lemons, tea and coffee are also used as dyeing agents. Owners of any shade of hair can choose the necessary color from a variety of natural colours.

But natural shades have their disadvantages. The most significant of them is the impossibility of predicting the final result of dyeing.

Therefore, natural dyes are preferred by those who want to either slightly emphasize their natural shade, or who do not want to use chemical dyes.

1.2 Physical

Designed for frequent use. The dyes do not penetrate deeply into the hair structure, but only cover it with an invisible film. They include shampoos, tonics and balms.

Thanks to their influence, curls acquire a saturated colour and beautiful shine, and the film on their surface is a good protector from external factors. Physical dyes are quickly washed off from the hair surface, so do not guarantee long-term results. In addition, they do not contain any brightening ingredients, so they are not suitable for cardinal colour changes.

1.3 Chemical

There are two types of chemical hair dyes: persistent and semi-persistent. The latter is sometimes confused with physical dyes, but there are significant differences between these products. Semi-persistent, unlike physical ones, penetrates the structure of the locks, but not as deeply as persistent ones. Therefore, they have better staining properties and do not wash away so quickly.


Provides penetration of dyeing pigments deep inside the hair, thus guaranteeing a durable colouring in any shade. These products are most often available in creamy forms, as well as in the form of mousses, gels and masks. Large manufacturers (Loreal, Schwarzkopf and others) produce various lines.

Quite often softening and curing agents are added to these products. This is necessary to reduce the harmful effects of chemicals, prevent side effects and preserve the natural beauty of hair.


Does not contain ammonia or hydrogen peroxide or these substances are present in small quantities. Accordingly, these dyes are much less harmful to hair than persistent ones. But they have a significant disadvantage: they, though quite a long time, but still wash away with time. Like permanent paints, they are produced in various forms.

2. Dye resistance levels

It is difficult to understand the composition of paint, its “origin” and how long it will last on the hair, without certain knowledge of chemistry. This can be judged by the data on the package.

Stability levels are indicated on a four-point scale:

0 – temporary;

1 – unstable (shade);

2 – semi-stable;

3 – resistant.

2.1 With level 0

Temporary paints are ideal for those who are not ready for radical changes, but want to experiment with the color or choose the right shade. With these products, you can either completely dye your hair or change the colour of individual strands.

They are available in a wide variety of shapes – gels, mousses, sprays, carcasses and powders. The latter option, by the way, is offered not only by companies specializing in hair products, but also by other manufacturers of cosmetics, such as Oriflame, Avon, Dior, Lumene and others. Besides, carcasses are practically the only dye that can be used for children.


  • A large and varied colour palette;
  • Easy to use;
  • do not damage the hair;
  • are easily washed away;
  • hypoallergenic (except in cases of individual intolerance).


  • the short duration of action: easy “zero” means are washed away immediately or after the second or third wash, and intensive ones withstand a maximum of 4-5 water procedures;
  • Bright colours may not be very good on dark hair.

2.2 With level 1

The first group includes unstable or shade dyes. They are intended for freshening already coloured strands, giving beautiful halftones to natural curls. The shades do not contain ammonia and hydrogen peroxide, so they are the most harmless. Almost completely washed off through 6-8 water procedures.


  • give the hair its brightness and lustre;
  • Do not damage the hair;
  • The effect of growing roots is not noticeable;
  • The natural colour returns without corrective procedures;
  • Possibility to use as a “corrector” when returning to natural colour (for previously coloured hair);
  • Possibility of use for over-dried and weakened curls, for which the use of chemical dyes is contraindicated (some remedies, thanks to additional substances in the composition, have a therapeutic effect).


  • do not stain grey;
  • a small number of shades compared to the paints;
  • are washed out pretty quickly;
  • It is impossible to change the colour by more than 1-2 shades.


– Not professional: Palette shade gels, “Tonika” balm, Irida shampoo, Estel Love shampoo, etc.

– professional: Schwarzkopf Igora Color Gloss, Kemon Kroma-Life painting mask, etc.

2.3. with level 2

The second group includes paints containing hydrogen peroxide, which provides long-term staining. They “last” from three weeks to three months, provided that the hair is washed periodically (the standard figure is 28 head wash procedures).

They also allow you to effectively paint grey, lighten the curls by 1-2 tones, give them beautiful saturated colour and provide additional care (in the presence of vegetable oils or other nutrients).


  • Usually do not contain ammonia or contain it in minimal amounts;
  • Allow to lighten hair on 1-2 tones (depending on the amount of hydrogen peroxide);
  • are washed off gradually, which avoids the effect of overgrown roots, if the color is not too different from natural.


  • It is necessary to refresh the colour periodically;
  • If the dye is retained, the colour may differ from the colour stated on the package;
  • may not have coloured hair that was previously coloured with a durable colour, or the colour may not match the expected colour;
  • Blond shades are washed off quickly on blonde hair;
  • instead of ammonia, may contain amines that are odourless but no less toxic than ammonia.
  • can not cope with gray hair, if they are more than 50%.


– Non-professional: Casting Crème Gloss from L’oreal, L’oreal Sublime mousse by Cacting, Oreal PRODIGY, etc.

– Professional: EstelDeLuxeSense, MatrichsColoredonsi, etc.

2.4. with level 3

The third group includes persistent dyes. Representatives of this category have many advantages over other species.

They completely stain the gray and remain in the hair for a long time without discoloration. A huge choice of colors, tones and halftones, as well as the possibility of cardinal changes in the color of curls make them very popular.

Thanks to the various oils they contain, their negative impact on the hair structure during dyeing is reduced and additional care is provided.

The pros:

  • A wide range of colours;
  • The ability to change the colour dramatically;
  • Possibility of hair clarification up to 4 tones without pre-colourization;
  • 100 % colouring of all grey hair;
  • Long-term effect (qualitative dyes possess “indelible” effect).


  • Ammonia and hydrogen peroxide can injure the hair;
  • at the change of colour more than on 4 tones, at their further growth the border of the transition of shades will be visible;
  • This staining is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women because of the harmful effects of ammonia and peroxide;
  • An allergic reaction to paint components is possible;
  • Sharp and unpleasant smell during dyeing;
  • Possible damage to the scalp with ammonia and peroxide;
  • It may be difficult to change the darker shade to a lighter one;
  • The need for regular dyeing of the roots (depending on the rate of hair growth, once every 3-6 weeks).


– Not professional: L’oreal Excellence, Syoss, L’Oreal L’OREAL SUBLIME MOUSSE, Palette, WELLATON, etc.

– Professional: Estel Delux, Londa Professional, MATRIX SOCOLOR beauty, etc.

3. How to find the right paint colour

Dyeing products of any manufacturer consist of basic tones and additional shades, which have a digital or alphanumeric designation. This colour “cypher” is always indicated on the box. The easiest way to determine which colour to expect from a coloured box is to use, since commercial names such as “bitter chocolate” or “frosty cherry”, as well as the picture on the package, only give an approximate idea of the true colour.

3.1 Scale of colours and shades

There is an “International scale of natural tones” (achromatic series), consisting of 10 basic tones from black to light blonde.

  • Black;
  • Dark dark chestnut;
  • Dark chestnut;
  • Chestnut;
  • Light chestnut;
  • Dark-blue;
  • Blond;
  • Light blonde;
  • Blonde;
  • Bright blonde.

This is the first number in the colourful “code”, indicating how much colour dark or light.

So there is a standard scale of shades, including 8 shades (denoted by numbers from 1 to 8) and the number 0 for the designation of natural colour. It is from the scale of shades taken in the “cypher” of the paint the second digit, “responsible” for the basic shade.

0. Natural;

1. Ashtray;

2. Pearlescent (violet colour);

3. Golden;

4. Copper;

5. Red;

6. Purple;

7. Brown;

8. Pearl (blue).

The number code can consist of two, three and sometimes four digits (for example, 10.13 – light blonde beige (ash + gold = beige).

The third and fourth digits are also from the “shading” scale. They indicate an additional shade, which is usually half as much in colour as the main shade. If the 2 and 3 digits are the same, then we should talk about the intensity of the pigment included in the pigment.

For example, a “code” of 1-0 or 1.00 on the package indicates that it is a pure black natural colour, 1-1, 1.10, 1.01, 1/0, 1/00 – black with a cold ash tint.

The problem is that not all manufacturers use a standard international scale for marking paints. Usually, each manufacturer develops its own palette with its own designations. So, some firms (for example, Palette, Colorissimo) mark paints with alphanumeric designations. Usually, the letters are used for the designation of shade scale, but sometimes also for the designation of basic tones.

Estel professional (Russia).

The palette of shades: 0-natural; 1-ashtray; 3-gold; 4-copper; 5-red; 6-violet; 7-brown; 8-pearl.

Example: 6/7 – Dark-blue, brown.

Kaaral (Italy).

Palette: 0-natural; 1-ashtray; 2-violet; 3-gold; 4-copper; 5-mahogany; 6-red; 8-brown.

Example: 6/38 – Dark blond, golden-brown.

Schwarzkopf IGORA (Germany).

Palette: 0-natural; 1-sandre; 2-pearls; 3-ashes; 4-beige; 5-golden; 6-brown; 7-copper; 8-red; 9-violet.

Example: 7/77 – Ruby, intensely copper (copper-copper).

3.2 Oxide (emulsion showing milk, oxidant)

To fix the paint, there is an oxide, which in spite of its percentage gives a different effect. It is intended only for chemical dyes (resistant and unstable).

For ease of use, the concentration of hydrogen peroxide per litre of base is indicated on the oxide bottles. For example, 1.5% means that 15 ml of hydrogen peroxide is present in 1 liter of the base. Other percentages of emulsions are also used: 3%, 6%, 9% or 12%.

Different proportions and percentages of hydrogen peroxide are required to create different shades and effects:

1.5% to 2.5% for toning or gentle staining;

3% – for colouring tone to tone or darker to level 1; sometimes used for colouring;

6% – for dyeing on 1-2 levels lighter and for grey hair (better-fixed pigment (colour));

9% – for clarification on 2-3 levels;

12% – used with dyes of special brightening group (11 and 12 series) in the ratio of 1 to 2 (1 part of the dye and 2 parts of the oxide), clarification at 3-4 levels.

4. Preliminary “diagnostics” for paint selection

For a clear orientation in tones and shades, almost every manufacturer produces their tables, allowing you to accurately determine the colour of the paint.

But it should be remembered that the shades in the table are obtained by staining white synthetic fibres. Therefore, the result may not coincide, even if the hair is light and unpainted.

If, however, the colouring has been done beforehand, the final colour can be quite different from the colour in the palette. To achieve the desired result, it is necessary to carry out preliminary “diagnostics”.


Before making a choice about the shade, a few very important questions should be answered:

Are there any grey hairs and how many of them (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%)?

What is your natural hair colour (choose the tone level on the international scale)?

What colour do you have now, if the curls have been pre-coloured (you should also select the tone level on the scale)?

The desired colour of the hair (determine its level).

5. Selection of unpainted, coloured and grey hair colour

5.1. Uncoloured


  • Determine your hair colour.
  • Determine the desired colour:
  • Brighter by more than 4 tones. To achieve the desired shade, you need to first lighten your hair or use a dye that can lighten more than 4 tones. Keep in mind that a warm shade (copper or yellowness) will appear depending on the level of the shade of the hair, even if it is 1 tonne lighter.
  • Lighter by 1-3 (maximum 4) tones.
  • Tone to tone, adding a tone. Recommended, without ammonia and toning dyes, as well as dyes of plant origin.
  • Darker. If you are not sure if the colour is right for you, use ammonia-free (washable) paint.

Example (“Estelle”):

1. Hair color 7.0 is blond.

2. The desired colour is 9.34 (Estelle palette) – blonde gold-copper.

Solution: Estelle 9.34 should be mixed with 6% oxide (see oxide section), hold for 35 minutes. If you have long hair, then dye the length first and then the roots. And if it’s short, then the whole length at once.

5.2 Painted


Determine the colour on the roots and length.

Determine the desired colour (see table).

Example (“Estelle”):

1. 6.0 grown roots are a dark blonde and 9.3 blondes in length.

2. Desired color 6.7 – dark blonde, chocolate.

Solution: Mix Estelle 6.7 with 3% oxide. Paint the length first and then the roots. Hold for 35 minutes.

5.3 Grey

When dyeing grey hair, you have to consider many nuances.

If you have up to 50% grey hair, we recommend ammonia dyes from level 7 and darker with 6% oxide (if your native colour is dark). As well as a good option – melting.

If you have from 50 to 80% of grey, it is recommended to paint from 9 to 7 levels (if the roots grow, will not be visible grey). Melting is also suitable. Do not take very warm shades. Oxide is suitable from 6% to 9%.

If you have from 80 to 100% grey, we recommend dyes from the lightest to 8 levels. You can simply add shade with the help of shades, foams, etc. Exclude dark and bright colours!

6. Important recommendations

Many experienced stylists and hairdressers advise to carry out the first staining in the salons and hairdressing salons. The master will not only help with the choice of tone and shade but also competently apply the paint.

Further manipulations can be carried out at home by yourself:

  • Be especially careful to change the colour of hair previously coloured henna, Basma or any other natural dyes. When applying artificial dyes it is almost impossible to predict the result.
  • Brightening of black hair is impossible in one application. It is necessary to gradually apply lighter shades. For example, after black, you need to dye in dark chestnut, then dark blond, blond and so on. Only in this case, there will be correct and predictable clarification.
  • Very light shades should be applied only to natural strands. Artificially bleached hair will be damaged even more.
  • For dyeing grey hair the best choice will be natural shades.
  • Hair coloured with any means requires special attention and care before, during and after the completion of the dying process. For the best penetration of the pigment and to obtain a stable and uniform result in advance should perform a number of procedures to restore the smoothness of the hair.
  • It is always necessary to pay attention to the shelf life. Elapsed products can cause significant damage to hair or change hair tone beyond recognition.
  • It’s never too late to experiment with hair colour, but the edges of reasonableness must be respected. Dyeing should pay attention to age, strand length, original tone and overall appearance, so that the new shade fits harmoniously into the newly created image, rather than contradict it.

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