Behind The Box: What Do Some Hair Coloring Terms Mean

Here at HairMNL, we believe you should have a full understanding of how your professional hair color works. As we adjust to life under quarantine, you may find yourself staring down at a box of hair dye unsure of what some of these professional hair coloring terms mean.  So we’ve collated a list of common hair coloring terms you’ll find in most box dye instruction manuals. No need to get lost in the lingo with these essential hair color terms
Hair dying
An alkali agent/chemical that helps in the depositing hair color molecules into the hair. Ammonia is effective in busting through the hair cuticle, but this controversial gas has been in disrepute in the hair community for its pungent smell and damaging effects on the hair over time.
Base Color
The hair color that is applied at the root area or all over before a dimensional/creative color technique is done.
A formula that includes the pigment used for hair coloring. 
Coverage is a measure of a hair color’s ability to cover gray. Some hair color formulations are too weak to effectively cover gray.
A hydrogen peroxide, when mixed with an alkali, oxidizes hair color, allowing the mixture to penetrate the hair.
Dimensional / Creative Color
A kind of color placed over a base color that creates depth and body on to hair. 
Double Process
The double process is typically used when lightening hair by more than two shades. First, the hair is bleached to lift the hair color. Then, the pigment is added into the bleached or lightened hair to create the desired shade. To avoid damaging your hair best to leave this one to the professionals and visit a hair salon.
Single Process
Color is applied to the entire head in one step. The single process will not have as much variety as a double process but is useful for covering gray hairs.
 A process of adding a small amount of water to the hair massaging the hair and color together, creating a nice lather. Doing so helps to break up the oil-based color and ensures that the hair has absorbed as much color as possible before closing the cuticle.
The chemical process of lightening the color of the hair. Different hair color preparations have different lifting abilities.
The level refers to the lightness or darkness of a hair color. Ranging from 1-10, with one being the darkest black and 10 being the lightest shade of blonde.  Not to be mistaken for tone, which is the warmness or coolness of a color. See Tone. 
The term used to distinguish a color as warm, cool, or neutral. For example, ”golden” blonde, “coppery” red, “ash” brow
A demi- or semi-permanent color formula applied to damp hair to blend and even out unwanted hues (i.e., brassiness,), especially after a double process hair color.


We hope this quick list helps you decipher your hair coloring manual. As always we can’t stress it enough, take the time to read the instructions, including the safety manual. If you have questions about hair coloring, you can also ask us. Let our professionals help you through it. Message us here.

Color Sublime Dark brownColor sublime light ashColor sublime Dark blondeClick here for more color option

For more information on hair, coloring read our step-by-step guide on How To Apply Ammonia Free Hair Color At Home?

Got grey hair and are planning to cover your roots at home? Read more about Grey Hair and Root Regrowth Rescue Do’s and Don'ts.

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