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Let’s break down the Numbers: Colours, Reflect and Tone

What do the hair colour numbers mean?

All of our hair colours have a name and a number as well as a general colour group (black, brown, blonde, red). We use Italian names because they represent the country where our colours are manufactured.

In addition to a name, all hair colours have a hair colour number which describes the level and tones of the colour.

Hair colour is described by a few different systems internationally. We use the International Colour Chart classification model. This model assigns 1-3 numbers to represent the properties of each colour.

Colour Level refers to the lightness or darkness of the hairs base colour.

Bologna 1 is the darkest (black) colour in our range. Similarly, the colours become increasingly lighter as the number increases.

The first number represents the base colour level only. However, it does not indicate the secondary colours which are seen in some colour blends.

We represent out neutral colours with whole numbers only. Neutral colours do not have cool or warm colour undertones.

According to the ICC system, hair colour levels start at number 1 for true black:

Colour Tone or Reflect

The Tone or Reflect of a colour refers to any secondary colours or tones which can be seen in hair colour in natural light.

Numbers to the right of the decimal point represent the primary and secondary tones seen in hair colour. The first number to the right of the decimal represent the primary reflect, while the second number represents the secondary reflect:

Secondary tone

There is an infograph illustrating the primary and secondary colour on every colour product page.

Handy hint:

Above all, it’s important to know what tone you wouldn’t want to see in your colour.

If, for example, you really don’t like warm red tones in your hair, then it is best to avoid colours with warm secondary tones, as all colours with warm secondary tones include a blend of reddish tones.

Talk to our colourists today and tell us know your colour goals, and we can recommend a colour which works for you.

My colour is a perfect mid-light brown with a cool tone. I get a cool finish which I love, with nice, softer tones through it. It’s just lovely and much nicer than the flatter, stinkier colours I used to use at home (but will never use again!).

Chaya M.

I couldn’t be happier with The Shade hair colour and I will never go to the hair salon for colouring again. I usually react with an itchy and sore scalp, but not with The Shade. The process was simply. The colour gorgeous and fully covered all of my greys. Thank you!

N. Barns

This is the best colour I have ever used without a doubt. Gorgeous result, full grey coverage, my hair is soft and shiny. A wonderful product.

S. Kleczar

4 replies on “Let’s break down the Numbers: Colours, Reflect and Tone”

  • I have been using Portofino which is in the 5’s. I want to go lighter…. dark ash blonde perhaps. I have just changed colour in my subscription. Do I need to purchase a lightener from you as my hair got darker over a few colourings.

  • Hi I am a level 7 naturally and level 9 blonde and wanting to touch up my roots so, am I able to use to match up my previous hair colour?

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