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

A little bit of knowledge about the numbers and classifications of colours can go a very long way in helping you understand colours and the colour selection process.

What’s in a name, in a number? What does it all mean?

Every one of our colours has a name and a general colour group (black, brown, blonde, red) –  we have Italian names which represent the country of origin, Italy, where our colour, developer, shampoo and conditioner is manufactured.

The colour is described or classified according to its colour level, and tone or reflect.

Hair colour is described by a few different systems internationally. We use the popular ICC colour classification model, which assigns 1-3 numbers to give a detailed representation of the colour properties and result you will get from that colour.

We use this system because it is widely and easily understood. It’s useful for colour matching (you can enter your brand and colour number into our colour matching tool and we can colour match many colours from major brands (in a ammonia, PPD, and itch-free, botanically boosted, home delivered option!).

Colour Level refers to the lightness or darkness of the hairs base colour. Our colours are numbered using the International Colour Coding system – with 1 being the darkest (black) colour and 10 being the lightest blonde.

The first number (or the only number in the case of neutral colours) represents the base colour level only. It does not indicate the tone, of the secondary colours which are seen in come colour blends.

Neutral colours are represented by whole numbers, as they do not have cool or warm colour undertones.

The colour levels start at one for true black, through to 10 being the Lightest Blonde:

colour chart

Colour Tone or Reflect

The Tone or Reflect of a colour refers to the colours which can be seen in your hair colour in the natural light, when it catches and reflects secondary colours within your hair. Depending on your chosen colour and its undertones, different colours will be visible within your colour.

The numbers to the right of the decimal point represent the primary and secondary tones, or reflect which is seen in hair colour. The reflect numbers represent the colours seen within the colour blend, with the first number to the right of the decimal representing the primary reflect, and the second number representing the secondary reflect:

Neutral colours do not have any decimal point numbers because their tone is a perfect balance of cool and warm, giving a true neutral colour result.

We include a breakdown of the colour and reflect on each of our colour pages to explain the properties of each of our colours, to help you select the best colour option for you.

Handy hint: It’s important to know what colours you don’t want to see in your hair to achieve a colour result that you love.

If 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 reddis tones.

Talk to our colourists today and let us know your colour goals, colour preferences and tones you are looking to avoid, and we can recommend a colour which works well for you.

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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