Whether you are dyeing your hair for the first time or the twentieth time, there is always more to learn about achieving the look that you want. Understanding color levels makes it easier to get a sense of how well a dye will show and what you can expect when bleaching. Sound complicated? Don’t worry—we’re here to help you get the perfect shade.
What Are Hair Color Levels?
Everyone’s familiar with the basic categories of blonde, red, brunette, and black, but these broad names don’t convey the full range of hair colors. From sandy blonde and rich auburn to chestnut brown and jet black, there’s a lot more nuance involved. Variety makes life fun and exciting, but it can also make dyeing your hair a little tricky.
To make things easier, cosmeticians, beauty specialists, and hair color manufacturers came together to create a standardized hair color chart showing the various levels from light to dark. Organizing information this way helps people understand their unique level and the steps they’ll need to take to get their desired results when bleaching and dyeing.
How Do You Find Your Hair Color Level?
To find your color level, you will need a hair color chart, a mirror, and natural lighting. Take a section of your hair and hold it up and away from your scalp. Try to avoid choosing a section that is close to your hairline, as hair tends to be finer and lighter in color at this part of the scalp.
Study the hair closest to your roots, as that will be your most natural hair color. This is the freshest growth, so it is the least likely to have gotten naturally lightened by the sun or to show the effects of any previous hair coloring. Compare what you see to the color chart to determine your hair color level.
What Can You Do With This Information?
Now that you know your hair color level, you can move on to the fun part: dyeing your hair! Check out our newest collab - Lime Crime x Sonic The Hedgehog for some inspiration! Depending on the final color you want to achieve, knowing your level will also tell you whether you need to bleach and how much lift to aim for. Starting with bleach can help you get a truer, more vibrant color payoff, so it’s worth taking the time.
For the darkest hair color levels, keep in mind that you may need to do one or two applications to get the lift you want. Our Unicorn Hair Bleach Party kit is easy to use with two different color developer volumes for different starting levels. Always follow the directions carefully when bleaching your hair to reduce the risk of damage.
About those color developer volumes: This means the products have different concentrations or strengths, so it’s important to use the one best suited for your hair level to safely achieve the results you want:
- Starting with dark hair (levels 1 through 5)? We recommend using 40 Volume, which can lighten your hair by up to 8 levels. We do not recommend using this product on any color lighter than a level 5.
- Hair color in the medium range (levels 6 through 9)? Try the 20 Volume, which can lighten your hair by up to 6 levels. This product can also work on 1 through 5 to get you into the light brown to blonde range.
- Already platinum (level 10)? Skip the bleach and head straight to color!
Bleaching your hair can make it more fragile than usual, so show it some extra TLC. Our Unicorn Hair Shampoo and Conditioner are specially formulated to condition and moisturize colored hair. Use the Universal shades on platinum or undyed hair or pick a color-depositing formula that will enhance your new hue. Pair your wash routine with a hydrating hair mask for extra softness and shine.
Hair color is both an art and a science—and we think this new knowledge will look great on you! Show off your results on Instagram and find even more inspiration on TikTok.