Guide To Blonde Hair Shades

Confused by the difference in tone and terminology when it comes to blonde hair shades? We explain our international colour numbering system, and the difference between warm, cool and neutral tones, so that you and your stylist can choose the perfect colour: from dark blonde to ash blonde or even platinum blonde!

Blonde hair shades: numbers & colour chart

At L’Oréal Professionnel, we have a simple international colour numbering system that, once explained, will allow you to perfectly understand the colour behind the numbers.

There are just three numbers to understand when it comes to L’Oréal Professionnel blonde hair shades.

The first number, to the left of the full stop, is your base colour. Base colours start at 1, for deepest black, and finish at 10, lightest blonde. So if we’re going for an ash blonde colour, for example, we’d probably start with a 6 (dark blonde) or 7 (blonde).

The second number, to the right of the full stop, is your tone. You can learn more about undertones below. Tones go from 8 (mocha) through 5 (warm mahogany) to 1 (cool ash). This is how your stylist chooses the primary undertones to your colour. 

The third, and last number, is a secondary undertone if your colourist needs to add a tiny hint of another colour – by adding some blue to prevent blonde hair shades from looking too brassy, for example.

So, with this information in mind, we now know how to decipher the following examples:

10.12 = Lightest blonde hair colour with cool undertones
6. 31 = Dark blonde hair colour with gold but a hint of ash to avoid brassiness
7.46 = Blonde with copper tones and a touch of red

Now you start to understand how a hair colourist is a real artist!

Discover MyHair[iD] Today

If you are curious as to what colour to dye your hair, looking for some inspiration on hair colour ideas or simply wondering what you may look like as a dark blonde, light blonde, with light brown hair, with a few highlights or keen to spruce up your balayage, why not try our hair colour app, MyHair[iD]. The virtual hair try on is the perfect way to play with different hair colours, see what hair colours best suit you and try out different hair colours in real-time. MyHair[iD] is a 3D virtual hair colour makeover app that will allow you to experiment with the colours to dye your hair and see how you will look! Give it a go by downloading the MyHair[iD] app today on the Google Play or App Store.

Warm, cool, neutral: understand the undertones

So what’s so important about the second two numbers in the colour chart numbering system? Tones.

The right tone is so important when it comes to red, brunette and blonde hair shades, and can make or break a look. With warm undertones, think yellow and peach: golden blonde, copper and sandy blonde, for example. The risk with warm tones is that the orange/red used in colouring can give an unwanted brassy finish. Luckily, there are toning products and shampoos that can restore your warm tones, minus the brass - like the Chroma Creme range.

When it comes to cool tones, it’s all about blue and violet hues. Cool blonde hair colour shades include light ash blonde, champagne and platinum. The blue/violet counteracts the yellow tones to produce a flattering and modern cool shade.

Once you understand about warm and cool tones, you’ll quickly figure out what neutral tones do. These don’t add to or counteract the base colour, they support it.

For warmer/golden blonde shades, explore our French Balayage service and  for cooler/pearly tones, French Balayage Pearls service.

How to care for blonde hair

The way you should care for your blonde hair depends on its shade. Dark blondes, for example, have different concerns to ash-coloured hair and ultra-light platinum blonde shades. Here’s how we recommend caring for your blonde hair depending on its colour:

Ash blonde

One of the most popular blonde hair shades at the moment, cool ash blonde hair can vary from light to an almost brunette ash blonde. The key is maintaining the cool undertones, which is why we recommend the Chroma Creme Purple Shampoo, enriched with professional purple pigments (remember how purple helps keep yellow cool?). There’s also a Blondifier conditioner and masque to add to your routine, enriched with acai berry extract and purple pigments.

Dark Blonde

Dark blonde hair colour often has highlights and lowlights to give it depth and shimmer. You need to protect and enhance the colour distinction every time you wash. Try the Blondifier Gloss Shampoo, designed specifically to bring radiance to the different tones in blonde coloured hair.

Platinum blonde

We salute platinum blonde hair shades! It’s a bold look that deserves appreciation. These days, visible roots are a trend of their own, so the look can be less high-maintenance than before. That said, you still need to watch out for those brassy undertones that can creep in. For ultra light blonde hair shades, you can’t do better than the Silver shampoo from Serie Expert, enriched with magnesium and anti-yellowing agents.

In general, to maintain the best blonding results, use the full Metal Detox range to prevent damage, prevent colour fade & unwanted tones, as well as protect from UV & heat.