At Madison Reed, we’re obsessed with hair. We spend our days (and nights) talking hair with friends, clients, partners, and experts — and in doing so we learned that a lot of hair-related terms get lost in translation; especially more technical or salon-specific terms.
Introducing The Madison Reed Field Guide to Hair – our effort to provide you with superior service and all the knowledge about hair you’d ever want to know. This handy guide is for newbies and experts alike, so look for upcoming glossaries to cuts, styling, ingredients, and techniques.
As a teaser to the Field Guide we’re starting with a glossary based on our favorite topic: Hair Color!
Level (or Shade): describes how light or dark your hair color is on a scale of 1 (darkest black) to 10 (lightest blonde, verging on platinum). Not sure what level you’re at? Set your camera phone to black and white and take a picture.
Level 1: Black
Level 2: Almost Black
Level 3: Very Dark Brown
Level 4: Dark Brown
Level 5: Brown
Level 6/7: Light Brown/Dark Blonde (varies depending on whose color system you are looking at)
Level 8: Medium Blonde
Level 9: Blonde
Level 10: Very Light Blonde
Tone: describes the hue of a hair color. Hair color tones can be put into these categories: cool, warm, and neutral.
Cool Hair Color Tones
Ash: It refers to the absence of warmth and counteracts brassy tones. Ash can be grey, blue, green, or violet based depending on the type of warmth being covered. Madison Reed ash tones fall in the neutral/gray/blue range.
Aubergine: The deepest, darkest, plummiest brown. It’s the coolest brown of all.
Blue Black: You can’t get darker than this! It’s darker than natural black. Like caviar. Great for counteracting brass and adding luxe shine and interest.
Cool Brown: A brown without noticeable gold, red or copper. It speaks sophistication. It can be very dark like bitter chocolate, or lighter like nutmeg.
Mahogany: Just like the wood, it is brown with a blue-based red. On lighter levels, it can almost look like rose gold.
Smoky: It’s another way to refer to ash. Applies to levels 6-8. Gorgeous on the right skin tone, and so very classy.
Violet: It’s made by mixing two parts blue with one part red. It’s great on darker hair, and very useful on blonde to counteract yellow tones. Violet on light hair makes it look cleaner and clearer.
Warm Hair Color Tones
Amber: The color of the moment for brunettes and blondes. It’s complex with rich gold and muted copper.
Auburn: It describes copper, red, and chestnut in a brunette. It’s warm and a favorite of many stylists. If it’s suggested to you, consult a photo to see if you like how red it is, because it is quite red.
Copper: Bright and shiny, copper is a brilliant warm red with orange undertones.
Ginger: Not the bright red some people think, ginger is a softer copper with blonde undertones.
Gold: On warm skin tones, it’s gorgeous. Often used with violet to soften gold. Beautiful on longer hair because it can sometimes look harsh around the face. To combat this, all gold-based Madison Reed shades are pre-mixed with violet to create a softer tone.
Neutral Hair Color Tone
Beige: Usually associated with blondes, but it actually can be a tone on brunettes too. A mix of cool and warm, beige is used to add complexity.
To find your perfect color check out the Madison Reed Color Advisor online or talk to someone on our Color Crew at 888-550-9586.