Warm vs. cool hair colors: going beyond basic blonde, brunette, and red to discover the vast array of warm hair colors and cool hair colors, and why understanding tone is key to mastering them! 

Warm vs. cool hair colors: what’s the difference?

As a hairdresser, you know that choosing the right hair color goes beyond simply deciding between blonde, brunette, or red: within each of these color categories is a wide range of shades that vary in tone to create a rainbow of warm hair colors and cool hair colors. Finding the right tone is especially important when it comes to achieving a look that complements your client’s complexion and eye color, and even a subtle variation can make a big difference- that’s why they count on your professional expertise to obtain the hair of their dreams!

When explaining the difference between warm vs. cool hair colors to your clients, you’ll have to revert back to your training in color theory (yes, those beauty school basics)! Warm hair colors have a dominance of red, orange, and yellow pigments, while cool hair colors have a dominance of blue, green, and violet pigments. Creating the perfect warm or cool hair color therefore relies on expertly balancing the whole range of red, orange, yellow, blue, green, and violet tones to achieve the desired outcome.

What are warm tone hair colors?

  •  Warm hair colors utilize warm undertones such as gold/yellow (.3), copper/orange (.4), and red (.6) to create vibrant shades like golden brown and bright copper.
  • Warm shades are excellent choices for adding warmth and color to the complexion. When hair is lightened (naturally or chemically), warm tones tend to become emphasized, and an excess of them is what is often referred to as “brassiness”.
  •  However, it’s important not to confuse one for the other: brassiness is the result of unwanted red and yellow tones, while warmth is created by masterfully contrasting red and gold tones with cool tones in the hair for a reflective, radiant effect. 

What are cool tone hair colors?

Cool hair colors employ cool undertones such as ash/blue (.1), iridescent/violet (.2), and matte/green (.7) tones to create rich shades like platinum blonde and mocha.

To create the look, some hair color products, such as L'Oréal Professionnel Paris Majirel Cool Cover, are boosted with ultra-cool blue reflects to counteract yellow tones for a more matte, modern finish.

Cool shades are a great option for clients looking to cool down their complexion by canceling out redness in the skin.

While talking about reds, oranges, and violets may feel like second nature to you, “color theory” is not your client’s first language and any mention of adding blue pigments to their hair might frighten them! Take the time to explain the process simply and thoroughly, referring to colors by their official name (such as “ash blonde 7.1”) to reinforce your professional expertise. 

Warm vs. cool blonde hair color: the blonde color fight

Honey, amber, and caramel are shades of warm blonde hair colors that work well to warm up a tired complexion, mimicking the effect of a gorgeous sunkissed glow. To avoid veering into brassy territory, it’s important to emphasize the golden tones in the hair rather than the orange ones. Cool blonde hair colors such as ashy blonde, silver, and champagne have become increasingly popular in recent years, utilizing blue and violet tones to create a highly neutralized, cool effect with a slightly more matte finish.


Warm vs. cool hair colors for brunettes: what to choose for a perfect result?

Hazelnut and honey brown are a combination of warm brunette hair colors that pair together seamlessly for a classic balayage hairstyle. Cool brunette hair colors like ash brown and mocha work particularly well in creating smoky balayage hair, especially when enhanced with iridescent tones. 

Warm vs cool red hair colors: 2 shades of red color

While red hair is generally considered warm by nature, it can be neutralized with beige tones to create a gorgeous cool copper or rose gold shade. For a truly warm red hair color, however, look no further than golden copper or ginger to spice things up! 

Regardless of the hair color your client chooses, it’s important they know how to care for their color at home. Enter: L’Oréal Professionnel Paris Serie Expert Mix Factory! By combining your Powermix base, Powermix repair, and Powermix Booster, you can create totally customized care that’s perfectly adapted to your client’s hair color. 

Warm vs. cool hair colors: 3 points to take away

– Warm hair colors utilize gold, orange, and red tones to add warmth to the complexion.
– Cool hair colors employ ash, iridescent, and matte tones to cool down the complexion.
– L’Oréal Professionnel Paris Serie Expert Mix Factory is tailor-made haircare to revitalize and correct warm and cool hair colors at home.