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The Importance of the Color Wheel in Hairdressing

In the hairdressing industry, in-depth knowledge of the color wheel and colorimetry is essential to achieve exceptional results in technical color work. Understanding how colors interact and the result they have on the hair allows stylists to create unique styles and meet each client's expectations with custom designs.  

From selecting the perfect shade to correcting unwanted undertones, the color wheel is a fundamental tool in every stylist's toolbox. In this article, we explore what colorimetry is in hairdressing, how the color wheel works, hair levels and shades, as well as the basic laws of colorimetry applied to hairdressing. 

What is colorimetry in hairdressing? 

Colorimetry in hairdressing represents a highly specialized field that encompasses the in-depth study of how various pigments and shades interact with each other and how they influence the aesthetic appearance of hair. This process goes beyond a simple application of color; It involves a thorough analysis of natural hair tones, and an understanding of how artificial pigments will behave in relation to these base shades.  

Expert color stylists use color theory as a foundation to develop formulas that produce precise, personalized results. This approach includes the careful identification of hues and undertones, allowing the stylist to achieve specific shades when coloring, brightening, or correcting hair color. By taking into account the natural composition of the hair and the complex interplay of pigments, hairdressing professionals can create unique color combinations that enhance the natural beauty of each client in an artistic and technically informed way. 

The Color Wheel or Ostwald's Star 

Ostwald's star, also known as the color wheel, is a visual tool that represents colors in a circular shape, organized according to their chromatic relationships. It is composed of primary colors (red, blue, and yellow), secondary colors (green, orange, and violet), and tertiary colors (mixtures of a primary with a secondary). This diagram is an essential hairdressing tool because it shows how colors relate to each other and how they can be combined to create specific effects. 

Hair Levels & Shades 

Hair levels and shades refer to the depth and shade of the natural hair color. The level refers to the darkness or lightness of the hair, while the shade describes the predominant hue (e.g., warm, cool, or neutral). Stylists use levels to determine the amount of pigment needed when coloring hair, and shades to choose the corrective or complementary color that achieves the desired result. 

Hair levels range from 1 (black) to 10 (white/platinum), with different shades in between such as dark brown (level 3) or light blonde (level 8). Understanding the levels and shades is essential to predict how the hair will react to being colored and how these shades can be adjusted using the color wheel. 


The laws of colorimetry for hairdressing salons 

The basic laws of colorimetry are fundamental principles that guide stylists when mixing and applying color. These laws include: 

First law: cold colors dominate warm ones. Cool colors include purple, blue, and green, while warm colors encompass red, orange, and yellow; neutral is coffee. Therefore, when combining blue and yellow in equal amounts, the result will tend more towards blue. 

Second law: Opposite colors on the color wheel, when combined, neutralize each other. This law is crucial for applying nuances and neutralizing unwanted tones. For example, blue neutralizes very orange tones, red neutralizes green, and violet neutralizes yellow. Therefore, if the result of the applied color is an orange tone through time and washing, it is possible to neutralize that color with a shampoo with blue pigments. 

Third law: A dye cannot be lightened by another dye. It is not possible to apply a dark shade and then a lighter shade in order to decrease the intensity of the color, unless a hair bleaching product is used. 

Fourth law: it is possible to apply a cold tone over a warm one, but never the other way around. This is because cool tones neutralize warm tones. Therefore, a cool tone can be applied to a warm tone to balance it, while a warm tone should never be applied to a cold tone, as this could produce unwanted results. 

Importance of Colorimetry Training 

Investing in specialized colorimetry training is critical for any stylist who wants to hone their skills and excel in the field of hairdressing. 

Through targeted training programs, professionals can deepen their understanding of the scientific principles behind color and learn advanced techniques for manipulating pigments and shades with precision. These training sessions not only expand theoretical knowledge, but also offer practical opportunities accompanied by the educational professionals of VMV Cosmetic Group. 

At our training sessions, stylists gain confidence and skills that allow them to tackle a variety of color application challenges with creativity and professionalism.  

Our goal is to nurture talent and promote professional development in hairdressing to raise the standards of the beauty industry. We invite you to explore our colorimetry training options and join a passionate community dedicated to the world of hair and beauty trends. Hand-in-hand with hairdressing! 

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