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Falling for Red Hair
By Kristen Linares, Product Club Educator (

As the days grow cooler, many clients feel the urge to go warmer with their hair color. Take a moment to think about the changes that naturally happen in the fall months. The skin is still tan, but losing that summer glow, the hair is faded and thirsty from summer activities, and the overall palette of colors you see in fashion becomes rich, warm, and cozy.

When taking a client’s hair from blonde to brunette, there is always a fill formula involved to create true richness and longevity for the final color. When you think about the seasons as a progression of color correction, it all makes perfect sense.

  • Summer = Lightest and brightest
  • Fall = Fill formula with warmth
  • Winter = Dark and cool
  • Spring = Lightening up to softer beige tones

This natural progression of colors found in nature relates to the health of the environment we live in, and it often mimics the changes we decide to make to our hair color each season. Of course, making a dramatic change in tone or color can be suitable at any time of year. However, if we choose to follow nature’s lead, we will follow a path that complements each season and optimal hair health.

Autumn is here and we are ready for all the shades of warmth including bold reds, bright coppers, and auburn! Following are a few tips to consider when taking your clients to a hair color shade in the red family.

High and Low Placement

Are you planning on reconnecting the faded highlights of summer higher up on the head for a brighter more copper look? Would you prefer to phase out the light pieces altogether and incorporate lowlights that are richer, darker, and warmer than your clients natural level? If you go the lighter route, you would place your highlights, fill, and final glaze. If you choose the darker route, apply your lowlights, fill in-between your lowlights as they process, and add a final glaze once the lowlights have fully processed.

Warm Reds Vs Cool Reds

When clients request “warm reds” - think about natural born redheads, soft ginger tones, coppers, and golds. With warm reds, at minimum, three parts of your formula should reside in the copper or gold family. One part can reside in the red family if you wish to have more depth. If you need to consider grey coverage, opt for a natural warm as opposed to a natural or intense natural. Warm reds look best between the levels of 8-6.

Cool reds will range from vibrant, fire engine reds to deeper merlots. You will want to work with your reds, red violets, and violets. Cool reds look best between the levels of 6-4.

Fill Formulas

Filling the hair doesn’t have to mean your client is on the path to becoming a brunette. Let’s use a level 9 client as an example. Let’s say your desired result is a soft, strawberry blonde living at a final level 8. You can fill your client with a level 9 gold to create a foundation for your final, rich formula to grab onto. Filling hair that has been sun exposed or faded from mineral or heat exposure is always a great idea. It’s like filling in the pot holes before you pave the road.

My Three Favorite Product Club Tools for Taking Clients Red:

  • Contoured Meche Sheets: Awesome for low lights
  • Color Comb: Works great when combing through fill formulas and for glazing.
  • Disposable Capes: Drape these backward over your clients and over their chemical capes. Not only will they protect your chemical capes, they will also keep your chair clean as you work
Kristen Linares, Product Club Educator

Follow Kristen ( and Product Club (@productclub) for more expert tips on social media, salon ownership, and hair color education!

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