Is it a good idea to mix red and black hair dye?

personal and unique color

Mixing, mixing, and more mixing! What’s up with people that mix different color dyes? What are they looking for that they can’t get from the big hair care product companies, like Revlon, Koleston, or L’Oreal?


If you’re thinking about mixing a black dye with a red one: FORGET ABOUT IT because it’s not a good idea. Do you know why?

  • All you’re going to get by mixing a red dye with a black one is a dark brown color. I’ll tell you why that’s the result in just a few minutes.
  • You can find just about any dark brown color out there in all the different lines of dye that already exist, which will save you from wasting your time and money.


Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a moment to think about why you want to mix these two so very unbalanced colors of dye.

Are you looking to get black hair with red tones? Are you hoping to darken the red color you have in your hair?


 Good news! If either of those things is what you’re trying to do, I’ll tell you exactly how to do them without needing to mix the red and black dye and taking the risk that you’ll end up with a color that wasn’t quite what you were looking for. 


So, stick around, because I’ll tell you:

  • Why you shouldn’t mix red and black dyes together
  • How to get black hair with red tones
  • How to darken a red color


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Why you shouldn’t mix red and black dyes

light brown

Like I told you at the beginning, if you mix red and black dyes, the only thing you’ll end up with is medium-dark brown hair, which according to hair color levels, is like a level 4 brown.

Did you know that there are actually laboratories that work on creating a wide variety of colors that exist on the market?


Well, in addition to huge laboratories and cutting-edge technology, they also use formulas.

Mathematic formulas.

The formula for mixing dyes is simple:

 Dye number + dye number = result / number of dyes used = final color number  


If that seems hard to understand, let’s use your red and black dye hopes as an example.

If we were to want to mix these two dyes, then you should use a formula that looks like this:

Black 1 + Red 6.6 = 7.6 / 2 = 3.8


 As you can see, then, the final color is a medium-dark brown, which is a very, very specific color, and if I have to be real with you as a hair colorist, it’s not a very commonly used color. 

And it’s simply not very common because it’s not a very attention-grabbing color or a color that you have anything specific to gain from using over an already-existing color. After all, it’s basically a brown 4.


That’s why I said that you’d be wasting your time and money.  Because it’s a color that you can find already ready-made for you. 

What were you hoping to get out of mixing the red and black dyes? Were you thinking that you could get black hair with red tones?

I’ll tell you how exactly to do that.


How to get black hair with red tones

If you were hoping to end up with black hair with red tones in it, now you know that that’s something you definitely won’t accomplish by mixing those two colors.

Have you ever heard of hair color levels?


According to hair color levels, hair colors go from black to blonde and you assign each color, or level, a number, with 1 corresponding to black and 10 to blonde.

So, when you buy a color kit in the store, you can look at the number on the dye that defines the dye’s color.

For example:

  • 1 black
  • 5 medium brown
  • 8 light blonde


But, sometimes that first number, known as the level, is accompanied by a few secondary numbers, after the first number and a decimal.

Those secondary numbers are the color of the dye’s tone.

For example:

  • 1,5 black mahogany
  • 5,1 medium ashy brown
  • 8,3 light golden blonde


Why are all of these details that I’m telling you important? Because if you want black hair with red tones, then those numbers are the most important piece in achieving that.

 In this case, since you’re looking for a red tone, then you’ll need to look for the number 6 in that secondary number. 


But, first, let me clarify a few details:

  • If you want to use a color that’s black with red tones, then you’ll need to use the shade 2.6, known as ruby-black, which will give you stronger red tones.
  • If you’re looking for a color with deeper red tones, then you should choose a 1.5 mahogany.

What is the difference between a number 6 red tone and a number 5 mahogany tone?


The red 6 tone is actually ruby-colored, which the natural red you’re familiar with, like the color of an apple, a strawberry, or a flower. It’s a strong and vibrant color.

On the other hand, mahogany 5 is more like the color of that deep red wine that you enjoy at dinner.

 So, if you’re looking for black with red tones, you should choose between a 2.6 or a 1.5 shade.  


Now, what happens if you want to darken the color of red dye? I’ll tell you.


How to darken the red dye

If you’re looking to darken your red color, then the solution is definitely not adding black dye.

Because dyes contain chemicals like ammonia that alter the pigments when they’re mixed with other dyes.

 As such, if you’re looking to darken your shade of red, all you need to do is look for a darker red. 


Reds are very special colors that have a numbering system parallel to the conventional system, in which the shades go from dark red 6 to extra light reddish blonde 9.6

That’s why you don’t need to add black to your dye. All you need to do is pick a color red that looks darker.

  • If your hair is a light red blonde 8.6, then you can use a 6.6 red.
  • If your hair is a 6.6 red, and you want to darken it, then you can use a deep, dark red 3.6 dye.


If you mix the red dye with black dye, you’ll completely change the dye’s pigmentation and the result won’t even have a pinch of red visible.

So, now you know to go to a haircare store and pick the box of dye with the color you like best on it.



In no situation is it worth mixing black and red dye together because the only thing that will achieve is a brown 4, a color that you can find in any of the most popular brands of dye.

  • If what you want to do is end up with black hair with red tones, then you can opt for a dye like 2.6 black ruby that will give your hair strong red tones.
  • You can also opt for a color like 1.5 mahogany red, which will give your highlights a wine-color, which means a deeper red.
  • And, if what you’re looking to do is darken red dye, then the only thing you need to do is choose a darker red from any line of red dyes.


Now it’s your turn. Tell me: Why do you want to mix red and black dye?

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