7 rules for mixing hair color that you should know (if you don’t want to end up with a color you hate)

after bleaching

  • Rule 1: Select the two colors you want to mix, keeping in mind the color you want. The primary color should always be the tone you like the most to create the color base.
  • Rule 2: Always use plastic containers for mixing.
  • Rule 3: Respect the proportions of developer and hair dye.
  • Rule 4: Don’t mix different brands of hair dyes.
  • Rule 5: Don’t mix different textures of hair dyes.
  • Rule 6: If you have gray hair, one of the colors should be darker. I’ll explain this rule in more detail later on.
  • Rule 7: Choose the right reflects/tones.


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Are you thinking of mixing two hair dyes to get a unique color?

You’re not the only one. At the salon, mixing two or more different hair dyes is part of my regular routine.

More than once, after showing the color chart to my clients, the answer is that they are either too dark or too light. So, what do I suggest?


 Mix two different colors to create a unique tone, something like a middle ground to design a completely different tone that has a bit of the other two colors in it. 


But I understand that it’s not as easy as mixing eggs and flour.

Especially because to get a color that respects the harmony and reflects what you want, you must consider some basic colorimetry notions.

I understand that mixing different hair dyes can be overwhelming, but it’s just about following some basic rules. Let’s start with the first one!


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Rule 1: Choose the predominant tone you want

before it was red

Before we begin, let’s make an agreement.

 When mixing hair dyes, one will be your primary color, and the other will be your secondary color.  Your primary color is the tone you like the most and will create your color base.


For example: if you like a light blonde tone 8, but you want to tone down its intensity, that color will still be your primary color. Then, it’ll be time to choose the secondary color.

That secondary color should indicate where you want your hair color to go.

The secondary color in the hair color mix will:

  • Darken your hair color by mixing it with a darker tone.
  • Lighten your hair color by mixing it with a lighter tone.
  • Make your hair color cooler by mixing it with an ash or beige hair color.
  • Warm up your final tone by mixing it with a golden, chocolate, or coppery hair color.
  • Soften the warmth, freshness, or vibrancy of your primary color by mixing it with a natural tone.



  • If you want the primary color to predominate, mix ¾ of the primary hair color with ¼ of the secondary color.
  • If you want both at the same time, you can use 1/2 primary color and 1/2 secondary color for perfect balance.


Now that you’ve chosen the two hair dye colors, you should know where to mix them.


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Rule 2: Always use a plastic container for mixing

with developer

The first thing you should keep in mind   is that you should mix the hair dyes and developers in plastic containers. Metallic containers can oxidize the hair dyes. 

If that happens, the final color will be different.


You should also use plastic combs and high-quality hair dye brushes to prevent them from deforming and complicating the hair dye application.

So far, it all looks easy, right? Then, let’s move on.


Rule 3: You must be very careful with the proportions of the hair dye and developer mixture

color mix

The proportions of the hair dye and developer mixture are crucial to get the expected results.

Therefore, read carefully the proportion of hair dye and developer that you should mix.


 Generally, most hair dye brands have a ratio of one part hair dye to one and a half parts of the developer. 


At this point, you should respect the proportions. If the mix is incorrect, the hair dye can be thicker, which will make it hard to apply. Then, the result will be a darker tone than desired.

If you used more developer than necessary, the mixture will be looser, which will cause the hair dye to spill and stain your hair.

Also, you may run the risk of getting a lighter tone than you want.


Rule 4: Never mix two different brands of hair dye

You shouldn’t mix hair dyes of different brands because laboratories use different pigments.

If you mix two hair dyes of different brands, their pigments could be altered. Then, the result will obviously not be the one you want.


 It isn’t neither advisable to mix a hair dye of one brand with the developer of another brand.  Remember that each laboratory designs its products in a certain way to get the expected results.


Do you regularly use natural hair dyes?


Then, you probably already know that they’re powder hair color. They’re mixed with water.

Still, if you want a different color by mixing two hair dyes, you should always stick to natural or vegan hair dyes.

You shouldn’t mix a natural hair dye with an artificial one. The resulting color would lose its natural essence and the mix wouldn’t look good.


Rule 5: The texture of the hair dyes must be the same to be able to mix them

for men and women

Nowadays, there’re different textures of hair dyes. Some are creams, others have gel texture, and there’re even powder hair dyes.

The most common ones are the creamy ones, whose oxidants are liquid but with a thick texture. They’re easy to apply, especially if you color your hair at home.


Gel hair dyes have a gel-like texture, are also easy to handle and apply.

Liquid hair dyes are completely aqueous. They’re easy to mix but their application is quite difficult if you don’t have coloring experience.


 Of course, it’s impossible to mix hair dyes of different textures.  Apart from that, they would be of different brands, and the result would be a strange mixture of a dubious application process.

Therefore, my advice is to choose creamy hair dyes from the same brand.


Rule 6: If you want to mix two hair dyes and cover gray hair, the tones you choose are essential

hide it with highlights

Although you may not believe it, gray hair is the enemy of hair dyes. Because they are rebels, and as such, they aren’t easily convinced.

You should always keep in mind that   the lighter the tones you choose, the less coverage they’ll have on gray hair. 


For example, if you apply a light blonde tone, the gray hair will be lighter, which will give a “lightening” effect.

If that’s the effect you’re looking for, go for it.

But if that’s not what you want, you should try a different mixture to make the color even throughout your hair. So, mix three parts of your hair dye, for example, 8.3 light golden blonde, with one part of a darker base tone, which could be a 7 medium blonde.  This way, you’ll achieve an even grays-free tone.


Rule 7: Don’t lose sight of the tones included in each of the hair dyes you mix


As a colorist, this is the most fun and creative part of hair dye mixing. Do you know what hair dye undertones are?


They’re the tones or reflects that are present in the hair dye.

The hair dye tones called “base” don’t have reflects and mimic natural tones.

Those that contain reflects are intended to accentuate the natural tone with a touch of color. The reflects are ash, iridescent, golden, copper, red, and mahogany.


All of them can be mixed with each other, but keep in mind that the parts should be equal. Otherwise, the predominant reflects will be from the larger part.


  •  Don’t mix warm and cool colors, as they will cancel each other.  Instead, you can mix a cool or warm color with a natural color to add a slight cool or warm reflect.
  • Use a natural tone as your main color to determine the lightness of your hair.



I consider colorimetry an art that isn’t only for a few privileged. So, go ahead and mix two hair colors while respecting these golden rules.

When you choose which hair dyes to mix, you’re creating your own style, your own personal stamp, the imprint that will mark your personality.

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