Understanding Hair Color Codes

Understanding Hair Color Codes


Part 1

How to Express a Color?


How does a beauty supply retail store calculate the profit? The easy way to compute profit is to compare the revenues a year apart, and a more complicated method is to set a reference price point per product category to manage profit and loss. Let’s see in a further detail about how these methods can be used.

1, 1b, 2, and 4 originated from Wella’s color codes
It is not an easy task to tell the difference of so many colors present in hair products. Hair product colors are expressed in color codes like 1, 1b, 2, and 4. Let’s briefly discuss how color codes were de-veloped. When manufacturing of synthetic hair wig products took off in South Korea in 1967, South Korean manufacturers developed their own color codes largely based on Wella’s color codes used in its hair coloring products. People say that the number-based system facilitated communication and was easier to use than English names, so once a company started to use it, others quickly followed.

As mixed colors emerged, unique codes were adopted by each company
In the old days, Wella had a color code system where number 1 designated the color black, and the lighter the color, the higher a number was given. This was a good system for solid colors, but dif-ficulty arose when products started to contain more than one color. In addition, hair companies developed new colors which could not be found in Wella’s coloring products and brought more mixed hair color products in the market. As a result, Wella’s color code system fell short. That is when different companies started to develop their own color code system that fits their product characteristics.

Part 2

What are the Basic Colors and Their Codes?


We picked 24 colors that are categorized as basic or solid colors by more than seven hair companies out of the color charts distributed by hair companies. Let’s find out what were those basic colors and what their color codes were.

F,S,C: Frost
Two different colors are intertwined to create a natural looking hair color. When you mix darker color hair with lighter color hair, the light-er color appears like frost on hair, from which the name originated. In another term, it is called side-by-side. Two different colors of wefts are sewn in to create a weft which results in the color ratio of 1:1, but sometimes different methods are used, though less frequently, so to create 7:3 or 9:1 ratio. Although the alphabet F stands for Frost color in most cases, S or C is also used.

P,C,S:  Piano
Also known as Streak, distinct colors of hairs are mixed together. The name came from the dark and light colors that contradict each other like black and white keys of a piano. 2:1 or other ratios of hair colors are mixed in bundles on a weft. Although P usually represents Piano, C or S is used as well.

M,D,P,T: Mix
Usually found in braids, the color type is made of multiple bundles of different colored hairs to create a distinct color. Different ratios would create different colors. Most frequently, M designates a Mix color, but D, P, or T is also used.

T,TT: Two Tone
Upper or lower end of hair has a distinct color creating a two-tone color. Two tone colors are not created by using two different hair colors but dying an end of a hair weft with a set color. Sometimes, there are three layers of color in a product but still carry the name two tone. However, some companies may call it Three tone. If there is Three tone, most companies employ the code TT or 3T in the product code.

H,D,S: Highlight
It refers to a product that contains a highlight color that stands out. H is most commonly used for a Highlight product. In some cases, however, D or S is used.

O,G,D,S: Ombre/Sombre
In Ombre, different colors appear and are created by the dying meth-ods used in two or three tone colors but with smoother transition. Some companies use the term Sombre as well. Sombre may refer to even smoother transition of colors, but the use of term varies by company. For example, a company would use Ombre designation for wigs and Sombre for weaving. Another example will be Ombre for a clear threshold between dark and light colors and Sombre for a more natural transition. Ombre products often carry O or OM codes, but G, D, S, or B is used as well.

T,LT,DT: Tip
It refers to a distinctively darker or lighter colored tip.

As implied by the name, it is fluorescent color. We found no common code for neon color.

Special Color
It is often used to categorically designate colors that do not belong to any of the foregoing colors. Companies use different codes.

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BNB Magazine 2019, Feb  ©bnbmag.com