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Learn About Hair Color

Yes! Simply leave a note for your colorist when completing our color quiz on our site, letting them know the current formula and color ID you use or the brand and shade of boxed color—we’ll take it from there. Colorsmith has its own color line, so our colorists will translate your current formula into a custom formula that’s just for you. It’s color that’s different by design and fits like a glove. 

What is “shelf life?” Shelf life is how long a product can sit on a shelf before it goes bad. You are able to store an unopened hair color bottle for up to 6 months after it’s made. Has the liquid color deepened to a dark brown shade? Toss it. That’s a sign it’s no good.

How do I maintain my color’s shelf life? Simply keep your bottle in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight and away from extreme temperatures. We do not recommend saving or splitting any left over hair color for later applications. That’s because the moment you open your hair color, it will begin to oxidize. If not used immediately, you won’t get the color result you’d hoped for.

You are more than welcome to use your color on your beard or mustache, however we do not recommend using color on eyebrows or anywhere near your eye area just to be safe. Please be sure to do an allergy test before using any new color, you will find your directions in your Color Case, or check them out here

Every Custom Color Case includes:

  • Your Custom Hair Color
  • Professional Developer
  • Personalized Instructions
  • Groom Kit includes: 2 pairs of non-latex gloves, shampoo & conditioner packettes, Stain Guard, and Stain Remover

If your hair color bottle has ever been frozen, toss it. After it freezes, the color agents become inactive, so you won’t get the coverage you’re going for. 

Getting Started: For optimal results, we always recommend applying your color to dry, unwashed hair that is free of excessive product (a little gel is okay). This is because product buildup can interfere with your color processing and unwashed hair contains a layer of natural oils that protect the scalp from potential irritation.

Darkening Hair: If your goal is to significantly darken your hair color, we recommend working with your Colorsmith colorist to deepen it in stages, no more than two shades at a time. This will ensure your hair remains in healthy condition and you can get used to the darker color gradually. If you’re looking to gradually blend your gray hair with a slightly darker shade, we recommend asking your colorist about our Gray Reduction Program.

Lightening Hair: Hair color does not have the ability to lighten previously-colored hair. While permanent hair color can lighten your hair up to two shades, demi-permanent hair color is unable to lighten hair. The only way to lighten previously-colored hair by more than two shades is by using a lightener or bleach.

Best Time to Apply Hair Color: Hair color is best applied just after a fresh haircut, so you don’t waste any color. Plus, your hair is healthiest after you’ve cut it. We also recommend doing a deep condition a day before you color your hair to give your hair the moisture it needs to coat your hair follicles. The healthier and more moisturized your hair, the better your color result.

Touching Up Color: Typically, we recommend applying hair color every 2-4 weeks for men. However, this frequency may vary based on multiple factors, such as how long your color results last, the vibrancy of your color, your specific hair length, and whether you have permanent or demi-permanent hair color. In general, demi-permanent hair color will fade gradually, and permanent hair color will begin to fade with a visible line with regrowth. Sun exposure, chlorine, too-frequent washing, or using a shampoo that isn't safe for color can all cause hair color to fade prematurely. So ask your colorist for tips on how to maintain your color. 

Fashion Colors: Fashion colors cover a range of shades in the rainbow, from pink to purple and green. Though fashion colors can be fun to experiment with, we focus and excel at creating natural shades with subtle coverage, and do not offer fashion colors. 

Our tested hair color formula only contains the highest-quality ingredients and pigments, free of Ammonia, PPD, Resorcinol, Parabens, and Phthalates. It’s how we get superior gray coverage and rich, long-lasting results.

  • Vitamin E conditions and adds antioxidants to hair and scalp.
  • Provitamin B5 and Chamomile moisturize and soften dry hair.
  • Keratin fortifies to promote increased hair strength.
  • Silk Amino Acid hydrates and helps prevent moisture loss.
  • Soybean Protein improves overall texture and feel.
  • Aloe Vera makes hair supple while adding shine.
  • Quinoa helps extend and protect hair color.

**Colorsmith does not test our hair color or other products on animals, so they meet the koalafications. View all ingredients & safety precautions.

That’s easy. Follow these two simple rules:

  1. When applying your Stain Guard, be careful to avoid getting it on any grays at your hairline. If those grays have any bit of Stain Guard on them, the color won’t be able penetrate your hair.
  2. Start your color application where you see the most gray first, even if you're doing a full color. This is normally around your hairline, at your temples, or along your partline. Applying hair color to these areas first will allow those grays to process longer, providing more time for the color to really penetrate the hair and cover up those grays.

Try both things and still didn’t get the coverage you were looking for? Let your colorist know, and they can increase your developer strength or processing time, or make adjustments to your formula to achieve better coverage. 


Your formulation's level reflects how light or dark it is, from soft black (level 2) to lightest blonde (level 9). Each color family includes multiple levels that indicate varying degrees of depth, for example, Light, Medium, Dark, or Darkest Brown.


Also called hue, tone refers to how warm (with orange or red undertones) or cool (with blue or green undertones) a color is. Examples of tone in our color line include Golden, Copper, and Ash. The absence of tone indicates a neutral shade.

See the range of colors Colorsmith uses to craft your unique blend with our Color Chart.

Our demi-permanent hair color is Ammonia-, Resorcinol-, and PPD-free and deposits color pigment onto the hair. Demi lasts up to 24 washes and fades gradually with subtle results to help with gray blending.

Our permanent hair color is also Ammonia-, Resorcinol-, and PPD-free, and permanently changes the natural pigment of your hair. It’s made with Monoethanolamine (or MEA) to provide full gray coverage. This formula can begin to fade after 4-6 weeks.

You can easily transition from demi-permanent to permanent hair color. Ask your colorist which is best for you or check out our video here

What’s color fade? Color fade is when the vibrancy of your color diminishes over time. In general, your hair color will fade after approximately 24 washes, about 4-6 weeks. Sun exposure, chlorine, too-frequent washing, or using a shampoo that isn't safe for color can all cause hair color to fade prematurely.

How do you prevent it? To make color last longer, we recommend you use gentle Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)-free shampoos and conditioners specifically formulated for color-treated hair. You should also make sure to limit direct sun exposure to your hair, and rinse hair immediately after swimming in a chlorinated pool.

Our Gray Reduction Program is perfect for anyone looking to gradually blend their grays over time. You and your colorist will work together to create a Plan to help you achieve your most natural-looking results over two to three applications. And if you’re happy with your results after your first or second application, you can stop there and maintain your coverage. This program is great for first-timers looking to blend grays or cover them up—the choice is yours. 

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