Level Up: How To Get The BRIGHTEST Hair Color

Level Up: How To Get The BRIGHTEST Hair Color

Hair Dying Basics: What is Your Hair Color Level?

 If you’ve ever stepped foot in a hair salon or browsed the products at your favorite beauty supply store to color your own hair, then you’ve definitely heard the mention of “hair color levels”.


Maybe you’ve heard:

“She’s definitely a level 10...” or

“We need to bring you up a few levels…” or

“What level are you trying to achieve?”


Levels refer to how light or dark your hair is, and it is a universal method that colorists, hair color manufacturers, and cosmetologists use to standardize hair color charts. Lower numbers refer to darker colors and higher numbers refer to lighter colors. The graphic below is a perfect representation of hair color levels, with 1 being blackest black, 5 being medium brown, and 10 being very light blonde.

 If we didn’t use standardized levels for hair color, then every brand, product, color, and stylist would have their own interpretation of how light or dark your shade is….and that would be a total nightmare when figuring out what you need to do to based on your hair color in order to achieve a particular result. Just think of how difficult it is to compare foundations from your favorite cosmetics brands, since each one has its own color system.


Hair color levels are important because:

  1. They tell us where we are at on the color level spectrum in terms of light and dark, and
  2. They help us to know how to achieve the desired color we’re going for.

Hair color is a complex system of chemistry in and of itself (just check out our blog on Color Science here for more on that topic!) Achieving a brand new color – and one that is significantly lighter than your current shade – requires a little bit of thought and understanding of hair levels in order to get you to the result you want. Splat products are designed to make this process as easy as possible, but there’s still a bit of science and knowledge you must have in order to get the color or vibrancy level you’re looking for. And that’s where this article comes in!

There are several things to keep in mind when it comes to leveling up with hair color:

  • For dye jobs involving bright or vivid colors, you’re going to have to bleach your hair to achieve the most true color and vibrancy results. If you have previously colored/lightened your hair, you’ll want to process your hair more gently using a lower volume developer or with less processing time. Conduct a strand test​​ first to find the best results for how long your bleach should process - and once you know, you’ll be ready to go.
  • If you want to lift your hair AND color it with a permanent shade at the same time, Splat Hair Color offers a number of high-lift permanent dyes that lift your hair level and deposit color at the same time. If you have natural virgin hair (meaning it hasn’t been colored, lightened, or otherwise), you can safely go up hair color levels with Splat’s Double Lift Permanent Hair Color Kits. Our Double Lift  Color Kits work by first lifting  the hair up to 4 levels several levels) while simultaneously depositing color - saving you time and money on your new shade.
  • If you have darker hair (level 5 or darker) you may have to lighten/bleach your hair more than once in order to reach your desired level of lightness.  This is particularly important if you want to achieve vivid/bright colors as you’ll need to lighten  your hair as close to white as possible. Be sure to give your hair time to breathe (about a week or two) in between bleaching sessions and use a deep conditioning treatment to rehydrate and boost moisture. And make sure to closely monitor your hair every few minutes as it processes, especially on its second session, to be sure it doesn’t over-process. Check out our Bleach Free options for darker hair levels here.
  • Each color level of hair has an underlying color that it can result in as you lighten. Bleaching at a lower level or for less time can result in this color. 
    • Dark brown/black hair has an underlying red pigment;
    • Medium brown to light brown hair has an underlying orange pigment;
    • Medium to light blonde has an underlying yellow pigment.
    • You may need to use a toner to help correct those unwanted pigments. Remember the color wheel is your friend when it comes to using toners to cancel out another color. A few of our shades require platinum blonde level 10 starting level to achieve expected results. Midnight Rosetta, Midnight Violet, Sinful Silver, & Mint Candy are all recommended to have a level 10 starting shade.

So – the next time you’re picking up your favorite Splat shade and ready to color your hair, you can feel empowered knowing that you know all about hair color levels and what it takes to go from dark to light on your own. And since knowledge is power, we would DEFINITELY call that leveling up.

← Older Post Newer Post →


Get the Look: ‘Star Wars: Ahsoka’
ahsoka disney hair color halloween semi-permanent star wars

Get the Look: ‘Star Wars: Ahsoka’

Get the Look: ‘Star Wars: Ahsoka' Amazing news for all you Star Wars fans! We are excited to share that Splat has teamed up with Star Wars:Ahsoka in celebration...

Read more
2023’s Hottest Halloween Hair
diy hair halloween

2023’s Hottest Halloween Hair

Halloween is the time where you can become anything or anyone you want. Regardless of where you live or how old you are, it’s always...

Read more