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Last updated: November 15, 2022

Repigmenting Hair: What You Should Know

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Your Guide To Repigmenting The Hair

Your double-process, Level 10 blonde is DONE with the maintenance and wants to go back to her natural Level 4. Do you apply a global application of color and call it a day? Nope! That’s a recipe for muddy, drab hair. You must fill the hair (or repigment, or do a tint-back—there are a couple names for this process), and we have the info on how to do it!


These tips from Joico Global Guest Artist Ricardo Santiago, Joico Guest Artist-Canada Melissa Duguay and Joico Design Team Member David Murray give you the lowdown on the what, why and when behind filling the hair—plus their go-to formulas. We grabbed these tips at Joico’s Global Destination Education in Punta Cana, where Ricardo, Melissa and David threw down some fantastic technical haircoloring education onstage. Keep reading for their tips!



Should I focus on level or tone?

Let’s go back to beauty school for a second and think about the stages of lift.


  • To move from a Level 4 to a Level 10, the hair must lift through TONE.


  • These tones move from red to orange to gold to yellow to pale yellow as the level increases.


  • To take a Level 10 to a rich, pigmented Level 4, you must replace the tone that’s been lost through the lightening process.


  • The tones lost through the lightening process are WARM tones such as gold, copper and red, so it’s important to fill the hair with warm hues.



What happens if you don’t fill?

These are the consequences of failing to repigmentize the hair.


  • “If you don’t fill, you’ll get a flat, dull color that will wash down the basin,” said David.


  • “If you put a natural shade on a prelightened blonde, that hair is too light to absorb the shade,” Melissa said. “You will see tones that are too ashy or earthy coming through—it’s a common mistake. If you’re only darkening one to two levels, there’s no need to fill—it’s when you are moving down four to five levels.”


Products Used


Should I use permanent or demi-permanent color?

This can go either way, David said. “If my end result is going to be permanent, I’ll fill with permanent. If it’s going to be demi, I’ll fill with demi.” For a vibrant, warm end result, look to direct dye. 


David filled this model (who came to him blonde) with Vero K-PAK Permanent Crème Color ING Gold Intensifier and Vero K-PAK Permanent Crème Color 9G for a super-warm finish. (Photo credit: Benoît Vermette)



What formulas should I fill with?

While every client will vary, here are some of the artists’ favorite fill formulas.


  • “I don’t use anything darker than a Level 7 or 8 to fill,” Ricardo said. “I like the new LumiShine Permanent Cream Colors in NRG (Natural Red Gold) or the LumiShine Demi-Permanent Liquid in 8NC or 7NC, or maybe a NWB (Natural Warm Beige) so the final result isn’t too warm. You can also fill with direct dye—I’ve used Color Intensity Fiery Coral as a copper filler.”


  • “I use gold so the final color has something to grab on to,” Melissa said. “I’ll add Vero K-PAK Permanent Crème Color G (Gold) Series right into my formula. Or for a warmer tone, add a little copper.”


  • “If you’re looking for something really gold, I fill with Vero K-PAK Permanent Crème Color ING Gold Intensifier,” David said. “I’ll put some 9G in there as well to give it a base Level 9. Remember to stay within the same tone as your final desired result—fill with gold for a golden end result, or with red for a red end result. For a more neutral end result, I’ll add some beige in there to smooth it out.”


Why shouldn’t I use ash shades to fill?

  • Even if you want a cool-toned result, avoid ash tones in the fill formula.


  • Green, blue or violet pigments will not contribute to the missing red, orange, gold or yellow pigments—the result will be a muddy mess.


  • To achieve a final ash tone, take the experts’ advice and use the NWB range to control warmth.

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