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Last updated: December 17, 2021

How To Avoid Muddy Tones When Mixing Creative Color

Here’s How To Keep Vibrant Tones Bright When Color Melting

Learn how to color melt vibrant shades like a pro with Ulta Beauty Design Team Member Janelle Eyre (! Keep scrolling to get her three tips that will help you avoid muddy tones when formulating and color melting. When you’re done, make sure to watch the full 40-minute tutorial above for more education. Plus, don’t forget to check out the finished look and grab the formulas!


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1. Avoid Muddy Shades With Your Formulas

Janelle mixes her custom colors keeping in mind how they’ll fade and how they’ll look next to each other to avoid a muddy result. For example, she prevents the orange formula from fading green in the future by adding fuchsia pink. Plus, she creates a blue formula for depth so the brighter shades don’t look muddy against the mannequin’s Level 7 base. When in doubt, always reference the color wheel.


2. Test Out The Colors First

Janelle tests her custom shades on a piece of white and yellow card stock before applying them to her client’s hair. This helps her figure out how the formula will lay against platinum and yellow-toned hair.  She can see if the color looks muddy or needs more work beforehand, so she can apply her formulas with confidence later. 


Check Out The Finished Look & Tap the Beaker For The Formulas!

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  • Formula A

    Matrix SOCOLOR Cult Orange Alert + Flamenco Fuchsia + Starfish Coral

  • Formula B

    SOCOLOR Cult Blooming Orchid + Flamenco Fuchsia

  • Formula C

    SOCOLOR Cult Aqua Bay + Admiral Navy + Retro Blue

  • Formula D

    SOCOLOR Cult Neon Green + Clover Green


3. Color Melt Carefully To Avoid Muddy Tones

When color melting natural shades, you can vigorously blend two colors together to get a nice melt. Color melting fashion colors requires a more delicate touch. Here’s how Janelle does it:


  • First, apply your first shade to a thin section and saturate.


  • Apply the second formula under the first shade, making sure they don’t touch and blend up.


  • Once the two colors meet, pinch the hair using two fingers and swirl the colors together until it’s blended.


  • Continue this step with all shades, for a gentler blend.


Note: If the colors don’t look melted together, chances are they won’t be once the client’s hair is dry. So keep blending until you get the desired result.

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