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Last updated: July 21, 2020

How To Formulate Natural vs. Neutral Brunette Blends

How To Formulate Neutral vs. Natural Brunette Hair Color PRAVANA Blended Neutrals
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Color Transformation with PRAVANA Blended Neutrals // Instagram via @kayla_boyer

Brunette Basics: How To Formulate For Warm + Cool Tones

Let’s talk brunettes. Unsure what to reach for when you want to see a cooler effect, blended warmth or a multi-tonal blend? Here’s how to avoid unwanted reds, greens and muddy browns—by understanding a few simple backbar rules! We’re dropping some formulation knowledge on the major differences between neutral and natural, why it matters and how to formulate for a diverse range of brown-based blends.


Keep scrollin’ for this total brunette breakdown from PRAVANA Artistic Regional Educator Tim Bo Mack (@timboplease).


The Difference Between Naturals & Natural Brunette Results:


  • Naturals (N): Cooler Effect
  • Blended Neutrals (Nt): Blended Warmth
  • Neutral Lowlights (NtL): More Warmth With Softness


Why This Is Important:

As a colorist, you need to understand how to utilize all three primary colors—blue, red and yellow—to create custom formulas for your guests. So, let’s break down how these different tonal values impact color results using PRAVANA ChromaSilk Blended Neutrals, Naturals and Neutral Lowlights.


Check out this diagram that breaks down the pigments that make up each shade. Keep scrollin’ to watch the full video!

PRAVANA Blended Neutrals vs. Naturals and Natural Lowlights Pigments
Photo via PRAVANA


Here’s Why Naturals Are Cool-Toned:

Naturals are equal parts of all three primary colors. When red and yellow mix, they create orange—so you’re left with blue and orange that NEUTRALIZE each other. But, blue is the more dominant color and there’s not enough warmth in the orange to overpower the blue pigment, so this creates a cooler-toned color.



Add Warmth For Neutral, Brown-Based Blends:

While Blended Neutrals use the same primary colors as Naturals, there are added red and yellow tones. This means = more blended, warmer tones to overpower the dominant blue pigment that create neutral, brown-based colors. 


Less Formulas, More Dimension: Blended Neutrals are pre-mixed permanent shades (Levels 3 to 7), that make formulating for dimension less complicated. This will help you reduce the amount of time and color boxes used at the backbar.


We are LIVING for this rich brunette blend!

How To Formulate Neutral vs. Natural Brunette Hair Color PRAVANA Blended Neutrals
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Neutral Lowlights

Neutral Lowlights create soft dimension by tinting-back and filling at the same time to create a more natural-looking lowlight on extremely blonde, porous hair.


Break Up Solid Brunettes With Dimension:

Gray coverage clients looking for a multi-dimensional result? Adding Blended Neutrals creates a subtle contrast that’s KEY to avoiding the solid-color-all-over look that gray coverage can sometimes create.


Watch The Entire Video Below!


Products Used


Try THIS For Double Gray Coverage Impact:

So, now you understand your tool box and when to reach for what—but what happens when you mix both Blended Neutrals and Natural together? Double the gray coverage impact! This will allow you to skip the pre-pigmenting step for more coarse, resistant grays. 


TAP HERE for more formulation tips on gray coverage, tint-backs and balayage!


How To Formulate Neutral vs. Natural Brunette Hair Color PRAVANA Blended Neutrals
Instagram via @that_hairguy_

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