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Last updated: June 29, 2023

WWYD: How To Stop Your 6N From Turning Orange

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Natural Blonde Looking Like Natural Copper? Use These Tips!

Nothing hurts worse than rinsing your neutral-loving client and seeing an orange glow stare back at you. Doesn’t it feel like no matter how you formulate, 6N just always pulls warm? Since there is no umbrella fix, we asked our followers to weigh in with their own advice using 6N.


Keep reading to learn tricks to make this color bar staple follow the rules.


1. The quick fix: Simple color correction using cool pigments.

Our comment section was buzzing with calls to “add blue!” Yes, it really can be that simple. Sometimes all you need to do is color correct the overpowering warmth in your client’s hair. Think broad spectrum hues ranging from green (yes, green!) to blue that could tone down any red and orange pigment your client’s hair is pulling.


“I add ash into gray coverage when the finish is way too warm. To counteract, the hair might need a blue-based ash and a lower developer.” – @painthatmane


“Remember, gray is lacking natural pigment, so you need EXTRA of the three primary colors (“N” pigments) for it to stick. THEN add in your ash (blue or green.) Another trick is to formulate one shade darker than the desired Level in order for it to have that extra “N” pigment.” – @praytothehairgods


“Ash is purple. What makes purple? RED and blue. The N is not the problem. It’s the ash. Learn to love green [to counter warmth], but also remember that it goes darker, so you might have to up the Level 6 to a Level 7…But, the green will calm the red in the N and will help with the fade…” – @balayagedbyjamielee


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2. More coverage = more processing time + lower developer.

It’s tempting to reach for high volume developer, but remember: The goal is not to lift, but to deposit. For optimal coverage (especially for gray clients) use a low volume developer to process color a bit longer for full, even results without any unwanted lift.


“Use 10-volume! The 20-volume is what is lifting the hair and making it orange. You will get a more translucent color, but it will cover more for a natural blend.” – @hairbygillianskeoch


“Lower your developer! PRAVANA even makes zero-lift developer (PRAVANA Creme Developer Zero Lift), which is nice for people who have issues with accidentally lifting their coverage-only clientele. It helps deposit the color ONLY without breaking the base. Sometimes, the developer breaking down your base color even a little bit can cause unwanted warmth to come through.” – @tahneekale1


“Try 6N with a lower developer, like 9-volume developer by Kenra Professional. 20-volume developer might be causing warmth to pull when lifting instead of depositing.” – @rachaelrampy_80


“Try using 10-volume developer for more coverage on grays. It won’t open the cuticle as much, so there’s less orange pigment to counteract. This has worked for me on 100 percent to 75 percent gray, hard-to-cover clients!” – @hairbyjenncren


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3. Grays fading warm? Try adjusting your go-to Level.

Depending on your client’s hair history, aiming for a Level lighter or darker than their usual Level can be a simple solution for blocking red tones. How? You’re applying a different undertone that may cooperate more with the pigment (or lack thereof) already existing in the client’s hair.


Here’s how some fellow hairdressers adjusted their desired Level:


“If a client is more than 50 percent gray, you need to formulate [their hair to be] a Level darker than their desired Level when finished. Example: [Your client is a] natural Level 6 with 50 percent gray with a goal to retain their natural Level 6. [Instead of 6N, formulation] would be 5N and 5A with 20-volume. Please also remember that when using gray coverage you need to process for 45 minutes [for maximum deposit.]” – @costantinibrooke


“[It] might be time to drop the color half a Level if your gray client has gotten more pepper in her hair in the last year. If they have too much pepper in their salt and pepper, the pepper will go orange because it’s darker than a Level 6. Just gotta go darker.” – @camdoesyourhair


“Darker Levels on gray fade warm. Try a lighter Level instead. My go-to is Schwarzkopf Professional® IGORA® Royal Absolutes 7-10 and 6-1 with 30-volume for 100 percent cool, gray coverage.” – @nicholas__reyes_


“I like the Redken Color Gels Lacquers 10-Minute Express Liquid Permanent Color [for taking red out of gray coverage]. They have 6ABn, 8NA, etc…10-minute color could process quickly, so I recommend to bump it up and mix those two. Also, you [need to] use 10-volume or 20-volume. 10-volume keeps the red out the most. 20-volume will give a tiny lift.” – @candacelauren_stylist


Looking for more solutions to your 6N woes? Read the rest of our followers’ responses on Instagram and Facebook!


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