Skip to Content

What does custom color mean hair?


Custom color in hair refers to coloring or dyeing hair any shade that isn’t considered a “natural” hair color. This includes bright fashion colors like neon pink or blue as well as creating custom shades by mixing dyes. The term custom color is used because the color is customized and personalized for each individual based on their desires and preferences.

What is Custom Hair Color?

Custom hair color refers to any hair dyeing process that results in a unique, personalized hair color for the client. This is in contrast to simply choosing a ready-made shade “off the shelf” like traditional blonde, brown or black dyes.

Some examples of custom hair coloring services include:

– Fashion colors – Unnatural shades like electric blue, neon pink, bright purple, etc. These colors are mixed by the colorist.

– Ombré/Sombré – Blending two or more colors, usually with a gradual fade from dark to light. For example, blending brown to blonde.

– Color melting – Mixing contrasting colors together, such as red with black, to create a unique blended shade.

– Full custom color – The colorist creates a completely personalized color by mixing multiple shades and tones. This is done through consultation with the client to achieve their desired look.

– Root smudging/shadow roots – Darker roots that gradually fade into lighter ends, providing a low maintenance grow-out.

– Natural grey blending -artfully blending in natural grey hairs with colored hues to create a seamless, natural-looking result.

The key distinction of custom hair color is that the color choice is tailored to the client’s preference, hair type, complexion and desired look. It is a collaborative process between the colorist and the client.

Why Choose Custom Color?

There are several reasons a client may choose custom hair coloring over a standard shade:

– To achieve a unique look that expresses their personal style. Custom color allows for more dramatic and trendy looks.

– To match or complement their skin tone and complexion. An experienced colorist can create a personalized shade that will flatter the client’s natural coloring.

– As a form of self-expression and reinvention. Custom color gives people an avenue to experiment with their appearance.

– To gradually blend away grey hairs for a subtle, natural look. Custom grey blending can help transition clients who are new to coloring their hair.

– Custom corrective color – To fix color damage or unwanted tones from a previous color application. The colorist can mix corrective tones.

– For longer lasting color deposition and fade. Pre-mixed standard colors tend to fade quicker than custom blended shades.

– Custom balayage/ombré – These freehand techniques can create soft, natural color melts.

– Custom hair painting – For clients seeking unique looks like rainbow hair, hand-painted designs, or shattered streaks of color.

The Custom Color Process

Achieving the perfect custom hair color requires careful planning, consultation and skill. Here is an overview of the custom color process:

– Consultation – The client meets with the colorist for an in-depth consultation. The colorist assesses the hair’s current condition, color and discusses the client’s desired look. The client can bring inspiration photos.

– Formulation – The colorist determines the specific ratios of dye to use to achieve the client’s look. This may involve blending multiple shades, dyeing just the roots, ends, etc. The colorist has specialized knowledge of color theory to mix the perfect custom shades.

– Skin test – A patch test is done to check for skin sensitivities to color ingredients. This prevents unwanted allergic reactions.

– Application – The colorist skillfully applies the custom blend following the planned formulation. Different techniques can create anything from stark color blocking to subtle melting.

– Processing time – The customized shade needs proper time to fully saturate the hair for maximum vibrancy and longevity. This is usually 20-45 minutes.

– Toner and glaze – These optional steps can cancel unwanted undertones, enhance shine and protect colored hair.

– Follow up maintenance – The client’s new custom color will need properly scheduled root touch ups and toning sessions to maintain the look.

Benefits of Custom Hair Color

Some of the benefits clients can enjoy from custom hair coloring services include:

– Personalized service – Consultations and formulations are tailored to your unique needs.

– Flattering, on-trend results – Colorists mix shades to complement your complexion.

– Long lasting color – Custom blends deposit rich, long lasting pigment.

– Healthier hair – Reputable colorists use high quality dyes and treatments.

– Fixes color damage – Custom corrective color can restore damaged hair.

– Subtle grey blending – Grey hairs are seamlessly integrated.

– Creativity and fun – Custom options range from subtle to vivid fashion shades.

– Self-expression – Make a bold or understated color statement.

– Confidence boost – Fresh, updated color can make you feel amazing.

– Expert application – Skilled colorists deliver stunning, nuanced results.

Risks and Considerations

While custom color allows clients to achieve beautiful unique shades, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

– It is generally more expensive than standard, single process coloring services. The high level of customization, special techniques, extra time and color mixing all add to the cost.

– Can only be achieved by very skilled, experienced colorists. Color theory knowledge is required to mix custom formulations.

– Still carries a risk of potential hair damage or allergy. Proper skin tests and aftercare are essential.

– More frequent touch up maintenance is required to keep bright, vibrant fashion shades looking their best. This adds to long term time and costs.

– Custom grey blending requires careful precision. If not done properly, grey coverage can look spotty.

– Vibrant custom fashion shades like neon pinks or blues have a higher risk of excess fade and discoloration issues.

– If unhappy with the results, additional color correction services may be needed adding time and expense.

Finding a Custom Color Specialist

To get beautiful, flawless custom hair color results requires finding an exceptional colorist. Here’s what to look for:

– Check their specialties and before/after portfolio – Do they regularly perform the type of custom colorwork you seek?

– Education level – Reputable colorists invest in ongoing advanced education to master color theory and the latest techniques.

– Salon reputation – The overall reputation of the salon and staff is a good indicator of skill level.

– Consult carefully – Schedule an in-depth consultation and ask lots of questions. Assess their listening skills and customization process.

– Ask about experience – How many years have they specialized in custom hair color services? Extensive experience is vital.

– Ensure they use high quality dyes – Professional brands give better results and are safer than cheap box kits.

– Consider reviews – Online reviews can reveal colorists with proven creative color skills and satisfied clients.

– Trust your instincts – You should feel confident and comfortable with the colorist’s skills and understanding of your desires.

How to Maintain Custom Hair Color

Custom hair color requires diligent maintenance to keep your look fresh between salon visits. Recommended tips include:

– Use color-safe shampoo and conditioner – Choose sulfate-free formulas that won’t strip color.

– Wash less frequently – Limit washing to help extend the vibrancy of custom color.

– Rinse with cool water – Avoid hot water that can open the cuticle causing fade.

– Limit chlorine exposure – Chlorine from pools and hot tubs is damaging. Use protective swim caps.

– Apply weekly conditioning treatments – Nourishing masks and oils keep color sealed in.

– Avoid heat styling tools – Limit use as the heat causes oxidative damage and fading.

– Wear hats outside – Sun exposure can significantly fade certain custom shades.

– Schedule on-time touch ups – Roots should be refreshed before they become too noticeable.

– Replace elastics and accessories – Friction from ties and clips can rub off custom color. Use soft fabrics.

– Trim regularly – Schedule trims to remove dry ends and maximize color vibrancy.


Custom hair color allows clients to achieve a completely personalized, unique look that expresses their style. While more expensive and higher maintenance than traditional dye jobs, custom color rewards clients with beautiful, flawless results when performed by a highly skilled colorist. With proper maintenance and touch-up appointments, clients can enjoy stunning salon quality custom color results from the comfort of their own home.

Custom Color Technique What is it?
Fashion colors Vibrant shades like neon pink, blue, purple
Ombré/Sombré Dark to light gradual fading color blend
Full custom color Personalized color blended from scratch
Root smudging/shadow roots Dark roots fading into lighter ends
Natural grey blending Seamlessly blending client’s natural grey hair
Custom balayage Hand-painted highlights creating soft, diffused look
Corrective color Fixing damage or unwanted tones from previous dye job
Benefit Description
Personalized service Consultation and formulation tailored to you
Flattering results Colors chosen to complement your complexion
Long lasting color Custom blending results in richer, longer lasting pigment
Healthier hair Reputable colorists use high quality professional products
Fixes color damage Corrective color can restore damaged hair
Subtle grey blending Grey hairs seamlessly blended and integrated
Creativity and fun From subtle to vivid fashion shades
Self-expression Make a bold or understated color statement
Confidence boost Fresh, new color can make you feel amazing
Expert application Flawless nuanced results from skilled colorists