Fall Tonality Lookbook - Breaking Down Custom Color Theory

Thinking of changing up your clients’ tone for fall? It doesn’t have to be the traditional blonde to brunette! Changing the formulation thought process can be a great method to custom color hair that will make your work stand out without screaming for attention.

To get an understanding of how to introduce custom tone is to understand the Munsell color system and how to relate it to the hair coloring system. The Munsell color theory represents each color to having three qualities: (HVC)

Hue- the color/tone such as red, orange, yellow etc.

Value- the lightness of darkness of color

Chroma- the saturation of color


In relation to hair color, hue can be referred to as the tone of hair, value can be referred to as the lightness or darkness (level) of hair and chroma can be referred to as the intensity or vibrancy of tone.

In hair color, hair lightness and darkness is rated on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the darkest and 10 being the lightest.


For example, in a 9V toner, v for violet, is the hue (tone) of that individual color. 9 is the value (level) of hair. The chroma is dependent on the hair you are applying the tone to. On a level 10, newly lifted hair, a 9V toner will be vibrant and contain a high chroma or saturation. If using a 9V on a level below 9, the chroma (saturation) would be considerably less, as the toner is not strong enough to counteract the underlying warmth.

Now that we’ve translated the Munsell system into haircolor terms, let’s dive into how to create custom tones. Breaking down a custom tone is majorly due to the hue (tone) and chroma (saturation/intensity) of the hair. This plays into custom toners and formulations. I prefer to add pure pigment colors into my formulations to add chroma. Below are examples of custom tones created with pure pigments.

To achieve these looks I solely used Davines Mask and A New Colour.


Enhanced Gold Formula

Full head babylights l using Davines Century of Light: Progress with 10vol working your way to 20vol.

Process until pale yellow.

Rinse and tone with Davines Mask 15g 8,33 to 15g, 9,04 with the addition of 10g YELLOW from Davines A New Colour with 10 vol.

Process for 20-25 minutes and rinse.


Rose Bronze Formula

Full highlight with Davines A New Colour: 25g 10,22 to 15g VIOLET with 30vol

Tone in between foils with Davines Mask: 20g 7,32 to 20g 10,23 with 10g VIOLET A New Colour and 5vol

Process for 35 minutes and rinse.

The addition of the YELLOW and VIOLET from A New Colour allow for an overload of pigment into the strands. This makes the color reflect in an enhanced, yet natural way while adding dimensional to the tones.

When speaking to your client, hair tonality does not have to be defined by “blonde, brunette and auburn.” I believe it is our job as professionals to educate our clients about the process of getting a custom tone. You’d be surprised how receptive people are to learning about the three qualities of color. After creating the custom tone, you can then be creative with the name of the look. For example, I chose “Enhanced Gold” instead of saying “Warm Blonde”; and “Rose Bronze” instead of “Auburn, or Warm Brown”. When the time is taken to create an individualized tone, it deserves an individualized name to go along with it.

Be honest about the vision you have for their locks. Reference photos of a color are great, but keep in mind where they are, how to get to where they want to be, if it’s achievable in one sitting and if you think the tone would live naturally in their daily life. The most important aspect of hair color is to keep the the integrity of the hair in mind. Don’t promise the impossible; instead create a dialog that allows the client to fully understand that color is a individualized process.

*Color, cut, style, photos + article by Andy Judd (@AndyDoesYourHair)

Andy Judd

Name: Andy Judd

Hometown: Hamilton, OH

Favorite Thing About Nashville: I love how close we are to some really beautiful trails and lakes! The food is also a plus.

Current Occupation: Stylist

Dream Occupation: Traveling Educator / Beauty + Lifestyle Content Creator

If You Could Live Inside Any Film, What Would It Be?

I would live inside of “Blue Lagoon”. The island is incredibly beautiful, their hair always looks amazing, they get a nice tan, somehow they have a beautifully built home and they never seem to worry about dying of starvation even though they technically live on a deserted island. They tend to do pretty well for themselves.

If You Could Move To Another Country, Which Would It Be?

That’s a tough one! I definitely feel like it’d have to be Scandinavian. Generally, the architecture, the views, and the way of life really draw me in. Which country I would choose between them would be tough. I’d need to spend some time in each to really decide… I have been trying to learn Swedish if that gives any hint at where I’d start.

Hair Product You Can’t Live Without?

I have to start with how I cleanse! I’m really in love with Davines Curl Cleansing Cream. It’s this really nice, lightweight cleansing conditioner. I don’t believe in shampoo, as it doesn’t do much except strip the hair of essential oils. I’ve been shampoo free for almost a year now! People think their hair will be a grease ball if they stop shampooing, which might be true but only temporarily. Shampoo dries out the scalp so much that it’s forcing more oil to be produced. When you stop shampooing your scalp will balance back out! I like to rinse with a cleansing conditioner 1-2 times a week and the occasional rinse-and-condition day with just conditioner or a hair mask. For that, my recent favorite has been the Davines Minu Hair Mask. Having a good cleansing routine is ESSENTIAL for healthy hair! Definitely takes priority over a multitude of styling products for me.

Tell Us A Little About Your Hair History!

Oh lord. I look back at what my hair used to be, and although there’s a part of me that still loves it, I also horribly cringe to it. I was in high school when the scene kids took over myspace and really set a new beauty standard/goal. So, that being said, I had as close to scene kid hair as one could have in a small town in the Midwest. Before the scene days, as a young child my mom used to cut my hair into a 90s bowlcut. I have to give her props though; it was a pretty precise cut! I think it’s actually where my love for bangs comes from. In college, I started getting my hair cut at this duo barbershop/salon called Barbetorium and it was the most unique spot I had ever seen! The stylists were traveling educators under their own brand and it became my introduction to seeing that a career in the hair industry could be much more than I thought possible. Now, I prefer to keep my hair pretty short up top, and keep the sides and back a bit longer. It’s pretty mullet-like actually.

What does YOU ARE OK. mean to you?

YOU ARE OK to me means a couple of things. It means the practice of having acceptance for moments, having enjoyment for stillness and allowing yourself permission to give thought and mental preparation for change and evolution. Ultimately, it reminds me that I have to face fear and recognize that fear has no power over me.