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Chemistry 101


You can see right through the cuticle into the center of the hair strand (cortex). Human hair's physical-chemical properties make it possible to be colored to suit personal tastes and fashion trends.

To become skilled in using hair color, a basic understanding of hair structure is needed.


Cuticle: this is the shingle-like protective covering on the hair shaft that is water-repellant. To understand this, place a strand of hair in a glass of water. If the cuticle is intact, the hair floats; if not, it will sink.

Cortex: this is the primary structural part of the hair shaft that has the protein chains. These long, high weight chains give hair its strength and elasticity. The cortex absorbs water easily. That is why highly bleached hair is porous. It has lost the cuticle layer, exposing the water-loving cortex. The pigment in the cortex determines the hair's natural color.

Medulla: this is the hollow core of the hair shaft. The medulla is like a small hollow tunnel in the center of the hair shaft. It is not necessarily continuous but may occur in a random manner.


Now that you have a sense of hair's structure we can talk about its texture, density, elasticity and strength.

Texture: refers to the diameter or thickness of an individual hair strand (coarse hair is thicker than fine hair). Texture has no bearing on wave patterns. Density: refers to the number of hairs on a person's head. The average head has 100,000 - l50,000 hairs. Normal hair loss is 50-100 hairs per day.

Elasticity: One of the key indicators of hair's condition is elasticity. Elasticity is affected by such things as chemicals, excessive heat, sun, and refers to hair's ability to return to its normal length after being stretched. Elasticity is only seen on wet hair. The healthier the hair the better its ability to return to normal length after stretching.

Strength: determined by the condition of hair's cortex. Hair's strength is affected by chemicals and heat. Strength is determined by the amount of stress a hair can withstand without breaking. The healthier the hair the more stress it can withstand.


Melanin is the natural hair color pigment in the cortex layer. As a result of the melanin's molecular weight, it cannot be changed --except by intense oxidation or concentrated alkaline solutions.

Natural hair color differs from person to person and within hair on the same scalp. It may also differ from one area of a hair strand to another. The distribution of natural pigment (melanin) inside the hair and the amount of natural pigment both determine each strand's color.


Previous treatment of the hair shaft determines hair's condition and porosity. The more cuticle damage there is, the more porous the hair.

Before beginning any chemical service, determine the porosity to better understand how the hair will respond.

When coloring, the protective cuticle layer must be lifted to allow the color gel to penetrate the hair cortex. This promotes longer lasting and more natural looking color. If the cuticle has been damaged by excessive lightening, or chemical applications that are too harsh and frequent certain steps must be taken to insure natural looking color. Overly porous hair may not hold color and is prone to end grabbing.


Permanent hair dyes result in permanent change to natural hair color. Permanent hair colors are used to cover gray or to impart a lighter or darker shade. The two advantages of permanent hair coloring are natural looking colors and permanent waving compatibility.

Modern permanent hair coloring is done by mixing a hair dye base (containing oxidative dyes) with a developer (oxidizing agent) before use. These oxidative dyes are generally small colorless molecules that penetrate the hair shaft where they are oxidized (developed) into large, insoluble colored pigments, hence the name oxidation dyes. These large pigments are trapped within the cortex and cannot be washed out easily.

As the dyes oxidize some of the natural pigment is lifted (lightened) by the product. This lifting action depends on 3 things: the strength of the developer; the level of ammonia in the product; and processing time. Less peroxide and ammonia and shorter processing time result in less natural pigment loss.

Law of Koloring

The Color Compass has a cool side and a warm side. Colors opposite one another on the compass are complementary. When two complementary colors are mixed they neutralize one another. This is the single most important factor of the color compass. Look at your Color Compass. You see red neutralizes green, so to get of unwanted green tones you need to add red to your formula. Understanding the Color Compass is the key to successful hair color.

Colouring with Kolors


Some people are allergic or hypersensitive to certain drugs, foods, cosmetics and/or chemicals in hair coloring.

To establish whether your client may be allergic or hypersensitive to Kolors permanent hair color, do the following PATCH TEST 24 hours before coloring:

Using a mild soap, clean a small area (size of a quarter) on the inside elbow or behind the ear. Let area dry. Mix well 1 part Kolors shade with 1 part Kolors 20 Volume Clear Developer. With an absorbent cotton-tipped applicator, apply prepared color to the cleaned area. Allow test area to dry. Do not cover. Leave this area untouched for a day. Examine the test area after 24 hours. If there is any burning, itching, swelling, irritation or abnormal reaction in or around the area, do not use Kolors Permanent Color. If there is no reaction, the shade used in the patch test can be applied. Kolors should not be applied to hair if the scalp areas show evidence of abnormal or diseased conditions. CAUTION: Avoid contact in or around eyes. In case of accidental contact with eyes, immediately flush with warm water for 15 minutes. Consult a physician.

Always discard unused mixed Kolors Permanent Hair Color.

If Patch Test results are negative, do the Strand Test.


A Strand Test is recommended for new clients, clients who need corrective color or clients unhappy with their hair tones. The Strand Test is excellent for over-porous or resistant hair. Do a Strand Test when returning hair to its natural color. If working with gray hair it is a good idea to do two Strand Tests, especially if the client has more gray in the front of the head (this is often the case). A Strand Test should be done in the darker and the (lighter) areas.

Do this before you begin applying color to the head. This will not only help prevent potential problems; it will also help to determine development time. This test will show how your chosen formula works on the hair.

Procedure For Strand Test

  1. Mix a small amount of the formula. (Use 1 part color to 1 part clear developer.)
  2. Apply mixed formula to entire hair strand(s) and allow to develop. Follow recommended timing instructions.
  3. Check color development frequently.
  4. When the desired shade has been reached, remove color from strand(s). Let dry and analyze results.

If the Strand Test is unsatisfactory, it may mean that your formula is wrong, the hair is too porous or foreign elements are present. Take corrective steps or re-evaluate the hair.


Kolors' "N" series is a mixture of all three primary colors in varying amounts at each level. When you mix yellow, red and blue together, the result is a shade of brown. Level 1N has more blue in it than either yellow or red; level 10N has more yellow than either blue or red. The "N" series is a brown base color and excellent for covering gray or white hair. White hair, which lacks melanin, needs replacement of all three primaries. Remember that the most natural looking colors happens when all three primaries are present. The "N series may be used to add warmth to color. It is not designed to control unwanted warm tones.


Kolors' "G" series has a yellow base. Gold becomes visible in natural hair color beginning at level 4. Our "G" series begins at level 4 and goes to level 10. Mix with the "N" series for soft golden shades on white or gray hair. Adding a "G" series to your mix will improve gray coverage. To accent gold already present in hair or to do highlights, use the Gold Series.


Kolors' "R" series is a full collection of superb reds that will meet the needs of any colorist. You will achieve deep red tones that last without complicated formulas. Our "R" series offers intense reds, as well as subtle auburns and blondes. Before, your reds may have faded quickly. This is because direct red dyes have smaller molecules and rinse out in a short period of time. Kolors Reds are specially combined with coupling dyes that unite in the cortex to form large, stable red molecules. These large molecules stay in the hair and won't shampoo out. The result: Kolors Reds are vibrant and fade less.


Kolors' "A" series offers soft, natural looking shades without the green tones usually found in other ash colors. Our Ash Series has no gold or red tones. Our Ash color bases have been uniquely formulated so you can correctly counteract hair when lifting color. NOTE: All Kolors' colors and levels are intermixable to allow increased creativity and versatility, with minimal inventory


A primary is the deepest possible concentration of pure dyes. Primaries or concentrates can be added to a formula to correct or adjust tonal values. Primaries can also be used to make color more or less intense.

Kolors has three Primary Tones (concentrates) which can be used with any of our four series to:

  • add intensity
  • add red or gold tones
  • drab a color

YELLOW Light Warm

RED Medium Warm

BLUE Dark Cool


Yellow is the lightest and brightest of all three primary colors. When yellow is added, it will not only appear more golden, but also lighter. Yellow will enhance gray coverage.


The Red Primary can be used to produce brighter, more intense reds. Your reds will be longer lasting without lifting the natural pigment. Red cancels green tones. Blue Blue will control unwanted orange tones.

Blue can be used to drab certain shades of color. Never use blue on lighter shades where yellow is dominant. That would produce green! Blue is so strong and has so much color value that it can easily overpower the other two colors and take them from warm to cool.


Kolors' Clear Developers are made to be used with Kolors' Permanent Gel Hair Color. Our system ensures maximum coverage with uniform color and develops vibrant shades that last. It is fully stabilized and, when mixed with color, creates a no-drip formula. You no longer need two different developers for bottle or bowl application. We provide four volumes of developer to meet the demands of today's market.


10 Volume Level on Level or 1 Level of Lift

20 Volume 2 Levels of Lift

30 Volume 3 Levels of Lift

40 Volume 4 Levels of Lift


To cover gray hair and give it a natural appearance is one of the greatest qualities of our hair color.

Gray hair has no natural color (melanin) in the hair shaft. The degree of warmth in your finished shade will be reduced to the same degree or percent of gray in the hair. When coloring gray, first check the percent of gray then add that same percent of a color from the Natural series to your formula. The Natural series is best suited for gray hair coverage because it contains all three primary colors.

Never use the Ash series by itself on hair with a high percentage of gray (50% +) or on white hair. Doing so produces artificial flat color.

As yellow is the last color to leave hair, it must be the first to be put back in. Small amounts of yellow, with its warmth and light, will insure natural looking hair color on even the most resistant gray heads.

When coloring a client with a lot of gray, it's best to formulate at a slightly higher (lighter) level than that of the natural hair. Example: Use 4N on a 50% gray head with a natural hair color 3N. Remember that lighter tones around the face produce a softer look.


Some clients have gray hair that is difficult to color. Increase timing from 30 to 45 minutes in such cases. Make sure the client is seated in a draft-free area to keep the scalp as warm as possible.

There are rare cases when a client has very resistant hair that will not cover well - no matter how much extra time is given. If this is the case, "pre-soften" hair as follows: Apply 20 volume Crème developer to the resistant area of the head - leave on 5 to 10 minutes, then blot excess from hair. Do not rinse out. Proceed with the color application.


Anytime you mix all three primaries you create a brown shade. Technically all natural hair color is brown, except gray and white hair. What we consider to be a natural blonde is only the lightest of browns with a lot of yellow pigment. A natural redhead is usually of medium depth and the dominant pigment is red. A natural brunette has a larger amount of blue tones and therefore appears to be darker in value.



Before you apply Kolors permanent hair color:

  • Make sure the client has had a patch test.
  • Take a strand test if changing or applying color to a new client.
  • Pre-shampoo if hair has build-up (optional)
  • Have everything needed for color application at your fingertips BEFORE you begin. Drape the client with a towel and cape. Then section the hair properly for the selected procedure.


  1. To mix color, have an applicator bottle or bowl and brush nearby.
  2. Mix 1 bottle of color with an equal amount of developer. 2 oz color + 2 oz developer
  3. Mix until a thick gel-like consistency is achieved.
  4. You are ready to apply the mixture

Hint: Before mixing color, consider the length of hair to be colored to determine the amount of product needed for first application.


This section discusses the five application types.

  1. Virgin application (when going lighter)
  2. Virgin application (when going darker)
  3. Normal retouch
  4. Low Lift - Deposit Color
  5. Retouching - Low Lift Deposit


  • Section hair into four parts. For normal application, begin applying color in the crown area. If a lot of gray exists in one area, begin there.
  • Apply Kolors' color to dry hair, beginning 1/2 inch from scalp and bring down to and through ends. (NOTE: If ends are over porous do not pull through at this time.) This is because hair further from the scalp receives less body heat and takes longer to process.
  • Allow color to process for 20 minutes, then, take a strand test to check for color development.
  • Now apply a fresh mixture of color to the scalp and work color through the entire head. Process until desired color is achieved and is the same from the scalp to the ends. Follow our recommended timing instructions.
  • Rinse and apply conditioner to help close the cuticle.


  • Section hair into four parts. Start application at the crown area, applying color mixture to the scalp first, immediately pulling it out and down the complete hair shaft. *If a lot of gray exists in one specific area begin there. As you are adding color, it is alright to place color at the scalp.
  • Process for the appropriate amount of time (30 minutes on most heads, 45 for tough to cover gray).

*If ends are over-porous (you'll know from your strand test):

  1. Do not pull color through to ends until other hair reaches desired shade. Then pull color through ends, processing until color is uniform from scalp to ends.
  2. If you've already put color on the ends, check frequently for color development and adjust processing time. Stop the processing anytime by removing the color mixture with a towel.
  3. When desired shade is achieved, rinse and apply conditioner to help close the cuticle.


  • Section hair into four parts. Begin applying color to the most resistant area of new growth (usually the scalp area with the most gray hair).
  • Process growth for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Then, if blending is needed, work color mixture through to the ends.
  • After blending, check color development, using the strand test method, at two-minute intervals until desired result is achieved. (Uniform color from scalp to ends.) Follow recommended processing times.
  • When desired shade is achieved, rinse and apply conditioner to help close the cuticle.


Kolors' unique formula allows yet another option: low lift - deposit color. This unique service can be used to blend gray hair, enhance natural color, or on the client who's not ready for permanent hair color. This technique bridges the gap between semi-permanent and permanent hair color.

There is no longer the need for a separate color line when doing low lifting or color depositing. All 38 Kolors shades can be used by incorporating Kolors 10 Volume Developer and a modified processing time.

Section hair into four parts. Begin applying at the crown area, to the scalp area first, immediately pulling it out and down the complete hair shaft. As you are adding color, it is acceptable to place color at the scalp. Process for 15 to 20 minutes. If ends are over-porous, check for color development and time accordingly. When desired shade is achieved, rinse and apply conditioner to help close the cuticle


Section hair into four parts. Begin by applying color to the most resistant area of new growth. Process new growth for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Then, if blending is necessary, work color mixture through to ends. After blending, check color development, using the strand test method, at two-minute intervals until desired result is achieved. (Uniform color from scalp to ends.) Follow recommended processing times. When desired shade is achieved, rinse and apply conditioner to help close the cuticle.


Here are other ways to make your color service successful:

  • Do the patch test* 24 hours prior to service. *A must on new or hypersensitive clients
  • For proper and predictable results use Kolors Developer ONLY with Kolors Permanent Hair Color.
  • Discard unused, mixed product.
  • Always wear protective gloves.
  • Protect the client's skin from possible staining with plain petroleum jelly.
  • Proper application is an important factor in achieving uniform color. Be sure to apply color thoroughly and quickly.
  • Do not apply color to eyelashes or brows as this could result in blindness.
  • Do Not use Kolors Permanent Hair Color if scalp shows signs of sores, abrasions or disease. Y
  • ou can perm and color on the same day using Kolors.
  • You can color mustaches, beards and sideburns successfully.
  • Use adequate amount of color, this will ensure proper coverage.


To understand the process of lightening or decolorizing hair, let's examine the principles behind bleaching.

It is well known that there are seven phases to lightening.

For example, if you have natural black hair and desire to lift to a pale yellow you will experience the following.

Phases Gradual Color Lifting 
 1  Black
 Red Gold
6 Yellow
7 Pale-Yellow

Black Hair, when bleached, will gradually lighten through 7 phases to Pale-Yellow.

Before we discuss bleaches and what Kolors offers, let's look at alternatives:


Kolors offers 4 high lift shades. (used when bleaching is not required.)

11N - Extra Blonde

11A - Extra Ash Blonde

12N - Ultra Blonde

12A - Ultra Ash Blonde

For best results these shades should be used on a natural level 7 or above when using single process color (not bleaching). These high lift shades are excellent when using foil or cap techniques. To achieve maximum lift high lift shades are designed to be used with 30 or 40 developer. Mix these high Lift Shades - 1 bottle of color with 4 oz of developer. (1 part color : 2 parts developer.) (These high lift shades are NOT to be used for covering gray).


Our bleach is specially formulated for professional off-the-scalp bleaching techniques (highlighting, cap method, foils, frosting, tipping, etc.). The rich, creamy consistency of Kolors Powdered Beach prevents running and creeping, and ensures consistent results. Our advanced formula reduces lifting (lightening) time but promises luminous highlights with optimum performance.

Mixing: Place 2 scoops of Kolors Powdered Bleach in a non-metallic container. Add Kolors 20 Volume Creme Developer (use 2 to 2 1/2 oz. Of developer) and mix until desired consistency has been achieved.


Pre-bleaching (pre-lightening) must be done whenever the desired level of color will lift the hair more than 4 levels. (The maximum lift possible using single-step processing color is four levels.) Bleach hair, using the package directions, to the desired finished color level. Bleaching occurs rapidly; the bleaching action occurs too quickly to see the changes.

After reaching your desired level choose the color you wish to apply and proceed. Since you are now depositing level on level, use 10 volume developer. Due to pre-bleaching, your color will deposit faster than normal. Take frequent strand tests.

NOTE: This bleaching method works best when hair is very healthy. When hair is not in less than good condition, we recommend a test strand before proceeding with a bleaching service.

EXAMPLE: Client is a natural 4 and desires to be a level 10. Pre-bleach to level 10 (phase 7 pale-yellow) Select Kolors 10N and use 10 Volume Developer.