Episode 50

It's time to improve your hair colour vocabulary! Learn how to create signature names


What I'll be talking about

In this episode of the Colour Kristina Talks Podcast for Hairdressers and Salon Owners, we’re talking about the importance of naming hair colours to sound appealing and unique to clients, especially when we are suggesting change for them.

I have been experimenting with my knowledge of the universal principles of Colour Theory for many years, to create a universal approach for Hairdressers seeking a deeper understanding of Colour Theory. I love Tracking trends and creating seasonal forecasts for both my salon clients and sharing them with my haircolour students and podcast listeners. 

Tracking trends and recording results and unique colour names help me to suggest and reproduce beautiful colours for clients, based on their skin tone and suitability. Infinite names for haircolour suggestions can easily be found when looking through a Pantone swatch chart or using their smartphone app ‘Studio’. The Pantone Colour Institute is a consulting service within Pantone that forecasts global colour trends. Recognised around the world as a leading source of colour information through seasonal trend forecasts, custom colour development, and palette recommendations.

I first discovered Pantone when I studied Textile Design and Printmaking at Sydney’s National Art School. I fell in love instantly with the jumbo colour chart of what looked like thousands of hose paint swatches neatly coded and linked together into the ultimate encyclopedia of colours. It’s something that has colour chips and colour codes that crosses continents with a universal language or colour code for all industries needing to speak the same language in colour. How amazing is that?

Before I discovered Pantone and its infinite colour names I used to visit art shops and hardware stores for haircolour name inspiration & I’m going to share with you in this episode why it is so important to name colours something unique and on-brand for your salon clientele. The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a system shared world wide by the graphic arts industry.

Show notes for episode 57

there are more names for brunette than just chocolate

I am going to share with you where I find infinite (and unique) descriptive words when creating unique colour names for my salon clients. Because let’s face it Ash Brown and Chocolate does not mean the same to anyone. There are 3 key themes discussed in this podcast; 

#1: If I asked you for a chocolate ombre what would you think I meant? Is chocolate red or gold or cool in its reflection? Is it a level 4 or 6? Who knows if that’s all you hear someone asking for or requesting?

  • Want to know some great ways to come up with unique names for browns? Think of brown things that are not hair. Like nuts, different types of chocolate (lighter milk or dark cocoa), coffee and the various tones in coffee with or without milk or Autumn leaves
  • An interesting thing that happened to me recently was learning about different types of Burmese cat colours. They have different names in the US than in Australia. How confusing! My little chocolate Burmese would be called a Champagne in the US and a Brown in Australia is a Chocolate. There’s also Sable, Red, Lilac and Blue. This got me thinking I need to do a podcast on colour names. 
  • I think is a super easy place to start if you are wanting to refresh your brunette vocabulary is heading to the hardware store and researching wood stain names. How easy is that? In fact, you could probably even just google it but if you are like me you will love those glossy brochures to peruse with the colour chips you can touch.

#2:  I love lipstick names and often thought that would be such a fun job to come up with new colour names. My favourite lipstick colour is Lady Danger & it’s an attention-grabbing orangey-red. I have tried plenty of red lipsticks, but somehow always come back to that name. I love the product and I love the name, and it’s catchy so I never forget it. I am sharing this story from a consumer or clients point of view when you have a particular name for a colour they cannnot get anywhere else. One that they remember.

  • Try looking at house paint names for reds, pinks, pastels and copper names
  • Gemstone names are fabulous for high gloss red haircolour tones.  I love referencing topaz for light golden tones in lighter coppers or ruby and garnet for cooler deeper reds. 
  • Here are some examples of paint names you could translate into a colour name for hair –  Cream, Creamy Peach, Vanilla Cream, Natural White, Apricot White, Blossom Blonde. Yummy! Such pretty names. 
  • What if you consider your favourite words and create something different to describe them? The first place to start could be google and then the second place to try is the local hardware or arts and crafts store. For example, google white house paints and see if there’s something NEW you could inject into your colour vocabulary for blonde clients.


 #3: Now let's chat about Pantone. Literally thousands of colour names ready for the picking. So many it could be overwhelming. Super exciting for the colour geek in you. Here are a few of my personal favourite Pantones names I use for my redhead clientele;

    • Chestnut
    • Sunset Orange
    • Redwood
    • Mandarin Red
    • Tangerine Tango
    • True Red
    • Honeysuckle
    • Rose Quartz sounds like a delicious sheer pinkish toner

    Here is some homework for you:

    A great place to start is to pick 3 new names for blondes, brunettes and red-haired clients. That’s a total of 9 altogether. This could be a seasonal change that you do every 3 or 6 months. The next step is to try combining it with your technique names. Think back to the Colour me with Sophie B episode where we discussed her fabulous sassy technique names like Blendage and Blooming Balayage. She would probably love the names of flower colours to match her techniques names because pink flowers are strongly represented in her branding. I prefer to reference gemstones because I do lots of reds with semis and vivid colours and love shiny healthy hair, but perhaps you do loads of beachy blondes or smouldering brunettes and brondes. Then wood stains and earthy tones are a great place for you to find inspiration and new tonal names for your hair colour clients. Have fun! Create new verbiage that is client-friendly and appealing for even the timidest colour client. Let’s have fun whilst painting hair as your canvas! Clients will love these new names that are descriptive especially if you back it up with reference photos on Instagram and Pinterest. 

    Links and resources


    link to hair painting for redheads online program


    link to my insta @colourkristina


    link to kristina russell facebook page


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