Why 7.0 is the Luckiest Number in Hair Colour

If I had to give an award to the hero of hair colour, I’d give it to the number seven. Why? Because when it comes to hair colouring, either at home or in the salon, shade number seven really is the luckiest number to have; not only is it the most versatile base shade, but it can rescue you in a colour crisis too.

So just what is a level 7.0 hair colour? As I explained in my article on how to go blonde without bleach, hair colour bases are numbered from one to ten, based on depth. This numbering system is called the International Colour Code (the ICC), and it’s used throughout the hair industry around the world.

Among those ten key depths, ranging from 1.0 for Black all the way to 10.0 for Pale Blonde, is 7.0, which represents Medium Blonde. This popular base shade is universally recognised – so much so, that several years ago the big hair colourant corporations attempted to give it its own name of ‘Bronde’. Thankfully, that didn’t take off! Similar attempts were made in trying to rename Auburn as ‘Bred’ as well as trying to refer to that vile, brassy-blonde mess-up shade (the type that happens when you don’t leave the bleach on long enough) as ‘Blorange’.

Luckily, the confusing terms never caught on – and 7.0 remains the champion shade number in hairdressing.

The Magic of Being a Natural 7.0

If you were lucky enough to be born as a natural 7.0, your technical colour description is Medium Blonde. Chances are you consider your hair to be any shade from fair to light brown, dirty blonde, mousy and other equally unflattering descriptions – but in reality, you’ve won the hair shade lottery!

In the world of hair colouring, your versatile natural shade gives you a world of colour options, allowing you to switch up your look easily and therefore without much damage. Want to go brighter, lighter, blonder, or bolder? You can – here’s how…

7.0s Lighten to Pale Blonde Quickly

Seriously – you guys can squeeze lemon on your hair, sit in the sun for an hour and look like Jennifer Aniston (who is naturally a 5.0, by the way). You don’t even need strong bleaches, your shade will go platinum with a high lift colourant!

7.0s Go Blonder, Not Grey

When the white hairs start appearing, 7.0s simply appear to have highlights. The more grey that comes, the more ash blonde it goes – until one day you have a head of beautiful, clean silver hairs.


7.0s Can Go Red or Brunette

Just a tone on tone, damage-free colourant will turn a 7.0 into a rich redhead or a chocolate brunette; you don’t need to pre-pigment or lighten first!


7.0s Can Be Blonde or Brunette

The 7.0 shade sits on the spectrum exactly between blonde and brunette, hence the ‘Bronde’ name – so it’s up to you to decide what you are. Factors such as haircut, clothes and make-up can skew the perception so the wearer is viewed as more of a blonde or brunette, and you may naturally flit between the two from winter to summer.

The Saviour Shade of Artificial Colouring

For artificial colouring, 7.0 Medium Blonde is the hero shade both in the salon and at home with DIY colour. From giving your hair a well-earned rest to fixing shade-shifting fails, it can solve all manner of hair woes.

7.0 Turns Bleached Orange to Honey

Ever seen a dreaded patchy, bleached orange lightening fail? The best quick fix is applying a 7.0 tone on tone all over – it won’t kill the underlying warmth, but it will create an immediate Deep Honey shade that looks purposeful, as opposed to a mistake! Alternatively, you could refer to this major colour fail as ‘Blorange’ and pass it off as an Instagram trend…


7.0 Gives Bleach Blondes a Break

Over bleaching and lightening can leave hair flat, transparent and dry. Giving blonde hair a break for six months to recover is a great idea, but often going dark is daunting. Applying a 7.0 shade to light blonde hair creates a deeper biscuit shade, enabling you to temporarily stop lightening and get your hair back to good health, without suffering the clash of dark roots!


7.0 Works for Brunette Balayage

If you are dark and want a balayage, the contrast between your natural depth and the lightened areas can be stark. Overlaying a 7.0 tone on tone mutes down balayage lightening, creating a perfect blend between the natural, darker areas and lighter mid-lengths and ends.


7.0 Is Great for Grey

Whether you are naturally fair or dark, covering grey/white hairs with a 7.0 base shade can produce highly natural and effective results. For light browns, it retains a soft deep blonde shade, while deep brunettes can cover wiry white and create a multi-tonal coffee and milk chocolate brunette.

Take Your Colour Further With a Secondary Tone

Getting your base colour right is the main battle – but a simple 7.0 Medium Blonde shade (as outlined above) lacks a distinctive tone.

However, when you add a cool ash tone or a warm gold tone to this adaptable base, you open up even more opportunities to get the hair shade you want.

Medium Ash Blonde

Take things up a notch with the 7.1 shade, Medium Ash Blonde, to neutralise unwanted warm tones. Applying this shade onto that bleached orange fail (Blorange) would evoke a more neutral biscuit brunette, as opposed to a deep honey.

If you dislike warmth in your hair and want to cover grey, using Medium Ash Blonde will create a more neutral result, with a smokey edge. It’s also a fantastic shade to apply over highlights to create a super cool, slightly greyed brunette.

Medium Golden Blonde

Also known in the business as a 7.3, Medium Golden Blonde brings warmth to flat shades which may otherwise be called ‘washed out’ or ‘mousy’. This shade is particularly useful if you are finding your grey hair is covering, but looking somewhat plain; using a Medium Golden Blonde will infuse the hair with honey tones and make it appear rich and glossy.

If you’re a natural redhead who is going grey, try switching to using a 7.3 Medium Golden Blonde shade to cover the greys, while also using a shampoo for redheads or a product such as Colour Restore Deep Red. With this approach, you create a soft, golden base shade and overlay red tones onto it, so that your natural white hairs do not appear magenta or artificial, as often happens if you apply a red colourant directly onto white hair.

If in Doubt, Go for Lucky Number 7.0

Next time you find yourself in hot water with your hair colour, be it too warm, too light or too streaky, consider using a 7.0 base shade to bring things safely back into balance.

Of course, you might just love ‘Blorange’ or ‘Bred’ hair and have no desire to be Bronde; whatever you choose, now you know how to get there – and the hero shade to call on if it doesn’t go to plan.



12 thoughts on “Why 7.0 is the Luckiest Number in Hair Colour

  • Hi,
    For the purposes of covering some white/gray hairs on light brunette tint , is there a difference between shade 7 and shade 7.0 – or not? I have been using shade 7 but it seems to return to white after 1 or 2 washes, even though I always use sulphate-free shampoo…help!

    • Hi, There is no difference between the descriptive 7 and the 7.0 (it’s the same thing). The first number (as in 7) within a colour shade descriptive denotes the depth (base). So 7 or 7.0 means the shade is pure base, without tone. The important thing to note is when a second number appears, say 7.1, 7.3 or 7.6….

      When you see just 7 or 7.0 (on a colourant) you’ll have a neutral shade. The zero (0) denotes the absence of tone. However, if you see that secondary number, it means that base 7 also includes a tone and this can dramatically change the colour result. So if you see 7.1, it means the shade is a mat ash (cold) tone. If you see 7.3, you have a gold tone so the final shade will be warm. If you have a 6, it denotes red, so the 7.6 would be an auburn shade. Now when covering white hair, professionals have to consider certain factors. Based on the brand, applying a toneless 7.0 to pure white hair can have different effects. Often applying just a 7.0 to white hair can create a cold, slightly ashy result. This can actually work well when blending grey. However, in many instances, to create a very natural result, you often go with a 7.3 and 7.0 mix (of the two shades), as you want to add some gold tone into the pure white hair to give it a natural inflection. It can often be the case, that by including some gold with the 7.0 mix, you appear to get better white coverage.

      If you are using a 7.0 permanent shade and the colour is washing out, something is not correct with the brand or formulation you are using. Only non PPD true semi permanent shades should wash out like this. Because I do not know the brand you are using here, I can only give you my generic advice for this kind of situation. I would recommend you use a traditional ammonia permanent 7.0 colourant, but mix this with only 3% (10 volume) peroxide developer. It could be the case your white hair is very resistant. Therefore, you need that ammonia present to open up the hair. However, most permanent brands use 20 volume (6%) developer to open stubborn grey. The issue here, is if you use 6% developer with an ammonia colourant, you will get lifting of the natural (non white) depth. Often people then start complaining about warm tones or the hair looking ginger. However, if you use an ammonia colourant with only 10 volume (3%) the stubborn white hair will still open for the colour to enter (due to the ammonia), but the (peroxide) developer strength isn’t powerful enough to lift the hair that much. Therefore, you get deposit (coverage) only.

  • Interesting perspective on the meaning of the number 7 in terms of hair colour! New West Hair Cut The article explores the mystical and cultural facets, providing a distinctive viewpoint on the significance of the number 7.0 for good fortune. It’s fascinating and educational to combine hair colour science with numerology.

  • My friend had natural. Illyria between 5.0 and 6.0. Sone grey about 6%. She want to look chocolate brown with sone red tone but not too Red. Overall she want natural glossy chocolate brown which will. Over the grey hair some on top and underneath. Hair length at shoulders.
    Can you advise what color I should use and peroxide and tone ? Thankyou

    • Hi Chris, If your friend is naturally a shade between a 5.0 and 6.0 with some grey and she wants to be a rich, glossy chocolate brown I would recommend mixing two shades from the same range. So you can pick any permanent colourant range (Nice and Easy, Casting, Olia etc) but pick a 6.0 Dark Blonde/Light Brown and a 5.0 Mahogany Brown from that same range. The 6.0 Dark Blonde/Light Brown is just pure depth whilst the 5.0 Mahogany is that 5.0 depth with that red mahogany tone.

      When you intermix, take the developer from one of the boxes and squeeze 50% of the colourant tube (from that box) into the applicator. Then take the colourant tube from the second box and squeeze the exact same 50% amount into that same developer bottle. Then mix the combined colour and apply as directed. But this combination of the 6.0 shade and the 5.0 Mahogany will give you just the right depth and red tone to create the chocolate shade you are describing. You will also be able to put the two half tubes back into the box with the unused developer and have another application for next time.

      If you find a 6.0/Mahogany you can do the reverse and just buy a 5.0 Light brown to intermix. It won’t make any difference which depth has the mahogany and which one is the 100% base shade, the key thing is it is about the intermixing of a 5.0 and 6.0 with a smaller percentage of mahogany tone.

      The crucial aspect to remember is you must pick that 6.0 Dark Blonde/Light brown and 5.0 Mahogany shade from the same colourant range. Do not attempt to intermix two different colourant brands as outlined above, as they will be formulated differently and could give unpredictable results. Best Scott

    • Hi Jose, you can order through the website or send an order enquiry through the Ask Scott section of the site. Many thanks Scott

  • Maria Liliana Rodriguez

    Buena noche,estoy aplicándome en mi cabello,el 41 y 40 de revlon, antes me daba un color bonito,pero ahora en las raíces me da cómo rojizo,la base natural de mi cabello es rubio,en la raíz tengo bastante canas,quisiera que me orientaran con un color hermoso,que no me de amarillo,mi cutis es blanco,GRACIAS

    • Hola. Tu problema con el cabello tiene que ver con el aclaramiento de tu color natural. Lo mismo que Madeline arriba. Entonces, el peróxido en el revelador del producto Revlon combinado con el amoníaco hace que el color natural de tu cabello se aclare y exponga el rojo. Debes cambiar a un producto en tubo colorante profesional del mismo tono (es decir, 4.0 y 4.1), pero mézclalo tú mismo con solo un 3 % (10 volúmenes) de peróxido revelador. Aquí encontrará que el color permanente se depositará y creará el tono que desea, pero la concentración del revelador (con solo 10 volúmenes, 3 %) no aclarará su cabello ni expondrá el enrojecimiento. Además, durante un tiempo tendrá algunos problemas con el rojo existente expuesto a medida que aparezca el nuevo crecimiento del color correcto. Por lo tanto, en este caso, puedes corregir esto aplicando un color verde. El verde neutraliza el rojo no deseado en el cabello oscuro. Puedes buscar en Google ‘Champús verdes anti-rojas’ y encontrarás algunas marcas como Fanola que ofrecen estos champús verdes. También puede sonar extraño, pero también puedes aplicar un colorante semipermanente verde pastel en tu cabello y eliminar ese rojo no deseado. Espero que esto ayude. Saludos amables Scott

  • Scott I use 7/0 Wella Koleston on my roots to cover gray. It will be good at first and then it will turn to gold. I use sulfate free shampoo. The color is very hard to lift out. I have a lot of highlights. Don’t want to go in ash tone to harsh for my age and skin tone. Please send me some advice. Thank you!

    • Hi Madeline, from my experience the colour is becoming golden because you are likely using 6% (20 volume) developer. Whilst this is generally the official strength to use with permanent colourants, it can cause problems with some kinds of grey coverage. So, if you were (pre grey) a brunette and you have now gone a definite grey, you will have a mixture of pure white hair and your original brunette colour. When you apply an ammonia based product and 6% developer to this brunette hair, you are going to get lightening by about 2 shades. This will cause the non grey brunette hair to turn copper. When the 7.0 shade is first applied it looks ok because it is at full intensity but it is also fading off. This is when you are seeing the underlying gold.

      Colourant Manufacturers always claimed you needed 6% developer for grey coverage, but if the permanent colourant is ammonia based I have always found you can get perfectly good grey coverage with only 3% (10 volume) peroxide developer, whilst getting no lightening of the non-grey hair. Obviously, if you want to get some lift at the same time you’d need that 6%. But for simple grey coverage, just use 3%. So by using this 3% (10 vol) developer with your 7.0 colourant, you should now get good grey coverage but without the kicking up of the copper.

      Next, whilst I understand what you are saying about ash tone, there are other cooling tones that are not as harsh as ash. A good alternative to ash is to go with violet (the .7), so here you could try using Koleston 7.7 Medium Brunette Blonde. This shade is a tad deeper and has a neutralising edge to it, but you would then not see so much of any gold that did appear.

      However, if you are highlighted I think you are missing a trick. If you are currently finding your base is turning gold, but you have highlights, you can achieve a really good high neutral shade by switching to purple shampoos and toners like Colour Restore Iced Platinum and Cool Ash. Here, you will create an icy, cool highlight which mixes with the more golden base and combined, creates a really nice neutral beige blonde. The key is to keep the highlight toned of all warmth and just not worry too much about the warmth of the surrounding base. Remember, it’s about combining some warmth in a base colour with a cold highlight to create an overall shade.

      I do think in this instance, you could probably just switch to using a 3% developer with your 7.0 shade on your grey regrowth, keep up the highlights but introduce purple shampoos and toners into your haircare regime, so your highlight stays cool and works with your overall base. I hope that helps. Best Scott


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Scott Cornwall