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.



2 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.


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Scott Cornwall