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This is a short and sweet lesson about Underlying Pigment, but it is the most important one of your career as a colorist.

The moment you use a formula that is strong enough to reach the cortex, you will need to accommodate for the Underlying Pigment of the hair. But first you need to accurately identify it, and unfortunately color lines each have their own Underlying Pigment charts that are usually difficult to remember. That’s why this lesson is valuable, I have a very simple way to memorize underlying pigment at each level that will guarantee formulation success. The best part is: it’s easy!

Besides learning how to control or enhance underlying pigment, we are also going to go over two fun and common things:

    • Why hair color fades brassy (and how to avoid that)
    • Why a lightened level 10 is still yellow

Here’s what you’ll learn:

    • Why the Cortex is important
    • The Two Types of Melanin – Pheomelanin & Eumelanin
    • What does brassy hair look like
    • What “Brassy” hair Really Means
    • The Level System
    • How I think about Underlying Pigment
    • Two Formulation Examples

After purchasing this lesson, my biggest piece of advice is to watch the video first, and then watch it again while answering the workbook questions. It’s important that you actually understand your answers so you can remember this information while working behind the chair.

This Single Lesson Purchase Includes 1 video lesson (12 minutes) and 1 workbook.

*If you’re interested in purchasing all three lessons in Color Theory Review Course, please click here.

Meet Your Teacher

Heather Ward Kepshire, Creator

  • Educated in San Francisco
  • Refined in Boston
  • Thrived Everywhere Else


I’m a hairstylist and a haircolor curriculum creator. I know first hand that none of us receives the haircolor education we thought we would get in Beauty School, no matter how much we paid for it. When I graduated and passed my State Boards I knew virtually nothing about haircolor formulation.


Yet still 15 years later, newly licensed hairstylists continue to struggle like I once did with haircolor formulation because they are not being taught how to formulate haircolor, consult with a client, or build a loyal following.


I am bridging the gap between the Beauty School education you received, and all the things you need to know about haircolor formulation to help you thrive behind the chair quickly.


Every hairstylist deserves the chance to have a profitable career, regardless of the salon they work in or the brand of products they use. If you want to make more money, feel more confident with haircolor formulation, and get so popular with clients you have no choice but to keep raising your prices, you’re in the right place.

Underlying Pigment
  • 1 Video Lesson
  • 1 Workbook
Color Theory Review Bundle
  • 3 Video Lessons
  • 3 Workbooks
  • Salon Exercises
12 Lesson Master Class
  • 12 Video Lessons
  • 12 Workbooks
  • 12 Workbook Answer Keys
  • Salon Exercises
  • Model Release Forms
  • Headsheets
  • Color Wheels
  • Underlying Pigment Chart
  • Color Maps

Course & Underlying Pigment

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When does the course start and finish?

The course starts immediately after purchase! It is a completely self-paced online course – you decide when you start and when you finish.


What if I am unhappy with the course?

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.


How can color education be brand-neutral?

It’s simple, color theory is just science and rules. Every color line will have their own nuances, but this is all the real information you need to get you up to speed and formulating confidently.


What is underlying pigment?

Underlying pigment is also known as Natural Contributing Pigment.  And it refers to the hair’s natural melanin distribution.  For purposes of hair coloring, we break down underlying pigment into three colors: Yellow, Orange, and Red.


What is the underlying pigment chart?

An underlying pigment chart is just as helpful as a color wheel.  The chart will show you the underlying pigment at each Level of hair.  For example: a level 5 has red underlying pigment, a level 7 has orange underlying pigment, and a level 9 has yellow underlying pigment.  This is valuable information because when you formulate haircolor you are really taking into consideration the hair’s natural underlying pigment.  Otherwise the end result may have undesired tones.


What is natural remaining pigment?
Natural Remaining Pigment is a term used for when you expose a hairs undertones and you are left with the warmth you need to formulate for.  Every color line has their own phrase for this:  Natural Contributing Pigment, Underlying Pigment, Natural Tone, Contributing Pigment, Undertones, Exposed Undertone, and Dominate pigment.  All those phrases mean the exact same thing: The shade of melanin we are dealing with at each level.