Mix Hair Dye

Hair color swatches
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Q: I just want to know if I could buy different color hair dye and mix them. I want caramel brown, but I can't find that anywhere. So, I was thinking that I'll buy caramel hair dye and brown hair dye and mix them, but I don't know if that's a good idea.
A: The short answer: No, it’s not a good idea, and I wouldn’t recommend trying this. Of course, in theory, it is possible that you mix colors and end up with something that you like. But this is highly improbable as you have to have some sort of basis of knowledge and especially intensive hands-on experience of color-levels, shades (shade numbers and shade descriptions), and warm/neutral/cool undertones.
There is a reason why hairstylists have to attend college for three + years. The biggest difference between drugstore hair-color and salon hair-color is that salon hair-color is mixed by a professional stylist who applies his/her knowledge and experience, to create a distinct color that matches the perfect level, shade and undertone to suit the client’s specific needs, wants and physical appearance.
I don’t really understand how you say that you can’t find a “caramel brown”. Caramel brown isn’t an actual hair-color (as indicated by professional hair-color charts used by color-houses and qualified stylists), but I’m taking an educated guess that you’re looking for a medium or a light brown with a golden/warm undertone. I assure you that there are a large variety of light warm brown hair-colors available, as this is a very popular color that compliments most complexions.
You could Google “warm/golden brown hair-colors” in your favorite drugstore brand, and see what you come up with. You could also search for pictures of hair colors that you would identify as “caramel-brown”, take it with you and search for a box that looks similar to this color. But I would suggest that you go to a hair-salon and ask a stylist to show you a hair-color board with swatches of hair on it, to help you decide what you want. The stylist would be able to tell you exactly what level, shade and undertone you should use.
If you were to mix your own colors, my only advice would be to at least keep to the same brand-name. Different color-houses have different chemical-ratios and very different undertones. I know that this is probably not the answer that you wanted, though. It can be fun to experiment with colors on your own, especially if you do your research well and if you’re willing to take the risk.
Darker colors such as brown and light-brown are easy rectifiable for a professional, just in case you stuff it up and need help. Brown colors don’t damage the hair as much as blondes and light-blondes do, because of the lower % of peroxide in the developer of the hair-color.
My honest advice would be to leave it to the professionals. But yes, I do understand the drive in more creative people to try and do it themselves.
See also:
Hair color application
Cool and warm hair colors
Hair color levels and peroxide developer