Mixing Hair Colors

I'm about to re-do my color (it's been about 5 weeks since the last color) and I'm just debating about what color to use.

Last time I used L'Oreal Excellence 5AR Warm Maple Brown. Didn't like it at first - too dark - but it did fade nicely after a week and a half or so. It didn't cover as evenly as I would have like, but that was my fault since I didn't use 2 boxes.

Anyway, I was thinking about just using the Excellence 5N Natural Medium Brown this time around. How do 'Natural' shades work? I kind of understand that it'll just "enhance" the color I have right now, without being too ashy or adding any red.

I also picked up 5RB Medium Reddish Brown (a 'warmer' color), which looks really pretty on the box pic. How does it compare to the 5AR - does anyone know?

Anyway, I don't necessarily want to add a lot of red, since there is still a fair amount left over (plus a bit of brassiness since it's been 5 wks.) I'm just wondering what would happen if I mixed a box of the 5N with either the 5AR or 5RB. I know that people mixed colors all the time - I just don't feel like messing this up!

Thanks for the help...
"Natural" is the same as neutral, which means it is in the middle between warn and cool colors.

If you go too dark with a neutral shade, pale or pourous highlights can pick up too much of the green and blue pigments in the neutral shade and give you an off-color. Neutrals at a level 7 or 8 are generally safer for coloring old highlights. If you want to go deeper, a gold base is generally safer. If you want to go lighter, cool tones such as a violet base are generally better because they will counteract the natural orange and gold stages that naturally brown hair goes through as it lightens.

I don't think you would be happy with the 5N natural medium brown, because it will seem darker to you than the level 5 warm maple brown. If a 5 seems too dark for you, a 6 would be better with some nice warm gold or bronze tones in it to give just a bit of punch to your natural shade. The reddish brown level 5 might seem very red to you but remember the reds fade before the overall depth will.

Don't mix the 5N with either one or you will get "mud."

Judging from what you have described, either stick with what you used last time, have fun with the Medium Reddish Brown, or go up to a level 6 gold/warm base.
3aFii, ?/26/36+ (wet)
CG since 5-29-07
Current condish: Nature's Gate Aloe & Regis Cherry Almond
Thanks for your reply. I actually did the color last night before I got your response. I got nervous about mixing colors, so I just did the 5N. It's a decent color, although it is dark. It's not so dark that I'm embarrassed to go out in public, though! It will probably fade nicely - I'll let you know in a few days. Right now I can see a nice amount of red showing through the dark brown, especially in the sun. So I think I'm glad I didn't add too much more red.

I think next time I may try a 6 and not go quite so dark. I suppose I could mix a 5 & a 6, right? Then maybe it would be a nice compromise. I'll just have to see how this color fades.

The other think I noticed is that my hair feels kind of dry. Guess I just need to do a good deep condition treatment. Otherwise, I think my hair has a decent amount of shine and the color is definitely even, which I haven't always succeeded in doing!!

Thanks again!

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You can mix a 5 and a 6 as long as they're the same color tone base (both neutral or both gold, etc).

Sounds like a little protein followed by a lot of moisture would be good for your hair at this point!
3aFii, ?/26/36+ (wet)
CG since 5-29-07
Current condish: Nature's Gate Aloe & Regis Cherry Almond
Ok - I'm getting ready to color again and I'm thinking about mixing colors. Can I mix the Excellence 5AR Medium Maple Brown (a warm color) with a 6G Light Golden Brown (also a warm color) and get a decent result? The last time I did just the 5N and it was dark to start with, then faded to a nice color. I was thinking about going back to the Medium Maple Brown because I think it was a bit richer color, but I just need to lighten it up a bit. It was too dark to start with.

Any other suggestions?

Oh yeah - side question - do you always do a patch test 2 days before you color? Just curious. Thanks!!!
I mix colors all the time! Stay within the same brand, and not more a level or at the max two levels apart. Mix the colors together in a dish before adding to the developer - this is what pros do. Yes, I agree that the Excellence 5N is very dark, as is the Preference Medium Brown - both of these for some reason come out almost black, not good on us mature ladies. The last two times I colored my hair, I used equal parts of Preference Medium Auburn and Medium Golden Brown(to help cover grey, plus warm up the auburn, which theirs is a VERY cool winey red color IMO). It came out a wonderful deep reddish brown. This time around, I might do 2/3 medium golden brown to 1/3 of the auburn color though(as I'm afraid this time around my hair might be a bit TOO red) or just use their Medium Amber Copper Brown color. Not sure which, but it's going to be within the next day or so.
health-conscious, visionary artist in transition
i mix colors all the time.
currently using satin 5n mix with 5r with is light auburn, 2parts neutral to 1 part auburn, comes out really nice.

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