Natural Level vs..... Underlying Pigment


🍎🍊🍋 Both equally important but for different reasons....
One ☝🏻 will tell you where your at while the other will tell you where your going. 
It seems a lot of us guess what the clients natural level is and then we wonder why it’s orange or brassy 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️. Being off by just one level can mean the difference between orange 🍊 and gold 🏆 underlying pigment. Which also means the difference between blue and blue/violet 
When formulating with color you need to formulate for the underlying pigment of the level your going to, not the level your at. 
For example if your a natural level 5 with no grey and you want to be a level 7 neutral/natural you would need to use a blue based ash. Not N or NA just Ash and even this will leave you will a some warmth. N or NA will be even warmer. 
NA= less warm 
N and G are your best allies when covering more than 25% grey. 
Key 🔑 thing to remember is that 7A will appear darker than all of the shades at the same level. Keep this in mind when choosing your developer strength. For the darkest result chose the lowest volume possible. For brightest result chose higher volumes (this is for color only...NOT lightener) 
However all color fades and when it does it will again expose the underlying pigment of the level it was lifted to. Because of this you will never be able to create a lighter, ashier base color on your clients and give it longevity. Unfortunately no one 🙅‍♀️lifts ashy. It’s imperative that your clients understand this. Your color will fade and it will be warm PERIOD especially when going 2 or more levels lighter using permanent color. 
When toning you must formulate for the level achieved not the desired level. If you lift to an 8 and tone with 9 your results will be minimal at best. If you lift to 8 and tone with 8 you will achieve neutral to natural results. If you lift to 8 and tone with 7 your results will be darker but truer to tone. 
Underlying pigment + background tone = final result. 
Once you master this....the possibilities are endless