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How to Use Eye Color to Predict Lift

We all know that the natural color of the hair, the type of melanin that is dominant in the hair, along with the texture of the hair will contribute to determining how the hair will lift, but what about the color of someone's eyes?

Does that play a part in how the hair lifts and lightens?

Of course it does, and today I want to share with you a bit about what I know in hopes that it can help you when you are formulating for your clients.

Let’s first talk about what determines someone's eye color.

Primarily, a person's eye color is determined by the amount and distribution of melanin in the front of the iris, along with genetics.

First, you have to know that there are 3 main categories of eye color:

Blue, green and brown.

Within those categories, are sub categories, like blue green, golden brown, green brown along with 2 additional very rare colors which are amber and violet.

Let’s break down these eye colors and how it relates to hair color.

Blue eyes:

What you have to understand about how we see the color blue is that it is light that has been bent. A blue sky is not a blue sky, it is for lack of a better word, an optical illusion.

When the rays from the sun come through earths atmosphere they are bent by the atmosphere and what we see is the part of the spectrum that is blue.

Also, the ocean is not blue, ocean water has no color.

What we see is the light waves that are bent, revealing that blue part of the color spectrum.

As far as blue eyes are concerned, here are a few things you need to know.

When a client has blue eyes, it means that there is a very small amount of eumelanin in the back of the iris, the same type of melanin that is found in skin and hair.

Clients with blue eyes are the easiest to lighten. There are some exceptions, and I will cover those in a bit.

Clients with blue eyes are the easiest to transition and change colors with.

Clients with blue eyes have an easier time achieving ash colors.

High lift colors work BEST on clients with blue eyes…providing that the hair isn't too dark or too coarse.

*exceptions: if a client with blue eyes has a lot of gold flecks in their eyes, or a very dark limbal ring (the dark ring around the iris), they can be more challenging to lift.

Green eyes:

Green eyes actually start out as BLUE eyes, but with more eumelanin in the front of the iris.

Green eyed clients also have lipochrome, a yellowish, fat soluble pigment. (lipochrome is also found in things like butter, eggs and corn)

When blue eyes and yellow lipochrome mix, you get green eyes.

Green eyed clients generally tend to have a lot of warmth in their hair due to a heavy concentration of pheomelanin in their hair.

Green eyed clients typically have copper, red, gold, golden brown or warm brown hair…again due to higher concentrations of pheomelanin.

*green concentrate is your friend with green eyed clients

*expect extra warmth when foiling green eyed clients

*if a client has green eyes and gold flecks, expect very brassy and warm results

Brown eyes:

Brown eyed clients have higher levels of eumelanin both in front of and behind the iris.

With brown eyed clients, the cooler the brown, the cooler your results will be.

If the eyes are golden brown or warm brown, know that your results will be brassier and warmer.

If a client has warm brown eyes and very coarse hair, an ash shade will not be attainable without serious damage.

*if there are gold flecks, and a darker limbal ring in brown eyes, results will always be warm and brassy.

Amber eyes:

Amber eyed clients contain almost all lipochrome, which means lots of RED and GOLD.

Amber eyed clients will always, inevitably lift warm, and revert back to a brassy color when color fades.

Always use green and/or blue with amber eyed clients, especially with coarse hair.

Violet eyes:

Violet eyes are rare, and I have encountered 1 client in my career with violet eyes.

Violet eyes, in essence, are BLUE with a reflection from the blood vessels in the back of the eye.

Blue eyes and a red reflection from blood vessels= violet.

Violet eyed clients typically lift and lighten easily, with the exception of gold flecks.

I hope that this was helpful for you, and next time you have a client in your chair, make sure to take a look at their eyes…they will tell you A LOT and help you better predict how the hair will lift and lighten.

If you’re into education and learning the WHY behind what we do, make sure to check out The FUNdamentals, linked below!

Until next time,

Happy Hair Coloring


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