The colour wheel is basically a universal tool that doesn’t change. It’s used in graphic design, interior design, and hairdressers use it a little bit differently.


Why do we need to know the colour wheel? The colour wheel allows us to choose create and make colours. Also by knowing your colour wheel, you won’t be creating colours that you don’t want. So the first thing we’re going to jump into is we’re going to talk about the basics of the colour wheel.

The colour wheel is divided into two sections – the warm side and the cool side. When we talk about warm colours, think of the sun. So the sun warms you up. So the sun basically has three colours to it. They are red, orange, and yellow. So these sit on the warm side of the colour wheel.

The other side is cool colours. So think of the ocean. So the ocean typically has three colours in it. You see green, blue, and violet. These are things that are going to be cool. So they represent the cool side of the colour wheel.

What sits in the middle of the colour wheel is naturals, beiges or neutrals. These three words are what we describe as brown. So brown sits in the middle of the colour wheel. So remember, the colour wheel is broken up of warm, cool, and in the middle are neutrals.

So now you understand the warm, cool and middle colours of the colour wheel. We’re going to jump in and talk about primary colours.



There are three colours to primary colours they are red, yellow, and blue. They are the source of all other colours and they cannot be made by mixing other colours together. Once you have red, yellow and blue, you can make any other colour.



The next level is secondary colours. Now secondary colours are made by mixing a primary and another primary together. So on the colour wheel, you will find that you have orange and that sits right in between red and yellow. Red and yellow are a primary colour and when they mix together, they create orange. The next colour is green. So green sits right in the middle of blue and yellow. So when blue and yellow are mixed together, they create green. Then we’re dealing with violet hairdressers tend to use the term violet rather than purple. It just sounds nicer to our clients. Violet sits right in the middle of blue and red. So when you mix blue and red together you create violet or purple. These are your secondary colours. So they are orange, green, and violet.



Then the final tier is tertiary colours and a tertiary colours are made by mixing a primary and there neighbouring secondary colour together. There are six tertiary colours. We have yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet, and red- orange. Once we understand primary, secondary and tertiary colours, then the most important thing a hairdresser needs to know and what we commonly use the colour wheel for is neutralising colours.



Neutralising colours means mixing two colours together to cancel out a colour and create natural, neutral or brown. So when hairdressers are dealing with neutralising colours, we’re normally neutralising warmth that’s coming through on a client’s hair. Clients tend to always complain about brassy, gold or yellow. So hairdressers really need to know their neutralising colours.

So when we’re dealing with the colour yellow, we want to find the on the colour wheel and then you want to find the colour exactly opposite it. So when you find the yellow, you’re going to go down the colour wheel and the colour opposite that is called purple or violet. When you mix yellow and violet together, you create brown or neutral. This is what we mean by neutralising.

The next colour that you would have to deal with neutralising is orange. Orange is something that clients typically request to get rid of, and it’s probably one of the harder colours to remove. So when you find orange on the colour wheel, you need to go opposite the colour wheel and find that colour that sits right across from it and that colour is blue. So blue will get rid of orange. When you mix blue, and orange together, it will create neutral or brown.

Then the final colour that you want to try and neutralise or deal with is red. Now red is the warmest colour on the colour wheel, and the colour that is opposite red on the colour wheel is green. So when you mix red and green together, they cancel each other out or neutralise each other and they create brown.



There are some fun little tips and little memory games we have so that you can remember these things. So for yellow and violet, you want to think of the chocolate bar Violet Crumble. This is how you remember their their neutralising colours. The next one when you’re dealing with orange and blue, think of a sunset over the ocean,this is their neutralising colour. Then the last one is red and green think Christmas. These two colours are neutralising colours. Once you have a handle of this, it will make choosing a colour, selecting colours and dealing with unwanted tones so much easier.

And that’s the colour wheel.