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/ February 5, 2014

How to Get Strawberry Blonde Hair At Home with Boxed Hair Color | Updated for 2022

This Strawberry blonde hair color formula combines two shades of boxed hair color, so hopefully it will be an easy formula to replicate and also to find in stores! Boxed hair color gets a bad reputation, but the formulas have come so far and you can not beat the ease of having everything pre-measured!

In this post, I mentioned that I get my favorite at-home color for strawberry blonde hair by combining two shades of L’oreal Excellence, “Reddish Blonde” & “Red Penny”.  I got a lot of questions about it, so I wanted to share step-by-step how I color my hair at home and how I’ve updated the formula now that Red Penny has been discontinued. I actually prefer the new results!

Two Important Things Before Coloring

1 |  My hair is really grey, 95% at this point. My base color before going grey was a level 6 or 7. Your natural hair color will always affect the outcome of your dye. It’s best to try to stick within two shade of your natural color level. If you want to check your hair color level, read this linked post that goes into way more detail.

2 |  The first 1-2 days/washes your hair will be slightly more red than strawberry blonde, but red will fade a bit, so by the end of week one you should have the perfect strawberry blonde.

I’ve found that if I use only 8RG on it’s own, I have the “perfect” shade of strawberry blonde right after coloring, however, the reddish tones fade too quickly for my liking within the first week.  My preference is to have it slightly more red for the first couple of days, then, the rest of the month have that “perfect” strawberry blonde shade.

What You’ll Need for DIY Strawberry Blonde Color

I have very long hair now, so I used four boxes of color total. You can always scale this formula to your own hair length and thickness. I’ve done the math for you below, so you don’t have to 😉

L’Oréal Excellence Combinations By Ounce

Each box comes with:

  • 2.53 oz developer 
  • 1.69 oz of color

On the side of your large capacity applicator bottle will be ounces listed vertically up the side of the bottle.

Add you color first, so you can get the exact ounce mix correct. Then, pour your developer into the larger applicator bottle until you get to the “total mix” ounce amount.

shorter length hair mix:

  • .563 oz 6R
  • 1.69 oz 8RB
  • 3.37 oz developer

total mix for short hair = 5.63 oz

medium length hair mix:

  • 1.126 oz 6R
  • 3.38 oz 8RB
  • 6.74 oz developer

total mix for medium hair = 11.25 oz

long length or thicker hair mix:

  • 1.69 oz of 6R
  • 5.07 oz of 8RB
  • 10.12 oz developer 

total mix for long hair = 16.88 oz

I used the longer hair formula and mixed three complete boxes 8RB and one complete box of 6R.

Because it’s a lot of ounces of color, I poured everything into that larger mixing bottle, shook it up, then divided back into the applicator bottles that come in the L’Oreal Excellence boxes. I really like the brush tip that comes in the Excellence box now, it made it easier to get the body and length of my hair colored evenly.

I like to have an extra set of my color formula on hand, just in case I need more. I rarely end up needing to mix more formula, but this way I have a back up just in case. And then, I’m already stocked up for the next time I color.  I’d rather be prepared, instead of having sections that didn’t get color!

How I Get Strawberry Blonde Color At Home with L’Oreal Excellence

Step 1 |  Open your bathroom doors and windows.  Bonus points if you have a fan to keep the air circulating.

TIP |  Check the back of the tubes just to make sure you have the right shades!  They should have a 6R and 8RB printed on the back.

Step 2 | Add all you color tubes into the mixing bottle. If you are doing a custom color mix like me, it’s easier to see the ounces of color when you add them first.

Step 3 |  Pour the developer from all your boxes into the large mixing bottle. Again, scale this amount if you are using less color than me.

Step 4 |  Cover the tip with your gloved finger and shake for a solid sixty seconds.  It’s really important that the two shades mix evenly, so you get even (not splotchy) hair color.

Step 5 | Now I divide the half the color back into the smaller L’Oreal applicator bottle and add the brush tip. Set this bottle aside for the length of your hair.

Step 6 |  Using the applicator bottle with the slanted tip, I part my hair and start coloring the roots around my face, top of my head and back, and then the sides.

TIP | To make sure my hair gets fully saturated at the back, I part my hair and apply color all the way from the base of my hair to the top, then push into my roots with my fingers or a coloring brush.

Step 7 |  According to L’Oreal’s instructions inside the box, I let the color sit on my roots for 20 minutes.  Then, I add the rest of the dye to the middle and ends of my hair, using that formula in the bottle with the brush tip that I set aside and leave that on for an additional 10 minutes. Set the timer on your phone , I like to ask Siri to “set my alarm for 20 minutes from now” so I don’t have to do the Time Math.

I typically would leave color on a bit longer with other brands I use, but I wanted to follow the L’Oreal instructions perfectly. I got 100% grey coverage with 30 minutes total application time and no brassiness, so I’d stick with this 30 minutes total time schedule when I do the L’Oreal formula again.

Step 8 | Shower time!  Run the water at medium heat through your hair and massage the color from scalp to ends to rinse it out of your hair. Once the water runs clear, shampoo (L’Oreal just added a shampoo to the Excellence box, nice touch) and then condition with the deep conditioner that comes in the Excellence box.

Like I said above, the color will be very vibrant for the first couple of days, but after a few washes it’s the perfect shade of strawberry blonde for me.

Here is my hair after one wash and blow out. I’ll add more pics throughout the month!

More photos to come!



Thank you for reading and being a part of the blog!  – Molly



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  1. I’m a little confused about which bottles to use when mixing. You say put the color in the mixing bottle. Which one? Then you say put the developer in the large mixing bottle.

    • Hi Anna!

      If you are only using one bottle, you can add the color tube right into the developer bottle that comes in the L’Oreal box. If you are mixing more than two bottles, I recommend buying a 15 oz or bigger empty color mixing bottle and combining all your shades there. I hope this makes everything more clear!

      – Molly

    • Hi Stephanie! Definitely, that would give you more red results. You could also use one less box of the 8RG Red Blonde and that would also give you more red in your color results. I hope this helps!

  2. Hi from one Molly to another! I use these same two colors and love the results. I am 54, and almost all grey. It will lift the brown, darker hair to a reddish brown. You are adorable – great color for your beautiful hair and pretty skin tone.

    Thanks so much for sharing – great instructions!!!!

  3. Thank you so, so much for sharing your color story! You saved my hair and my wallet. I was in the middle of a horrible hot roots disaster and decided to go with the copper instead of fighting it. I found very little information out there on going Strawberry and I didn’t want to go back to my medium auburn after working so hard last winter to get it blonde. Then like a gift from the Red Head Gods I found your posts! I did some mixing of the L’Oreal colors you recommended plus I added a little 8 natural blonde. I was able to tone in my roots and I now have a beautiful head of Strawberry Blonde Ombre hair. Love it! Thanks so much….

    • I’m SO glad I could help!! It’s truly so satisfying when you can get a color you love that you can do anytime, right? Glad you got a great color 🙂

  4. Sorry I know this is an older post but I just read your blog on extensions(awesome awesome awesome btw) and I didn’t see anything about it on this site.. I’m about to try tape..I reeeeally want to put them in my bangs to achieve the grown out look but I’m not finding any videos where people extend bangs..only clip in fake ones..any thoughts on it?

    • Hi Sabrina,

      Sorry for the delayed response!! How do you wear your bangs? You could put tape ins in the front to help while your bangs grow out, but they would have to be installed horizontal on the sides of your head so that could stay covered with the top layer of hair. Also, you would have to not touch the front of your hair much. I know some people don’t play with their hair a lot, but if you are then it might be tricky to readjust your habits, as playing with the extensions would loosen the tape. It’s definitely do-able though and a good way to get instant long hair while your bangs grow out. I hope this was helpful, let me know if you have any other questions! Molly

  5. Have enjoyed reading your blog on strawberry blonde … it is a quest!.

    Have you ever tried 9RG L’Oreal Light Golden Reddish Blonde? I also have a base of mainly gray hair, and thinking of doing this, but my usual color is 80 Ash blonde or a natural blonde.

    • Hi there! I haven’t tried the 9RG from L’Oreal. I think it might have been introduced after I switched to Wella. I love the L’Oreal reddish blonde shades but found that they did fade very quickly. This seems like it could be a pretty ultra light strawberry blonde.

  6. I used to use L’Oreal light reddish blonde, but then I became pregnant and had to go back to my natural color (dark ash blonde). In order to do this I started using Garnier Nutrisse because it didn’t seem to have the same harsh chemicals like L’Oreal and others on the market. I continued to use the Garnier after, because it didn’t make my hair smell so bad after coloring. Unfortunately, Garnier does not carry a reddish blonde color anymore. Do you have a suggested ratio of regular natural blonde and some sort of reddish hair color from the Garnier line I could try to achieve my desired shade of light reddish blonde. I’d really hate to have to go back to the chemical smell of L’Oreal.

    • I haven’t used Garnier since college, but I do know that L’Oreal INOA is ammonia-free. It smells a lot better than most dyes. I checked out the Garnier website, and Olia 8.31 – Medium Golden Blonde looks like it would be a good start for a more blonde look or Nutrisse Nourishing Color Creme 643 – Light Natural Copper also looks pretty but might be a bit intense red, but might look pretty mixed with Color Creme 73 – Dark Golden Blonde (Honeydip). I haven’t tried either, so Im not sure, but I hope this is somewhat helpful 🙂 I always look for tones that aren’t too far apart (Level 6 mixed with level 7, etc) to get the best blend. Garnier levels are the first number of the color on the box, so #643 and #73 could blend nicely. Let me know how it goes!

  7. Love your hair!! I am a light sandy blonde currently but the ends are quite blonde because I have been growing the blonde out for months. I’d say I’m over 6 months of not dying my hair and really want to use the mix you show, any suggestions for the bottom of my hair? it’s about the same length as yours and my natural hair ends at about my jaw line. Below my jaw is quite blonde but thanks to the sun this summer, my natural red undertones have come out.

  8. Hello ! Oh thank you so much for the information you put on your site! I am 68 and mostly gray but not willing to be “gray” My hairdreser is supposed to be doing my color as a strawberry blonde but it is too dark and I am tired of asking for MY color, not what he thinks. Anyway, I have one concern. My hair in light is a reddish light auburn but since my roots are going to be gray I am terrified, and I mean terrified, of having my roots come out pink or something. Do I have to worry about that using the combination you use? I am a female disabled vet and the money I am paying for stylist for the coloring and cut (longish pixie) is hurting our budget badly. Have to make a change but want to do it right and want to still have the perfect color (like yours) thanks sooooo much

    • Hi there! My hair is 95% grey and I don’t get any pink, but if you are nervous, I would do the Wella combo and start out with using 1 full tube of Golden Blonde and only 1/2 a tube of the Titian Red Blonde, so that you can gradually build up the red each time you color to the desired level of strawberry blonde. I hope this works for you, I can use this formula and color my hair for under $15 each time. 🙂

        • I feel like it’s easier to tweak and personalize the Wella formula, whereas the Loreal formula is better for people new to hair coloring. I hope this helps!

  9. Absolutely love this, thank you for all the help, it looks amazing! I’m going to be colouring mine tomorrow with these – will let you know how the results turn out! Do you have an instagram i could follow?
    Kaya x

  10. Hi Molly, thank you so much for this! It’s so helpful and thorough and I just love your hair color. I have dark blonde hair and will be using all of your suggestions to go strawberry blonde.

    I do have a question for you. My hair is quite long, maybe six inches longer than yours, and it has never been colored before. In the two videos I just watched above, I see you applying color to your roots, and in one of them I also see you applying extra color to the shafts and twisting/curling strands up. Is this second step all I need to do to apply color to the entirety of my hair?

    • Hi there, so glad this is helpful to you! And you are correct, for first time color, just apply the dye all over your hair, from roots to ends in one step. Then leave on for 30 minutes (40 if you have greys). I hope you love it!

  11. Hello Molly, i just recently found your site, and I’m so impressed with your knowledge and your willingness to share with us Strawberry Blonde red heads.
    I’ve always been a red head, but due to aging my hair is not only graying, but the red is fading as well.
    I read with fascinating interest all your suggestions for achieving the right color, And I wanted you to know that I tried the Wella Creme colors 8rg and a few drops of 7r and the color came out perfect! I couldn’t be more pleased, and I’m absolutely indebted to you for sharing your tips. I thank you ever so much for your help and your amazing kindness.
    I so look forward to reading your future suggestions and tips.

    • Hi Arleen,

      I’m SO glad the formula worked for you! I love hearing that and that’s so great that you found a color that works for you. Thank you for taking the time to let me know, I really appreciate that 🙂


  12. I’ve never colored my own hair before. Your instructions and video make me much more confident about trying. My natural color was strawberry blonde. At 30, my color faded and I started getting it colored. Now, I am 51 years old and have been letting the stylist do as they please. I have very curly hair and have been getting highlights and lowlights. Medium to light brown with sandy blonde highlights. I really want the strawberry blonde again. Can I just go over my current color?

    • Hi Margaret,

      It depends on how faded the color is…I get nervous with super blonde highlights, because they can turn pink with red color placed over them. It might be better to have a stylist take your hair strawberry blonde first, then keep up the color yourself from there 🙂

      I hope this helps!

  13. Hi Molly,
    Thank you, I will let my daughter know about the violet tinted shampoo and the other product Olaplex if she gets it done in a salon….
    Thanks again,

  14. Hi Molly, Just found your wonderful web site on hair and make-up. I just love the “How to color your hair Strawberry Blonde…..It seems to be the best information I have come across so far on strawberry blonde hair…I just tried the L’Oreal color and just love it, I maybe go a bit more red and try the Wella Color Charm…. I am so glad I found you! Do you have any information on platinum blonde hair? My daughter needs some good tips on getting the color and not frying her hair…. Thanks again for all your wonderful information….


    • Hi Karen,

      Thank you, so glad you are liking the blog! I haven’t done platinum blonde hair in a while, but my best advice is to use a violet tinted shampoo once a week to keep the platinum blonde more white than yellow. Also, if she gets it done in a salon, there is a new product called “Olaplex” that reduces coloring damage to the hair. It’s only available to stylists though. I hope this helps!!


  15. It looks gorgeous never thought to mix dyes before. Can I do this on my dark brown hair would I have to bleach it first? x

    • Depending on how dark brown it is, you might have to go in stages so it doesn’t get to orangey. Maybe go for dark strawberry blonde first, then medium strawberry blonde, the light strawberry blonde. I hope this helps!

  16. Hi! Thanks for the great post your hair is lovely! I’ve been using the loreal reddish blonde for about a year now and love it but the red does fade so fast! This will be great for when I get the itch for a more red.
    I was wondering though, my hair length is about the same as yours in the video you did and you said you use 2 boxes of color. So when you use 2 boxes of the same color do u mix and combine the 2 into one big bottle or make them up separately? My ends don’t really pick up the color and tend to stay more blonde, so maybe if I used 2 boxes more dye could penetrate the ends? I just got my hair trimmed today so that may help too maybe. Any thoughts? Thanks!!

      • Hey 🙂 am a natural strawberry blonde, but as I am aging its just getting duller. I use to get it professionally done and it was gorgeous but it was a hard hit to the pocket book 😉 Any suggestions on just one type/brand of colour? I don’t want to have to play around with the dye at all (my hair is too precious!) I am in Canada and it seems impossible to find reddish blonde / strawberry blonde anywhere!! Help a girl out :))

  17. Hi, I tried to do strawberry blonde at the salon and it keeps coming out too dark. I want to try your mix, but now that my hair has already been colored (reddish, but too dark), how long should I leave this combo on the rest of the hair after I start the roots? I really appreciate the help, i’m trying to get the perfect color at home bc i’m now on tighter budget. Thanks again!

  18. hi..ive been looking for a strawberry blond color (currently light blond which is NOT good for me) going to try loreal 8rb..will keep u posted marie

  19. Your posts are marvelous! You’re like the Harvard University graduate school of Strawberry Blondness! I have the same “sheer” problem of greys making their presence known as color fades so… what I do: as I am doing my makeup, applying my bronzer over my foundation, I then (don’t call me crazy) apply my powder bronzer directly to my “sheer” roots with a smaller sable brush and it works like a charm (til you shampoo, of course!) My favorite drugstore brand bronzing powder is Wet ‘n Wild Coloricon bronzer in shade # 739 Ticket To Brazil. It’s better than Guerlin, Lancôme, Bobbi Brown, you name it! AND it’s around $4! PLUS it’s a real decent match for my hair color which is L’Oreal Preference 9GR. Hey girl, thanks for all your posts!

  20. I wanted more strawberry blonde which was my natural color years ago got any suggestions…love your s just want lighter not so red

  21. Molly have you tried the Revlon Strawberry Blonde if so what do you think? Do you know if there are any good semi permanent SR colors that you would recommend? They keep discontinuing SR colors too that’s a shame. I loved natural instincts Desert Sunrise cannot get it anymore.

  22. I have rro7 red copper on my medium brown hair and I love it but iam due for hair color m roots on top is showing I use loreal will the mixture red penny and reddish blonde look good get back to me as soon as you can thanks

    • I think you could do this, but the Red Penny and Reddish Blonde will be lighter than what you have you your hair, so your roots will come out a bit lighter than the rest of your hair the first time you do it. The second time and on it will probably be more blended looking. I hope this helps!

  23. LOVE this color!! I’m a blondie blonde and have ginger daughters….would love to match them. Do you think I would be ok doing this on my own??

    • I think so! If you are a super light blonde you might not even need to add the Red Penny. I’d try the Reddish Blonde first on it’s own and then if it’s not strawberry-red enough for you, then next time you color do the Red Penny and Reddish Blonde combo. Let me know if you try it. Also, I am praying that I have kids with red hair, I think it’s the absolute cutest, lucky you!!

  24. Hi,I was so inspired by your hair that I am now sitting waiting for it to process. I didn’t use what you have but I think it will be close. I used myhd 8.44 intense copper blonde 2/3 plus 7.46 copper red with 20 developer, cause I have a lot of grey too. Hope it works.

  25. Molly, I tried L’Oreal 8RB and I love it. The color works perfectly on my pixie cut! In the summer I will combine both colors. Many thanks for the suggestions.

  26. Thanks for the tips! I have been trying to find the right balance between copper and blonde. Mine is sitting at a bit more saturated copper than yours. I’m going to let it fade out and then perk it back up using your blend.

  27. I love your hair color. What was your natural hair colore before. I have a med brown and am wondering if mixing those two boxes would lift it?

    • My hair was light brown with red tones before, but I started going grey at 20 years old, so now it’s mostly grey! It’s worth trying these shades, it might not be a super bright strawberry blonde, but will lighten your hair and definitely give it red tones. If you want to try it, sometimes I snip a tiny piece of hair from the middle of the back of my head (just a 1/4 of an inch -teeny tiny, you can have a friend help) then tape that down to a plastic bag (so your counter doesn’t get ruined), and apply the dye to the piece of hair to see how the color turns out before you do your whole head. I know it seems scary at first to snip a little hair, but if you do tiny enough you can’t tell at all. Then you can see the results you’ll get before you do your whole head. I hope this helps! Let me know what you decide or tag me on Instagram so I can see a before/after! My Instagram is: girlgetglamorous

      • I’m more than a little late this post-but as a born redhead now almost 50 I’ve found one additional trick to lasting color-about 8 weeks w no fading at all- I do a clear coat glossing treatment. I use the ion clear brand w the same brand of developer 1:1 and 30 mins later I rise and then do a deep condition. Hair looks model in the magazines under bright lights shine perfect. And it lasts. A very long time.

        a wonderful blog. Thanks for this.
        Would you ever do strawberry blonde ombré? Id love to se that done well.

        • Hi I am totally new to dying my hair, can you tell me what the exact name of the ION Clear brand is? and if there is color which color red? When do you do this part of process, after you dye it with the Loreal? Do you need to wait? Sorry if they seem like obvious questions, but I really would like to find a way to make it last a long time as I swim in pool and I am concerned it will not last as long.

          • I’m also curious about the clear coat process. Do you do it the same week after you color?