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/ March 3, 2015

Strawberry Blonde Hair My Epic Journey Part 3 | The Copper Chronicles

Every good story has become a trilogy.  And now the GREATEST story ever told (ha!), about the different shades of red I have colored my hair, has a PART 3.

The Copper Chronicles.

*dramatic music plays*

Sometimes you need a little push to make changes.  People can see things that would look great on you that you might not necessarily see yourself.  I typically like a more blonde shade of strawberry blonde for myself.  My friend Anna, @annamcgroarty, is a colorist based in Los Angeles. 

She pushed for me to try a light copper red shade, definitely more of a red than a blonde, which I like for winter.

This is a *PIC HEAVY* post because honestly, I think pictures are better than me explaining the hair.  My hair is 99% grey at this point, so my results will be slightly different than yours if you have no grey hair.

Results from Formula #3


Each formula below is a combination of one or more of these shades from L’oreal’s INOA line. The exact amounts are detailed below, with photos of the results underneath the formula.


PROS | Rich color, ammonia free formula, professional looking color results at home.

CONS | Hard to find in-store (easy online) and expensive for at-home color. Must also use INOA developer.  Consistency is very thick, can be difficult to spread through the hair.

The developer lasts several application, but the cost of the tubes added up for me.  I was using at least two and sometimes four tubes ($15 each) to cover all my hair. It was costing me between $35 – $65 each time I colored my hair, including the developer.  Still less than the salon, but something to note.

As I said above though, the results looked incredible and the color was so rich.  The results (to me) look very high end.



  • 2.1 oz of 7.34 Golden Copper
  • 2.1oz of 7.3 Golden Blonde
  • 4.2 oz of Level 20 INOA developer 

This came out a little too dark for my taste at first, but within 3 washes was perfect and such a pretty shade.

Formula #1 Results (4 photos):

Directly after coloring, indoor lighting, with flash.
Same as above.
After 3 or 4 washes, indoor lighting, with flash.

Related Post | Best Shampoos + Conditioners to Maintain Red Hair Color


  • 2.1 oz of 8.34 Golden Copper
  • 2.1oz of 8.3 Golden Blonde
  • 4.2 oz Level 20 developer

This came out PERFECT at first, it was the perfect coppery strawberry blonde shade.  But it also did fade quickly, so by the end of 4 weeks it needed a red-pick-me-up.  But if you want your hair to be more blonde than copper, try this mix.

Formula #2 Results (5 photos):

Aftering coloring and 1 wash. Indoor lighting/with flash.
Same day, just in direct sunlight, no flash.
With a Diva Ring light on (slightly softer lighting than a flash)


  • a half a tube (1 oz) of 7.34 GC
  • quarter a tube (.5 oz) of 7.3 G
  • quarter a tube (.5 oz) of 7.43 
  • 2 oz Level 20 developer at the roots THEN same colors and ounces mixed with 2 oz Level 10 developer throughout the hair

This was a true copper, which is really pretty.  Not my normal, but it’s good to try new things and this is such a gorgeous color! 

It has faded since the initial coloring. How wild is the difference in the color between the indoor and outdoor/direct sunlight photos!?

Formula #3 Results (5 photos):

Day of coloring, indoor lighting, by a window, photo taken with flash.
Same as above.
Same day of coloring, in direct sunlight outdoors, no flash.
Outdoors, no flash, after 4-5 washes.

Shop Copper Hair Dye



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



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  1. Hi Molly,

    Thanks for the great post on going strawberry! I love it. I followed your current wella formula but it came out darker and more coppery on my dirty blond roots with level 10 highlights. I will probably need to try level 9 variation of your formula. My question is, and I know you’ve written about this, but would you recommend using something like a color oops product to get the darker Cooper out or just use bleach and try again. I did buy the matching extensions and they are such a beautiful color. Hoping to get my own hair to match. Please let me know what you recommend. Thanks again!

  2. Hi Molly,
    I’m so glad I found you! Thank you so much for taking the time and tremendous effort to share so many details with us. I’m a natural redhead but my hair has turned more brownish & I miss my red mojo! I just have a few greys around the temples & my hairdresser insists on doing red highlights but it’s not enough. I live in Germany and was lucky to find an online salon supplier who sells L‘Oreal INOA so I’ve just gone ahead & ordered the colours Anna did for you (in the first pics) along with 20 developer. Should I have taken a different developer if my hair is already copperish? I really want to achieve the exact results as you did.
    Thanks in advance!

  3. I was just double checking to see if I read it correctly are you using 3 separate colors: 7.3, 7.34 and 7.43? I was just double checking to make sure I read correctly.

    • Hi! Yes, there are a few different formulas that we tried that I shared in this post. For the 3rd try, we mixed different amounts of these three shades:

      3rd time, in salon Anna used: a half a tube (1 oz) of 7.34 GC + quarter a tube (.5 oz) of 7.3 G + quarter a tube (.5 oz) of 7.43 + (2 oz) Level 20 developer at the roots THEN same colors and ounces mixed with (2 oz) Level 10 developer throughout the hair.

      I hope this helps!


  4. I love your color and that’s the exact color I’m looking for! I’m a natural redhead with graying hair.(not sure what percentage). My hairdresser uses Wella products and I’m interested in the innocense line–ammonia free just like Inoa. Do you know what the conversion might be from Inoa to Wella? I’m tired of being too brown, too orange, too red! Thanks.

  5. Hi! Stumbled across your blog and just LOVE your combos! I’m naturally a mousey brown, but I’ve been coloring my hair a rich copper color. My darker roots are starting to show now. I would like to try a little bit of a lighter, less red shade next and love your first combo of the Golden Copper and Golden Blonde. Just wondering, would I have to lighten my roots before trying out your first combo? Or will the color with developer do enough to lighten the roots? Thanks so much!

  6. I only just stumbled across this blog and I’ve been straight online to order the last combo. All box dyes are way too red and not enough copper so fingers crossed it works out for me.
    How long overall was the last combo left on for?
    Loving your blog! X

    • Hey girl! Do you mean a Wella combo similar to Copper that I got from INOA? I couldn’t find anything in the Level 7 or 8’s and decided to go back to a more strawberry blonde shade vs the copper. But if I go back to copper I will definitely let you know! I did find a Level 6 copper from Wella, but didn’t feel like go that dark. I might try mixing a bit of that with a golden blonde shade to lighten it, if I decide to go copper again. But I really missed the Strawberry Blonde.

      Sorry that it’s been so long, thank you for reminding me!

  7. hey 🙂
    thank you so much for sharing your experience! I’m a natural light golden blonde and I’ve wanted a Strawberry blonde like yours for years. Just never found the right colour because I was afraid dying my hair in a coppery shade would turn out orange. A few weeks ago I discovered your blog and learned about this beautiful colours. Finally tried 8.34 on it’s own and it’s almost perfect! I’m thinking about mixing 8.34 and 7.43 for a more coppery and a little bit darker colour but I’m so happy with my haircoloir right now!

  8. Help please! I dyed my hair with the loreal 8RB reddish blonde. I LOVED the color the first few days. However, as it faded, my roots kept the red color and my ends are much lighter with much less red. I dyed it starting at my roots and then working down. I’m assuming it was because I was growing my hair out and so about 4-5 inches of roots was hair that wasn’t colored at all. I’m a natural dirty blonde and my ends were highlighted. It wasn’t my first time using box color so that’s not the problem. Have you ever had this problem? Any ideas?

  9. This is honestly my go-to blog for all things strawberry blonde. I’ve checked part one and two a dozen times, and was pretty excited to see part three up! Keep them coming, it’s so helpful to see all the photos. Have you ever had any problems with hot roots? I have some grey but it’s not all over, and I’m wondering whether I should do the opposite to these examples and put a lower vol on the roots and higher on the ends? Thanks 🙂 xx

  10. Molly, I’ve got faded strawberry blonde 8-9 level and roots 7 blonde level. What do u think about using only 8,34 shade of inoa + 10 volume developer to tone my hair just a little bit? Wouldn’t it be too orange?

  11. Wondering if you also recommend using the iNOA post-color shampoo from L’Oreal? Any special conditioner you like to use? After coloring, I only ever use conditioner, so I was curious since I saw it recommended immediately following the coloring process.

  12. Aloxxi is the brand I saw a lot of beautiful reds but darker than strawberry blonde. I often mix different brands of color with excellent results when I’m toning my hair. Of course I think rules are to be broken too….hah. But this way I can use up a too dark color or if I am mixing something with a common color I just use the one I already have rather than repurchasing in that brand. Hair colors have the same chemical reaction (which is needed for it to work), it is just the quality of the ingredients that make the difference. Well that and at the drugstore they just throw in 20v for everyone for most kits.

  13. Wella tends to run a full level darker so if you are using 7 or 8 you would looks at the 8 or 9 and stay away from that Koleston 6. I have used as a resource for pro products. Otherwise brighton beaut . Additionally i have been satisfied with Lanza and their tubes are 3.5 oz. You could maybe go on ebay but never wella koleston because i have heard of fakes. chi has an ammonia free line with larger size tubes Also. I dont know much about the reds though. I have seen a bunch of ads in magazines for one of the brands that appeared to have a great red selection. I cant remember the brand but it is italian i think because the colors are all creatively named And seemed to have that theme. Ok so I didn’t carefully read all comments and am not a pro but have done a lot of research, most specifically on lightening and blonde coloring in order to take my natural 6/7A dyed 2/3 hair bleach blonde on my own. I was able to accomplish it, but even with violet shampoo and a shower filter, I tend to get brassy after a few weeks before a touch up and I have very fine hair so even with using 25v in the cold dry winter I got breakage with oil bleach. I more recently got some olaplex so I’ll have to see how this goes but I’ve been thinking about going red. The bleach and tone can be a pain esp seeing the back of my head! I’m going to bookmark your post!

  14. Your series of posts on going strawberry blonde gave me the courage to have a go at home-coloring my red. I was seeing a colorist every 3 weeks and wasn’t thrilled with the results. I’ve had good results so far following your suggestions but I have a question for you. Because the previous colorist was going so much more dark copper and ashing out with a brown/red mix, I’m not able to get the lighter shade I really want. Do you do any degree of color removal between changes of shade? I know there are commercial products that do this but again, I’m not sure I have the courage to do it at home.

  15. I absolutely love love love this color!! Do you have any recommendations on how to get this with a line of color they sell at Sally’s?? Thanks!

    • Hi Erica!

      I’ve been looking online and can’t find anything similar, but will probably head to the store next week to check it out in person and see if I can find any close matches!


      • I was thinking of mixing the Wella Titian Blonde and Red-Red…would that be close to it? Or maybe mixing those two with an 8G or 9G?

  16. Spectacular! The final combo is dramatic and perfect for you! (A little too much mixing and a few too many tubes for me though!)

  17. Hi!
    I love your hair color and your blog! I have a question regarding your coloring technique. You said that you use 30 developer for touch up/all over color and 20 on the roots. I thought that 30 is much stronger developer so why dont you use it on the roots and 20 for all over color? Im a bit confused, please clarify.

    • Hi there! Okay so at home myself I just use the 20 all over, and I thought Anna said she used 30 throughout, but I just checked with her and she uses 20 on the roots then Level 10 developer throughout. So sorry, I really hope no one has had a color whoops from this. I updated it to show the Level 10. Thank you for your question, you saved a lot of heads!!

      • Thank you for your reply! Here’s another question, how do you blend two developers? So you colored your roots with developer 20 and put developer 10 for all over, but how do uou blend it so the color is all even? Im sorry if im asking too many questions, im thinking of dyeing my hair strawberry blonde and just dont want to make a mistake with this. My roots are darker then the rest of my hair which is blonde.

        • No such thing as too many questions! I just use one level myself, so I would email Anna, her email is above and check with her. She’ll be able to give you the best advice on this and I don’t want to tell you the wrong thing!

  18. These posts are so much fun to follow! INOA is a wonderful line. Redken Chromatics is another amazing oil based-ammonia free line. They offer Rubilane and R5 dyes that are supposed to resist fade as well as a ‘Beyond Cover’ line of Chromatics that are for 75% or higher grey coverage. Do you have any friends willing to let you tag along to a professional store? SalonCentric sells INOA for $8.45 and developer for $10.80. Redken Chromatics is $7.50 and $10. I would love to help you out, but I live in WV 🙁 <—– frowny face on so many levels …. lol

  19. While you are beautiful as a strawberry blonde and the coppery tones are a natural with your skin tone, I think the rich coppery colour makes you look like a Disney princess. I vote to keep the copper !!

    Your previous colour posts were inspiring, and actually got me started on home colouring adventures, including many visits to Sally’s and many test swatches of bleaches and colouring. Ironically, I have always been coppery (fading to “mouse” with age of course) and I was planning to enhance the copper colours again — and instead have been moving more toward golden/light brown. But my whole journey started when I found your Strawberry posts in November.
    Keep on being and inspiration !

  20. Hi Molly

    Found your website as considering former auburn and reddish blonde colors. Your color is beautiful and know of INOA they sell that in Sally in England where my daughter lives they do not have it here. My hair sadly faded never went grey just to a whiter blonde have tried once a year to color it fades out a stylist in London recently said would have to color weekly for two months to get color and a Demi would not take well. I currently just add light blonde by loreal and due to fair skin color looks natural think Lindsay Lohen or Nicole Kidman but miss the besutiful color like yours and inspired but cautious as to why my family that was this color is more platinum easier to deal with as we age. Have you ever been auburn at all love that shade also. Being so light I may try dark and light auburn by loreal think their reds are more natural than Wella line.

    Best wishes

    Sharon Marie

  21. Try Naturtint line of copper colors:) I use Copper Blonde and Light Copper Chestnut. Loving your colors Molly. Big hug from the snow-land!

  22. I LOVE YOUR INFO AND PICTURES!!! I was just looking last night at the Well Kolestan but could not get a good read on a swatch! I am using your level 8 titian 1/4 to 3/4 level 8 blonde and I LOVE IT!!! Thanks so much because I know this takes a lot of time and effort to pass on your info. Thank you, Molly

    • Thank YOU, Lisa, for being such a loyal reader! I’m glad these posts help and getting your feedback is so nice. I appreciate it!

      • I tried the first formula and my hair was already a very dark copper and I tried your formula and it came out only a little bit more copper. How do I get it lighter? Thank you

        • Hi Robyn,

          If you go to a level 8 or 9 dyes next, you should be able to get it a bit lighter. What is your natural hair color?

          • Hi. I’m naturally a mousey brown but hair hair has always had red in it. What formula do you suggest ? I’d love a colour like your last formula but I’m not sure that formula would lighten my hair. Also how often do you colour your hair? Thankyou

          • Hi Robyn,

            I would try to fade your color a bit, read the “help, my hair came out too red” post and then try using a level 8 or 9 to get lighter results. Color can’t lighten color, so fading your current color first with shampoos, etc might help you get lighter results next time. I hope this helps! I touch up my roots every 4-6 weeks.

            xo – Molly

          • I’m a natural mousey brown but red seems to stick to my hair so well. What mixes do you recommend. Could you recommend a formula please? Also how often do you re dye your hair ? Thankyou

  23. Question about your third formula, you used: 1 tube each of 7.34 GC+ 7.3 G+ 10 grams of 7 + Level 20 developer at the roots and Level 30 developer throughout the hair. What is the 10 grams of 7? That is the absolute best copper color and I have been trying to get it for so long. Your blog has led me to some great combinations, but that is pretty much exactly what I am looking for. Thanks again for all of the information, your blog has been very helpful!

    • Huge TYPO! Thank you so much for catching that. I updated it with the correct formula, it’s actually shade 7.43. I hope this helps and you get the copper color you want! So glad the blog has helped you out so far.

      xo – Molly