If there’s one hair color Filipinas are undeniably obsessed with, it’s ash brown hair. The hue is a beautiful shade right between light brown and blonde. What makes it so appealing is its cool (and often times almost gray) undertone that cancels out any form of brassiness. A lot of celebrities like Maggie Wilson, Sarah Lahbati, and Nadine Lustre few have tried sporting this trendy ‘do throughout the years—and the compliments left in their comment section about their new dye job are a testament to how flattering it looks no matter your skin tone.
Why is ash colored hair so popular?
When you see someone with light-colored hair without that typical yellowish or orange undertone, it looks undeniably unique and a standout amongst a sea of brassy tresses. Ash is a color that looks great on most skin tones because it softens the look of your facial features. The creamy color subtly frames your face and gives off this very feminine vibe. With the color of your hair taking a step back, it actually makes even subtle no-makeup makeup looks pop.
What do I need to do to get ash colored hair?
Achieving ash colored hair requires you to pre-lighten your virgin dark hair to about level 8 to 10 of the natural hair color chart. Black to dark brown hair is usually at level 1 to 3 on the chart, so it usually takes more than one bleaching process to get the desired hair lightness before toning. And by toning, we mean either semi-permanent or permanent hair dyes applied after the bleach to get that ashy hue of your dreams.
Though there are in-salon hair dyes and DIY box dyes that could lighten your hair and get you a faint ash color, the result will not be as bright, light, or cool enough without bleaching. If you want that Pinterest-level of ashy tresses, pre-lightening is a must and you need to be prepared for the post color aftercare to maintain it.
Why is ash colored hair so difficult to achieve?
Since Asian hair has a lot of red and yellow undertones—this is actually applicable to anyone born with dark brown to black hair—achieving lighter colored hair through bleaching usually results in a very orange-y shade or otherwise very brassy locks. So in order to cancel out the warmth, your hairdresser would usually opt for a very cool toner after bleaching to neutralize that reddish tint. The process isn’t easy and requires a lot of know-how in terms of color theory, whether you decide to go to the salon or DIY the color at home.
Ashy shades wash out easily. Two to three washes with regular shampoo (any variant that contains sulfates) will surely strip your hair of the cool tone color you’ve worked hard to get. A pro tip is to switch to sulfate-free products (double check your conditioners and hair treatments!), don’t shampoo every day (better if you can do a two-day interval between washes) and opt for dry shampoo if your hair tends to get greasy quickly.
10 Flattering Ash Hair Colors You Should Try
1. Dark Ash Brown
If you’re not ready for a big change, this shade is perfect. It’s an extremely subtle update to your typical deep brown locks but with a frosty finish.
2. Milk Tea Ash Brown
Milk tea hair is basically a kind of ash brown dye job but with a creamy golden tone. There’s still a bit of that yellow shade lingering overall but it’s neutral enough to not look brassy.
3. Silvery Ash
This shade is probably on the lightest side of the ash brown color spectrum and is nearly gray. This color is undeniably a head-turner and looks best done with a balayage technique for added texture.
4. Green-Tone Ash
Some hairdressers have this shade of ash brown as their default concept of “ash brown,” so you need to be clear with your pegs and what undertone you want to show through. But this greenish ash brown is also a hue to consider especially if you have a medium to deep skin tone.
5. Warm Ash Brown
This strawberry blonde-like brown shade is a cooler version of the rose gold color hair trend. If you’re looking for an ash brown shade with a hint of red, you’d definitely want to consider this hue.
6. Blue-Tone Ash
This color is probably a one to two levels down before a gray or silver hue and is a flattering shade that’s impactful but not too attention-grabbing.
7. Ash Gray
Gray is such a stylish color that isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you aren’t ready to go full on, its ash brown counterpart if the perfect color to try.
8. Golden Ash Brown
This shade is most likely achievable with the right box dye, since it still has a bit of your naturally orange undertone peek through the color. It’s also the perfect hue if you’re into that very sunkissed look.
9. Beige Ash Brown
If you love beige in every iteration, then you should definitely try it as a hair color! This shade is closer to blonde but still has a hint of brown that makes it a subtle and quite soft dye job.
10. Pink Ash Brown
Anyone who loves pink should try this color that looks like a strawberry caramel shake but on your tresses. The faint blush tone is a sweet touch to an otherwise typical brown color.