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Ash Blonde Vs. Ash Brown: Which Color Is Right for You?

Trying to decide between ash blonde vs ash brown hair colors? You’re not alone. These two trendy hues are similar in many ways, but there are also some key differences to consider before making your final decision. 

Keep reading to learn more about the differences between ash blonde and ash brown hair colors so you can choose the one that’s right for you.

A Quick Comparison Between Ash Blonde and Ash Brown:

Ash BlondeAsh Brown
How It LooksA cool tone with subtle highlights ranging from silvery light brown to grey.A cool tone that combines shades of brown and grey with hints of other colors.
ShadeBrighter and more noticeable due to more lightening.Darker, providing a cool, yet illuminating look with colors like silver or gray.
MaintenanceRequires more frequent shampooing and conditioning to avoid brassiness.Benefits from color-safe, nourishing formulas to retain moisture and vibrancy.
Highlights & DepthRequires platinum or white highlights for added depth.Requires chocolate or coffee-colored highlights for added depth.
Ideal ForFair and olive complexions.Rich, warm, and neutral complexions; can contrast beautifully with dark skin.
DurationCan remain vibrant for several weeks or months with proper aftercare.Tends to last longer due to requiring less intensive maintenance.
TransitionRequires careful bleaching and aftercare when initially applied.Can transition from ash blonde without lightening; instead, pigment is added.
TrendinessGaining popularity with a unique, sophisticated twist on classic blonde.A cool and appealing color offering a unique look without drastic change.
Color ToneAsh blonde is a cool-toned hair color that can look icy and sleek. More likely to turn brassy.Ash brown is a cool-toned hair color with less likelihood of turning brassy.
Skin UndertonesComplements cooler skin undertones.Works well with both warm and cool undertones, making it more versatile.
Damage PotentialInvolves more bleaching, therefore more potential hair damage.Less potential for hair damage as it does not involve intensive bleaching.
Highlighting OptionsTypically uses cooler-toned highlights like platinum or icy blue.Typically uses warmer tones for highlights like auburn or chestnut.

Ash Blonde

ash blonde hair color
Ash Blonde Hair

Ash blonde hair color is a cool tone consisting of subtle highlights ranging from silvery light brown to a tinge of grey.

This elegant and chic shade adds depth and dimension to any hair color, providing a unique shimmering look that stands out from more typical honey and caramel tones.

Ash Brown

ash brown hair color
Ash Brown Hair, xcellentbeautysalon/Instagram

Ash brown hair color is a cool and appealing hair color that gives the wearer a unique look. It’s a great way to make an impression without drastically changing your natural hair color.

Ash brown combines shades of brown and gray with hints of other colors like blue, green, or purple – depending on which shade of ash brown you choose. 

Ash Blonde Vs. Ash Brown: What Are the Differences?

While both ashy colors have an icy tone and can give you a sleek, sophisticated look, there are some essential differences between ash blonde and ash brown hair. Below, we’ll review these differences so you can decide which one is right for you.


differences between ash blonde and ash brown
innovated_beauty | hairbycarolina_sgf

Ash-blonde tends to be a bit brighter and more noticeable than ash-brown because it requires more lightening to achieve. With ash-blonde hair, a stylist will lighten your base color to the desired tint and then add toner and glosses to it to achieve that signature cool ash tone.

Ash brown, on the other hand, is darker. Rather than brightening your base hair color, ash brown only lightens some of it with cool, yet illuminating colors, like silver or gray. 


Ash brown and ash blonde is great hair colors for those who want a natural hue without being too dark or too light. However, when it comes to maintenance, the two colors have slightly different considerations. 

You’ll need to shampoo and condition ash-blonde hair more often than ash-brown, as blonde colors can become brassy due to excess exposure to the sun and other environmental factors. 

Additionally, while both colors benefit from using color-safe shampoos, you would do your best to use nourishing formulas that help retain moisture and vibrancy in your ash-brown hair.

Highlights and Depth

It may seem like a blanket choice to choose a new hair color. You pick blonde, and your stylist colors it blonde, right? Wrong. Both ash blonde and ash brown require added highlights and tones to create depth, dimension, and achieve the ideal color you want. 

To achieve the ash blonde color, your stylist will apply platinum or white highlights instead of the chocolate or coffee-colored highlights used for ash brown hair. 

Who It Looks Best On

ash blonde hair

Another main difference between ash blonde and ash brown hair is who the colors look best on. Ash blonde hair looks especially soft and romantic on fair complexions. It can help to accentuate a porcelain skin tone while giving some needed definition to the face.

Those with olive complexions are also able to use this hair color to create a perfect balance of warm and cool tones. The trick is finding an ash shade that isn’t too ashy or too sandy in hue.

Ash brown hair looks best on complexions that are rich, warm, and neutral. And, depending on the severity of the ash tone and the desired effect, it can even give a beautiful contrast to dark complexions.


Many people mistakenly assume that ash blonde hair color won’t last, but the reality is quite different. The longevity of ash blonde hair depends on how it has been applied and how it has been cared for afterward. 

With proper aftercare, such as using purple toning shampoo to prevent yellowing or brassiness and avoiding too much sun or chlorine exposure, ash blonde can remain vibrant for several weeks or even months. 

It is also vital to book an appointment with a professional hairstylist who specializes in color therapy when applying ash blonde dye because bleaching hair can cause severe damage if done so improperly. By doing this, you can ensure your hair will look great every day.

Similarly, ash brown hair can last quite long with proper maintenance and care. However, ash brown hair will likely last longer than ash blonde hair because it doesn’t require as intensive maintenance as ash blonde.

For example, if you slip on toning your ash blond hair, you’ll lose that color quickly whereas you won’t with ash brown hair. 

Can I Go Ash Blonde to Ash Brown without Bleaching?

You can go from ash-blonde to ash-brown without having to lighten your hair first because the base color is already similar to the starting point for ash-brown. 

Instead of bleach, going from the light shade to a darker shade requires instilling pigment back into your hair with colors, glosses, and toners. While none of these products require bleach, you can still expect foils and a ton of time at the salon to bring your hair to a darker shade. 

You may also need to get some more frequent touch-ups for gloss or toner to keep the color from fading.

So, What Is the Difference Between Ash-Blonde and Ash Brown Hair?

Ash blonde and ash brown hair differ in shade, maintenance, duration, depth, and who it looks best on. If you’re still undecided, we recommend trying out a few samples before making your final decision.

And as always, consult with your trusted stylist to get their professional opinion on which shade would work best.


Still unsure what ash blonde and ash brown hair colors are? Want to know more about each? We’ve got some more answers to frequently asked questions about both below.

Does ash brown suit dark skin?

Yes. This cooler-toned brunette hue is universally appealing and brings out the subtleties in any complexion.

Is ash blonde the lightest shade of blonde?

Ash blonde is one of the lightest shades of blonde, but it is not the lightest. The lightest shade of blonde is platinum which is as close to white as blonde hair can go.

Is ash blonde hair color trendy?

Ash blonde hair color is gaining rapid popularity, with many celebs and Instagrammers sporting the look. It offers a great alternative to classic blonde, as it has an air of sophistication while remaining on-trend.

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