Today, my darlings, we talk about hair! I tell you how to achieve an ash blonde in dark brown hair. And believe me, you can! The light ash blonde that you see in the cover photo, I got it starting with a dark hair base, which is my natural colour.
As you know I have ash blonde hair as a base for my balayage highlights. I already did a post on my colour routine, but, in summary, to give some background, I use an ash blonde dye on my dark brown base and then apply highlights more sporadically to bright up the tone and make it look lighter.
Ash-blonde hair really favours everyone, because it is the shade of blonde that most closely resembles the natural blonde colour. Dark hair has orange and reddish nuances that make dyeing look unnatural. By using ash tints we manage to turn off the orange and copper tones.
For this reason, the ash colour for women’s hair (what was formerly known as mushroom blonde) is one of the most requested at salons worldwide.
How to achieve an ash blonde in dark brown hair
If you are looking for very light ash blonde hair (or platinum blonde ), you will have to bleach your hair.
However, if you are looking for a medium or dark blonde, it will be probably enough using a dye (permanent colour).
From dark brown to ash blonde with no bleach: what dyes to use
As we have said before, first of all, keep in mind that with a dark brown base, without bleaching we can only reach a dark or medium ash blonde. To do this you must use ashy dyes, which are those that end in .1 or -1. The format varies according to brand.
The ash tones in the box dyes are usually those that end in .1. It is also indicated in the colour of the box (for example: “super light ash blonde”).
Schwarzkoft Highlifts dye range
A great example of this type of dye would be the Highlifts of Schwarzkoft. The reason I like this particular line is because it lifts so much in dark hair. In fact, they only do from the tone 10 up. Of course, remember that you must buy developer separately.
What I like about this range of Schwarzkopf dyes is that they also protect the hair. During the colouring process, the hair suffers, which can lead to the breakage of the internal bridges. With these dyes, these dyes are supposed to be protected.
As you know, this is the colouring cream. You must mix it with developer to make it work for you. If you want the colour to rise substantially, get a peroxide of 40 volumes. If not, (or if you do not want to mistreat your hair so much), use a 30 volumes one. This one from Schwarzkopf is also the one I usually use. But any other is worth it:
Range Excellence Pure Blonde by L’Oreal
In addition to the Schwarzkopf range, I would also recommend L’Oréal’s Excellence if you want something low-cost.
Recently I reviewed the Excellence Pure Blonde dye by L’Oréal. It seems to me an easy option to dye ash blonde at home, without using professional products. L’Oréal has a range of very pretty ash blondes really. Of course, keep in mind that it is still a drugstore dye and will not have the same result as professional dyes.
Here is the before and after of using this dye on my dark brown hair:
This is the Excellence Pure Blonde dye.
Colour additives: blue, violet and gray dyes to get ash blonde
If you have a dye that does not end in .1, .11, .21, which are usually ash undertones, you can make the colour yourself. If you already have a dye that is for example a 10 and you want to make it ash you can buy a 01 to make it ash or a bluish or violet dye if you want rather to correct the yellowish or ash hue of the hair. In any of the three cases you will need a base dye with which to work. These blue, violet and gray toners are just a complement to the main colour.
One option to get a natural ash colour is to buy a 0.1 dye and use it in the mixture along with another neutral or natural tone dye. By this I mean a 7, an 8, a 9, etc. 0.1 dyes (pure ash) are sold only in salon commercials, you will not find them in supermarkets or drugstores. They also sell it on Amazon. I leave the link below to an option that can come in handy. Of course, use only the size of a pea, do not throw more because you will end up with gray hair!
Another option very similar to ash but not exactly the same would be blue or violet tints. However, these are usually used more to correct orange tones. In this post I explain how to remove the orange colour from bleached hair and in this I tell you how to remove the orange tone from the hair after a dye. But today we are going to focus, not on correcting tones, but on applying a dark blonde colour on different bases of dark hair.
In any case, if you want to try it (alone or together with the ash tint), here is an option. The blue tint serves to correct yellows:
In a very similar way to blue we have the option of violet, which corrects orange tones.
How to get an ash blonde with brown hair: what dye number to use
What is the number of ash blonde we should use? This will depend on our base colour and whether the hair is virgin or not.
Shades of ash blonde range from 7.1 to 12.1. Not all brands make all shades:
- 12.1 – Special ash blonde
- 11.1 – Extra super light ash blonde
- 10.1- Super light ash blonde
- 9.1 – Very light ash blonde
- 8.1 – Light ash blonde
- 7.1 – Ash blonde
Depending on the brand the name may vary slightly, but basically they are those. Some brands have variations, such as x.11 or x.21. For example, these are the Highlifts:
- 12-1 Special Blonde Cendre
- 12-11 – Special Blonde Ash Extra
- 12-19 – Special Blonde Cendré Violet
- 12-2 Special Blonde Ash
- 12-21 Ultra Blonde Ash Cendre
With a dark brown, we will only get a natural finish if we apply an 8.1 or 9.1. The 10 and 11 will clarify us, yes, true, but there will be no ash. At most it will prevent less orange from remaining. But to clarify and be well nuanced, you have to bleach. If you decide on a 7.1, you will get a natural but very dark result.
Tone 12.1 is the lightest shade of blonde that is manufactured without fading. Only some brands, such as Schwarzkopf, do it. The Schwarzkopf Igora Highlifts option is the best for my taste. Especially since it is professional quality at an acceptable price.
With a 9.1 on dark brown we can get a medium and dark ash blonde easily.
Dyes 8.1 and above are the most recommended to obtain a medium and dark ash blonde. Here I show you how the dye 8.1 looks in dark hair. As you can see in the photo to the left, my natural hair is very dark and it gives me a nice dark blonde. No brassiness at all. Perhaps a little warm, but good job considering how dark my hair is:
The 7.1 dye is not a recommended option if you are looking for an intensive lift. The hair will be at most light brown, not blonde.
Ash blonde in brunettes
As we mentioned earlier, light ash blonde hair in brunettes is only achieved through bleaching and subsequent nuance. We will have to use a water of 40 volumes. Here I tell you what developer to use for bleaching. The bleaching can be done at the root, that is, treating all the hair, or you can do it in the form of highlights. The highlights can be applied on virgin hair or on a dye.
In my particular case, I highlight my hair over a dyed base.
Medium or dark ash blonde hair in brunettes without bleaching is totally feasible and we simply have to play around with dyes numbered between 7 and 9.
The dark blonde ash on dark brown will only be natural if we do not spend trying to use a dye too lightening. A 7.1 for example can be a good option.
Orange to ash blonde hair
The ash blonde counterbalances the orange. We can also correct the colour through violet or blue hues. For example, adding to the mixture a little of the blue and violet dyes that I mentioned before.
Ashy blonde on red without fading
To correct the reddish colour of the hair it is best to bleach. Then you can nuance how you prefer and that will give you more control over the final tone. However, if you do not want to go through bleaching you can try to do the following to move the ash blonde over the red without bleaching.
First, try to cover the red with a dark blonde tint: a 7 for example. Once you have a less “strident” base to work with, try applying an 8.1 or 9.1. Do not go over with the super lighteners, because you will only get more orangy and warm tones.
Black to ashy blonde without fading
As I mentioned before, it is very difficult to lighten the hair enough to go from a black to a beautiful blonde without bleaching.
However, you can try to correct the black first with a lightening blonde dye, an 11 for example.
It’s going to be very orange. And then you will have to correct it with a lower colour and ash. For example, an 8.1 or 9.1. Again, I don’t recommend it.
Ammonia-free ash blonde dye
If you want an option of ash blonde dye without ammonia I recommend the Olia dye by Garnier. It does not look as beautiful as others, let’s be honest, but it mistreats the hair less and uses fewer chemicals.
If we want a more professional option, I recommend the Essensity of Schwarzkoft. Remember that you have to buy developer separately. I would like to recommend a different brand, because at this point in the post I have realized that most dyes are from the same brand. They do not sponsor me much less, but honestly they are the best dyes of all that I have been trying.
If I ever find anything better, I’ll let you know!
Ash blonde with henna
Henna or semi-permanent dyes are actually simple colour baths that do not lighten the hair. They only provide tone. Therefore, if we do not have a base blonde hair we will not get the base ash blonde colour that we want so much.
How to remove ash colour from blonde hair
Sometimes it happens that the ash blonde looks green in the hair.
Especially when we apply it on a golden base. In this case, we can apply a neutral tone to correct (for example 8 or 9, or the colour we are using).
Another option would be to wash the hair several times by rubbing the hair to make the deposited colour disappear more quickly.
When it has happened to me I have managed to eliminate the green hue by simply washing the hair. It is less aggressive than applying another layer of colour.
Difference between ash blonde and platinum
When we talk about ash blonde we talk about a shade of blonde that presents a grayish hue that does not reflect light. Platinum blonde is very similar, only in this case the shade of gray does reflect light.
If we think about it, the ash is opaque, it does not reflect light. But silver does reflect light, we can see ourselves reflected in it.
With this we conclude today’s post on how to achieve an ash blonde in dark brown hair.
I leave this video with my current colour routine and I hope to see you here very soon.
Lots of love,