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Home Blog How to get & maintain ash blonde hair: a complete guide for colorists

How to get & maintain ash blonde hair: a complete guide for colorists


Getting ash blonde hair

Achieving ash blonde hair color is something that many women want to do. The attraction of this cool, ashy shade lies in its sophistication and versatility. It just looks good. It’s not as white as platinum blonde or silver blonde. But it’s more white than yellow blonde. And it just works well on most women.

However, the journey to ash blonde is not always straightforward. You literally need to fight the natural tendency of the hair, which is to veer towards yellow, warm, golden and orange. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what exactly ash blonde hair is, why it can be a challenging color to achieve.

We'll also give you step-by-step instructions for colorists so that you can transform various hair colors into a stunning ash blonde hue. 

What exactly is ash blonde hair?

Ash blonde hair is hair that is blonde and ashy. But what do these terms mean exactly?

Blonde hair for a hairdresser is any hair that is 7 and up.

Now, ash. Ash means that the hair has a cold reflect.

Put the two together, and ash blonde is a blonde color that has a distinctly cooler and more neutral appearance. 

As compared to a yellow blonde, honey blonde or natural blonde. 

Why is ash blonde hair so difficult to get right?

Getting the perfect ash blonde shade can be difficult because the natural undertones present in hair colors always conspire to make the hair warmer.

If you as the colorist are struggling on this aspect with your client’s hair, don’t think that it’s just you or just your client.

It’s everyone. It’s all human hair. That’s just the way that hair and hair color work. A

s you lift the hair, depending on which level it is, it will go orange, then yellow-orange, then yellow, then pale yellow.

How do you achieve an ash blonde hair color?

In order to achieve ash blonde from these colors,  you will need to color correct the hair.

In other words, you need to tone the hair with the right pigments to neutralize that warmth (the yellow, orange or whatever) and hence make it more “ashy”

Now, if you are a serious colorist and you want precise results, you can’t just dump on a retail box color with the name “ash blonde” onto the hair and expect that it’s going to work. 

On the contrary, you will need to figure out where your hair is currently at. Is it, for yellow blonde right now? Or is it yellow-orange? Or is it orange? 

Because the answer is going to depend on these questions. Only then can you figure out which product to use to get that hair to ash blonde.

We will go through all these different cases one by one in this blog now and show you.

How to Get Ash Blonde Hair from Yellow

Let’s say that your hair is yellow and you want to get it to ash blonde.

Yellow means that it is already at level 9 or level 10.

So to counteract yellow and achieve ash blonde, all we need to do is to tone it. 

How yellow exactly is the hair? Because, as colorists we need to be precise and will make a difference to the end result.

Is your hair light yellow? In this case you need to use a violet based toner. Purple, or violet is the opposite to light yellow and cancels it out.

It needs to be level 10 because that is the lightest shade of blonde that exists, and your hair being yellow, can easily get there. 

We would suggest you use Blondify Natural Violet Blonde toner.

Blondify Natural Violet Blonde

Hair toned with Blondify Natural Violet Blonde 010V - Hair by Elona Taki

This is a level 10 based toner with purple toning pigments added. It’s ammonia free and it’s PPD free, and being a liquid toner, is very easy to use.

Or is your hair a bright yellow or even yellow with some orange tones? Then in that case you need to use an ash based toner.

The toner should still be level 10, because the hair is still at least level 9 if not level 10.

So in this case, we recommend use Blondify Natural Ash Blonde to cancel out these yellow-orange undertones and get the hair a cooler blonde color for the desired ash blonde shade.

Blondify Natural Ash Blonde

Hair toned with Blondify Natural Ash Blonde 010A - Hair by Elona Taki

If your hair has both light yellow and orange-yellow in it (after all, hair is rarely uniform and there can be quite a variation between mid lengths and ends) then we would suggest that you use both toners.

So mix together Blondify Natural Ash Blonde and Blondify Natural Violet Blonde and you should be able to neutralize all the warm blonde that you see in your hair.



How to Get Ash Blonde Hair from Brown

If your hair is brown, that means that it is around level 5. Transitioning from brown to ash blonde involves lifting the hair color from level 5 to level 10, in other words lifting by 5 levels. 

This will require you to first use bleach very well.

We suggest you use Brilliant Blondexx bleach. It has Bond Protect built in, and it lifts by up to 7 levels very quickly and very consistently. 

Brilliant Blondexx bleach

Brilliant Blondexx Bleach with Bond Protect - 7 levels lift

Since the hair is brown and you are aiming to lift by 5 levels, you will need to do a first application with 30 Vol developer, and then a second application using 20 Vol in order to lift up the hair all the way to level 10. Make your mix nice and wet and remember to saturate every single strand of the hair. The root is best done separately, you will get better control that way. For a more complete explanation of how bleach, go here.

Once you have lifted up the hair and rinsed it, you can then use either Blondify Natural Violet Blonde or Blondify Natural Ash Blonde depending on whether after bleaching you are seeing more light yellow or yellow with some orange in it. 

This will get rid of your warm tones and create a harmonious and consistent ash blonde finish.

How to Get Ash Blonde Hair from Orange

If the hair has a lot of dark orange tones that means that it is at level 6 or level 7. To transform orange hair into ash blonde, once again you will need to lift the orange out until you get it to a pale yellow stage. For that once again, you will need your Brilliant Blondexx bleach. 

The good news is that for orange hair, one application only using 20 Vol should be enough for your bleach as long as you apply your bleach mixture really well, smothering and saturating the hair fully with a nice wet mix. 

Follow up with either Blondify Natural Ash Blonde or Blondify Natural Violet blonde depending on the amount and degree of yellow after bleaching to neutralize any remaining warmth and achieve your desired ash blonde shade.

How to Get Ash Blonde Hair from Orange Without Using Bleach

For those who prefer to avoid bleach,the good news is that transitioning from orange to ash blonde can still be possible.

But in this case, you will need to compromise on the level of blonde and opt for a medium blonde level (level 9) rather than a level 10 blonde.

Use Blondify Blue Ash Blonde if the hair is really a bright orange and Blondify Violet Blonde 9V if it is more of a yellow-orange. Or use both mixed together if you like.

How to maintain your ash blonde hair

Achieving the perfect ash blonde hair color is only the first step. 

Maintaining its vibrancy and preventing unwanted brassiness is equally important. 

The cool undertones (blue, ash, violet) are the colors which fade away the quickest over time, and when that happens your ash blonde hair will start looking warm, yellow or brassy. So in order to delay the moment when you are obliged to re-tone the hair, we would recommend that you use the following:

Brilliant Blonde Purple Shampoo & Mask

Brilliant Blonde Purple Mask

Brilliant Blonde Purple Mask - tones away yellow in blonde hair

Purple shampoo helps neutralize any emerging yellow or brassy tones, keeping the ash blonde hue cool and vibrant.

Using this shampoo and mask will help you prolong your ash blonde color.

Brilliant Blondexx Shampoo & Mask with Bond Protect

Brilliant Blondexx Haircare

Brilliant Blondexx with Bond Protect - prevents hair breakage and split ends

In alternance with the Purple shampoo and mask mentioned above, you should also use Brilliant Blondexx.

This shampoo and mask contain Bond Protect.

Using these products will allow you to strengthen your hair from the inside and make it thicker and healthier and more resistant to breakage.

Both these lines are sulfate-free, gluten-free and acid based. 

Sulfate free helps prevent color fading and prevents the buildup of sediment in the hair. 

Acid based means that these products will return your hair to its original and natural acidity. This prevents hair frizziness and split ends and makes the hair easier  to style.

Some other things you can do to maintain your ash blonde hair are the following:

Limit Washing Frequency:

Washing hair too frequently can strip away natural oils and color.

Opt for washing every 2-3 days, or as needed, using lukewarm water. Cold water can also help seal the hair cuticle and retain color.

Protect Hair from Sun and Environmental Factors:

UV rays and environmental pollutants can contribute to color fading.

Use UV-protective products and wear hats or scarves when exposed to prolonged sunlight.

This extra layer of protection helps shield the hair from damage and color loss.

Avoid Heat Damage

Excessive heat styling can compromise the integrity of ash blonde hair.

When using heat styling tools, apply a heat protectant spray to minimize damage.

Consider air-drying whenever possible to reduce the overall stress on the hair.

Regular Trims

Schedule regular trims to get rid of split ends and prevent breakage.

Healthy hair holds onto color better, and maintaining the overall health of your hair ensures the ash blonde shade looks fresh and polished.

Avoid Chlorine Exposure

Chlorine in swimming pools can interact with hair color, leading to discoloration.

Prior to swimming, wet your hair and apply a protective leave-in conditioner to create a barrier against chlorine.

Refresh your hair with Blondify

Use Blondify toners to re-tone the hair. These products are ammonia free and PPD free and have been designed to be used for refresh applications as much as toning.

You can use them every 4-6 weeks or so to address any fading or brassiness, ensuring that your ash blonde remains consistent and beautiful.


Achieving ash blonde hair requires understanding what level your hair is at and use of the right products.

Understanding the undertones present in different hair colors is crucial for colorists to navigate the challenges of achieving the perfect ash blonde shade. Whether dealing with yellow, brown, or orange hair, careful planning, toning, and sometimes lightening are essential steps in the journey to a beautiful and cool ash blonde result.

Just follow our guidelines, and you should be able to get (and keep) that ash blonde color in your hair.

About the author

Sally has been a hair colorist and trainer for many years in both the US & Europe. She currently does hair color training for Ugly Duckling. She also helps develop new & awesome products for the brand.

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