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Dark Roots Successfully Lifted & Entire Head Toned to Level 10 Ash Blonde

How To Turn Yellow Hair into a Level 10 Ash Blonde


Before and After Bond Protect

From a Dark Root to Perfect Ash Blonde.

Hair by Elona Taki

Are you looking to achieve the perfect Ash Blonde Hair Color From Yellow? Then Read This Step-by-Step Guide...

  • Do you have an impossible dark root area that you need to fix?
  • Is the regrowth area coming in too yellow, too brassy?
  • Do you have fragile hair which you want to take ash blonde but don't know how?
  • Are you trying to get ash blonde hair from yellow or from (ugh!) golden ?
  • And are you a colorist who is trying to achieve ash blonde at home? 
  • Relax, these are all very common issues.
  • We can help you achieve ash blonde perfection whatever the hair color type of your client.
  • In this tutorial, we will show you how you can tone yellow, orange or even dark hair to ash.
  • We will also show you how to do a complete hair analysis.
  • In this tutorial we will also show you how to attack the root area, which is very often several levels darker than the rest of the hair.
  • It is possible to get to ash blonde whatever your hair color today provided you use the right techniques & the right products.
  • We're going to show you how to do it right!

How You Can Achieve a Level 10 Cold Ash Blonde Result: Watch Video:

Products Used to Achieve this Look:

Brilliant Blondexx Bond Protect Bleach

10.1b Extra Light Cold Ash Blonde

20 Vol Developer


First Step: Do your Hair Analysis


Attach the Root Area

Dark Regrowth, Yellow Area & Blonde Lengths

As you can see in the picture above, our model has three separate areas on her hair.
First, she has a very dark regrowth area. This is pure regrowth & it is her natural hair.
Next, she has a yellow, or golden area just after the regrowth area which will need taking care of.
Finally, she has her lengths which are pretty light & will need just gentle toning - they have obviously been colored many times before!

This kind of situation is very normal.
Sometimes colorists want to apply just one product and they think they are going to be able to deal with cases like this. 

But they won't! You need to mentally break down the hair into the 3 sections & figure out different strategies for the different sections.


Brassy Hair

Very Brassy Regrowth

In this case, our model has a very brassy regrowth area - almost 6 inches 
The lengths are much lighter.

So you need to mentally break down this hair into 2 sections.
We are going to bleach the regrowth section, then rinse, then tone the entire head.

Second Step: Apply Lightener to All the Dark or Brassy Areas

Apply Bond Protect Lightener to the root area.

So here we are going to apply a mixture of Brilliant Blondexx Bond Protect Lightener with 20 Vol developer in a 1:2 mix.

Brilliant Blondexx is an anti-breakage lightener that protects the hair as it bleaches. It has been designed for near root applications. 
So it's perfect for an application near the scalp like this.
So go ahead, make your mix and then apply on the dark root area, and the yellow area, making fine sections & working your way right around the head. 

Brilliant Blondexx

Anti-Breakage Lightener for Near Root Applications.

Brilliant Blondexx - With Bond Protect

Third Step: Rinse when the brassy and dark areas have reached very pale yellow (level 10)

Keep checking the hair while the mix is developing and rinse only when you have got it up to a level 10.
In this case we processed around 35 mins. 

You must absolutely get to level 10. That is key.
You can make more bleach mixture and re-apply if you see that the hair has not reached level 10.
Ugly Duckling bleaches lift well and will not require 40 Vol developer.

Hair is Pale Yellow

Hair after rinsing: a consistent level 10. 

Fourth Step: Choose The Right Toner and Apply

We recommend you use Ugly Duckling Toners. They are very fast acting and have very strong pigments for quick neutralization of brassy or yellow hair. They will take any yellow hair to white blonde. They also produce extremely ashy results.

If it is a first time for you toning with Ugly Duckling toners, or if the hair still has some yellow in it, then use either intense pearl blonde toner or intense silver blonde toner.
These contain an extra booster which help get rid of any remaining yellowness or brassiness.

If, on the other hand, it is a second time toning application & also if the hair has been very well lifted, then you can go ahead and use the no-lift pearl blonde toner or no-lift silver blonde toner.

We would also recommend that you consider Ugly Duckling's Blue Based Ash blonde range. These are very interesting colors, (ending in the letter "b") - for example 10.1b, 9.1b which neutralize yellow very well & produce very beautiful blue based ash blonde tones.
Examples would include our best seller Extra Light Cold Ash Blonde 10.1b. (There is a video tutorial featuring this product at the bottom of this page).

Mix your toner with 20 Vol. developer. With Ugly Duckling toners you can apply them on wet hair - just make sure the hair has been towel-dried first to remove excess moisture.
Keep the mix at 1 part toner to 2 parts developer. This will give you a runny mix, and help you saturate well and evenly. 

In this case, because we still had a yellow, brassy section to deal with, we applied the toner there first.
Always work fast when you are using toner because the toner works fast and you must try and give all your hair the same amount of development time.
As you apply, you will see the product start to change color and turn bluish. These pigments are there to fight the yellow and get you to a true ash color.

Watch carefully and rinse when the hair has turned the color you want. Normally, around 10 -15 minutes of toning is enough.
Rinse when the correct level is achieved.

Hair Toner processing

Ugly Duckling Pearl Blonde toner during processing. You can see how the pigments are coloring the hair. 

Fifth Step: Apply Purple Shampoo or Mask

Now that you have toned, rinse.

After rinsing, apply Purple Shampoo and Mask. You can apply it on wet (towel dried hair).
These products will add in purple pigments which will help kill any remaining yellow & help complete the transformation from yellow to ash blonde.
These products are also low pH and will help close the cuticles as well as kill any remaining yellow.

You need to use a lot of product and rub in really well to allow an efficient transfer of purple pigments into the hair. 
You can let the purple shampoo sit for around 5 minutes, then rinse.
For the purple mask, you can leave it in for around 10 minutes, preferably under a plastic cap, with gentle heat.
This helps the color transfer of violet pigments which kill yellow.

Brilliant Blonde purple shampoo and mask can both be used as a maintenance product - to keep the hair ash blonde and stop it from turning yellow over time (all ash blonde hair will have a tendency to do that).

Rub in Purple Shampoo

Result: Consistent Ash Blonde Hair 

Final Result - Ash Blonde Hair

Hair Color by Elona Taki.

How do you get Ash Blonde Hair if you have a Dark Regrowth or Root Area? Watch this Video Tutorial

In this video, we dealt with a dark regrowth, a very yellow brassy area and we turned the whole thing a beautiful ash blonde.

Hair by Elona Taki.

Products Used:

  • Brilliant Blondexx Bond Protect Lightener
  • Pearl Blonde Toner 10V (no-lift)
  • Purple Shampoo.

How do you get to ash blonde from yellow? Watch this Video Tutorial

In this video, we dealt with very yellow, brassy hair. We lifted the root area and then took the whole thing a beautiful blue-based ash blonde color.

This time, we didn't need any purple shampoo. We used just bleach and and 10.1b (regular hair color not a toner).

We developed the color for a full 30 minutes to give a chance for the blue based ash blonde pigments to really show.

Hair by Brittney Perez.

Products Used:

  • Brilliant Blondexx Lightener
  • Extra Light Cold Ash Blonde 10.1b
  • 20 Vol Developer


Intense Pearl Blonde Toner

  • To get this ultra white blonde look, use Intense Pearl Blonde Toner 100V
  • Always do this toning on hair which has been prelightened all the way to level 10.
  • Use with 20 Vol developer. Rinse when you achieve the desired look.

Pearl Blonde Toner 10V

  • To get this pearl blonde look, use Pearl Blonde Toner 10V.
  • Pearl Blonde 10V slightly more pearl and less lifting than the Intense Pearl Blonde 100V.
  • But be aware that it has slight or no lift - so you need to be even more careful about correct pre-lightening before using.
  • Use with 20 Vol developer. Rinse when you achieve the desired look

Extra Cold Ash Blonde 10.1b

  • To get this ultra cold ash blonde look, use Extra Cold Ash Blonde 10.1b
  • Use with 20 Vol developer.
  • This is a regular color, not a toner, and needs to be developed for the full 30 minutes.

Silver Grey

  • To achieve this silvery grey ash blonde look, use Silver Grey with 20 Vol.
  • Pre-lighten the hair really well before applying this color. Level 9 or 10 is required.
  • Process for 20-30 minutes, or when the desired hair level has been achieved


Q: When do I use Ugly Duckling's Intense Toners and when do I use the Regular Toners?

Hair Color Levels

  • Take a look at the picture above of hair color levels.
  • If your hair is level 9 or 10, your hair is already very light and won't need any more lift.
  • In this case, apply Ugly Duckling's No-Lift Pearl Blonde toner or No-Lift Silver Blonde toner.
  • But if your hair is borderline 7-8, you would need to use either of Ugly Duckling's Intense Toners - either the Intense Pearl Blonde or the Intense Silver Blonde.
  • These toners contain a special "booster" that will get "kick out the yellow" and get your hair to the ash blonde from yellow.
  • Use 20 Vol, 1 part toner to 2 parts developer for all our toners, and don't forget to really saturate the hair fully.
  • Rinse when you get your hair to ash.
  • Use Ugly Duckling's Purple Shampoo and Mask to finish.

Q: Do you guys have some go-to products you can recommend me to get me to an ash blonde?

  • Yes. You can use Ugly Duckling's White Blonde Set
  • The set contains everything you need to achieve a beautiful white blonde result, even if your client has dark hair.
  • It also contains Free Coloring Tools.

Ugly Duckling's White Blonde Set - Go here to learn more.

White Blonde Set

Can I put my Ugly Duckling Ash Blonde color on bleached hair?

Yes you can do that. But you need to make sure that you have bleached very well and that you have got rid of as much excess yellow as possible.

The ideal bleached hair is minimal yellow, level 10.

If you apply ash blonde color on top of that, you should get excellent results.

Ugly Duckling has 2 ranges of ash blonde, regular ash blonde and blue based ash blonde. 

For more information, go here.

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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