8 Classic Ash Brown Hair Color Ideas | How To Get The Look At Home

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Good bye mousey, ash brown is in the house-y. Ahem! Cool, ash brown hair colors are rocking our world right now with their versatile, multi-dimensional gorgeousness. But how do you know if ash brown hair will suit you?

If you’re looking for that special brunette color combo that will add some depth and dimension to your look in a natural way – we’ve got you covered.

This article will tell you everything about this brown hair trend – what hairstyles good in ash brown, will they suit you and most importantly, how you can get your very own ashy locks at home!

Here’s everything you need to know about how to get the on-trend color that’s lighting up our lives and heads!

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What color is ash brown hair?

Ash brown hair color is a classic, cool brown color that is a beautiful blend of brown and silver-gray.

It looks stunning on those with cool undertones and a pale complexion. But that’s not to say that warmer tones can’t get the look too.

It’s a great base color to blend with other shades like dirty blonde or caramel blonde to keep you on-trend from season to season.

It’s is a soft, flattering light brown color that is loved for being multi dimensional and a perfect color partner for brown hair balayage, bronde, ombre and highlights.

Dark ash brown, light ash brown, medium ashy brown, brunette balayage, highlights and even mushroom – it’s the most lusted after shade right now for a gorgeous, all-over natural hue.

It gives the best results over pre-lightened brown and blonde hair to achieve the ashy brown effect.

Check out the latest looks on our Ash Brown Hair Pinterest Board for ideas and inspiration.

ashy brown hair color ideas pinterest

What hairstyles suit ash brown hair?

This versatile hue be styled in many different ways, so don’t be afraid to try out new looks.

By using cooler tone shades that are close to your natural hair color, you can create a look that is both natural and trendy.

As with all hair styles, it is important to experiment until you find the look that is perfect for you.

8 gorgeous Ash brown hair color ideas and inspiration

#1 Ash brown balayage

Balayage hair is a popular style for ash as it can help to add depth and dimension to the color.

In balayage, small sections of hair are lightened or dyed with a lighter shade than the brown base color. This gives the hair a natural, sun-kissed look that is very popular right now.

If you want to try balayage at home, be sure to use lightening or blonde shades that are close to your natural hair color.

You don’t want to go too light or too dark, as it will be difficult to maintain the look over time.

#2 Light ash brown ombre

Ombre hair is another popular style that really brings out the best in this color.

In ombre, the hair is gradually lightened from the root to the tip, giving a soft and natural look.

This style is perfect for those who want to lighten their hair but don’t want to go too blonde.

Again, it is important to use shades that are close to your natural hair color, or you may end up with an unnatural-looking result.

#3 Smokey ash bronde

Bronde is a style that combines brown and blonde tones, and it can be a great option for blending with ashy colors.

By mixing brown and blonde tones, you can create a look that is both natural and trendy with loads of texture.

Cool tones can opt for platinum and ash blonde shades. Go for honey and caramel tones for a warmer look.

#4 Ash brown and light ash blonde highlights

Highlights are also a great way to add depth and dimension to an ashy brunette base.

By adding highlights in a lighter shade, you can create a more subtle look that is perfect for everyday wear or a more dramatic look, perfect for making a statement.

#5 Dark ash brown and chocolate lowlights

Lowlights are the opposite of highlights, and they involve adding darker shades to your hair.

Lowlights can be a great way to add depth and dimension to ash brown hair, and they can help to hide any unwanted red or orange tones.

You can also add a hint of warmth with other brunette shades like dark chocolate or chestnut.

#6 Light ash brown babylights

Babylights are a newer trend that involves adding very thin, subtle highlights to the hair.

Babylights are perfect for those who want a subtle, natural-looking look.

Blend a few lightening shades that are close to your natural hair color to create babylights that will compliment your base.

#7 Ash brown root stretch

If you want to keep your style looking natural, you may want to try root stretch.

Root stretch is a technique that involves darkening the roots of your hair a few shades lighter than the rest of your hair.

It’s a fabulous way to hide new root growth too. Also known as a root blur or root smudge!

#8 All over ashy brown

If you want all-over ash, you may need to lighten you hair color first.

This style starts with light brown hair and takes you to a dark ash brown hair color.

To get the look, start by lightening your hair to a light brown or even a blonde.

Once your hair is light enough, use an ash brown dye to cover your entire head.

This look works best for cool skin tones and looks incredible in loose waves on long hair.

How to Achieve Perfect Ash Brown Hair at Home: A Step-by-Step Guide.

Ash brown hair is the perfect combination of cool tones and natural-looking hues that adds dimension and depth to your locks.

Whether you want to refresh your current look or try something new, a stunning ash brown shade is the way to go.

But, getting the perfect ash brown hair may seem intimidating, especially if you’re doing it at home.

Don’t worry, though, we’ll break down the process for you step-by-step so you can achieve fabulous ash brown hair in the comfort of your own home.

Step #1 Prepare Your Hair

Before you start dyeing your hair, make sure it’s in its best condition. If your hair is dry or brittle, dyeing it could cause further damage.

You need to make sure that your starting base is the perfect canvas; so invest in a clarifying shampoo to remove any product buildup or dirt, and then deep condition with a moisturizing treatment.

Step #2 Choose the Right Shade

Once you have prepared your hair for its transformation, choose an ash brown dye specifically designed for home use.

Make sure to do your research and choose the right shade of ash brown for your skin tone.

If you have warm undertones, you’ll want to opt for deep ashy and cool shades.

If you have cool undertones, a warmer ash hair color will be more flattering.

Try looking at pictures of your favorite celebrities with ash brown hair and see if their shade matches your skin tone.

Step #3 Pre-Lightening

If you have naturally dark hair, you may need to pre-lighten before applying your ash brown hair color.

Start with a hair bleach kit to lift your hair to the desired level.

Keep in mind, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully and not lift your hair too much, or you may end up with fried hair.

Bleaching your hair is a harsh process, so you’ll need to make sure your hair is up to it. If you’re not sure, ask a professional colorist at your local salon who can tell you what’s right for you.

Step #4: Applying the Ash Brown Hair Color

Once your hair is pre-lightened to the right level, it’s time to apply the ash brown color.

Start by sectioning your hair and applying the color from roots to ends.

Make sure to apply the hair dye evenly all over, and don’t forget to wear gloves to avoid staining your hands!

Step #5 Processing and Rinse Out

After applying the ash brown color, let it sit for the recommended processing time — typically around 30 minutes.

Once you’ve waited long enough, it’s time to rinse out your hair.

Use cool water to help seal the cuticle and reduce damage. If your hair feels dry, use a conditioner or hair mask after rinsing.

Step #6 Maintenance

Now that you’ve achieved your an ash brown hair color that you love, it’s important to look after it.

Use shampoos and conditioners that are formulated for color-treated hair, and try to avoid washing your hair too frequently.

And invest in a heat protectant spray to prevent damage from styling tools.

Watch and learn: How to get perfect ash brown hair color.

Here’s a great video that from hair guru Guy Tang that shows you how to get that perfect ash brown hair color for glossy, un-brassy locks.

Can you get ash brown hair without bleaching?

If you want to know how to get this color at home, you need to first look at your base hair color – the shade of ashy brown you’ll achieve all depends on the color your hair is now.

If your hair color now is darker than light brown – Your hair will need to be lightened first.

This also goes for any other on-trend hair colors your hair happens to be – and especially if you have black hair or naturally dark hair.

These will have to be removed before you start or your hair could turn black – you can’t lighten color with color!

Check out our advice in How to bleach your hair at home for top tips and products you can use to do this yourself at home.

If the thought of lightening your own hair makes you nervous, visit your local salon nad speak to a professional. You don’t want to get it wrong!

If your current color is any shade lighter than brown – or even the same hue, you’re ok to dye your hair this shade yourself at home.

Make sure you read the advice on the hair dye you choose carefully to match it with the color your hair is now.

Remember that color can’t lighten color so you may end up a shade darker than your base, whichever hair dye you try.

If you know your hair takes to hair dye easily, you can opt for a shade or two lighter to avoid turning black.

Which are the best ash brown hair dyes to get the look at home?

When it comes to perfecting the look, you’ll find a variety of different brunette hair colors so choose wisely.

These are our best ashy brown box dyes you can buy today!

Read more about each one in our Best ash brown hair dye reviews.

Best ash brown hair dyes at a glance.

Hair dyeLooks likeBest forBuy now
John Frieda Precision Foam Medium Ash Brown.q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01L96IUL4&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBbest ash brown hair dye john friedaRich ash brown hues
Clairol Nice' n Easy Crème, Medium Ash Brown.q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07896997Z&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBbest ash brown hair dye clariolWarmer tones.
Clairol Nice' n Easy Crème, Light Ash Brownq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07893N2RM&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBbest ash brown hair dye nice n easyA subtle ash brown colour.
Schwarzkopf Colour Expert Omegaplex Hair Dye, Natural Light Brownq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07B5Q2VYM&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBbest ash brown hair dye schwartzkopfDeeper shades of ash brown.
Garnier Olia Light Brown Hair Dye Permanentq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B009SK3HFI&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 21&language=en GBbest ash brown hair dye garnierLight brown ashy hair.
Revlon Colorsilk Beautiful Color,Light Ash Brownq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01LTHLD9Y&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 20&language=en USrevlon light ash brownCooling down warmer tones.


John Frieda Precision Foam Medium Ash Brown Hair Dye.

 john frieda hair dye

They say:

  • A thick and saturating mousse-like, foam hair dye.
  • The non-drip foam sinks into your strands for deeper color saturation.
  • It’s applied easily from root to tip and even in hard-to-reach areas.
  • The after-color conditioner is really nourishing and helps to seal in the color for long-lasting results. 

Reviewers say:

“The hair dye itself is so easy to use and it smells lush. There’s no warmth to the color, it’s proper ashy brown.”

“The dye is a beautiful cool brunette color. Not too dark, and has covered up most of the warm tones I was trying to get rid of! So happy!”

“I used this just on my roots as I have light brown extensions in. It covered all my greys completely and has refreshed my style. So pleased.”

We say:

We love John Frieda Precision Foam. It’s a permanent hair color that’s easier to apply than other formulas, doesn’t drip and really saturates your hair with color.

This is a medium brown shade but it came out darker than the box on our medium brown, already color-treated hair.

But brown dyes are notorious for producing results darker than the box so if in doubt, go one level up from your base color.

What we loved about this hair dye and shade was that it got rid of our red/brassy undertones. It’s a sultry, rich color with cool hues.

Although it was quite dark to begin with, it gradually faded after a few washes to a lighter shade.

Best for: Rich ashy brown hues.

How to dye your hair at home.


Will ashy brown hair suit me?

This shade best suits cool skin tones so it’ll compliment you if you have cool tones too.

So it’s best for those with pale and ashy complexions and face frames lighter eye colors beautifully like grey, green and blue.

That’s not to say you can’t warm it up with ombre or balayage looks to suit darker and warmer skin tones and complexions.

You can blend it with caramel balayage, or subtle brown highlights on medium brown hair.

It also looks amazing as a smooth base for platinum blonde highlights and honey brown lowlights.

If it suits you, its silvery properties can cast a glossy glow. But be careful it doesn’t wash you out if your undertones aren’t a match for it.

What skin tone is best for ash brown hair?

Use our checklist below to find out your undertones and check that cool brunette hair will suit you.

If you have cool undertones:

  • Your skin tone is pink or pale.
  • You blush easily!
  • Jewel and pastel colors are so your thing.
  • The color yellow washes you out and does not look good on you.
  • You have blue not green veins in your wrist.
  • Pearls and silver jewellery look awesome on you.

If you have warm undertones:

  • You have red or golden tones in your natural hair.
  • Your skin tone is golden, tan or olive.
  • You might have freckles.
  • You have green not blue veins in your wrist.
  • You suit bright or rich shades better.
  • Gold jewellery looks awesome on you.
cool or warm undertones infographic

Which hair colors suit me?

You can also find out which hair color suits you by taking our quiz!

Just answer a few quick questions to find out what other hair colors most suit you!

Which Hair Color Suits Me?

You can also try on some virtual hair colors with the Best hair color changing apps you need to use this year!

Is ash brown good for gray hair?

Because of its ashy, smokey ash tones, it’s a great color for covering up grays.

The brunette tones blend well with gray and with the right ash brown hair dye, you can get a good gray coverage.

This color will wear well on gray hair too, casting a silvery wash as it fades and your natural color peeps through.

You may find yourself having to dye your hair more frequently if you are very gray.

Is ash brown a natural hair color?

Ash brown is a natural hair color, however it can be achieved through the use of dyes and bleaches.

There are many different shades of ash-brown colors, so it is important to find the right color for your skin tone and hair type.

You can use store-bought products, or you can mix your own colors to create the perfect shade for you.

Be sure to test the color on a small section of your hair before applying it all over, as some shades can be very light or dark depending on your base color.

Is ash brown the same color as mushroom?

Mushroom brown is a super on-trend version of light ash brown hair that blends cool blonde highlights and low lights to create that earthy mushroom color.

It’s a slightly warmer shade with its deep, rich hues and a fabulous alternative for those with warmer skin tones.

Is ash brown the same as chocolate brown?

Chocolate brown is another warmer, dark brown hair shade that has golden undertones that create a rich, luxurious color.

Chocolate definitely suits warmer or neutral skin tones and is the perfect brunette shade for those that will look washed out by ashy hair colors.

Chestnut brown is another light-brown, nutty color that blends beautifully as lowlights or balayage to create a warmer effect.

Check out the latest looks for ideas and inspiration.

difference between ash brown vs chocolate vs mushroom balayage

What highlights go with ash brown hair?

  • Caramel blonde
  • Honey blonde
  • Beige blonde
  • Platinum blonde
  • Mushroom blonde
  • Ash blonde
  • Butterscotch

How to tone brown hair to ash?

If you have brown hair, you may be looking for a way to give it a cool, ash-toned hair look. Here are some tips for how to tone brown hair to ash:

First, you need to cancel out any brassy warm red or orange tones in your brown hair. You can do this by using a purple shampoo or conditioner.

Be sure to use these products on damp hair, and leave them in for 5-10 minutes before rinsing out.

Next, you’ll need to select the right toner. Ash-toned toners typically have blue or green undertones. If you’re not sure which toner to choose, ask your colorist!

Once you’ve selected the right toner, apply it to damp hair and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then, rinse it out with cool water. Avoid using hot water, as this can cause the toner to fade more quickly.

By following these tips, you can give your brown hair a cooler, ash-toned look without having to dye your hair.

What color does ash brown fade to?

Ashy hair has purple or blue tones within it but you might find it becomes warmer as it fades.

Particularly if you have warmer tones and your hair naturally draws red.

To take care of this, you’ll need a good blue shampoo to stop your color becoming too warm or brassy.

Blue shampoos will deposit a cool blue color pigment that neutralizes unwanted orange and keeps that brown nice and icy.

How long will ash brown hair last?

Assuming you are using a good quality hair dye, your color should last anywhere from 4-8 weeks, depending on how often you shampoo and how much sun exposure it receives.

What’s great about this shade is that it grows out really well.

If you want to lengthen time in between top ups, you can try darkening your roots with toner to create the on-trend root stretch look.

Can I use purple shampoo on ash brown hair?

Yes, you can use purple shampoo on ash brown hair.

Purple shampoo is designed to neutralize yellow tones in blond hair, but it can also be used on brunette colors to keep them from looking too warm.

It can sometimes look a bit orange or red, so using a purple shampoo can help to cool down the color and make it look more natural.

Just be sure to avoid using too much shampoo, as it can strip your hair of its natural oils and leave it feeling dry and brittle.

How do I care for my ashy brown hair?

Once you get beautiful brown tresses at home, you’ll need to maintain it to stop it fading away.

But luckily, it is a brunette color that can keep well with the right care.

Our top tips for making hair color last longer include protecting your hair against sunshine, heat damage and sea and pool water with the right products.

Also try washing your hair less frequently, ideally once a week if you can.

You can lengthen the time in between washes with a good root cover up and dry shampoo.

The good news about this shade is that it still looks good while it’s growing out.

So you can dye your hair less often. Darker root styles and root blurs are all the rage and blend well with this cool brown hue.

This will fortify and restore your hair bonds and help lock in the color. If it’s good enough for Kim K, it’s good enough for us.

And don’t forget you can check out all the best colored hair care tips How to look after colored hair and keep it luscious for longer for top tips.

Parting words.

So, if you’re ready to take the plunge into a whole new world of cool hair colors, what are you waiting for?

Now there’s nothing to stop you from rocking the ashy goodness. It’s time to say goodbye mousey and hello beautiful!

Good luck!

This article was written by:

  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
    Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!