When it comes to chic hair colors, ash brown hair is always at the very top of our list. From mushroom brown to silvery shades, there’s a reason these cool-toned, ashy hair colors have grown in popularity over the past few years.
If you’re looking to kick off 2022 with a cool girl color like ash brown, we’re here to help! We tapped two of the best colorists in the game, Redken brand ambassador Cassondra Kaeding and Redken x Mizani brand ambassador Rachel Redd, to break down everything you need to know about ash brown hair color. We’re also sharing 20 of the hottest (we mean, coolest) ash brown hair colors to try in 2022.
What is an ash brown hair color?
Think of ash brown hair as ash blonde’s darker, moodier sister. Unlike dark chocolate or honey brown, ash brown is a gray-leaning shade that will bring out the cool tones in your hair (which, of course, makes it best for women with cool or neutral skin tones).
What is the difference between ash brown and brown?
Ash brown is a variation of brown hair color. When you look at a brown hair color chart, you’ll see ash brown as a range of brunette shades that lean cool-toned and smokey.
Does ash brown have red tones?
Since ash brown hair is cool with gray and ash undertones, there typically aren’t any red tones.
How do you get ash brown hair?
If you’re hoping to make your ash brown hair dreams a reality, get ready to book an appointment with a Redken colorist ASAP. The brand has popular ash brown hair dye formulas such as Color Gels Lacquers and Cover Fusion Ash Browns, which provide 100 percent ultra-cool gray coverage, and Shades EQ Gloss which neutralizes extreme brass and refreshes previous color.
“My brunette clients are obsessed with keeping their color cool. The Ash Brown shade family makes it easy to find that balance, while creating the highly requested ash brown color trend,” Kaeding says. “Helping your clients cover gray and stay cooler for longer is so important in today’s salon reality, and stylists can trust Redken to deliver with this new family in Shades EQ, Color Gels Lacquers, and Cover Fusion.”
The ashy shade family delivers ultra-cool and rich results for brunettes who want to stay cool until their next color appointment and for stylists who want cool brunette results, without compromising on coverage.
“A lot of my clients ask for darker tones without red undertones or warmth. The new Ash Browns create such a soft, neutral brown with richness and shine. It’s also a great choice for corrective color work when canceling out ‘hot roots’,” Redd says.
What skin tone suits ash brown hair?
The short answer is: everyone can wear ash brown hair! The truth is, there’s a way to customize any hair color to suit you—as long as you find the right colorist. While we’re firm believers in any hair color for any person, ash hair colors look particularly stunning on people with cool skin tones. Ask your colorist to help you choose a hue from the ash brown hair color chart that best complements your complexion.
What does ash color do to your hair?
Ash hair color runs very cool, so it’ll pull out the blue-gray notes in any head of hair. Not sure whether cool colors look good against your skin or will totally wash you out? This is where the expertise of a pro comes in. Even if the color isn’t great against your face, a balayage application on long hair or a small tweak to the color can be the change that creates the best shade of your life.
Is ash brown hard to maintain?
If you’ve ever tried an ash hair color before, you know that they can turn brassy quickly—and ash brown is no exception. If you’re opting for ash brown hair, be sure to include a blue shampoo and conditioner to your hair care routine to keep brassy, yellow undertones at bay.
Does ash brown require bleach?
The process of achieving ash brown hair all depends on the hue you’re starting with. If you’re starting with dark brown or black hair, your colorist will likely need to use bleach to achieve your chosen ash brown shade. It’s important to note that bleach will always cause some damage, but your colorist will help to improve the look and feel of your hair before you leave the salon. If your strands are blonde or light brown, you may be able to go ash brown without bleach.
Does ash brown cover gray?
If gray coverage is your priority, ash brown hair is a great choice, particularly if you’re more interested in seamlessly blending your grays rather than total annihilation of every single silver hair on your head. Ultimately, coverage depends on the state of your hair as well as the kind of dye used. Redken Color Gels Lacquers and Cover Fusion Ash Browns provide 100 percent ultra-cool gray coverage. If you’re not convinced you can mask all of your grays, schedule a consultation with your colorist. Only your stylist can run their fingers through your hair and tell you exactly what it needs.
How long does ash brown hair last?
How long your ash brown hair color lasts depends on which color service you opt for. If you want to go ash brown for good, ask your colorist to use a permanent hair dye to color your strands. This color will penetrate your strands and remain until it grows out or you decide to switch things up for a new hue. If you’re looking for less of a commitment, opt for a semi-permanent color or a gloss. These colors just coat the surface of your strands, allowing them to fade over time. The time it takes for your color to fade will vary for each person, but expect the color to last about 20 washes.
How do you care for ash brown hair?
Once you have an ash brown hue that you love, you’re going to want to make sure you do everything in your power to ensure it stays looking its best. That’s why you’ll need a color toning shampoo and conditioner system like Redken Color Extend Brownlights Shampoo and Conditioner. This color-depositing, blue toning system for brunettes is ideal for preventing and neutralizing brass on both highlighted and natural brown hair. The shampoo formula gently cleanses hair without stripping color while helping to maintain and tone your cool-toned brunette color.
If your ash brown transformation involves bleach, we recommend adding a hair mask like Biolage Colorlast Deep Treatment Multi-Use Hair Mask to your routine.
While the shampoo and conditioner you use are important, another way to prolong the life of your ash brown hair color is to skip a wash day or to. Regularly washing your hair is essential to the health of your mane, but cleansing too often can cause your color to fade prematurely. If you’re a daily washer, skip a day or two and keep your strands grease-free with a dry shampoo like Redken Invisible Dry Shampoo. This lightweight dry shampoo will refresh your strands without any residue—your wash day secret is safe with us.
Wondering what ash brown hair color is best for you? Keep scrolling for 20 of our favorite shades.
The Best Ash Brown Hair Color Ideas To Try Now
Ashy Expensive Brunette
Expensive brunette hair has taken the internet by storm, and we expect this dimensional, low-maintenance trend to only rise in popularity in 2022. Ask your colorist for an ash brown base with blended, ashy highlights for a cool-toned way to wear the look.
Mushroom brown first caught our attention in 2018, and we haven’t stopped talking about the grayish-brown hue since. If you have a fair skin tone, this trendy portobello-inspired shade is perfect for you.
Ash Brown With Light Ends
Want to stick to low-maintenance hair in 2022? Opt for an ash brown hair color with light pieces only from the mid-lengths to ends.
Smokey Ash Brown Hair Color
This smokey ash hue has gray undertones that pair gorgeously with cool complexions.
Smokey Brown Curls
If you’re working with curls, a smokey brunette looks just as stunning on natural ringlets.
Ash Brown With Ash Blonde Face Frame
Give your ash brown hair instant brightness with ash blonde face-framing highlights.
Embrace your inner winter queen with a snowy blend of silver, light brown ash, and blonde. While you may find this color takes your stylist several appointments to achieve, the resulting look is multidimensional and beautifully reflective.
Dark Ash Brown Hair
Sometimes it feels as if every shade on the dark end of the hair spectrum involves a deep purple-red. For those seeking a very dark brown that doesn’t remind them of grape soda, opt for dark brown ash. We find this shade incredibly flattering for medium and dark skin tones.
Medium Ash Brown Hair
Between dark and light ash brown hair falls medium ash, a mid-toned brunette that flatters every skin tone.
Ash Brown Hair With Blonde Highlights
Fact: A few blonde highlights accentuate any hair color, and ash brown is no exception! Ask your colorist for a few cool-toned blonde highlights to add dimension and movement to your base color.
Dark Chocolate Ash
Dark chocolate ash adds an additional level of intensity to the color. When it’s applied and maintained correctly, this shade should be reflective and silky—basically, the equivalent of melted dark chocolate.
Although the shade suits a range of skin tones, we love the way it looks on pale skin. Why not go for the extra drama?
Light Ash Brown
If you’re looking for an ash brown shade that’s not quite as dramatic as its darker counterparts but still equally as gorgeous, opt for light brown ash.
Glossy Ash Brown
We’ve described ash brown as moody and cool-toned, but that doesn’t mean it needs to lack shine! Head to the salon for a hair gloss or use an at-home formula like Pureology Top Coat + Sheer Clear.
For ladies with medium or medium-dark skin, caramel ash brown is a real winner. The shade is brown with influences of cool blonde, emphasizing olive notes in the skin without washing it out.
We love this shade on mid-length and long hair, especially with caramel sections around the face to mimic the way long days in the sun might lighten the hair.
Toffee Ash Blend
If caramel ash is approachable, then toffee is the shade’s moody cousin. The shade is a true ash brown that flatters light and medium skin tones—not to mention the matte finish we’ve seen in fashion editorials.
On fine or long hair, toffee ash can feel a little one-note. In that case, ask your stylist for strategic lowlights throughout the hair. These well-placed streaks will add depth to your new shade.
Silver Ash Brown
Silver ash brown has all the depth and intensity of standard chocolate brown, but with a cool finish that makes it look fresh. If you’ve been looking to experiment with pastel colors, gray, or silver, silver ash brown is an excellent choice.
Hunting for a hair color that’s infinitely wearable? One that looks put together, but never overdone? Honey ash is the perfect pick for you. The color is a medium brown with hints of sweet, silky honey blonde and beige.
Like honey ash blonde, this shade is the perfect pick for ladies seeking the elusive beach babe look. On loose waves, honey ash brown really makes a carefree statement.
Mocha ash is a classic shade, one that flatters a variety of complexions with its red and gold notes. It’s a sophisticated, creamy take on chestnut strands that will never go out of style.
Where silver ash is deep and metallic, pewter ash brown is a matte shade that’s all inky gray and brown. The shade almost looks the way your brown hair might after being coated with a layer of dry shampoo, but in a very fashionable way.
White Ash Blend
Find a sweet spot between brunette and silver hair color with a look that seamlessly blends bright and dark ashy shades. While we wouldn’t recommend this look for newbies who aren’t used to caring for very light hair, hair color veterans should be able to take it in stride.
Interested in trying ash brown hair? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.