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women with dirty blonde hair

Dirty Blonde Hair: 50 Best Color Ideas In 2021 Plus Care Guide

Searching for dirty blonde hair ideas? We’re sharing 50 of our favorites plus breaking down everything you need to know about the dark blonde shade.

Many people with platinum or ash blonde hair will agree: It’s rewarding AF to walk out of the salon with a bright, brass-free hue. However—and this is a big however—it’s not all sunshine and lollipops. The monthly touch-ups and toning can quickly become exhausting.

Dirty blonde hair is one of our favorite hues on the blonde hair color chart because it strikes the perfect balance between light and dark while being one of the easiest shades to maintain. 

If you’re toying with the idea of going for a dirty blonde hair color the next time you hit up your stylist, make sure to read through all the FAQs below. Then, peep 50 of the trendiest ways to try it for yourself.

Good hair day by @hellobalayage.

Is dirty brown hair brown or blonde?

Dirty blonde is unlike your typical squeaky clean blonde shades like platinum and champagne. The hue is a medium to dark blonde shade with wheaty, brown undertones (hence, the word dirt in the name). These hints of brunette make dirty blonde dimensional and low-maintenance—what more could you want?

Is dirty blonde a natural hair color?

If dirty blonde is your natural hair color, consider yourself lucky! While some people are blessed with naturally dirty blonde hair, it’s also one of the most highly requested dark blonde shades at the salon. 

For the bottle blondes out there, dirty blonde hair colors offer some of the most natural-looking ways to go lighter—particularly if you’re looking for a subtle way to transition from brunette to blonde. Conversely, it’s a way to go from lighter to darker without too much of a mental shock every time you catch yourself in the mirror.

How to care for dirty blonde hair

If you’re thinking of going dirty blonde, you’ll want to amp up your hair care routine just a bit. While dirty blonde hair is pretty low maintenance, your at-home routine is crucial to keeping your hue vibrant between touch-up appointments.

Start with swapping your regular shampoo and conditioner for a system formulated specifically for color-treated hair. We recommend Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner. Featuring the brand’s exclusive Antifade Complex, this system quenches and cleanses hair while protecting color vibrancy.

Next up: purple shampoo and conditioner. Use a color toning system like Pureology Strength Cure Best Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner once a week to cleanse, restore, condition, and tone blonde color-treated hair.

If you’ve sat through a bleach session or two to achieve dirty blonde hair, you might be dealing with noticeable damage and dryness. That’s why we recommend adding a weekly hair mask like Pureology Hydrate Superfood Treatment to your routine. Formulated with coconut and avocado oils, this hair mask helps nourish and soften dry, color-treated hair.

Good hair day by @haironthefloor.

How do you make dirty blonde hair look good?

There’s no right or wrong way to wear dirty blonde hair. There are, however, ways to make sure you’re getting the best hue possible. If you’re starting with a blonde base, ask your colorist to give you dirty blonde hair with lowlights throughout—and maybe some  face-framing highlights—for a look that’s dimensional and instantly brightens your complexion. 

For darker bases, opt for a balayage, ombre dirty blonde hair, or dirty blonde hair with blonde highlights that are strategically placed. These approaches will help you achieve the most flattering dirty blonde hair colors. 

Finally, by going to a professional colorist instead of using dirty blonde hair dye at home, you’ll be able to achieve the most beautiful, customized results. 

Will purple shampoo lighten dirty blonde hair?

If you’re a veteran salon blonde, you already know the benefits of having a purple shampoo in your hair care routine. While purple shampoo won’t actually lighten your hair, it can brighten and tone your blonde to neutralize brassy, orange undertones. This is true whether you have dark dirty blonde hair, dark dirty blonde hair with highlights, light dirty blonde hair, or any shade in between.

The Best Dirty Blonde Hair Colors To Try Now

Ready to try dirty blonde hair for yourself? Keep scrolling for 50 of our top favorite ways to wear the shade.

Good hair day by @mzolotarev.

Dark Dirty Blonde

Not quite caramel but not hazelnut either, dark dirty blonde mixes gold and brown notes for a creamy, soft color that’s particularly flattering on medium skin tones.

Good hair day by @nikitahair.

Light Dirty Blonde

No matter the season, light dirty blonde hair feels fresh, bright, and happy. 

Good hair day by @pomme_salon.

Cool Dirty Blonde

Classic shades of dirty blonde usually opt for warmer tones, creating a sunny brown-blonde that highlights tans and makes everyone look just a little healthier. As an alternative, opt for a very cool dirty blonde that hints at ice queen (the more bone-chilling, the better). You’ll love how fresh this take on dirty blonde feels.

Good hair day by @hairbycarismendy.

Ash Dirty Blonde

Ashy shades are very trendy at the moment, which means your favorite Instagram supermodel has probably already tried them out.

Good hair day by @HANDLE.

Dirty Bronde

Bronde is probably one of the most popular shades on this list. We love the way it blends brunette and blonde accents into one gorgeous hair color.

Good hair day by @fatikulac.

Dusty Blonde

Yet another shade in the pantheon of dirty blonde hues is dusty blonde, a tone that’s gained popularity thanks to the influencers who regularly wear it. This shade is creamy perfection.

Good hair day by @hairequipe.

Smoky Dirty Blonde

Sultry girls deserve a hair color that’s just as moody as they are. In this case, it’s smoky dirty blonde. The chocolate-infused shade adds more drama to the standard dirty blonde look. For brunettes looking to shake up their hair color, smoky dirty blonde is a solid choice.

Good hair day by @pekelariley.

Textured Dirty Blonde

There are plenty of photos featuring dirty blonde hair floating around the internet, but not nearly enough with vivacious curls. Don’t worry! Dirty blonde works on every hair type.

Good hair day by @cristenkelso.

Honey Blonde

We regularly gush over honey blonde hair, which seems to be the softest and healthiest blonde shade of them all. If you’re angling for a super natural hair color that really isn’t natural at all, this is a shade that should have all your attention. Paired with blonde babylights, the color is a stunner.

Good hair day by @stylelushsalon.

Dirty Honey Blonde with Auburn Highlights

Go double time on warmth by asking your stylist for dirty honey blonde hair that’s infused with carefully placed auburn highlights.

Good hair day by @ramontgarcia.

Wheat Blonde

Like honey, wheat blonde is one of those magical hair colors that makes every woman look a little more put together. This shade suits tanned or medium complexions, and plays will with ultra-blonde highlights.

Good hair day by @nurzh8n.

Golden Blonde

When it comes to going blonde, you might as well commit to the identity. There’s no better way of going full Malibu than giving golden blonde a shot.

Good hair day by @beeblondor.

Golden Blonde Highlights

Whether you want just a hint of golden blonde or a splash of this rich hue, ask your colorist for golden blonde highlights. This technique works particularly well for those with darker tresses.

Good hair day by @avimalkahair.

Sandy Blonde

When it’s done well, sandy blonde is a cool, ashy shade that flatters fair and medium complexions.

Good hair day by @lamajbackwards.

Caramel Dirty Blonde 

Luxe caramel-infused blonde is one of the most beautiful hair colors available in salons.

Good hair day by @foiledbycarlee.

Pink Highlights

There’s no rule saying dirty blonde hair has to remain within the confines of shades that grow naturally from the scalp. Throw in some pink highlights to keep your hue fresh.

Good hair day by @alex_haircraft.

White Highlights

If you’re more of a white wine drinker than a rosé obsessive, don’t panic. White blonde plays nicely with its dirty counterpart, creating a dreamy swirl of icy color that’s practically begging for Instagram. Be sure your colorist keeps the white blonde highlights as fine as possible to ensure you achieve the best results.

Good hair day by @bombshellblondee.

Dirty Strawberry Blonde

Current or wannabe redheads shouldn’t feel left out of the dirty blonde world. Instead, they can try a dirty strawberry blonde that combines a subtle red shade with notes of ashy blonde.

Shadow Roots 

Like purposefully distressed jeans and crop tops, grown out roots—or purposefully applied shadow or smudged roots—are one of those trends you mom probably won’t ever get behind. That doesn't mean it’s not incredibly stylish, however.

Good hair day by @bobbie.smith.hair.

Dirty Blonde With Lowlights

While we’re discussing ways to add brunette accents to dirty blonde hair, we’d be remiss to leave out a mention of lowlights.

Good hair day by @illumine.

Dirty Blonde Balayage

Wanting to go dirty blonde doesn’t mean you have to give up your base shade entirely. On lobs or blunt bobs, we recommend giving dirty blonde balayage a chance.

Good hair day by @mygirlyinnin.

Dirty Blonde Lob

This bright color enhances the look of any natural texture in your hair, creating a sense of movement that’s often missing in short hairstyles.

Neutral Blonde

This creamy, rich shade benefits from subtle brunette lowlights that add in a touch of “dirt.”

Good hair day by @hairbykatierose.

Burgundy Blonde

If it’s your first time going dirty, a dark shade like burgundy blonde is the right place to start.

Good hair day by @jaye_edwards.

Sunkissed Blonde

The matte color is just a touch darker than standard dirty blonde, adding honey notes to a dark beige base.

Good hair day by @andrea.prisco.

Dirty Blonde Waves

The beachier the texture, the better this style looks!

Good hair day by @marleen_parkma.

Champagne Blonde

It only makes sense that you’d want to add a touch of champagne to your dirty blonde mane. This shade is all about creating that effortless beach babe illusion.

Good hair day by @taylorhardeehair.

Dirty Blonde With Highlights

These artfully placed streaks add the illusion of depth to your hair, resulting in strands that look thicker and more textured. More hair is always a good thing, if you ask us.

Good hair day by @hairbycharr_.

Dirty Blonde Ombre

You can’t go wrong with a gradient! When in doubt, opt for a dirty blonde ombre.

Good hair day by @dezidoesit.

Platinum Dirty Blonde

In this look, the stark contrast between your dark brunette roots and platinum blonde strands creates beautiful, unexpected dimension.

Good hair day by @ccatherinee.g.

Auburn Dirty Blonde

Sometimes the best shades of red hair aren’t the loudest, so take your look subtle with auburn blonde. You’ll be impressed with life as a low-key redhead.

Good hair day by @beeblondor.

Dirty Blonde Ringlets

Feeling like adding a little something extra? Use a curling iron or wand to add dramatic, beautiful ringlets to your hair.

Good hair day by @dailiperez.

Bronze Blonde

For a touch of sexiness, work with your colorist to figure out the placement of several bronze highlights. We’d recommend focusing them around your newly-brightened face.

Good hair day by @dailiperez.

Dirty Blonde Bun

Toss your dirty blonde ‘do up into a bun for brunch or even date night out. The striking separation between your root and bun color will be a real eye-catcher. Redken Triple Dry 15 Dry Texture Finishing Spray, a medium control dry texture finishing spray, can be the styling aid you need. 

Good hair day by @dailiperez.

Beige Blonde

To live life like you’re ruling social media, talk to your colorist about a beige hue that looks (and feels) totally low maintenance. In 2021, beige is anything but boring.

Good hair day by @vanity_byrose.

Dirty Blonde Rainbow 

If you're the type who prefers a mega dose of color, consider this vibrant take on dirty blonde hair. The rainbow shades sit underneath for a fun "surprise" when worn half up.

Good hair day by @briellebotta.

Prismatic Blonde 

Here’s another way to lean into the rainbow. Instead of adding dimensions to your light blonde hair via lowlights, consider going a more colorful route a la prismatic blonde.

Good hair day by @dbellx22.

Dirty Blonde With Pastel Money Piece 

Not ready to commit to a head full of rainbow-inspired hair? Keep it simple and low key with a pastel money piece. You pick the color!

Good hair day by @leysahairandmakeup.

Silver Dirty Blonde

This hue combines the latest obsession with silver hair and dirty blonde hair via a mixture of silver-white highlights with a dark base. 

Good hair day by @__domidoeshair.

Smokey Dirty Blonde

Here’s a darker spin on silver dirty blonde. This ultra-cool shade boasts the perfect combination of dark and light.

Good hair day by @hairbykatierose.

Chestnut Dirty Blonde

If you’re currently rocking darker tresses but want to dabble into dirty blonde territory, ask your stylist for a warm, chestnut base with a mix of highlights throughout. At your next appointment, it’ll be easy to go even lighter, or back to your dark roots if you prefer.

Good hair day by @hairbykatierose.

Dark to Dirty Blonde Balayage

Another easy way to make ultra-dark tresses lighter is via a balayage. Try keeping the roots true to their hue, then blend into dirty blonde through the midshaft and ends.

Good hair day by @stylelushsalon.

Honeyed Dark Dirty Blonde

For those who really want to lean into warmer shades, try a dark dirty blonde and infuse it with a blend of honey highlights and lowlights.  

Good hair day by @motorcitycolormelt.

Vanilla Dirty Blonde

The perfect blend of creamy light and dark, vanilla blonde is a gorgeous go-to for obvious reasons.

Good hair day by @hairbykatierose.

Medium Neutral Dirty Blonde

For a true “right in the middle” dirty blonde, opt for one that’s not too light or dark and blends both warm and cool shades.

Good hair day by @thehairstylish.

Dark Dirty Ash Blonde

This charcoal-inspired dirty blonde hair color is perfect for those who want to stick to the cool spectrum and have naturally dark tresses.

Good hair day by @hannahjeanbeauty.

Honey Babylights On Medium Hair

To get that sunkissed look on medium brunette to dark blonde, ask your stylist to add golden or honey baby highlights. Keep the roots slightly darker than the rest of your mane for even more dimension.

Good hair day by @thebrassparlouryeg.

Blushing Dirty Blonde

Yep, you can have your pink and dirty blonde, too. Just ask your stylist to infuse subtle pink color throughout your hair. To create more dimension, add a few lowlights to light blonde hair, or add highlights to darker shades.

Good hair day by @emily.alders.

Caramel Highlights

Caramel highlights are the perfect way to stay true to your darker roots while incorporating a burst of lightness. This ultra-fresh look works especially well on those with medium to very dark hair.

Good hair day by @pirania_ya.

Buttery Dirty Blonde

You can create even more dimension in buttery blonde shades by adding well-blended lowlights throughout.

Interested in trying dirty blonde hair? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you. 

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