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What Are Ash Tones?

by Madison Reed January 18, 2024

Ash Chrome

Image by Madison Reed

Ash is mainly grayish and blue, though it’s most often described as a lack of warmth. However, ash is not actually a color – it’s a tone that contributes to the overall composition of a hair color. Want to learn more about ash tones? Then, read on!

What Color Is Ash?

Have ever wondered what it means when people say, “ash brown” or “ash blonde?” As it turns out, ash colors are those with grayish, blue, or green undertones. They are used to counter warmer undertones like yellow or orange. But why is that important?

Often, when you try to lighten your hair, you run the risk of it looking too yellowish or even red – this is especially true if you already have a lot of yellow and orange undertones in your hair. By picking colors with ash undertones, you are able to help counter this and make sure that your freshly colored hair looks beautiful.

But this doesn’t mean that ash tones are useful only for countering warm undertones. There are many hair colors with ash tones that look fabulous – take platinum, for example.

Can You Have Too Much of an Ash Tone?

We’ve said that ash tones counter yellow and orange tones, so you might be wondering whether this situation can occur the other way around. And the answer is yes, your hair can appear too ashy.

An overabundance of ash undertones can create several issues, dyeing blonde hair brown and it turning green being one of them. And even if the final effects are not that radical, you may still end up with hair that is too cool-toned for your looks or doesn’t match your complexion. 

Thankfully, you can usually deal with these issues easily. We explain how to do it in our article on fixing ashy hair, which we strongly recommend if you end up with too much ash in your hair.

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What Is Ash Good With?

Now that you know what ash tones are, let’s chat about the situations in which you would want your hair color to have ash undertones:

  • Countering red/orange/yellow undertones: we’ve mentioned it before, so we couldn’t omit it from this list. Ash hair colors do a great job of eliminating warm undertones and preventing your hair from going red.

  • Light or neutral skin tones: ash undertones work exceptionally well for women with cool and fairly light skin tones. However, you can also use an ashy hair color if your skin is more medium or olive, as long as its undertones are cool and you opt for a bit of a darker color.

  • Blue or green eyes: with ash undertones, you can play up the vibrancy of your eye color, making them look even more beautiful.

Ash Hair Color for Gray Hair

Since ash is a cool tone similar to gray, it probably wouldn’t be a great tone for gray hair, right? Well, it’s actually quite the opposite.

Ash blonde or brown colors make the contrast between your gray regrowth and colored hair less visible. By using such colors, you don’t have to worry about getting touch-ups as often and can enjoy your refreshed, youthful looks for longer.

Additionally, using warm dyes on gray hair too often might lead your hair to become too brassy. With ashy colors, you can help prevent that from happening.

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Not Sure About Ash Colors? Consult a Professional Hair Colorist

If you are not sure which tones you should use for your hair, don’t worry – we’re here to help! Find your nearest Madison Reed Hair Color Bar, make an appointment, and let our pro hair colorists help you achieve the perfect hair color for you.

As the hair color experts, not only will we help you choose the right color, we’ll also mix and apply it for you. The result? You get your best hair color ever in less time and for a fraction of the cost of a typical salon! 

The Takeaway

To sum it up: what color is ash? It’s actually a cool tone consisting of green, blue, and gray undertones. You can use ash tones to achieve certain looks like  platinum or to subtly cover stubborn grays. There are so many options for you to explore – so which one will you choose?