How to Get and Maintain Ash Hair Color

"My hair always pulls warm", "my blonde always turns brassy", "my hair looks orange", "I hate red tones in my hair".

These are common complaints I hear from clients.

1. Everyone's hair pulls warm. The hair is made up of different types of pigments and they are red, orange, and yellow. Depending on how dark your hair is determines how much of a pigment you have. Blondes have mostly yellow, medium brunettes have orange and yellow, and people with dark brown or black hair have red, orange, and yellow.

2. When hair is lightened it exposes those underlying tones in the hair in the order of red, orange, yellow depending on how dark the hair is to start. For example, if you have blonde hair and you put bleach on it, it will show up gold at first and then slowly become paler and paler yellow. With black hair it will start as red and as the bleach sits on the hair it will turn orange and eventually yellow. In order to achieve a true icy, ash, or gray tone in the hair, it must be lightened to very pale yellow. Its important to know that the hair should never be lightened past pale yellow to white because keratin (the main structure of hair) is yellow and if you bleach past pale yellow you are destroying the keratin and therefore destroying the integrity of the hair.

3. There are many factors that determine how easily and quickly the hair lightens. Previous haircolor, texture, porosity, genetics, water quality, all affect how the hair will lighten when bleach is applied.

4. Since the hair must be lightened so much it can take a long time to achieve an ashy result. Especially if you have black or previously colored hair. It also takes time in order to keep the hair healthy during the process. Lightener only stays active for so long, once it has sat for awhile it will slow down significantly until more is applied.

5. So what does this mean for you? If you are dying to have that super ash blonde or brown hair you have a couple options when scheduling appointments. You can break it up into shorter sessions taking the color lighter slowly over time. With black hair what this looks like is first session goal is a medium brown, next session goal is lighter ash brown, next session maybe a cool caramel, until the desired result is achieved. You can spread this over years and have different hair every few months and not spend so much time and money up front. The other option is to schedule a day to get it all done at once. This is basically skipping the individual sessions and reapplying lightener until the desired goal is achieved. It is a lot more time and money upfront but not as much as if you add all the shorter sessions together.

6. Two things to note: Not everyone can have white blonde icy hair. Some hair just does not lift light enough. There is no way for me to know until I try, as everyone is so unique. The second point is that not everyone should have ashy hair. I myself spend years working on getting the perfect ash gray in my hair. Once I decided to try something different with a warmer darker blonde I looked so much better. My skin tone looks best with neutral and warm colors. Looking back at photos of me I can see how the gray washed me out.

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