Scroll through your Instagram right now, and I guarantee you’ll see it filled with ash-brown hair. Defined by its brunette base with green, blue, and/or violet undertones, ash-brown hair is on its way to becoming one of the biggest colors of 2021, and for good reason: It’s basically the antithesis to the warm shades you see all spring and summer—in, like, the best way possible. “Whereas warm brunette shades look lighter and richer, ash-brown colors are usually deeper with a smoky, matte-like finish,” says Nina Rubel, colorist at Rob Peetoom in NYC.
And if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably already convinced yourself three times this week that it’s time to try ash-brown hair yourself. But before you book that appointment—because, yes, ash-brown hair requires the help of a professional colorist—keep reading for a few things you gotta know. Plus, 20 super-pretty ideas to kickstart your inspo.
Before you try ash brown hair…
1. Think about skin tone
“When choosing any hair color, it’s always important to take your skin tone into account,” says Rubel. A good rule of thumb? Cooler colors (like ash brown) generally work best on cooler skin tones, while warmer colors are best for, you guessed it, warmer skin tones. But that doesn’t mean ash brown is totally off the table if you have a warmer skin tone, says Rubel—you’ll just need to work with your colorist to find the best placement and technique to complement your look (i.e. adding in a few golden highlights around your face and throughout your lengths to create balance, says Rubel).
2. Do your research
Another important thing to keep in mind: Make sure you take your starting color into consideration before going ash brown. “If you’re starting with very dark hair and your goal is ash brown, you’ll likely need to lighten your hair first before depositing the ash-brown shade,” she explains. “Always consult with you colorist before your appointment and make sure you bring reference photos of what you like and dislike.”
So, to help you out with some of that color research, I went ahead and found the 20 prettiest ash-brown hair color ideas straight from Instagram. Keep scrolling to find your favorites—and don’t forget to DM them to your colorist.
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