Hair Color Trends

The Warm to Cool Blonde Hair Color Hacks Every Colorist Should Know

Elizabeth Jakaitis | November 28, 2016 | 8:11 AM
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Those sunkissed, balayaged locks that were on point a couple months ago are not cutting it now that winter is here. This time of year, ashy, muted blondes are the name of the game. 

"Transitioning someone to winter blonde can be such a fun change," says Shelley Gregory (@shelleygregoryhair), stylist at Square Salon in Las Vegas. "The most important thing to me is the health of their hair since winter brings dry air and leftover summer damage." 

Gregory advises beginning the transformation by doing a few test strands of different bleach formulas to determing what the hair can handle and how light it can safely go. 

"Then I do a standalone Olaplex treatment for 20-30 min to get the hair strong and ready for a lightening service," says Gregory. "This is great for all clients who have dry, super porous hair because it enables their hair to take the color really well." 

"For cooler blonde, I would do a heavy highlight all over with a cream bleach mixed with a low volume to get as much warmth out as possible. Then after the blonde processes (it needs to be as close to a level 10 or lighter as possible) I tone with a level 9 or 10 blue or violet based demi-permanent gloss." 

Alexis Thurston (@alexisbutterflyloft), stylist and owner of Butterfly Loft Salon in Los Angeles, shared her five commandments of cool blonding, covering how to find the right tone and how to ensure the end result matches the goal. 

Alexis Thurston's 5 Tips for Warm to Cool Blonde Transitions:

1. Don’t do it just because it’s on trend. Make certain cool tones look good on your clients’ skin tone. If you’re not sure, one tip I like to use is holding cutting capes next to their face in both warm and cool colors to see which looks better. I use a light lavender for cool and a red for warm. It’s a simple exercise to help figure it out and a great visual for your client. Some lucky people can wear both warm and cool tones, which gives more color range options.

2. For those guests who really want an ash color even though it doesn’t look good on their skin tone, you can opt for a compromise with a beigey tone. This tone is more forgiving on most people, because it can appear to be more ashy while keeping the balanced warmth that their skin tone needs.

3. When transitioning to ash tones, keep in mind cool colors don’t reflect light as much as warm colors, which can make colors appear darker than they really are. To keep the same level and just change the tone, use an ash color that’s ½ to 1 level higher than the target level.

4. When depositing deeper tones, always keep in mind the porosity of hair can affect how the color deposits and reflects. Instead of using permanent color on the more porous areas, sometimes using a semi- or demi-permanent color will not only deposit more evenly, but will give the hair more shine, luster and condition.

5. Educating and equipping your client with proper after-care instructions, will help ensure optimum color results. For example, using a purple shampoo once or twice a week can help maintain ash tones.


We've rounded up some of Instagram's most impressive ash blonde makeovers to prove that summer isn't the only time for lightening and brightening. Scroll through the slideshow to draw inspiration from these various cool and ashy blonde tones.

Plus, for those interested in transforming their clients into icy winter queens, check out Ammon Carver Studio's "Wearing Winter White" Collection.

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