Friday, 24 August 2012

What Does Ash in Hair Colour Do?

Unless you are naturally quite fair it’s a fair assumption to say that when you attempt to lighten the hair by any level it will display some of the hairs natural red and yellow pigment – creating an overall orange shade.   This can even appear when you have attempted to remain the same colour due to the peroxide contained within the colourant causing some degree of lightening of the natural base.

Rachel Stevens Ash Blonde Hair
For many, a warmer hue in the hair (when intermixed with the new artificial colour) can create an appealing warm or golden shade. However, some people really dislike this warmth and seek to banish it.  Selecting colourants which contain an ash (within the formulation and box description) can remedy this issue.
Ash colourants use a green and/ or blue molecule which neutralise the orange tone.  Whereas  platinum colours which use a violet colour molecule and designed to neutralise yellow tone – which can only be seen on light blonde hair. In addition, a beige tone is a deeper violet molecule that is effective at neutralising warmth in medium blondes.

Positives to Ash         
Ash will create a neutral or cool tone in hair colours which are displaying a coppery hue.  Using an ash colour will be more effective at producing realistic light brown to medium blondes.   The darker a colourant the less required pigments can be (as the hair colour deepens and covers warmth and natural cool tone).  The lighter a hair colour is - the more likely the hair will be to display yellow for which a violet pigment is required to neutralise (such as platinum or beige).  If an ash is applied to very blonde hair it will appear silver.

Elle McPherson Ash Blonde Hair

Negative to Ash

Ash will tend to display as a matte finish, so on blonder depths the colour can appear slightly flat.  Ash is also a neutraliser and has to fight against the natural warmth in the hair; therefore it can require building up within the hair to display.  

You also need to be realistic of ash, if the hair is showing bright orange or red the ash pigment will sometimes be limited in its ability as the base shade is too dark to be neutralised.  If ash won’t display in currently red or orange hair it means the base needs to be either lightened to accommodate the ash pigment or darkened to cover the red or orange entirely.   

Victoria Beckham Ash Blonde Hair
Colour Restore Cool Ash

Colour Restore Cool Ash is simply pure ash pigment which you can infuse into the hair to balance warmth.  It can be used immediately after lightening, general colouring or hair colour removal.  For best results make sure the hair does not have conditioning barriers on it, so clarify prior to applying.  If you like super cool results (on any base) use a blue shampoo with every wash and a small amount of Cool Ash as your regular conditioner.  Leave for 2 minutes and rinse. A more intense 20 to 30 minute development of Cool Ash weekly will build a stronger ash tone in the hair.


  1. Thanks for the post, love the ash colour restore!can you recommend a blue shampoo? x

  2. i have bleached hair its almost white i want a natural blonde like that on the belle color dark ash blnde box- 7.1 - but if i buy this dye it might turn grey or green?