Ash brown hair is one of the most unique kinds of brown hair to have. Whether it’s natural or dyed, this hair color creates interesting tones and adds richness to any style. Read on to see our 30 favorite styles and things to consider before dying your hair.
What Is Ash Brown Hair?
The name of this hair color comes from the ashy grey tones that are mixed in with a light brown. The exact shades can vary, so it’s common to see hues of blonde and even red/ginger alongside the grey tones. This creates a nice cool-toned look that sits comfortably in between brown and blonde.
Ash brown hair itself can be warmer or cooler, which makes for even more variation. Of course, you can also use highlights, lowlights, or additional colors to spice things up, although ash brown hair on its own is a fantastic shade. Ashy hair can occur naturally.
But for most women, some dyeing will be necessary to achieve just the right tone. But there’s no better way to understand ash brown hair than to see it in person, so here’s our handpicked list of 30 amazing ash brown hairstyles for women.
Ash Brown Hair
First, let’s start with a pretty “standard” type of ash brown hair. This is a typical shade of ash brown that meets all the criteria. It’s a light brown color with light, greyish undertones, which results in that classic ashy look.
There’s a little bit of blonde mixed in as well to further lighten the hair, and this contrasts nicely against the main shade of brown. In terms of style, this is simply long hair worn with a middle part.
Ash brown hair often falls on the lighter end of the spectrum rather than the darker side. That’s why you’ll often see a lot of fairly light ash brown hairstyles such as the one shown here. The main color is a light nut brown.
But there are more grey and blonde undertones to lighten the hair and almost give it a sheen. Style-wise, it’s similar to the one pictured above: long hair using a simple middle part.
If you like the ash brown look but want more brown than ash, look no further. This style has a smaller amount of ashy undertones, resulting in a mostly brown color that has a subtle amount of sparkle.
It’s still definitely ash brown, but there’s just not as much ash that’s obviously visible (although you can see it if you’re looking for it).
On the other hand, if you’re all about ash, then you can go the other way and add a ton of it to your hair, resulting in a lighter look that’s more grey than brown. This is a much more striking look thanks to the high amount of ash in the hair.
To add some darkness back in, you can add some black tones (as shown here) to balance out all the grey. Alternatively, you can keep brown as the main color and end up with a much lighter result.
There are countless ways to incorporate the ash tones into your main brown shade. One way is to treat the grey parts as highlights. Here, the main brown is on the darker side. And there are grey and light brown highlights added in to provide extra dimension and change up the color.
This is also a good choice if you’re more unsure of how the ashy tones would look in your hair, as it has a mixture of highlights instead of just grey ones.
Here’s another hairstyle where the ash grey tones are subtle and don’t overpower the hair. You can see the grey most clearly in the middle of the hair (right around the ear). The hair at the top is also ashy but a little darker, and the ends are a bit more brown for some variance in shade that makes this a really lively look.
In this style, the ash color is less of a highlight and more of a textural element that seems to catch the light and create a sheen on the hair. This optical illusion is created by using a fair bit of grey.
And blending that into the brown for a reflective appearance. If you go this route, it’s best to work with a experienced professional colorist who can help you achieve this balance.
If your hair is blonde-brown, you can also use ash to add a slightly dusty look that nicely complements the other colors and helps the blonde blend into the brown.
The hair is more brown up top and more blonde down below, and the ash tones are sprinkled in to ease the transition of color and also add visual texture for a unique look.
If you want to go with a more intense look, you can use the colors of more burnt ash to get a darker hairstyle that mixes grey, brown, and black all together. The grey adds a subtle but important twist to this look, which also has the smallest hints of blonde. The placement and blending of the ash color is critical in order to get the best results.
Here’s another shorter haircut that uses ash colors. This style uses black, brown, grey, and blonde in various places, and each tone serves its purpose. The ash is mixed in throughout.
But it also sticks out on the right side of the head, where the grey is clearly visible. The frosted tips right next to the blonde portion makes for a one-of-a-kind style that has a whole lot of attitude.
Continuing the theme of partially ash brown hairstyles, here’s a look that uses the ash right at the top for an almost two-toned look that contrasts with the lighter brown at the bottom of the hair. You can change the proportions of the colors depending on what you want to spotlight, but here the brown is the focal point. The subtle ashy notes on top help that brown stick out.
Dirty Blonde with Ash
Here’s another look that features blonde hair. This time, we’re looking at an extremely dirty blonde look that features both blonde and brown in almost equal measure. The ash is sprinkled throughout the brown to both lighten the brown color itself and to help it mix with the blonde in a more seamless fashion.
Ash brown hair also works really well as a pixie cut. The ash tones here aren’t too obvious, but you can see them near the top and front, where they add a bit of lightness to contrast with the darker hair in the back and on the extreme top. As always, you can modify how much ash is in your hair for a slightly different look.
This is easily the edgiest and most daring ash brown hairstyle on our list, so it’s not for the faint of heart! This features strikingly ash brown hair with hints of blonde that’s brushed to the side.
This exposes the entire left side, which is dramatically faded and emblazoned with a shaved-in pattern. While the ash brown color itself isn’t the focal point (obviously), it helps to round out this bold look and shows just how versatile the color is.
For a neater look, try an ash brown updo. The secret is in the name––the hair is done up into a bun or chignon at the back of the head. Many of these haircuts are related to 1800s hairstyles, and you can see the old-time inspiration clearly.
That said, the classiness of this style makes it look just as good today. There’s a fair amount of both grey and blonde here, so it’s one of the lighter ash brown hairstyles.
While the grey used for ash brown hair is generally on the lighter side, you can also opt for a darker grey that’s closer to black than white. This will give you a much different look––your hair will be much darker, and the ash will be less noticeable. Still, this dark ash look is much different from standard dark brown hair, especially when you add in the blonde tips.
Ash brown hair also looks great wavy. Waviness can create that faux sheen we saw earlier, and it will generally add more dimension to your hair. Here, the hair is wavy down below and straighter at the top, where the ash really sticks out. There’s less grey in this hairstyle, so if you have more, it will stick out more in the wavy parts as well.
We’ve seen a lot of looks that combine brown, blonde, and grey, and there are plenty more takes on this combination that all look fantastic. This is yet another combo that again uses subtle grey tones to help the blonde and brown blend together.
The ash color is applied to the brown sections to lighten them, and it’s also worth noting that the brown and blonde colors are blended together in a unique way where the blonde is concentrated toward the front.
The “curtains” hairstyle––which features long hair that hangs down in the front to resemble said curtains––is an evergreen hairstyle that’s always popular. And, naturally, using ash brown is a great way to mix it up and add a bit of freshness. The grey is most visible on the inside of the curtains, though of course you can add more throughout if you want an overall ashier look.
Hints of Ash
This light ash brown hairstyle uses the grey tones cleverly to add some depth and dimension to the brown color on the sides. The front has some ash in it but is mostly blonde for contrast. This look, simple yet stylish, can be worn without any styling, or you can add in some curls or waves for a different vibe.
If you enjoy the look of the bob haircut, then you’ll dig our selection of ash brown bobs. This first style is a classic blunt bob with a slight A-line, and the ashy and blonde tones turn this timeless cut into something fresh. The ash is blended in throughout, while the blonde is more concentrated at the ends.
Brown Bob With Ash
This bob has significantly more light brown in it, but there’s still grey at the top near the front. This isn’t quite a two-tone bob, but it gets close to that territory. It’s more accurately a blended brown and blonde bob with ash tones.
Two-Toned Ash Brown Bob
This bob is split into two distinct sections: the black section on top and the brown section on bottom. However, there’s some grey mixed into the black to lighten it a little bit and add some dimension to the hair. You could also add some ash into the brown section for a lighter color.
Here’s a different take on the bob in terms of style. Unlike the previous two variations, this bob is cut diagonally to create that razor’s edge look. The color itself is a darker brown with plenty of grey blended in to create that sheen.
If texture is your number one priority, then you might want a style like this that uses heavily textured hair in tandem with ash tones for a striking result. You can either crimp/curl your hair or braid it to create this texture.
Since grey falls on the monochromatic scale that goes from black to white, you can play around with the use of those colors––mostly black––for a unique look. Here, the black is implied by the use of dark brown and grey close together.
Dirty Beach Blonde
As you’ve seen throughout this list, grey is ideal for making the hair lighter, and it can be used with all types of colors. For example, here the ash is used with a dirty blonde look for a refreshing twist on this classic beach-ready style.
Here’s another look that has a darker ashy appearance to it. This is still a brown hairstyle, but it’s on the dark brown end, closer to black. The grey plays an important role here, as it’s noticeable throughout the hair.
Curly Brown Ash
Want something curly? Here’s a style for you! This extra curly cut is mostly light brown at the front, but there are streaks of ash grey on the top that serve as lowlights. Those grey tones are paired with black to create a two-toned look.
Last but not least, here’s a simple and natural style that relies on a bit of messiness to create tons of texture. The ashy tones are mixed in throughout to give that trademark ash brown look to the hair. The messiness has a twofold purpose––it not only adds texture but also accentuates the ashy parts.
Ash Brown Hair Considerations
Before we wrap up, here are a few things to keep in mind when getting ash brown hair.
- Figure out what changes you need to make to your hair. Most of the time, you’ll need to add at least some dye into your hair to get the ashy look. Working with a pro colorist will make this easier.
- Know exactly how much grey you want. Grey is a polarizing color for some people, so go in knowing exactly how much ash you want in your hair.
- Consider ash highlights. If the thought of getting an ash-heavy look is scary, consider trying highlights first to get a feel for it.