Blonde highlights isn't your only option.

By Erin Lukas
Updated Mar 27, 2018 @ 12:00 pm
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Golden balayage or ombré highlights aren't the only ways to upgrade basic brown hair. If you're looking for a cooler option, ash brown is your answer.

Ash is the lovechild of brown and silver highlights and it's a trend I'm seeing more and more of on my Instagram feed.

"The ash trend has become super popular because it falls in line with the silver hair trend we were seeing with platinum blonde," says Streeters artist Holly Mills. "The ash brunette trend is a way for brunettes to be a part of this trend and not destroy their hair or go for a shade that is too light for their given features."

Mills says that ash works on any shade of brunette, save ones that have a lot of orange in them. "You will want to lift any deep red or orange shades out of the hair before depositing your ash shade," she explains. "In the event that you lift ALL warm shades out of your hair — including red, orange, and yellow — this will give the maximum appearance of ash brunette."

The color instantly adds edge to any brunette base, and the coloring technique is extremely versatile. Applying the cool tone all over, simply adding subtle highlights, or ash brown balayage are just a few ways to try ash brown hair. Keep scrolling to see a handful of my favorite takes on the trend from Instagram and get inspiration for your own ash brown color.

That fact that ash brown hair is relatively low maintenance is arguably the trend's most appealing quality. Mills says that unlike copper and red, cool tones last. The stylist recommends using purple shampoo and conditioner every other wash to keep the ash tones fresh.

Here, we've rounded up our five favorite purple shampoos to cut the brassiness out from ash brown hair colors.

amika Bust Your Brass Blonde Purple Shampoo

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On top of brass-busting purple pigment, amika's shampoo is packed with nutrients to repair and strengthen color-treated hair.

To buy: $20; sephora.com.

DPHUE Cool Blonde Shampoo

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Even though many purple shampoos say they're for blonde hair, they're perfectly fine to use on brunettes with highlights. Maintain ash balayage on brown hair with DPHUE's Cool Blonde Shampoo. The violet pigments neutralize any unwanted yellowness and brightens ash brown tones.

To buy: $26; sephora.com.

Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo

This drugstore staple is another example of a shampoo that's made for blonde and gray hair, but works equally amazing for brunettes who have gone ash brown. The formula also contains proteins to repair hair that's been damaged from color treatments.

To buy: $10; ulta.com.

Redken Color Extend Blondage Color Depositing Purple Shampoo

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For maximum icy ash highlights, let Redken's shampoo marinate on your hair for three to five minutes in the shower.

To buy: $23; ulta.com.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Purple Shampoo

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This shampoo gets rid of brassy warm tones in just three shampoos. In addition to rebalancing ash brown shades, it's also formulated to be gentle on weak, color-treated hair.

To buy: $13; amazon.com.