Home Beautygab How To Tone Hair To Ash Brown

How To Tone Hair To Ash Brown

by Gabbi

We know it can be overwhelming to watch so many YouTube videos or read a dozen articles on dyeing your hair the exact color you want, especially when the information can be misleading or confusing.

Don’t get caught up in the frenzy. For accuracy, stay right here-we’ve got you! Read on to discover a step-by-step guide for dyeing your hair light ash or “mushroom” brown from home.

We will cover the types of products to use, how to apply it, what to look out for, tricks for dyeing hair when you go lighter vs. when you go darker, and a section for other tips you won’t want to miss.

Just make sure to find which category below you fit into for a quick and effortless read. You are only moments away from knowing exactly how to get the ash brown color of your dreams.  

What Is Ash Brown Hair? 

You can also think of it as mushroom brown. It’s the type of light brunette color where you won’t see warm gold or red undertones, which are more caramel or chocolate browns.

Instead, you’ll get those lovely grey undertones giving you a “cool” brown effect. But getting your hair this color is a different process for everyone.

If you are blonde, you’ll go through certain steps unique to blondes to become light ash brown.

If you are dark brown, you’ll follow entirely different steps. Check out the categories below to find which spectrum you fall under.

The right starting point makes all the difference when coloring your hair at home and we want this to be as easy and seamless as possible.

Going Ash Brown From Brunette

Light Brunette (Level 6)

The first place to begin is knowing your color level. Pinterest has wonderful visuals where you can match your current hair color to photos in order to find out what level you are. The following process is assuming you are a level 6 brunette. This will be the easiest place to begin.


  1. Order a semi or demi-permanent ash brown hair color labeled 6A (or 6NA). The “A” stands for ash. 
  2. Read the instructions for usage very carefully and do not mix things differently for any reason. The results aren’t good if you change the formula from what the instructions say. 
  3. Once the color is mixed, apply to the root area first and let it sit for a portion of time, usually 10 minutes. However, you’ll need to check the instructions on the box to make sure this timing is correct. Then apply the rest of the color all over and process for the rest of the time according to the instructions. 
  4. Optional: Once a week, treat yourself and give your hair shine and health using the Christophe Robin Nutritive Mask in Ash Brown. It neutralizes unwanted reddish tones and leaves hair feeling silky and fresh.  

Medium Brunette (Level 5)


  1. Optional: Use Igora Royal Highlight Cream all over your hair. Follow the instructions to a tee. Hair may have an orange or brassy tone once you rinse and blow dry. Don’t worry. The ash in the brown color you got will neutralize these unwanted tones. You can skip this step, but it creates a perfect canvas for adding color to your strands.
  2. Next, apply an Ash Brown semi or demi-permanent color called 5A (or 5NA). 
  3. Use the Nutritive Mask by Kerastase to keep hair healthy after color process. 

Dark Brunette (Level 4)

  1. You will need to lighten your hair. Start with a bleach kit for home-use you can find online. Read the instructions very carefully. Do not change any steps. Apply the bleach to the mid parts of your hair first, let it process, then apply to the roots and ends for the remainder of time. If you are starting at a level 4 or lower, you may need to do this twice (it helps to give your hair a 2-day rest between bleaching sessions). Always go slow and steady. Good, even results come from staying consistent in your application process.
  2. Apply the 6A or 6NA color to the roots first and let it process for a short amount of time. Put the color all over. Process per the instructions. 
  3. Wash and condition with Kerastase’s Bain Force Architecte shampoo and conditioner. They are so good for your hair! This sort of shampoo and conditioner go above and beyond what normal shampoos can do. The properties that repair and restore hair health really work!
  4. Apply Kerastase’s Resistance Masque Therapiste, which is a beautiful hair mask for health and shine. You can use this 1-3 times per week. Try the weekend ritual where the mask is applied to dry hair, left on while you work or run errands or relax, then rinse with cool water for best results. 

Going Ash Brown From Blonde

Light Blonde (Level 9 or 10)

  1. Apply your “filler.” For light blonde hair, you need to add in what’s called a medium copper blonde filler before dyeing it to a light ash brown. Use all over your hair and process according to the instructions. 
  2. Next, apply your semi or demi-permanent 6A (or 6NA) color starting at your roots. Let it process only at the roots for a short time, then apply the rest of the color all over. Finish processing according to the instructions. 
  3. Finish with Oribe’s Gold Lust shampoo and conditioner. Once a week, use Redken’s Color Extend Brownlights to cancel unwanted reddish and orange tones in the hair. 

Dark Blonde (Level 7)

  1. Apply a semi or demi-permanent 6A or 6NA on your roots, let it process for a short amount of time, then use the rest of the color all over your hair. Process according to the instructions. 
  2. Once a week, use Redken’s Color Extend Brownlights to neutralize unwanted reddish or orange tones. For the rest of your shampoos, focus on moisture. Try Kerastase’s Resistance Bain Force Architecte Shampoo for health and shine. 

Final Thoughts

Finding yourself in one of the above sections will make all the difference when aiming for that beautiful dusty brown hair color. It’s the worth the effort when you get your desired results.

Remember to always follow the instructions on the labels and go slow. You want to be as stress-free as possible when coloring your own hair, so the results are consistent.

Be sure to check the below “tips and tricks” section to help with the finer details of coloring or bleaching your hair. You can never be too thorough when getting that coveted mushroom brown hair color.  

Tips And Tricks

  1. Go to Pinterest to determine your current hair “level” which will be a range from 1-10, with 1 being black or the darkest and 10 being platinum blonde. 6 in the middle then is a very light brown, almost blonde color. 
  2. When bleaching your hair, bleach the mid sections first, then the roots and the ends.
  3. For dark brunette hair, levels 3-5, you may need to do two rounds of bleach.
  4. When dyeing your hair or toning it, you can start with the roots first, then apply the color to the rest of the hair. 
  5. When dyeing your hair with a semi or demi permanent, you can also do a toner to add more shine and depth of color. 
  6. Order a color application kit from amazon. They come in handy for lengthy color applications.
  7. Always start out with a semi or demi-permanent hair color instead of a permanent. If you end up liking the results, you can then use permanent color. 

Up Next: Does Color Remover Damage Hair?

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