If you’re not a natural blonde and have been toying with the idea of lightening up your hair color, the commitment and upkeep are likely what hold you back. Keeping dark hair blonde is practically a full-time job, but instead of switching to a super-light shade of blonde hair, like platinum blonde, why not try something a little darker and perhaps, dirtier? A dirty blonde hair color makes for the perfect transitional shade from brunette to blonde and it’s one of the few blonde hair colors that you can DIY at home. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out these 22 dirty blonde hair color ideas and basic tips for taking care of this bronde-inspired hue.
What Color Is Dirty Blonde Hair?
Dirty blonde hair is a darker shade of blonde with a blend of wheat blonde, medium blonde and brown tones. Unlike bright blonde shades, like icy blonde and platinum, it’s less yellow or white and more brown or tan which makes it much easier to maintain if you have a darker base color.
Thanks to its mix of blonde and brown hues that can suit a warm or cool undertone beautifully, dirty blonde hair is a gorgeous pick for all skin tones.
How Rare Is Dirty Blonde Hair?
About 2 percent of the population are natural blondes, but it’s a very popular hair color because many turn to hair dye to achieve it. Brighter blonde shades like ashy blonde and beige blonde are more popular choices than dirty blonde, so you can consider dirty blonde a bit more unique.
22 Dirty Blonde Hair Color Ideas
If dirty blonde is your next hue, here are 22 ways to give the color your own custom take.
1. Dirty Bronde Hair With Blonde Highlights
Dirty bronde is dirty blonde hair with a bigger emphasis on the brunette tones. Add some extra lift to your mane by rocking dirty bronde hair with bright blonde highlights. This dirty bronde hair color idea is a favorite of ours during the warmer months (we see you, spring), as the blonde highlights add a sun-kissed effect to a dirty bronde head of hair.
2. Ashy Dirty Blonde
If you prefer to keep things on the cooler side, consider rocking an ashy dirty blonde mane. You can easily get the look at home with the help of a cool-toned dirty blonde hair dye, like the L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Shine Permanent Hair Color in Medium Ash Blonde. Follow the directions inside the box and your mane makeover is around the corner.
3. Dishwater Blonde
This modern take on dirty blonde hair seamlessly blends dark and light blonde tones. Even better, the color can be tweaked based on your skin tone and personal preferences. If you’re looking for a customized dirty blonde hair color, dishwater blonde hair is for you.
4. Dark Ash Dirty Blonde
If you prefer to keep your hair color darker and cool-toned, give dark dirty blonde hair color an ashy spin. Without the warm tones, it closely resembles a mushroom bronde hair color. Try the look with an at-home hair color kit, like the L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Shine Permanent Hair Color in Dark Ash Blonde.
5. Dirty Blonde With Bright Highlights
There’s no better way to illuminate a dirty blonde base than with bright, beige-blonde highlights. Doing so adds brightness without taking away from the look as your roots grow out because the two are similar in tone.
6. Dirty Blonde Babylights
Babylights are tiny foil highlights that add brightness to your hair color. In a dirty blonde hue, babylights are a great way to revamp a darker, brunette base. Head to the salon for babylights as their precise foil application is best left to the professionals.
7. Golden Dirty Blonde
Golden blonde intermingled with your natural brown base color creates a gorgeous, dimensional mix of lived-in color. Get the look at home with the L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Shine Permanent Hair Color in Golden Blonde.
8. Dirty Blonde With Lowlights
Lowlights are a great way to weave some dimension throughout your dirty blonde hair color for added brightness. Because lowlights are all about placement, head to the salon to get the look.
9. Rooted Dirty Blonde
We love the look of blonde hair with dark roots — specifically, rooted dirty blonde hair. This blonde color option will let you keep your natural roots, which means you won’t have to worry about any harsh lines as your hair grows out.
10. Dirty Blonde Highlights
Not sure you’re ready to commit to a head full of dirty blonde? Ease into this blonde-meets-brown hue with dirty blonde highlights. We love the look of this dirty blonde hair color idea when paired with a brunette mane, as the wheat tones of the dirty blonde highlights add the perfect amount of subtle definition to give you a dimensional mane.
For DIY dirty blonde ribbons of color, pick up the L’Oréal Paris Frost & Design in Caramel. The highlighting cap allows you to choose the exact hairs you want to highlight for a completely customized look.
11. Honey Dirty Blonde
Fine-tune your dirty blonde hair color with gorgeous honey tones. This hue involves a rich mix of blonde and brown strands of color that can suit those with warm or cool undertones.
12. Dirty Blonde Ombré
Dirty blonde ombré hair is just what you’re likely imagining — dark roots that gradually transition into ashy blonde ends. The color incorporates the hues of a signature dirty blonde color but uses them to create a gorgeous gradient effect. Plus, ombré is always a great option for those with a darker base that want a lighter color without a strict schedule of maintenance.
13. Dirty Bronde
The brunette version of dirty blonde, dirty bronde still features tones of both blonde and brunette but focuses on the latter. The color puts a bronze, cool-toned twist on the trendy hue. Use the L’Oréal Paris Excellence Créme Permanent Triple Care Hair Color in Light Ash Brown to get the look.
14. Reverse Ombré
What if you’re a natural blonde who wants to give dirty blonde hair a try? If that’s the case, reverse ombré is the dirty blonde hue for you. Lighter on top and darker at the ends, it’s a beautiful, slightly unexpected gradient of dirty blonde tones.
15. Dirty Platinum Blonde
If you’re a fan of platinum hair but not the maintenance that comes with it, we have good news for you: Dirty platinum blonde hair features the white blonde color you love without the need for constant touch-ups. Your platinum blonde strands will be blended with brunette roots for a subtler take on the bold hue.
16. Dark Dirty Blonde
Another way to avoid steering too far from your dark roots is to try a dark dirty blonde hair color. This traditional dirty blonde hue can be achieved with one of our favorite dirty blonde hair dyes, the L’Oréal Paris Excellence Crème Permanent Triple Care Hair Color in Dark Blonde.
17. High Contrast Dirty Blonde
While we love the look of an expertly blended color, sometimes a little contrast is just what you need — or in this case, a lot of contrast. When done right, a high-contrast dirty blonde hair color is seriously stunning. This hair color features black hair with dirty blonde balayage for a contrasted mane that demands attention.
18. Strawberry Dirty Blonde
What happens when you add red tones into the dirty blonde mix? You get strawberry dirty blonde hair, of course. This modern take on dirty blonde is seriously stunning — imagine a dimensional combo of brown, strawberry blonde and golden hues. If you’ve ever been curious about what you’d look like as a redhead but don’t want to take the plunge, this hair color idea is a great way to test the waters.
19. Dirty Blonde Balayage
Dirty blonde hair with darker roots and ashy ribbons of brighter color scattered throughout is a gorgeous dimensional hue, especially on plush curls. Our top pick for DIY balayage whether it be for curly hair or straight hair is an at-home balayage kit, like the L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Balayage At-Home Highlighting Kit in Dark Blonde to Light Brown.
20. Dirty Blonde Sombré
Sombré hair color is a softer take on ombré. It’s a great way to sport a lived-in version of a dirty blonde hue and it’s very forgiving on outgrowth because the style features darker roots with lighter ends.
21. Dirty Blonde Money Piece
If you want to add a statement touch to your dirty blonde mane, add a money piece. This term is used to refer to face-framing highlights that instantly draw the eye to your features. To brighten your look, try a dirty blonde money piece. To deepen it, opt for a dirty bronde one.
22. Dirty Blonde Gemini Hair Color
Gemini hair color mixes two colors together to create a multi-tonal look. Pair your dirty blonde hue with pink or red streaks to give your hair color some duality that’s reminiscent of a Gemini’s twin sign. For some temporary fun with Gemini hair color, use the L’Oréal Paris Colorista Hair Makeup Temporary 1-Day Hair Color Spray, which lasts until your next shampoo.
How to Care for Dirty Blonde Color-Treated Hair
Regardless of what shade you dye your hair, it’s important to care for it properly and that means you might have to make a few changes to your hair care routine. Here are three changes to add to your routine to support your new dirty blonde hair color.
1. Use a Shampoo System for Color-Treated Hair
Use a system of shampoo and conditioner designed for color-treated hair, like the L’Oréal Paris Everpure Bond Strengthening Pre-Shampoo Treatment, L’Oréal Paris Everpure Sulfate-Free Bond Repair Shampoo with Citric Acid and L’Oréal Paris Everpure Sulfate-Free Bond Repair Conditioner with Citric Acid.
Not only will it help to keep your color from fading, but this strengthening duo uses citric acid to penetrate the hair cortex (the inner layer of hair) to rebuild weak bonds that can result from heat styling, bleaching and chemical treatments. Use the pre-shampoo treatment first and leave it on for five minutes before rinsing. Then, proceed with the shampoo and conditioner as usual.
Additionally, if you’re sporting a lighter dirty blonde hue, you’ll need to add a purple shampoo, like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Brass Toning Purple Shampoo to keep brassy tones away. After washing with purple shampoo, follow up with the corresponding conditioner, the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Toning Purple Conditioner. Use it once a week or as needed when your color starts to look orange or yellowish in tone.
2. Preserve Your Color With a Toning Gloss
An easy way to cut down on salon visits is by toning at home with an at-home glossing treatment, like the L’Oréal Paris Le Color Gloss One Step In-Shower Toning Gloss. Use it to enhance tone, boost shine and deep condition your strands, while keeping your dirty blonde hue vibrant and healthy.
3. Air Dry Your Hair
While you might love your hot tools, remember that heat always plays defense against your hair color, so consider sporting heatless hairstyles when it’s an option. If you need some inspo, try overnight braids or space buns.
If you do reach for your blow dryer, flat iron or curling wand, be sure to prime your strands with a heat protectant, like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer, Heat Protectant. This one smooths the hair, shields against heat up to 450 degrees and provides enhanced style memory, which will help your hairstyle last.
Photo Credit: IG @/marisamorgan, Photo Design: Sarah Duvivier
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