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Does Ash color damage hair?


Going ash blonde is a popular hair color trend right now. Ash tones range from silvery grays to cool, muted blondes. While ash hair looks gorgeous, many worry that ash dye is more damaging than other hair colors. The short answer is that ash color doesn’t inherently damage hair more than other dye. However, to achieve the cool ash tones, your hair does need to be lifted to a very pale shade which can be damaging. With proper hair care and maintenance, you can rock ash hair without damage.

Does Bleaching Hair Cause Damage?

Bleaching is necessary to achieve pale ash shades. This is where the potential for damage comes in. Bleach opens the cuticle and removes underlying pigment. This weakens and dries out the hair over time. The lighter you go, the more you risk drying, breakage and an over-processed appearance. However, with occasional deep conditioning treatments and keratin treatments, bleached hair can still look and feel healthy.

Is Ash Dye More Damaging Than Other Colors?

There is nothing inherently more damaging about ash dye compared to other colors. Semi-permanent ash tones contain gentler ingredients and less peroxide than bleach. Permanent ash dyes use developers similar in strength to other permanent colors. The real key is in the pre-lightening process. You must lift hair to pale yellow stages first to successfully deposit ash. This lifts open the cuticle and removes pigment, causing damage over time. But the ash dye itself is no more damaging than other shades.

Tips For Healthy Ash Hair

Avoid Overlapping Bleach Only apply lightener to regrowth to prevent breakage on previously lightened lengths
Use Bonding Treatments Bonding agents help rebuild bonds broken during bleach sessions
Deep Condition Weekly Intense hydrating masks replenish moisture to dry, damaged hair
Use Purple Shampoo Removes brassiness and keeps ash tones icy
Get Regular Trims Trim split ends to prevent breakage and maintain condition
Protect With Oils Coat bleached hair in nourishing oils to soften and defend from damage
Use Lower Volume Developers When re-touching roots, use 10 or 20 volume instead of 30 or 40 for less damage

Bleached Hair Still Needs Moisture

Many think bleached or color-treated hair should not be moisturized because it will become over-saturated. This is untrue! Hair bleached to pale tones is highly porous and requires extra hydration. Skip oils if hair is fine or prone to greasiness, but use weekly reparative masks. For daily moisture, mists and leave-in conditioners boost softness without adding excess weight.

How To Repair Damage From Ash Hair Color

Over time, multiple sessions of lightening cause damage. Here are some ways to strengthen hair and reduce effects of repeated bleaching:

Protein Treatments

Protein fills in gaps in the cuticle structure. Use a weekly reparative mask for intensive strengthening. For lighter conditioning, alternate with a protein-rich leave-in. This helps reinforce weak, porous hair.


This revolutionary system binds split ends back together through disulfide bonds. Get the No.3 treatment alongside lightening services to prevent damage. Use No.4 and 5 at home to continue repairing broken bonds.

Deep Conditioning

Hydrating masks with oils, butters and humectants replenish depleted moisture levels. Target the mid-lengths and ends which suffer the most damage. Sit under a hooded dryer for maximum penetration.

Avoid Heat Styling

Limit use of hot tools like flat irons and blow dryers which cause oxidation and worsen dryness. Allow hair to air dry when possible. If heat is necessary, apply a thermal protectant.

Dust With Translucent Powder

For quick touch-ups, brush on translucent setting powder. This blends away discoloration and makes hair look freshly toned between salon visits. Focus on the most porous areas around the hairline.

Get Regular Trims

Schedule trims every 6-8 weeks to snip away split ends before they travel up the hair shaft. This preserves texture, shine and condition. Avoid going longer than 2-3 months between trims.

Use Bond Strengthening Products

Many brands now make bonding lines with the same technology as Olaplex. Alternate the No.3 treatment with at-home bonding shampoos, conditioners, oils and creams. Use them together for maximum results.

Should You Avoid Ash Tones If Hair is Damaged?

If your hair is in very poor condition, an ash tone may not be advisable. Light ash shades only work when hair is lifted to pale yellow stages first. If your hair is already highly damaged, this level of lightening can cause excessive breakage or an unsalvageable texture. Here are some signs hair is too far gone for ash dye:

– Severely overprocessed and stretchy texture

– Breaking off at the root line

– Missing large clumps when wet or brushed

– Requires heavy dusting of translucent powder between washes

– Unusually dry, brittle or sticky feel

– Constant flyaways and halo frizz effect

If hair checks any of those boxes, it’s best to avoid further lightening. Opt for darker ash shades like charcoal grey or smoky blue-black. Or, try semi-permanent options like ash toner glosses. These deposit cool pigment without lifting. Once hair is in better shape after restorative treatments, you can slowly work up to pale ash tones.

Maintenance is Key For Healthy Color-Treated Hair

The most damaging thing about ash dye is overdoing lightening sessions. With proper maintenance, bleach and color damage can be minimized. Avoid overlapping bleach onto previously lightened lengths. Use Olaplex, protein, moisture and bond repairing systems. Get regular trims to nip damage in the bud. With TLC between appointments, you can rock ash beautifully.


Ash hair color does not inherently damage hair more than other shades. The real culprit is the aggressive lightening required first to remove warmth before applying ash dye. However, with restorative treatments, protective styling, keratin, and avoiding over-processing, ash hair can stay shiny and healthy. The high-maintenance platinum and grey looks may not be suitable for all hair types. But with the right techniques, those with color-treated hair can safely achieve and maintain beautiful ash tones.