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What color does light ash brown fade to?

Light ash brown hair is a beautiful cool-toned brown shade that looks gorgeous, especially on people with fair or pinkish skin tones. However, as with any colored hair, the shade will inevitably start to fade after a few weeks as the hair color molecules begin to wash out with regular shampooing.

The Fading Process

When light ash brown fades, it tends to go through some predictable color changes. Here’s what typically happens:

1. Ashiness fades first

The ash tones that give light ash brown its cool undertone are fragile and tend to wash out very quickly. Within the first 1-2 weeks, you’ll notice the ashiness giving way to a warmer, more natural looking light brown.

2. Color fades evenly to a lighter brown

After the ashiness disappears, the overall light brown shade will start to fade evenly and gradually over the following weeks. Strands around the face tend to fade quicker since they see more sun and wear. The light brown heads towards a solid medium brown.

3. Warm underlying pigments appear

As the hair continues to fade, the cooler surface pigments that create the ash brown color will eventually fade away to reveal the underlying warm pigments. At this point, you’ll see the emergence of warmer gold, honey, and caramel tones mixed in with the fading brown.

4. Hair returns to natural color

After 6-8 weeks, the light ash brown dye will be mostly faded away, revealing your natural hair color undertone, which may be warm, neutral or cool toned. People with warm natural tones will see their hair take on golden blonde/light brown hues. Neutral hair will appear more medium mousy brown. Cool toned hair may fade to an ashy dark blonde.

How Long Does Light Ash Brown Last?

On average, expect your light ash brown color to last:

  • 1-2 weeks before the ashiness starts to fade
  • 4-6 weeks before the color noticeably lightens and warms up
  • 6-8 weeks before the color fades back to your natural tones

However, this timeline can vary quite a bit depending on your unique hair properties, how you care for your colored hair, and other factors like sun exposure and swimming.

Factors that speed up fading:

  • Frequent shampooing – especially with sulfate shampoos that strip color
  • Swimming in chlorinated pools
  • Hot water showers
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Heat styling tools
  • Not using any conditioning or protective products
  • Starting with overly porous or damaged hair

Factors that prolong fading:

  • Washing hair less often
  • Using only sulfate-free, color-safe shampoos and conditioners
  • Using leave-in treatments and masks to seal the cuticle
  • Protecting hair from sun exposure
  • Avoiding hot tools
  • Getting a gloss treatment around weeks 4-6

How to Make Light Ash Brown Last Longer

Here are some tips to help prolong your beautiful light ash brown color:

1. Wash hair less frequently

Aim to wash your hair only 2-3 times a week max if you can. The less you shampoo, the longer the color will last.

2. Use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner

Sulfate shampoos strip color molecules from the hair much faster. Opt for a gentle, moisturizing sulfate-free shampoo and always use conditioner.

3. Use cool water and rinse hair quickly

Hot water accelerates color fading. Wash hair with lukewarm or cool water and rinse out shampoo quickly.

4. Deep condition weekly

Use a weekly hydrating hair mask or deep conditioner to seal the cuticle and lock in color.

5. Protect hair from sun

Use a hat or protective styling when outdoors to prevent UV rays from fading your color.

6. Avoid heat styling

Let hair air dry instead of blow drying whenever possible. Limit use of hot tools like curling irons and flat irons.

7. Get a gloss treatment

Around weeks 4-6 when fading starts to occur, get a gloss treatment at the salon. This deposits semi-permanent color to refresh your shade.

8. Use color-depositing products

Look for color safe shampoos, conditioners and styling products that deposit pigments to counteract fading between salon visits.

Sample Before & After Photos of Faded Light Ash Brown Hair

Here are some photos showing the gradual fading process on light ash brown hair:

Freshly Colored

Fresh Light Ash Brown Hair

This is how light ash brown hair looks when freshly colored – a beautiful cool-toned light brown with a grayish ash undertone.

2 Weeks Later

2 Weeks Faded

After 2 weeks, the ashiness has faded away leaving a soft golden brown. The overall shade is still light though.

1 Month Later

1 Month Faded

At around the 1 month mark, more warmth starts to peek through as the shade moves to a lighter brownish blonde.

2 Months Later

2 Months Faded

After 2 months, the light ash brown is significantly faded and lifted to a golden medium blonde in this case due to warm underlying pigment.

How to Dye Hair Back to Light Ash Brown

If your light ash brown color has faded and you want to refresh it, here are your options:

Gloss treatments

A gloss treatment at the salon deposits semi-permanent color to refresh faded strands. This adds back tone and dimension without fully re-coloring.

Full color

For more drastic fading or to make a bigger change, you will need to schedule a full color appointment to lift and re-deposit the light ash brown shade.

At-home root touch up kit

Root touch up kits can cover your first 1-2 inches of regrowth in between salon visits. But they don’t work well for refreshing faded lengths.

Color-depositing conditioner

A weekly color-depositing conditioner can help maintain your shade between full salon color sessions.

Permanent color

For maximum longevity, permanent hair color will last longer than demi-permanent options. But it requires more maintenance as your roots grow in.

Other FAQs

Does light ash brown look good on everyone?

Light ash brown hair looks best on people with fair or pink-toned complexions. Those with medium to olive skin tones are often more flattered by warmer brown shades.

Should I tone my hair while light ash brown?

Toning helps counteract brassiness as the shade fades. Opt for a blue-violet toner around weeks 3-4 to neutralize yellow tones.

Can I go lighter after having light ash brown hair?

Absolutely! Light ash brown makes a great base shade for going brighter. Just give your hair a break first before lightening again.

What level is light ash brown?

Most light ash brown shades fall in the level 6-7 range of the hair color spectrum. Level 6 is darker while level 7 is a lighter, ashy medium blonde brown.


While no hair color lasts forever, light ash brown hair has a predictable fading pattern. The ashiness disappears first, the shade evenly fades lighter and warmer, then returns to natural color in 6-8 weeks. Proper hair care and color refreshing touch-ups help maintain the shade. Using color-safe products, limiting washing, and getting occasional gloss treatments can let you enjoy light ash brown hair for longer.