Cool vs warm blonde

By: | Last Updated: April 13, 2023

The world of blondes may sound easy, but it can be a huge undertaking once you consider all the shades and what kind of blonde suits you best. It’s no longer a simple cool vs. warm blonde problem! 

Fret not! You are not the only one to be intimidated at first glance. Hence, this article can be your clutch for your next hair journey. 

Below are some basic to-knows to aid in your blonde dilemma. 

How do I know if my hair color is warm or cool?

How do I know if my hair color is warm or cool
Is your hair color warm or cold?

When describing someone’s hair, the words “warm” and “cool” often get thrown around. 

You probably have a picture in your mind of what those words mean, especially if you are already scheduling your next hair appointment. But for the rest of the crowd, a blonde may merely be light hair and nothing more. 

So, how do you accurately describe one’s hair in the first place?

Your hair color consists of both depth and tone. 

A hair’s depth describes the lightness or darkness of its base color. It consists equally of brown (1–5) and blonde levels (6-10). The brown shades include black to light brown, while the blonde shades start from dark blonde to lightest blonde. 

On the other hand, the tonal quality is the color you see on hair— whether you have had it since birth or fresh from the salon. There are three classifications of tones: warm, neutral, and cool. 

Warm tones include reds, yellow, and orange, while cool tones have blues, violets, and greens. The latter is also better known as ash tones. Neutral tones create a balance between both. 

For example, light brown hair can change from cool ash to warm gold by adding yellow. You can transform the same light brown hair into a warm copper tone with an added orange color

Some brands use the International Color Chart as a reference, while others rely on in-house product coloring systems. Depth is often represented as the whole number, while the tone is the number after a decimal, a slash, or a comma. 

In your next box dye hunting, search the number you see on the front and the associated color chart they use. It will give you a broader idea of how it may look on your current hair. 

Tip: If you want to go neither blonder nor darker but want a tint added to your hair, get a box dye with the same base color (depth) as your hair but with your desired tone. 

What’s the difference between cool blonde and warm blonde?

What's the difference between cool blonde and warm blonde
Is there a difference between cool blonde and warm blonde?

Sometimes, choosing to go blonde can feel as tricky as knowing what sneakers to wear. They look as similar as they can be different. All the while, you know that, somehow, one of them fits your look better than the others. 

To avoid any blonde woes, you must first know that blonde can have a base tone of blue to copper. Those with blue base tones give you the ash shades of blonde. The following guide will help you sort out the rest.

  • Violet = iridescent or pearl shade
  • Balanced tone = natural shade
  • Violet and gold = beige shade
  • Gold = golden shade
  • Gold and copper = caramel shade
  • Copper tone = strawberry blonde

Is ash blonde warm or cool? 

Ash blondes belong to the cool-toned family. In fact, they are at the extreme shade of the cooler blonde spectrum and can range from silver to gray. Cooler tones also include pearl blondes, while those with natural blonde locks sit snugly in the middle of the range. 

Besides ash blondes, you can also opt for silver platinum, which has a beautiful borderline blue cast. Hair shades associated with champagne shades also belong to the cool tones. You can get platinum or pale champagne or mix it with some dark roots for an edgier look. 

Other hues described as wheat, beige, or sand don’t look as drastic as silver, but if you are looking for cooler shades, it’s best to add this to consideration too. 

Is dirty blonde hair warm or cool? 

A dirty blonde, also known as dishwater blonde, is anything but dirty or yucky. Dirty blondes have a knack for being part of an effortless look. 

The term refers to dark blondes, which might even look brunette on some lights. Think about the middle ground between a light brown and a dark blonde. That’s what it is!

Dirty blondes have naturally cool shades. However, you can always opt to make yours warmer by adding golden tones or turn it up the notch with those cool tones by going ashy. 

The versatility of dirty blonde hair means you can opt for different hair techniques and still wing it! You can go for balayage, root stretch, a color melt, ombre, and even add some lowlights to get your hair an extra oomph! 

The warmer shades of blonde do not fall behind their cooler cousins. Warm locks bring your inner glow to the surface and brighten your face. 

For example, choosing yellow-hued platinum instead of icy platinum can change the washed-out look you did not anticipate when you first asked for it in the salon. If you have previously chosen a cooler shade, you can always warm it up by getting a gold or butter balayage. 

You can find warm shades in hair colors described as honey, cream, golden, amber, and caramel blondes. Rose gold, a fancier sister of strawberry blonde, is a trend you must try! Both of them have reddish tones and give you a sun-kissed glow. 

Warm blonde vs. brassy

Let’s start first with basic hair science. 

Your hair’s pigments consist of eumelanin and pheomelanin. The former is responsible for the dark pigment of your hair, while the latter is for the red pigment. Natural hair has a warm undertone. If you’ve ever bleached and dyed your hair, you may have met the term before.

When you bleach hair, eumelanin gets oxidized first, while pheomelanin follows slowly. The transition goes from red to orange to yellow until it all goes to white. 

Blonde individuals have less pheomelanin than those with dark hair. That means they have fewer red pigments so that when you bleach blonde hair, the yellow becomes more evident rather than orange or red tones. 

Brassiness is the yellow undertone you see when your blonde hair gets constantly exposed to the elements or when time takes its toll. 

(Don’t worry! Your trusted purple shampoo usually neutralizes it.)

While brassiness on lightened hair may seem synonymous with warm tones, they are not precisely the same. 

You can intentionally warm your hair, e.g., adding golden hues, while “brassy” is reserved for unwanted tones after lifting or lightening your hair color. 

CHECK OUT: How To Fix Bleached Hair That Turned Yellow

Should I go cool or warm blonde?

Should I go cool or warm blonde
Should you pick warm blonde or cool blonde?

Nothing should ever stop you from choosing what kind of blonde you want to be! That’s rule number one in going blonde. 

However, if you need some guidance on what can emphasize your best or cool down your features, then hop on! 

One of the most important considerations you can make is your skin undertone. You can have warm, cool, or neutral undertones. 

If you use any liquid foundation products, you might already know what this is all about. If not, you can figure it out by jewelry matching or checking your wrist. 

You probably have cool undertones if you look better in silver than gold jewelry. Moreover, if you check your wrist and notice bluish veins rather than green ones, then consider yourself with cool undertones.

Those with cool undertones can get away with cool blonde shades. These shades contain blue and purple tones that naturally suit your skin’s undertone. It will also cut down the brassiness, which often is a problem for blondes. Look for the terms ash, icy, or platinum. 

Similarly, if you have warm skin undertones, you will suit the warmer shades of blonde. It will compliment the natural glow of your skin. Go for bronde, strawberry, or golden blondes. 

Note that these are ways to emphasize your features. However, if you want to tone down a cooler or warmer complexion, you can get a contrast instead. For example, you can balance a warm complexion with a cool shade of sandy or beige blonde. 

Your eye color may also become a factor in choosing a shade. 

If you have piercing blue or green eyes, you may want to select the extreme platinum or icy blondes since they bring out the vibrance in your eyes. On the other hand, if your eyes have noticeable golden specks, opt for warm golden blondes that can enhance them.

Lastly, choose the depth of your blondeness smartly. Darker blondes suit those with darker skin complexions better, while fairer skin goes well with lighter blondes. 

Going blonde can be as transformative as it can be a natural choice. Ultimately, it’s all about how you confidently wear your blonde hair! 

Leave a Comment