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View Full Version : What exactly is "dirty blonde" hair? And is there a more flattering name for it?



Charlotte:)
March 23rd, 2011, 01:42 AM
Some people say it's just dark blonde hair. Others have said that is blonde hair with a mixture of gold and ash tones. Some people say it is simply ashy blonde hair. Does anybody really know what it is?

As for the names, the only other one I know of is "dishwater blonde" which is also unflattering.

Mountaingrrl
March 23rd, 2011, 01:52 AM
I'd say ash blonde.

ElusiveMuse
March 23rd, 2011, 02:07 AM
Autumn blonde?

luxepiggy
March 23rd, 2011, 02:18 AM
I've always interpreted it as dark blonde.

ETA: So does dictionary.com (^(oo)^)
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dirty%20blond

Katze
March 23rd, 2011, 02:51 AM
Somewhere here there is a whole thread about better names for 'hair-colored','tawny' and so-on hair. Dark blonde/light brown, usually ashy, is what I think is meant. My personal contribution was 'puma colored.' :D

Here in Germany the term is 'street dog colored hair' - also not very nice.

However, since everyone seems to think I have brown hair now, even my mom, I guess I can't call myself any of these lovely names.

shikara
March 23rd, 2011, 03:02 AM
I like ash blonde - hmmm, I'm gonna have to check the hair dye section at the store again - I was looking at colors (to see names for - you guessed it - dirty blonde) and there were a few interesting names there....

pepperminttea
March 23rd, 2011, 05:53 AM
I quite like the tawny description (because hair that's owl-coloured just strikes me as awesome), but I generally call it dark blonde. :)

Loviatar
March 23rd, 2011, 06:18 AM
I say dark blonde if it's got golden tones and ash blonde if it hasn't, but my friend Steven calls it Russian Blonde! (He has this colour hair, btw)

Mesmerise
March 23rd, 2011, 06:25 AM
Ash blonde or light brown depending on the exact shade. A bit ligher and I'd go with Ash blonde, and a bit darker and I go with light brown ;)

frizzinator
March 23rd, 2011, 06:31 AM
I would describe is as "fair" colored hair. Is a more detailed description necessary?

ericthegreat
March 23rd, 2011, 06:48 AM
Resident hairstylist checking in, here to lay down his professional opinion. :waving:

Dirty blonde hair is dark to medium blonde hair with strong ash tones. A dirty blonde wouldn't actually have any gold tones in his or her hair, because gold tones are warm tones. Gold tones on blonde hair would give you a nice, golden blonde shade like my avatar pic. Ash tones on the other hand are cool tones. They are the exact opposite of warm tones, in fact ash tones are exactly what you would use if you want to cancel out any warm tones.

As for there being a more flattering name for 'dirty blonde' or 'dishwater blonde', unfortunately I don't think their is. The hairstyling community at large apparently doesn't like this particular shade of blonde, instinctively they all want to lighten it up to that very popular bright blonde that you always see on celebrities. I guess you could also call it a dark ash blonde, altho even dark ash blonde is really just neutral since not too many people would actually want to have that particular shade of blonde.

frizzinator
March 23rd, 2011, 07:13 AM
...... Gold tones on blonde hair would give you a nice, golden blonde shade like my avatar pic. Ash tones on the other hand are cool tones. They are the exact opposite of warm tones, in fact ash tones are exactly what you would use if you want to cancel out any warm tones. .....


Thank you for this explanation. Now I understand why my hair has always looked invisible. And it's even more invisible with this massive quantity of white surpassing the quantity of gold and ash.

elbow chic
March 23rd, 2011, 09:41 AM
To my mind it's that shade that can't quite be classified as brunette but also doesn't really look blond. I like "owl-blond" better, too! Or "mouse-blond..." except people never mean anything good when they say "mousy." lol

Ash-blonde puts me in mind of a cool shade that's a bit lighter than what I'm thinking of.

I think it's actually a pretty color. I don't really understand why people hate it so much. Shrug.

spidermom
March 23rd, 2011, 09:44 AM
I like oak blonde.

Chamy
March 23rd, 2011, 10:25 AM
We have had a thread about this before, i think we came up with the word cendré, as being most fit for the job. :)

Come to think of it, that might have been the thread about dark-blonde. So correct me if im wrong about it being about the ash-blonde.

In2wishin
March 23rd, 2011, 10:38 AM
From my late teens until the grays started coming in I was generally referred to as "dirty dishwater blonde" (apparently nobody could decide if it was dirty or dishwater). Here is a photo of me at 17 and you can definitely see the ashy tones. Generally if the color is more in the brown range I have heard it referred to as "mousy brown" which I always understood to mean an ashy brown.


http://i283.photobucket.com/albums/kk315/eclctcmnd/me2-1.jpg

Bianca
March 23rd, 2011, 10:59 AM
I'm really confused about my hair color then, because it's golden and even a little reddish in the sun and under bright light, I get golden blonde highlights, and then in some lights its very ashy, almost greenish, especially the hair underneath. This in between color aka dark blonde/ash blonde or whatever, is just not easy to define, because it changes a lot depending on which light its in (A thing that I love)

But lets all agree to stop calling it dishwater or dirty blonde. Its quite offending. I dont refer to brown hair as poop-colored either, even though I dont really like brown hair :rolleyes:

Medievalmaniac
March 23rd, 2011, 11:08 AM
"tawny", as some others have said, is probably the most appealing term commonly applied to this hair color. You could always just go with dark blond, I suppose.

BrightEyes7
March 23rd, 2011, 11:25 AM
This is my natural color... and I'm growing my hair color out.

I always call it dirrty blonde. (I accidently put two Rs but I left it so we could be a little Christina with it:laugh:)

I don't think that is an offensive term, dishwater on the other hand, I hate that term!

ArienEllariel
March 23rd, 2011, 11:26 AM
I remember a thread about this topic before. Most agreed Blonette was a good name for it. That's my hair color... :p Not really blonde yet not really light brown. Definately ashy.

rockstarmommy
March 23rd, 2011, 11:39 AM
weyuiosdfghjdfghj

Signe
March 23rd, 2011, 11:55 AM
Dirty blonde hair is dark to medium blonde hair with strong ash tones. A dirty blonde wouldn't actually have any gold tones in his or her hair, because gold tones are warm tones.

I have very ashy, "dirty blonde" hair, but it has lots of warm natural highlights running through it, too. I see hair like mine on a daily basis where I live in Scotland, so I don't think it's that uncommon for both ashy and warm blonde to reside together on one head.

Signe
March 23rd, 2011, 11:58 AM
ps. the best name i have heard in reference to my type of colour is Caramel. I'm sticking with that for now.

Maddy25
March 23rd, 2011, 12:05 PM
I've always called mine Ash blonde :) I hate the words dirty blonde too.

Bianca
March 23rd, 2011, 12:09 PM
I have very ashy, "dirty blonde" hair, but it has lots of warm natural highlights running through it, too. I see hair like mine on a daily basis where I live in Scotland, so I don't think it's that uncommon for both ashy and warm blonde to reside together on one head.

No, not uncommon at all. I also have both warm and ashy tones.

Topaz
March 23rd, 2011, 02:01 PM
I do wonder what my hair would be called too. Like someone else mentioned, mine is different colors depending upon the lighting. Inside under office lights I'm a sort of medium or dark golden blonde. In dimmer/darker lighting I'm a sort of light golden brown. But outside in bright sunlight, my hair gleams a wonderful light golden blonde with red highlights, really bright and very strikingly blonde! It couldn't be more different from my 'inside' hair. Is there a classification or name for Jekyll and Hyde hair like mine?

By the way, in my signature picture, that was outside on a cloudy day. I wish I could catch a picture in full bright sunlight!

firicia
March 23rd, 2011, 02:07 PM
I'm not sure about other names, but I will say my fiance loves calling me a "dirty blond" hahaha, we love to joke with each other though:D

BrightEyes7
March 23rd, 2011, 03:00 PM
I just wanted to add... although my hair is mostly a dark ashy blonde I do have a lot of red and golden natural highlights.

MsBubbles
March 23rd, 2011, 05:41 PM
I personally prefer dark ash blonde for mine. But really it's the same color that most of you are talking about. Save for two rogue coarse red hairs somewhere behind my ears, I don't have much in the way of golden tones. Under indoor-lighting my hair looks strangely shiny but dark.

I'm not a fan of 'tawny', because it reminds me of stupid 80s glamrock videos (Whitesnake). Neither am I a fan of mouse, or mousy.

Eric that's just sad, about this color being the one that nobody wants to have. Although ironically, I have noticed in supermarkets (why's it always in supermarkets?!) girls with medium-ash-brown hair with white streaks that bring the overall hair color back to our most-hated dark ash blonde. It's all relative I suppose.

I will say though, this nondescript color does look absolutely spectacular on tailbone+ natural/virgin hair after the sun has taken a shot at it - even just a little bit. And thank you to all of you who have posted such photos of your lovely hair - it helps me like mine and not cave into the highlighting rat-race.

Arctic_Mama
March 23rd, 2011, 05:49 PM
Yes, we had a big thread about this a few years ago. There was a lovely (Dutch, maybe?) name someone had for it that didn't sound... Blah. I'm going to see if I can remember it.

Arctic_Mama
March 23rd, 2011, 05:51 PM
We have had a thread about this before, i think we came up with the word cendré, as being most fit for the job. :)

Come to think of it, that might have been the thread about dark-blonde. So correct me if im wrong about it being about the ash-blonde.

Yup, that was the one! Much nicer descriptor than 'mousy' or 'dishwater'. Bleck!

MrsGuther
March 23rd, 2011, 05:54 PM
Somewhere here there is a whole thread about better names for 'hair-colored','tawny' and so-on hair. Dark blonde/light brown, usually ashy, is what I think is meant. My personal contribution was 'puma colored.' :D

Here in Germany the term is 'street dog colored hair' - also not very nice.

However, since everyone seems to think I have brown hair now, even my mom, I guess I can't call myself any of these lovely names.

Your post made me smile and have a good laugh.
I suppose I have 'street dog colored hair'!!! haha :)
I have dark blonde/ "dirty blonde"/tawny hair!

Springlets
March 23rd, 2011, 06:06 PM
I like the terms Garnier has for its hair colors like that:

dark blonde gets sweet latte and almond creme

light brown gets mochaccino and acorn

It makes your haircolor sound tasty. :)

Springlets
March 23rd, 2011, 06:21 PM
We have had a thread about this before, i think we came up with the word cendré, as being most fit for the job. :)

Come to think of it, that might have been the thread about dark-blonde. So correct me if im wrong about it being about the ash-blonde.

Does this come from the same root as cinder? It does sound nice but then when you think about the actual meaning... it's the same as ash.
http://en.bab.la/dictionary/french-english/cendre

smileycat
March 23rd, 2011, 06:21 PM
ps. the best name i have heard in reference to my type of colour is Caramel. I'm sticking with that for now.

Oh, I am definitely going with caramel!

freecelt
March 23rd, 2011, 06:48 PM
I second the caramel! I like it :D

I've also heard sandy- not exactly flattering but not negative either :)

MsBubbles
March 23rd, 2011, 07:34 PM
I like the terms Garnier has for its hair colors like that:

dark blonde gets sweet latte and almond creme

light brown gets mochaccino and acorn

It makes your haircolor sound tasty. :)

Oooh those are great! I love either sweet latte or mochaccino. Yeah.

ArienEllariel
March 23rd, 2011, 08:16 PM
I have very ashy, "dirty blonde" hair, but it has lots of warm natural highlights running through it, too. I see hair like mine on a daily basis where I live in Scotland, so I don't think it's that uncommon for both ashy and warm blonde to reside together on one head.

Me too! I get golden tones in sunlight but indoors under fluorescent it looks more ashy... sometimes downright green.

TrudieCat
March 23rd, 2011, 08:45 PM
I agree that dirty blonde is basically just a term for dark blonde. I think a lot of blonde hair has both ash and golden tones, since blonde hair is often prone to fading in the sun and tends to fade to a warmer color than its base color. My hair is very ash-toned underneath and golden on on the canopy. I like what someone else here said, puma colored. :D Pumas and other cats (like my sweet brown tabby that I lost last year) have fur that can appear both golden and ash colored blonde, depending on the light.

I also agree that darker blonde is not generally considered to be a desirable color, at least where I live, since I basically never see this color IRL. I see a lot of highlights over this puma color when I'm out and about. But I'm really getting to like it more and more because it is a nice neutral color that matches a lot of things and goes well with my skin tone. Also, it reminds me of colors in the woods in winter and sand on the beach. :)

MissManda
March 23rd, 2011, 08:50 PM
My sister has this hair color naturally and she chemically dyes it darker because she dislikes it. I've always thought dark blonde was a nice color, especially when it has darker and lighter shades mixed in. It makes braids look really pretty-looking, IMO.

I love all of the creative names that everyone has come up with for this color.

HintOfMint
March 23rd, 2011, 08:58 PM
I always thought it was a dark, almost bronzy blonde. In any case, I always thought it was a pretty color, despite the name.

Dishwater blonde is a name, on the other hand, that needs to be abolished. What a horrible image, can't believe y'all put up with that.

jasper
March 29th, 2011, 04:44 PM
Neither Dirty nor Dishwater as a descriptor make sense. What color is dishwater? it depends on what was for dinner! What color is dirt? In my hometown, dirt is red like you can get with henna.

I don't think there is anything uncomplimentary or unflattering about calling it ashy. It doesn't sound as pricy as golden or platinum blonde, but cool toned blonde sounds like ashy to me. When my blonde hair is dirty, it doesn't look ashy, it jus looks dirty.

madeline_
March 29th, 2011, 04:54 PM
Here in Belgium we call it "salt and pepper". I rather like that description, though I have no idea where it comes from.

jojo
March 29th, 2011, 06:57 PM
my hair colour (natural) is hard to descibe its not blonde blonde, but not brown, brown mousy is what some in my area use to describe which I hate. I like dark wheat blonde/brown!

Demetrue
March 29th, 2011, 10:32 PM
I like the term wheat blonde! It wasn't until I was much older that I truly began to appreciate the awesome beauty of natural, healthy dark blonde hair, especially when it is long! It looks so refreshing and natural and cool when everyone else around is using some sort of dye or bleach to change it (which is their perogative, of course). My light blonde hair darkened to "dirty blonde" during my teen years, but I never was offended by the term - I guess I thought it meant sexy?

prosperina
March 29th, 2011, 10:55 PM
I refer to my natural color as a dark honey blond with red. Sounds like a beer. :D

My main objection to dishwater blond and dirty blond is they're not very descriptive. I never know if ash blond or some other (warmer) shade of dark blond is meant.

mellie89
March 29th, 2011, 11:06 PM
"Dirty blond" can be warm or cool-toned, in my mind. It's anything that is too light to be brown and too dark to be blond. :p

I usually call my hair color dark blond, or dark golden blond, because it is more descriptive and less icky-sounding.

jojo
March 31st, 2011, 05:39 AM
I refer to my natural color as a dark honey blond with red. Sounds like a beer. :D

My main objection to dishwater blond and dirty blond is they're not very descriptive. I never know if ash blond or some other (warmer) shade of dark blond is meant.mine is more honey blonde than ash too but throw a beer in and you can call it what you want:D

My daughter just said you should call in "twighlight zone hair" as its neither a true blonde or brown!

this is my natural colour which is more golden than ash i think http://www.longhaircommunity.com/forums/album.php?albumid=354&pictureid=4485

Logi Bear
August 9th, 2012, 04:20 PM
my hair color usually varies alot depending on the time of year. On average my hair is this color:

http://www.haircolorsideas.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/long-dark-blonde-hair.jpg

http://www.haircolorsideas.com/blonde/dark-ash-blonde/very-long-blonde-hair/

However If I am able to get lots of sun it lightens up like crazy. I have pictures from when I was little where my hair was light blonde because I spent every day outside playing in the sun.

I have always called it dirty blonde but I have mentally just always "wrinkled my nose" at that name for some reason. Its like what someone else posted earlier.. nobody calls brunette hair poop colored. That's like calling brunette hair nasty! So in the back of my mind I just always thought somehow calling my hair color "dirty blonde" was like calling my hair color dirty or nasty, or even saying that it was low quality, trampy, or a low grade color that only low grade people wear.
I remember being in youth group once before I got sick years ago, and the youth leader actually cracked a joke when i referred to my hair as "dirty blonde." He basically told me not to talk about myself like that, because of course calling myself dirty blonde was like calling myself a dirty person. It was actually really funny and I went along with it, but it kind of surprised me because that was what everyone else had always called my hair and I wasn't expecting anyone to joke or laugh when I called it dirty blonde. I have never heard "dishwater blonde" and even "dark blonde" is rare where I live. My hair color is pretty much always called "dirty blonde," and although it is very common you wouldn't know it unless you pay attention to peoples roots because most people here with "dirty blonde" hair dye it.
I have never thought of calling my hair color "carmel, sweet latte, or almond cream" that is a fantastic idea! I also love wheat blonde, oak blonde ect! Although when I googled wheat blonde images I think I am a bit darker than that. Great ideas, i might start using them.

spookyghost
August 9th, 2012, 04:31 PM
Autumn blonde?

I love this one!



Somewhere here there is a whole thread about better names for 'hair-colored','tawny' and so-on hair. Dark blonde/light brown, usually ashy, is what I think is meant. My personal contribution was 'puma colored.' :D

Here in Germany the term is 'street dog colored hair' - also not very nice.

However, since everyone seems to think I have brown hair now, even my mom, I guess I can't call myself any of these lovely names.

Almost fell off the couch when I read "street dog colored hair"! lmao!

This is my hair color by the way!;)

1nuitblanche
August 9th, 2012, 04:34 PM
To parrot lots of others here, I think that it is dark blonde.

jacqueline101
August 9th, 2012, 04:36 PM
I'd say dark blonde.

Greenfire
August 9th, 2012, 04:58 PM
My hairdresser had a name for hair that was light as a child and darkened as you got older to the dark blonde, he called it California blonde, because the more sun you give it, the blonder it gets, and it tends to look it's lightest in the brightest light. But I think my hair is more golden than ash, though I think it did have some ash in it. (need to grow it out to see again....)

What's the difference between dirty blonde and bronde? Are they the same thing or is bronde a specific colour only reserved for dyed hair?

spookyghost
August 9th, 2012, 05:14 PM
Greenfire-I never heard of bronde. I like that one too. My hair was almost white blonde when I was a kid. Where I live its called tow head. Then it got darker with age:(

Picotee
August 9th, 2012, 05:41 PM
Now I henna, but my natural color is dark golden/wheat blond with some ash undertone. I HATED it when people would call it dirty blonde. To me, dirty blonde is purely ash-toned. I think of someone who has more medium ash blonde (turning lighter in summer) at the crown and a darker, mousier gray-blonde-brown color underneath. They probably had very blonde hair as kids then by puberty it becomes duller. I also equate it with being stringy- those I've seen with it had fine, thin hair.
Too many people get called dirty blonde when they're not, really. Gotta educate the masses!

julliams
August 9th, 2012, 06:55 PM
My daughter and her friend have interesting hair - my daughters is on the blonde side of brown and her friends is on the brown side of blonde and yet there is only a shade between them. I've always called my daughter's hair "honey blonde" and I know teachers have described her as fair-haired.

Curly Crone
August 9th, 2012, 07:07 PM
I always hated the term dirty or dishwater blonde too, it just sounds too negative. My Granddaughter also has "Honey Blonde" hair that lightens in the summer, it's very pretty.

Loveisaverb
August 9th, 2012, 07:16 PM
I have heard the term "tree bark blonde" for dark blonde hair as well. It kind of sounds organic to me. :D and there is also sandy blonde.

Greenfire
August 9th, 2012, 07:18 PM
@Spookyghost: bronde is one of the hottest new hair colours for 2012: 20 pics of brondes (http://beauty.about.com/od/haircolo1/ss/Bronde-Hairstyles-Brunettes-With-Blonde-Sun-Kissed-Highlights.htm) It specifically refers to brunettes who put in highlights to go blondish, but the hair looks pretty dark blonde to me.

blondie9912
August 9th, 2012, 07:41 PM
I like "dark honey blonde" for warmer tones

Logi Bear
August 9th, 2012, 09:09 PM
what about "earthy blonde"? Or "earth blonde". I saw that used once.

jojo
August 11th, 2012, 09:07 AM
Ha I noticed they called J Lo's hair " bronde" I think that pretty much sums it up!

Amorice
August 11th, 2012, 09:49 AM
I always thought 'dirty' or 'dishwater' blonde refered to hair that probably would have a brighter color if it weren't for minerals in your tap water/smoke and smog in the air/everything else in the world that can make blonde hair look darker. Or when your bleach job goes brassy.

I always refer to my natural color as "dark blonde" or "honey". Its pretty warm-toned, so despite it being darker than typical blonde, most people still see it as blonde. But my roots are really dark, so at the end of the summer, when my hair has been sun-bleached up a level or 2, some people don't believe that its natural :P

palaeoqueen
August 11th, 2012, 02:45 PM
I dislike the terms "dirty blonde" and "dishwater blonde", lots of people use these terms in a disparaging way, not very nice. I see nothing wrong with calling dark blonde hair simply "dark blonde", it is what it is after all. I usually refer to mine as a dark ash blonde. I don't see why we need some sort of fancy terminology.