Dirty Blonde Hair Obsession | 10 Irresistible Ways To Wear It

It’s official, we’re obsessed. Dirty blonde hair is one of our favourite on-trend, on-point blonde hair color ideas this year.

It sounds naughty but it’s oh so nice – a grungy, edgy hair color with loads of sun-kissed depth and dimension that’s perfect for summer.

You don’t have to spend hours styling your dirty blonde locks either, because this style has an effortless look no matter what you do with it.

This guide breaks down everything from the best dirty blonde hair color ideas to how to find your perfect shade (or shades), as well as tips for maintaining it over time so you can enjoy this hair style forever! Let’s go!

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What color is dirty blonde hair?

This grimey sounding color is a term for darker blonde shades and tones that might not be the typical, brighter color we all know and love. It can also be known as dishwater blonde!

It’s a shade between light ashy brown and beige blonde tones, but darker than both. This type of shade can look brunette in some lights, but typically has more deep brown tones than other shades.

You can think of this shade as simply, dark blonde. It’s not quite dark enough to be brown. So someone picked the lovely description! Kind of like light hair that leans toward red is called strawberry blonde.

Check out the latest looks over on our Pinterest board for ideas and inspiration.

dirty blonde hair color collection pinterest board

10 Dirty blonde hair ideas.

If you’re considering rocking this on-trend shade, then check out some of these ideas to get inspired.

1. Natural looking blonde balayage

A dirty blonde hair balayage is the perfect look for those who want to blend a bit of lightness and dimension to their natural hair color.

Dirty blonde balayage is a great way to achieve this without having to worry about maintain root growth.

This on-trend hair color technique can be used to create both subtle and dramatic effects, depending on the colors and shades used. Natural-looking balayage typically uses neutral tones and shades that are similar to those found in nature, such as blondes, browns, and reds.

This type of balayage is often said to be more flattering and youthful-looking than artificially dark or light hair colors.

2. Beige blonde with dark roots

Darker roots or a root stretch is a great look for those who want to add some lightness to their hair but don’t want to deal with the upkeep of highlights or bleaching their whole head.

It’s also perfect if you want to transition from dark to light hair.

It’s popular dark blonde hair color trend that involves dyeing your hair blonde with dark roots showing. The contrast between the light blonde hair and dark roots creates a unique and stylish look.

This trend has been popularized by celebrities and fashion icons who have embraced it as a way to stand out from the crowd. While the dirty blonde with dark roots look may require some upkeep, it is definitely worth it for those who want to make a statement with their hair.

3. Ash blonde color melt

This is the best technique to achieve a natural looking color.

A color melt is basically when two colors are melted together to create a third, unique color. And what could be more unique than a light dirty blonde hair style?

To get the look, your hair stylist will start with a base of dark blonde hair and then add lighter ash blonde strands and highlights throughout. The result is a gorgeous, multi-dimensional color that looks amazing on just about anyone! Go for beige blonde or sandy blonde for a cool creamy vibe.

4. Caramel lowlights on dark blonde hair

Scrummy burnt toffee-colored lowlights add some dimension and depth to dark dirty blonde hair color.

They can be subtle or dramatic, depending on your preference, and they work well with a variety of hair types and textures. Caramel lowlights are especially flattering for people with fair complexions and skin tones and blue or green eyes.

If you’re looking for a way to add some interest to your hair without making a major change to your overall color, dirty blonde hair with caramel lowlights are a great option to take your dirty blonde hair color to the next level.

5. Dirty blonde ombre

Dirty blonde ombre hair is one of the hottest hair trends around right now. And it’s not hard to see why.

This versatile look can be worn messily beachy or sleek and polished. It’s perfect for those who want to experiment with lighter shades without going full-on blonde. Ombre is also perfect for transitioning from dark to light hair.

To get dirty blonde ombre, you’ll need to start with a light brown base color. Then, the tips of your hair will be lightened with highlights or balayage. The final result is a sun-kissed look that’s perfect for summer.

6. Brunette with bronde highlights

Brown hair with bronde highlights are perfect for those who want to add a bit of lightness but don’t want to deal with the upkeep of highlights or bleaching their whole head.

This flattering color combo works best with shades that are close to your natural color. If you have lighter brown hair, go for a honey blonde highlight. For darker brown hair, try a golden blonde or caramel highlight. Dirty blonde highlights are surprisingly low maintenance too.

If you’re not sure which shade to choose, ask your stylist for help. The great thing about this look is that it flatters almost everyone.

7. Caramel blonde bob

The caramel blonde bob is a hairstyle that combines the sleekness of a bob with the fun, free-spirited look of beachy waves.

It’s the perfect style for anyone who wants to add a little bit of edge to their look without compromising on sophistication.

The key to achieving the perfect dirty blonde bob is in the texture. To get the look, start by applying a sea salt spray to damp hair and then using a curling iron to create beachy waves. Once you’ve achieved the desired wave pattern, rough up your hair with your fingers to create an undone, effortless dirty blonde look.

Finish off by tousling your hair with your hands and spraying with a light-hold hairspray. Add in bangs, a fringe or a contrasting money piece and you’ll have an easy, show-stopping style.

8. Dirty blonde pixie cut

Dirty blonde pixie cuts are awesome for so many reasons.

Although you’ll have to get regular trims to keep the definition, they’re surprisingly low-maintenance. You don’t have to worry about breakage or split ends nearly as much as you would with long hair.

No more worrying about your hair getting in your face or blowing around in the wind. Just wash, style, and go! If you’re thinking about making the chop, definitely consider a light dirty blonde pixie cut. You won’t regret it!

9. Dirty blonde hair with ash blonde highlights

If you’re looking for a way to take your look up a notch, ask your stylist for some face-framing ash blonde highlights or ice-white platinum blonde highlights on dirty blonde hair base.

This look is perfect for adding a bit of lightness, coolness and dimension to your hair. The ashy blonde highlights help to create a natural looking sun-kissed effect, while the dirty blonde base helps to keep the overall look grounded.

You can also go for a lightened ash blonde money piece if you want to add some extra interest to their hair without making a drastic change.

10. Dirty blonde waves with lowlights

If you’re going for a more natural look, then low-maintenance wavy hair is the perfect dirty blonde style.

This style is achieved by curling your hair with a large barrel curling iron, and then running your fingers through the curls to loosen them up. You can also use a sea salt spray to give your hair some extra texture.

We love this long dirty blonde hair look because it’s casual and easy-going, but it can also be dressed up for a big night out.

Dirty blonde hair FAQs

Is dirty blonde a natural hair color?

The truth is, natural dirty blonde hair color is the darker color most natural blondes will go as they get older.

Those who are already naturally this shade will be able to get the color effortlessly.

It’s also a hue that looks like it has natural highlights in it, giving the hair more depth and dimension. It can often be mistaken for light brown and even warm honey blonde which is slighter more golden and creamier.

Will I have to bleach my hair?

Not necessarily!

If you’re blonde already, you can get the darkness of dirty blonde color without bleaching your hair first.

To get the true look, many people choose to use bleach on their roots and then apply an ashier color, either permanent or semi-permanent, through the rest of the hair.

Some also lighten their ends with bleach too before coloring them so they’re brighter than the darker root area but still have that “dirty” look.

It really depends on the color of your base hair color to begin with.

How rare is natural dirty blonde hair?

This is a rare color, as many women opt for more vibrant colors such as platinum blonde or blonde hair with highlights and lowlights.

But what exactly makes this shade so special? It’s a hue of light brown and golden tones mixed together to create a unique shade that can be hard to find in your local salon.

Most light-haired locks these days are dyed or bleached lighter to bring out natural tones and highlights.

So people with naturally dark hair are harder to detect!

Is dirty blonde hair pretty?

Dishwater blonde hair is a natural-looking color, but at the same time it’s edgy enough to make a statement.

Despite its name, this is a pretty, multi-dimensional color that can look good on almost anyone. It can be very flattering on skin tones that are fair or even olive.

It’s not too light and it’s not too dark. The perfect in-between shade for when you want to be bold but don’t want to go all the way there.

Team this shade with light blonde highlights, balayage or ombre styles and it’s a showstopping sensation.

Will dirty blonde hair color suit my skin tones?

Knowing whether this is a blonde hue that will suit you depends on knowing whether it’s a color that’s warm or cool.

Experts say this dark or very light brown shade tends to be cool and more ash in tone, which means silvery rather than gold. So it will best complement you if your undertones are cool too.

That’s not to say you can’t warm it up with some highlights in shades of honey or caramel. It’s a great base for other colors that can add some warmth to your complexion.

Think about the natural colors on your head; do you have more red undertones than yellow or vice versa?

A general rule is that if your skin leans more towards pink based complexions, choose more golden/yellow based darkening shades; if it tends toward yellow, use more red-based darker shades.

Use our checklist below to find out your undertones and check that this color will really suit you!

If you have cool undertones:

  • Your skin tone is pink or pale.
  • You blush easily!
  • Jewel and pastel colors are so your thing.
  • The color yellow washes you out and does not look good on you.
  • You have blue not green veins in your wrist.
  • Pearls and silver jewellery look awesome on you.

If you have warm undertones:

  • You have red or golden tones in your natural hair.
  • Your skin tone is golden, tan or olive.
  • You might have freckles.
  • You have green not blue veins in your wrist.
  • You suit bright or rich shades better.
  • Gold jewellery looks awesome on you.
cool or warm undertones infographic

Which hair colors suit me?

You can also find out a dirty blonde hairstyle will suit you by taking our quiz! Just answer a few quick questions to find out what other hair colors most suit you!

What hair color suits me?

You can also try on some virtual hair colors with the Best hair color changing apps you need to use this year!

How do I get dirty blonde hair?

This on-trend color is achieved by blending shades of blonde with hues of brunette. What you’ll need to do to get the look really depends on the color your hair – the base color – is now.

If you already have light hair – blending in tones of light and ash brown with your base can achieve the on-trend look. Leave it lighter at the ends of your hair to appear even more natural and sun-kissed.

If you’re light brown/brunette – you’ll need to mix in ashy tones to get that muddy colored hue. Your base color may need to be lightened first and dyed ash brown if your undertones are too warm or red in tone.

If you’re darker than brunette – it will be a long process! Your hair will need to be lightened all over with bleach and dyed again with a light brown or ashy brown to achieve the perfect base. THEN you’ll need to knit highlights with dark roots to create the look.

Really, it’s a color that needs the experienced eye of the experts to get right. So it’s best to visit your salon to find out if it really is for you.

They’ll need to look at the condition of your hair as well as its color to see if it’s up for the processing that will be involved.

Watch and learn: I bleached my brunette hair dirty blonde.

Here’s an awesome video that shows you the hair color journey from brunette to dirty blonde!

Best at-home dirty blonde hair dyes.

If you’re feeling confident about trying out a hair dye at home, there are a range of dirty blonde hair dye shades and hues you can choose.

From ashy colors to medium honey, it’ll all depend on the color your hair is now, and the color you want to be.

ALWAYS do a strand test before you start to check you’ve picked the right color for you!

Best dirty blonde hair dyes

Hair dyeLooks likeBuy it now
L'Oreal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying + Shine Permanent Hair Color, Dark Ash Blondeq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B000KOUGJ6&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 20&language=en USir?t=colouredhairc 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B000KOUGJ6
Clairol Natural Instincts Semi-Permanent Hair Dye, Medium Golden Blonde Hair Colorq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07KRQ8SJV&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 20&language=en USir?t=colouredhairc 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B07KRQ8SJV
Revlon Colorsilk Beautiful Color, Dark Ash Blondeq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07DGCLQD6&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 20&language=en USir?t=colouredhairc 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B07DGCLQD6
Clairol Nice'n Easy Permanent Hair Dye, Dark Blonde Hair Colorq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B001E95FTM&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 20&language=en USir?t=colouredhairc 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B001E95FTM
L'Oreal Paris Excellence Creme Permanent Hair Color, Champagne Blondeq? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B000YJR5DM&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 20&language=en USir?t=colouredhairc 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B000YJR5DM
Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing Hair Color Creme, Dark Natural Blonde q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B001FZOBLI&Format= SL160 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=colouredhairc 20&language=en USir?t=colouredhairc 20&language=en US&l=li2&o=1&a=B001FZOBLI

The pros.

  • It’s a great color to grow out with darker, blurred roots – the dirtiness looks fabulous with the grown-out look!
  • It’s versatile – on-trend styles such as balayage, ombre, highlights and babylights look incredible.
  • Get it right, and it’s a naturally flattering color that frames faces and brings out blue and green eye color especially.

The cons.

  • It can appear dirty! It’s in the name!
  • You’ll need cool undertones to really pull it off.
  • Ashy hair tones can appear grey so be certain it’s a shade that will suit you and not age you.

How long will dirty blonde hair last?

This can vary depending on which method you use to achieve the color as well as what colors you choose.

If your hair is highlighted, expect it to last around 3-4 months before root growth becomes noticeable and requires a touch up.

If you bleach your hair first before coloring, this will only take about 1-2 months to become slightly obvious that a touch up is needed.

If you mix bleaching and coloring, you may see a bit longer life span due to less damage being done from lightening too much in one area at one time.

It also depends on the hair dye you choose to use.

Semi-permanent colors typically last around 6-8 shampoos while permanent hair dye can last up to 6 weeks depending how often you shampoo your hair and what color you have previously dyed in your hair prior to starting this process.

Typically though, expect about 1 month of a lightened effect from a dark brown base before needing a retouch.


Use color safe shampoo and conditioners to keep the color locked in.

Don’t wash your hair more than twice a week because that will make the color fade faster.

Cover up your hair in the sun and in the pool or sea, use a UV spray protection to stop the color from fading.

Use a purple shampoo once a week to keep the color ashy, bright and vibrant and stop brassy orange or yellow tones from showing.

Parting words.

This is one of the most popular hair colors for this year, and after reading our blog post you know why. It’s natural-looking, low maintenance and will make you feel like a goddess.

With its on trend and on point vibes, it’s one of those hair colors that never seems to get old.

Why not take that leap into lighter locks? We’re confident it’ll be worth your while!

Go forth and be confident in your beauty and dirty blonde power!

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Nicola Freeman

Creative Director & Owner

With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during Covid for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!