Cool vs. Warm Blonde: Understanding the Differences


three blonde models

As with every hair color out there, there are several different variations, hues and shades of that color. And blonde hair is no different. In fact, while there are three main levels of blonde hair, there are many variations of those tones. Blonde hair can range from an ashy gray to a deep caramel tone. Plus, depending on the client’s hair, blonde can look different on everyone.

Given its extensive range of possibilities, blonde hair can also be manipulated by using professional purple shampoo and toners to achieve a certain shade or color. These products can do things like tone down certain colors like yellow or orange or infuse the blonde with more pigment.

As a stylist, you may hear the terms “cool blonde” and “warm blonde” a lot. It’s important to understand the differences between cool and warm blonde so that you can make the best decisions for your clients when it comes to lightening their hair and toning it to get the desired shade and color.

It’s also essential to know the differences so that you can properly educate your clients on the kind of blonde they can achieve during their visit. Sometimes, going blonde can be a process — depending on the tone of blonde the client wants to achieve.

And by knowing the difference between these two levels of blonde hair, you will be able to inform your client of the steps that are necessary to achieve the blonde they desire.

So, without further ado, let’s talk about the different levels of blonde hair. We will also talk about how these tones look on certain skin tones.


The Different Levels of Blonde

Whether you are giving a client highlights or you are using professional hair color to give a blonde client a shadow root, knowing the different tones of blonde can help you make the best decisions when coloring the hair so that your client leaves your salon happy. While you may hear a lot about cool versus warm blonde tones, we will also mention neutral blonde as this “in the middle” range has become quite popular recently.

model with long blonde hair
Source: Millafedotova |

Cool Blonde

When you think of cool blonde, you may see colors like ash and blue. While this might be the lightest shade of blonde that one can achieve, it appears darker because the violet and blue tones within the hair absorb light rather than reflect it. In order to achieve a cool blonde tone, stylists will need to use ash gray toner.

 Skin Tones That Wear Cool Blonde Well

At SALONORY, we personally feel that you can embrace whichever blonde tone you want, but just to give some guidance, here are the skin tones we think look best with cool blonde hair. Those who have porcelain skin with red undertones really rock this color. However, we feel as though deeper and darker skin tones also look incredible with icy and ashy locks.

Neutral Blonde

Unlike the super cool tones of ash gray or the warmer honey and caramel tones, the neutral blonde level has more of a nude or beige look. The beige blonde hair trend has risen to prominence over the past few years, which is where we are seeing a lot of clients wanting to stay rather than going cool or warm. To achieve neutral blonde, using a beige, natural or taupe toner will get your client there.

Skin Tones That Wear Neutral Blonde Well

Neutral blonde is one of the most versatile shades because it looks great on most skin tones. This level of blonde really pops on people with fair skin tones and light features.

headshot of model with blonde hair
Source: Nattawat Chearananta | 


Warm Blonde

Warmer blondes boast a little more brass and they include colors that resemble honey and caramel. These tones are usually easy to achieve regardless of the client’s starting hair. These tones require a lot less lift than neutral and cool blonde tones. To get this shade of blonde, you will want to use a mix of golden blonde and neutral blonde toners.

Skin Tones That Wear Warm Blonde Well

The truth is that warm blonde tones aren’t for everyone. However, honey and caramel blonde look incredible against deep and dark skin tones. Honey and caramel highlights give darker complexions a glowy look.

Discover Their Perfect Blonde

As we mentioned above, knowing the main differences between these different kinds of blonde can really empower you to give every client who wants lighter hair the style they are dreaming of. Not only will you know how to create this blonde, but you will know how to inform your clients on how to keep it looking vibrant.


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