How to Pump Up Your Ash Brown Hair

These ideas will update your look.
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These ideas will update your look.
How to pump up ash brown hair

Welcome to our Ask Beautyeditor column, where our experts answer your hair, skin and makeup questions. To request an online hair consultation from celebrity hairstylist Bill Angst:

  • Email with “Bill Angst Hair Consultation” in the subject line.
  • Include at least TWO well-lit, hi-res photos of you (one close-up, one full-body).
  • Briefly describe your hair texture, colour and main hair challenges.

Please note: All photos will be published.

Q: Hello, I would really like to participate in the hair consultation. I have a lot of hair. Currently, it is not dyed—it's a cool/ashy light brown, and I get a few wiry white hairs. My natural texture is thick, dense, coarse and wavy, but I chemically straighten it (Japanese thermal reconditioning). 

Hair consultation - Andrea

Andrea's natural hair colour is a light ashy brown.

I've had the same style for a while and would like a little change. I'm especially interested in a new colour, maybe something that would pump it up a notch. Thanks very much! — Andrea

Hair consultation - Andrea

Andrea wants a change and is considering a new hair colour.

A: Andrea, if I sound like a downer, sorry in advance... I am going to tell you the same thing I tell everyone who has really gorgeous hair: 

"Leave it alone."

The depth of your natural colour is beyond beautiful. That could never come out of a bottle. 

The length and shine of your hair is hair commercial-worthy. 

Okay, I've said my piece… now on to the fun stuff! This cut has the perfect amount of layering and the perfect length of layers:

Ashley Greene layered hair

Ashley Greene's layered hair.

You will have more versatility to wear it in waves, straight, a side part or an off-centre part. These highlights would work with your base colour as well.

A diagonal part with a flatter side-swept bang will work nicely with this cut:

Vanessa Marcil, Las Vegas premiere, 2003

Vanessa Marcil at the 2003 premiere of 'Las Vegas'.

The volume at the crown adds to a nice profile. I think this colour would work well also.

If long layers are not for you, then this long bob with an off-centre part would be super-cool:

Long bob with off-centre part and highlights

Long bob with off-centre part and highlights.

Add these highlights and you have an edgier look—still pretty, but a bit more sultry.

Your blue eyes inspired me with this radical change:

Cameron Diaz, William Rast Spring 2007 collection presentation, 2006

Cameron Diaz at the William Rast Spring 2007 show.

This would be stunning on you. When you go lighter, you get more damage; darker, way less damage. Something to keep in mind.

A lower-commitment colour would be to lighten the ends and underneath, with a few highlights from the eyebrows down:

Jessica Biel, MTV Movie Awards 2010

Jessica Biel at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards.

This length and super-soft amount of layering can handle any part.


Bill Angst is one of Canada’s top celebrity hairstylists and the owner of Angst Salon at 240 Queen Street East in Toronto. Call 416-360-5942 to book an appointment.