7 differences between cool blondes and warm blondes: the ultimate guide to choosing your next hair color

dark roots

Before we start talking about the differences between warm blonde and cool blonde, we should explain that they aren’t two different shades.

Instead, it’s the same shade with different undertones. And this brings us to the first difference.

  • Difference 1: According to their undertones, warm blondes are golden, copper, and mahogany, while cool blonde shades are ash and mauve.


  • Difference 2: For the maintenance of cool blonde, you should use purple or blue shampoo. In turn, the best for warm blondes would be a golden toning shampoo.


  • Difference 3: If you want to do a coloring job such as highlights or balayage, you can choose fantasy red or orange colors for cool blondes. Meanwhile, for warm blondes, the perfect match will be in the brown range.


  • Difference 4: if your base color is a very light yellow, you should opt for a warm blonde, while if your base is darker, you can opt for a cool blonde.


  • Difference 5: If your skin is pale, it’s best to opt for warm blondes, and if your skin is darker, cool blondes will give it an extra touch of luminosity. You should also consider the color of your eyebrows, and I’ll tell you why below.


  • Difference 6: Cool tones lighten faster than warm tones. Therefore, they give the feeling that the color fades faster.


  • Difference 7: Generally, cool blondes are more popular during the fall, while warm blondes are trendy in the summer.


Have you been able to decide following these differences?

Will you opt for cool blonde or warm blonde?

Still not sure?

Don’t worry. Unless you’re a pro, the differences are so subtle that they almost go unnoticed.

Therefore, I keep many things in mind to give my best recommendation when a client comes into the salon and asks for my opinion on these shades.


blue underlying pigments

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  • For example, in the case of Betina, who had her hair bleached in a very light tone, we opted for a warm blonde. Then, we added a balayage in golden tones, which also highlighted her pale skin and her brown eyes.


  • But in the case of Julieta, who had bleached her hair to a dark blonde base, we decided to apply a cool blonde with ash highlights. It spectacularly framed her features.


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  Both cool blondes and warm blondes are winners because they are shimmering, friendly tones with a certain seductive touch. 


But before choosing the hair dye to transform your hair into a warm blonde or cool blonde, keep some things in mind.

The principle of colorimetry teaches us that a 20-volume peroxide hair dye cannot lighten more than one or two shades on natural hair.

If you need to lighten your hair even more to apply any of these blondes, you’ll need to bleach it. Then, apply the chosen hair dye to the resulting color.

Having said that, let’s begin to analyze the first difference.

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Difference 1: Cool blondes are dominated by anti-red tones, while warm blondes are dominated by much brighter tones.

light skin

Does your hair have some brassy or yellowish undertones?


I recommend applying a cool blonde with ash or mauve shades. It’ll give your hair beautiful shades between gray and lilac-violet.

These are called anti-reds because they kill or neutralize any yellow or brassy highlights.


On the other hand, warm blondes, such as gold, copper, and mahogany convey a strong personality. They have a much stronger shine and stand out much more.


Difference 2: You should use different shampoo colors to maintain warm and cool blondes.


When cool blondes start to wash out, they become dull.

If you choose a cool blonde with gray undertones, you’ll see that it turns to an artificial mink tone. Instead, if you opt for a cool blonde with mauve highlights, your color will become a very unnatural bluish-gray.


  • Nevertheless, you shouldn’t discard the idea of going cool blonde. The only thing you’ll have to keep in mind is that you’ll have to use a purple or blue shampoo to maintain the color.

Some of these shampoos contain blueberry extracts, which will bring back the intensity of the cool tone and neutralize any hint of yellow or brassy.


  • If you choose a warm blonde, it’ll wash out to a deep yellow or light orange. And in this case, you should use shampoos in gold or copper, which enhance the honey, beige, or deep copper tone of warm blondes.


A tip that works for both cool and warm blondes?

Moisturize your hair regularly! You’ll prevent the color from fading so quickly.


Difference 3: If you want to add some highlights in cool blondes, you can choose fantasy shades. In warm blondes, in turn, the best combinations are brown or mahogany highlights.

The mixtures of these tones with other colors have great allies or great enemies. su_list icon=”icon: check-square-o” icon_color=”#800080″ class=”milista”]

  • Cool blondes have allies like fantasy greens, blues, purples, and grays. On the other hand, you should forget about red or orange highlights because they result in a very strident and out-of-tune contrast.
  • Warm blondes have their allies in copper, brown, and mahogany tones. They’re perfectly suited to the hair, give depth, and look very fine.[/su_list]


What colors to avoid in warm blonde highlights?

No cold fantasy tones, such as greens, blues, or violets because they result unattractive.


Difference 4: The base color of your hair will determine the success of your warm or cool blonde.

  • If you have very light blonde hair, either because it’s bleached or from using lighteners, you should choose a warm blonde. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a greenish, mink grey, or purplish tone.
  • If your base color is dark, opt for a cool blonde to prevent the color from turning into an intense copper tone.


Difference 5: Your skin color is decisive for choosing a warm or cool blonde.

warm or cool blonde depending on skin tone

As with any hair color, some skin tones are more flattering than others. Therefore:

  • If your skin is dark, opt for cool blondes. They’ll give your face a beige luminosity.
  • If your skin is pale, opt for a cool blonde. It’ll bring out the best in your features without fading your natural glow.


Speaking of the color of the skin on your face, let’s not forget the eyebrows. It’s an area of the face that we rarely take into account.

Whenever you wear a blonde color,  you should take into account the tone of your eyebrows. 


According to your base, if you choose a cool blonde, it may give you a brownish tone that will harden your look.

On the other hand, warm blondes will sweeten your look and your features. Still, you should be very careful not to get too close to copper because you’ll look too artificial.


Difference 6: When warm blondes fade, they look neater and last longer than cool blondes.

spring blondes

Of course, it all depends on how you care for your hair. Don’t forget that both cool and warm blondes need a lot of maintenance.


 But all things being equal, cool blondes lighten faster than warm blondes. 

Also, when cool blondes lighten, they get dull, while warm blondes retain the shade longer.


Difference 7: For fall, cool blonde. For winter and summer, it’s best to choose warm blondes.

light skin

I don’t want to get too romantic, but I think that poetry is everywhere, even in hair matters.

Therefore, you should also  take into account the season of the year before choosing a warm blonde or a cool blonde. 


  • For fall, you can play with neutral cool blondes. They’ll tone down the rhythm of the summer in your hair to a calmer time.
  • During the winter, you can opt for lighter warm blondes with some brown highlights for added warmth.
  • And with the arrival of the season of love, spring, you can continue with a warm blonde and add some copper undertones, for example.
  • Finally, during the summer, it’s time for super light blondes. They maintain a balanced mix of both shades, such as a very light warm blonde with highlights or balayage in cool blondes.


Lastly, if your hair is very gray, keep in mind that very light shades, such as cool blondes, have less gray coverage.


I recently met a lady in my salon, Isabel, who had colored her hair herself to a light blonde. She was angry at the hair dye brand she had used because it hadn’t covered her gray hair at all.

When we discussed the case, she told me that she had applied 8.3, and that’s where the answer came out: the color was too light and should be applied after a base hair dye. Being that light, it didn’t cover the gray.


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So,  keep in mind that the lighter the shade you choose, the less coverage it’ll have.  In that case, you need to mix one part of the darker base shade with three parts of the color to cover gray hair.

Otherwise, if you use a cool blonde hair color without mixing it with the base color, your gray hair will take on a greenish or purplish undertone. In turn, if you choose a warm blonde, it’ll take on a golden or coppery undertone.


Now that you know the differences between cool blonde and warm blonde, which one will you choose?

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