Pearl blonde vs. ash-blonde: which color is best for your hair?

  • If your skin is fair, you need to disguise a facial imperfection, or you have a lot of gray hair, pearl blonde is ideal for you.
  • If your skin is dark, your base color is copper or orange, and you’re looking for an extra light shade that requires less maintenance, ash-blonde is your best option.
  • Keep in mind that your base color should be almost white to apply the pearl blonde. Alternatively, the ash-blonde offers you many more alternatives. I’ll tell you about them later.


pearl blonde and ash blonde

Are you thinking about coloring your hair blonde but don’t know which shade to choose yet?

Alternatively, maybe you already dyed your hair blonde, but the time has come to renew the color, and you’re not sure which shade to choose?


Pearl and ash are two of the most popular extra light blonde shades nowadays.

Although they belong to the same family, don’t get confused. There’re many differences between the two shades. You should know about them to choose the best for your face and hair.


What’s the first big difference between these two shades?

 While pearl blonde is a warm tone, ash-blonde is a cool one. 


How are pearl blonde and ash-blonde similar?

 To apply either color to your hair, you’ll need to bleach it to a very light base. 

That can take several bleaching sessions. Therefore, you have to assess the condition of your hair before each bleaching session.


Now that you know what you need before applying either color, I’ll guide you in choosing the right shade. Ready?

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Ash-blonde or pearl blonde. Which color to choose for your skin tone?

dark roots

Why is skin tone so important in choosing the right hair color?


Because hair is to the face like a frame to a painting.

Can you imagine Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous painting, La Gioconda, on display in the Louvre Museum framed in a simple pinewood frame?


No. The genius work of the painter deserves a special frame. It has to enhance the depth and enigma with which Da Vinci endowed the famous woman of all times.

The same is true of your face.


Nature chiseled it,  but you must frame it with the right colors to bring out the best of your features. 

So, you have to choose your hair color very well.


long hair

  • You probably started to notice some wrinkles or expression lines. Alternatively, if you want to disguise a very pronounced nose, the pearl blonde is for you. It’s warm, which helps to hide imperfections and makes you look younger.
  • Ash-blonde, in turn, being a cold tone, will add rigidity and seriousness.


  • Also, if your skin is very fair, the pearl blonde will give it a special luminosity. However, if you have dark skin, you should choose the ash-blonde because it’ll accentuate the warmth of your complexion.


How about my gray hair. Should I go for ash-blonde or pearl blonde?

layered cut

Gray hair is a problem, but you have something in your favor. Any blonde shade will help you disguise it because it blends in with the color of your hair.

Of course, if you have a lot of gray hair, you’ll want to choose pearl blonde. Do you know why?


  • As the pearl blonde is applied on almost white hair, you won’t have to renew the color as often because the difference with your roots won’t be as noticeable.


cascading layers

  • On the contrary, the ash-blonde, because of the type of pigmentation it carries, will make the growth of gray hair more noticeable. Therefore, you’ll have to renew the color more frequently so that the ash-blonde looks great.

If you’re willing to renew the color every two weeks, go ahead. But, you’ll be a slave to the color and your hair will be subjected to chemical processes too often.


  • If you don’t have a lot of gray hair and your base color is copper or orange, you can opt for ash-blonde. Its underlying pigments neutralize unwanted tones.


According to my hair type, should I go for pearl blonde or ash-blonde?

Well, again, the underlying pigments in each color will define your decision.


  • If you have little or very fine hair, you’ll want to opt for pearl blonde, which has subtle pink, violet, and mauve notes. It’ll give your hair more depth and volume.


  • But if you have a lot of hair, and you want to disguise its volume, I recommend ash-blonde.

Also, ash-blonde is perfect for balayage or highlighted hair.


By now, you probably know which shade suits you best. Now, how do you identify them at a store?


Which numbers correspond to ash-blonde and pearl blonde?


Ash-blonde has several shades for you to choose from:

  • 6.1 dark ash-blonde
  • 7.1 ash-blonde
  • 8.1 light ash-blonde
  • 9.1 very light ash-blonde
  • 10.1 extra light ash-blonde
  • 11.1 and 12.1 (these are very light shades, for which you need an almost white base color. You can choose the level of blonde you want, as the ash pigment will show up in any of them.)


Pearl blonde is achieved by taking the hair to an almost white base. Therefore, the pearl color is only seen in the higher shades, such as 12.21 or 11.21.

You can only apply it on extremely light hair. You’ll reach it after several bleaching sessions or if your hair is completely gray.


Do you want to know some of the best brands for either of these two shades?

  • L’Oreal Paris Feria: 11.21 ultra pearl blonde
  • Tassel: 11.21 extra light blond pearl
  • Imaginary: 12.21 blonde pearl hi-lift
  • L’Oréal Paris Excellence: 01 extra light ash-blonde
  • Garnier Nutrisse: 11.1 extra light ash-blonde
  • Schwarzkopf Palette Intense: 7.1 medium blonde ash


You’ve made your choice and you already know which brand of ash-blonde or pearl blonde hair color to buy. Now, what’s in store for the future?

That’s what I’ll talk about next.


Which is easier to maintain, ash-blonde or pearl blonde?

straight hair

Let’s start from the premise that light or extra light blondes need a lot of maintenance. You should accompany them with shampoo to avoid losing pigmentation.


However, being a more versatile color, you can apply a blonde shade closer to your natural color, for example:

If your hair is brown 4, you can apply an ash-blonde 7.1 and you won’t need to bleach every time.


  • On the other hand, this is not the case with pearl blonde. In that case, you’ll need to have almost white hair.

Therefore, maintenance will be very frequent if your hair is not completely gray or extra light naturally.

When I say very frequently, I’m talking about going to the salon every 3 weeks, which will damage your hair. Then, you’ll have to include frequent moisturizing treatments in maintenance.


So ash-blonde will take less maintenance than pearl blonde.



I think that before deciding on pearl blonde or ash-blonde, you should think about three fundamental issues: your hair characteristics, your base color, and your maintenance routine.

Once you analyze those issues, the decision will almost come out by itself.

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