Dirty Blonde Hair: How to Rock This Hair Color

Jennifer Anniston. Rita Ora. Gigi Hadid. Celebrities are really getting into this darker shade of blonde; even Taylor Swift has shifted back to the hair color after playing around with a platinum shade. It’s one of the hottest shades of blonde for 2021. Are you thinking about taking on dirty blonde hair as well, but you’re unsure how it’ll affect your look?

What Does Having Dirty Blonde Hair Mean?

A woman with dirty blonde hair, or dishwater blonde, is thought to be sexier or mysterious, more so than other women with light blonde hair. Photo by Sam Carter on Unsplash

Although a long list of hot celebrities, including top models, have embraced the blonde shade, it still doesn’t get as much press as the other tints in the fair spectrum of hair color. Maybe it has something to do with its alternate and unsavory name: dishwater blonde. Or that “dirty” doesn’t exactly have a pleasant connotation. Understandably, you don’t want your crowning glory “associated” with water in which dirty dishes have been washed.

The hair color has also been included in the Urban Dictionary. According to the online source, having dirty blonde hair can mean a woman’s sexier, mysterious even. The dark blonde hue isn’t as common as a brunette and it’s not as artificial as a light blonde. So you probably don’t want that kind of expectation, right?

Here’s the thing, hair coloring can be empowering. Whether your hair dye lasts longer than a few months, a color different from what you were born with has a lasting, liberating effect. And going dirty blonde is not only going to be a pretty shade on anyone. It may even be more versatile than other shades of blonde, like strawberry and golden.

You just have to figure out which coloring styles would work for you.

Is Dirty Blonde Hair Brown or Blonde?

taylor swift
Dirty blonde can go darker or lighter, depending on your mood or preference. Photo from IMDB.com

Dirty blonde hair is brown and blonde. Some women do have darker hues than lighter ones; Jennifer Aniston and Taylor Swift sometimes have dark blonde hair whereas Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow have been lighter dirty blondes at times.

Then there are those who like to mix it up. Because dirty blonde adores highlights, you can change up your “dirty” hair color as often as it’ll allow. Naturally, don’t do it on a whim.

Consider first if your hair is darker or lighter; it’s easier to go from light to dark than it is from dark to light. It’s also healthier for your hair because then you don’t put it through a heavy process filled with chemicals. And you don’t have to spend more for dyeing your hair with several trips to the salon.

Shades of Dirty Blonde

The right choice for your shade of dishwater blonde will depend on your skin tone and hair goals. Dirty blonde typically works well for warmer skin tone, but adding degrees of blonde could also work for cooler skin tone. But this doesn’t mean you’ll have to do lighter hair color because of your skin tone. You can get darker skin through natural oils and spending time under the sun safely.

Here are some of your options for going dirty blonde:

A Deep Brown

Jessica Alba
Deeper shades of brown in your dirty blonde hair keep your appearance just a bit sexier. Photo from IMDB.com

If you have darker hair, you can start with blonde highlights and retain your brown roots. The darker, warmer tone is perfect for olive skin or medium, darker skin. Some great examples are Jessica Alba and Kate Moss, who have rich honey tones.


Jennifer Aniston
Graduated shades of brown or blonde create texture for dirty blondes. Photo from IMDB.com

When you’re going from deep roots to lighter ends, an ombré treatment is in order. The hair coloring technique will give a usual dirty blonde hair some depth with its graduated color. It also allows you to transition your hair color with ease, from dark to light. Jennifer Aniston always looks spectacular in ombré dirty blonde hair color.

Red Dirty

Crimson undertones add a vibrancy to what dirty blonde hair. Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

Red undertones are perfect for women with light, pale complexion. It’s a head-turning coloring style when done right. A celebrity example is Rachel McAdams.

Platinum or Silver Highlights

cameron diaz
Brighten up dishwater blonde hair with icy highlights, like platinum or silver. Photo from IMDB.com

Dark roots, golden strands with icy highlights? Why not. The addition of platinum or silver highlights brightens the dishwater blonde hair. Highlights placed around the face lightens a complexion. This style leaves you with a hairstyle that although it stands out doesn’t scream outrageous.

Highlights, lowlights or coloring techniques are not the only ways to rock your dirty blonde hair color. You can also play with different haircuts to get the look you want.

What About Hair Cuts?

Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels

You probably see most women with dirty blonde hair have long tresses. Such a rich and complex color does need enough “canvas” to create an impact or call attention. But celebrities like January Jones, Jodie Foster and Rachel McAdams sport shorter locks as dirty blondes.

So the cut of your choice is really up to you. You can go lengthy and classic with a layered cut or short and chic with a blunt bob.

Beyond the cuts, different hair treatments also help you lend a deeper personality to dishwater blonde color. Tight curls add volume to a deep brown or brighter dirty blonde. But if curls are too high maintenance for you, try soft curls with highlights or beach waves for a softer look and low maintenance hair style. If you’re going for a surfer blonde look, you’ll want to go lighter.

Aiming for an elegant style? Try dead straight hair, which works for any shade of dirty blonde.

What Do You Do About Hair Maintenance?

Photo by “Jessie Dee” Dabrowski www.jessiedee.net on Unsplash

When you color your hair, maintenance is key to making it last and keeping your locks healthy. So you’re going to need essential products. If you have natural blonde hair, you probably have an arsenal already. One of which is likely a purple shampoo, which helps to neutralize those yellow tones in your hair and keep your hair bright.

Yes, dirty blondes have darker tones. But using your purple shampoo isn’t going to lighten your hair. Just make sure your shampoo isn’t expired — because this product does go bad typically after a year or two of opening the bottle.

You’ll also need deep nourishing conditioner to moisturize your hair. All that coloring and recoloring is going to dry out your locks; special conditioners are formulated for better hair care. Most of these conditioners also lock or enhance the pigments.

So is dirty blonde hair starting to look appealing? Whether you go brighter or darker with this dual hair color, wear the style with confidence.

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