As you can see, my natural brunette color was the starting point. In my journey to smoky blond, I wanted to weave in the bright, ashy blond with my natural color, and not get too close to the roots. I also wanted to steer clear of the more icy blond tones, which I know tend to wash out my skin tone. I was going for a blended, California-cool vibe.
According to Ramirez, smoky blond can mean different things to different people, and the color lives kind of on a spectrum. When choosing the tone of your smoky blond, "It's important to take into account your base hair color and your skin tone," he said. "If you have a darker base color, like almost black, the more ashy, icy blond hues will work well. If your natural color is warmer to begin with, then a more buttery blond will look better."
Since my hair is on the lighter brunette side and already quite warm, we went with the butter end of the blond spectrum — not to be confused with honey. Ramirez made sure to stick to those cooler tones to achieve the smoky blond look. He said that it's important to bring reference photos to your appointment and have an honest conversation with your colorist to make sure you're on the same page. "Don't ask for it just because it's a trend," he said. "Make sure it's going to complement you, or else you won't be happy."