Nothing helps ring in a brand new season quite like a fresh hair color. As the leaves turn and the air gets chillier, it’s natural to gravitate towards warm honey or chestnut tones. But let’s not discount cool tones — specifically, the smokey ice hair color trend. Gray tones and ashy blondes have been trending on and off for a few seasons now, but this new take is possibly the iciest rendition yet, and it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular shades for the fall.

“This is a stunning color of the lightest level you can lift your hair so that appears like the color of ice,” Sarah Potempa, Celebrity Stylist and Founder of The Beachwaver Co., tells GLAM. “It is a platinum blonde with very little pigment and toned to have an ashy, cool finish.” And although there’s little pigment in smokey ice hair color, it doesn’t mean it’s not a bold look — in fact, quite the opposite. The striking shade has plenty of dimension, thanks to the smokey gray tones woven throughout.

“It is definitely a commitment and it shows that you are being creative with your style,” Potempa continues. “Since fall is a time for change with back to school, cooler temperatures, and warmer coffee drinks coming out, this is a time to try something new.” Tempted to give smokey ice hair color a try? Read on for everything you need to know about the trend.

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What to know about the smokey ice hair color trend

The great thing about this color, Potempa says, is that it can look incredible on anyone. However, beware of jumping into the trend too excitedly, though. As she stresses, it’s important to work with a professional colorist as this particular shade needs to be executed correctly in order to maintain your hair health.

Your starting hair color will also impact your coloring process. Because it’s much easier to lift hair colors that are already on the lighter side, it will be a faster and less involved process for those with light brunette to blonde hair. Dark hair will likely require a couple of sessions to slowly lift out your natural pigment while keeping your hair healthy.

If you don’t want to go all in on the trend, consider adding icy highlights throughout for a subtler; this approach will also require less maintenance, Potempa adds.

What should you ask for at the salon if you want to try the smokey ice trend?

“Show pictures!” Potempa says. “This helps the colorist understand the level and tone you desire.” (See below for inspo.) But while it’s always a good idea to have some IG pics bookmarked for your stylist, it’s also important to understand the different coloring processes, as this will help manage your expectations. “For all-over tone, you are asking for a double process bleach,” Potempa says. “This essentially lifts out the largest red pigments and orange and then yellow pigment from inside the hair follicle. Then once the hair is lifted to past a level 10, then you need to tone it properly with an ash cool toner.”

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How to maintain smokey ice hair color

To keep your hair looking its healthiest, Potempa recommends switching to sulfate-free hair care products and strengthening treatments. “You will need to switch your routine to a sulfate-free system that has active strengtheners to rebuild the bonds, like the Beachwaver Co. Be Strong Pre-Shampoo Reparative Foam ($16) and the reparative Good Vibes Shampoo and Conditioner ($32),” she says. Every other wash, she recommends using a purple shampoo to keep the tone “cool and ashy.”

Smokey ice hair color inspiration

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