Picture the underside of Portobello mushrooms: ashy brown, highlights and lowlights, and a hint of creamy grey… drooling? Us too! And not only because we love a grilled Portobello. Our favorite vegetable has inspired a hair trend, and we are living for it! Here’s how you can jump on the mushroom brown hair trend.


Why mushroom brown hair color?

Many highlights lean towards warmer shades of honey, copper, and gold… but not mushroom brown! This trend tilts in the other direction, giving an unexpectedly flattering twist. Cooler skin tones won’t be washed out by the subtle earthy hue ash, and warmer skin tones pop against the contrasting hues. Bonus: if you’ve got any grey hairs tucked away, they won’t stand out against this style, giving you extra coverage without another trip to the hairdresser. Nice! 🍄🍄🍄


What to ask for your hair stylist

If your hair stylist hasn’t heard of mushroom brown hair color, (maybe they’ve been living under a rock… like a mushroom, no pun intended) here’s how to describe it. Ask your hairdresser for an ashy-brown base, with highlights and lowlights applied over the top to give the color more dimension. The end result should be subtle shades of brown and grey – no 2002 stripes, thanks. You could also work with your hairdresser to create mushroom brown ombre or balayage if a grown-out look is more your style.


How to achieve ashy mushroom brown hair color at home

Look, we need to give you fair warning – mushroom brown hair can be tricky and is not an easy task! If lightener and hair dye aren’t expertly applied, you could end up with muddy brown tresses, grey stripes or splotchy brown patches… not exactly the subtle beauty we’re aiming for. BUT, if a hairdresser isn’t an option, and you’re confident in your DIY dexterity, here’s how you can get the look at home.


Step One: Choose the right dye/dyes

Be realistic about your starting color, and choose an ashy brown dye to suit. Ideally, you want at least two shades – one lighter and one darker – to create the perfectly blended earth shade and more varied mushroom brown look.

If you’re starting with lighter hair, you could opt for a darker beige/blonde as your base shade, but if you’re a natural brunette, you might try a mocha ash brown. Remember that hair dye won’t lighten your hair. If you want to achieve highlights and less pigmented parts, you’ll need to use a product containing bleach to lighten the hair first.

Some of our favorite at-home mushroom brown dyes:

John Frieda Precision Foam in Medium Ash Brown.

Courtesy of brand

Loreal Paris excellence crème permanent triple protection hair color in light ash brown.

Courtesy of brand

Loreal Paris excellence crème permanent triple protection hair color in mocha ash brown.

Loreal Paris excellence crème permanent triple protection hair color in dark brown.

Courtesy of brand

Clairol Nice‘n Easy light ash brown.

Courtesy of brand

Step Two: Apply the color

Once you’ve chosen your dye to achieve cool tones of the mushroom brown hair color, follow the box instructions to mix and apply the color. If you can, try a test strand first, to make sure the dye creates the color you want. If you’re using the darker shade for lowlights, apply the lighter shade over the whole head first, going over the lowlights with the darker color only once the first dye job is complete.

Step Three: Adjust

Check, and touch up. Mushroom brown hair is a trend with huge variation, and no-one said you had to get it perfect on your first go. Assess your work, and add more highlights or lowlights as needed.

Pitfalls to avoid

#1 Bleach disaster

Going from blonde to mushroom brown hair color is always risky, but this goes double for mushroom brown. If your hair is bleached, or if you’re planning to bleach highlights, proceed with caution! Make sure you use toner to remove as much yellow pigment from your hair as possible. Why? Ashy browns and greys are blue-toned, and golden-blonde is yellow-toned. Blue plus yellow equals? Yup. Green. You can avoid this by “filling the hair” with red tones first. This will prevent the green, but will make the ashy mushroom  brown color harder to achieve. Best solution? Go to the hairdresser.

#2 Too grey too soon

Overdo it with the ashy mushroom brown color and you could end up less Portobello-brown princess, more mouse- ashy gray mama. Avoid this by doing a test strand of each dye you’re using before committing to your whole head. And if you’re starting with blonde hair, don’t overdo the toner.

#3 Zebra stripes

If your multi-dimensional mushroom brown hair look comes out looking more “highway” than highlights, it can be tricky to fix. Avoid going down that road by carefully choosing smaller sections of hair. Don’t start them all from your center part; choose some from around your face, and from an inch or two below your part. To avoid harsh lines and stripes, use the end of a comb to wave in and out of your hair, selecting a group of tiny sections rather than one big chunk. If you’re getting a mushroom brown balayage, use a dye brush to grip hair and slightly tease it before applying lightener. This will avoid the harsh stripe of where you apply your dye. Watch ‘How To’ videos to get your technique right, and start with sections that are less visible, leaving the most important pieces for when you’re in the flow.


How to style mushroom brown hair

The blended layers of mushroom brown hair are best shown off by waves. Curl your hair with a curling wand, and run your fingers through it to create soft, subtle waves. Alternatively, use a triple barrel waver or crimper to create mermaid-waves.

If you’re naturally curly, simply scrunch some curl cream into your hair to bring out your natural coils. Light hits each piece of hair differently, creating a rippling variation of color. Mmm, lush.

Makeup to complement mushroom brown hair

Keep your make-up soft and romantic to best show off your mushroom brown hair. Try smoky eyes with lids of woody brown, taupe, or a pop of maroon. For lips, think nude, dusty pink, or cocoa for a more striking look. Opt for blush instead of bronzer, and go easy on the highlighter. Keep brows neutral by brushing through a clear gloss, or lightly fill them with a pencil. The look you’re going for is sleek, chic, and not too dramatic.