Vanilla Chai Hair Is the Warm and Cozy Way to Go Blonde This Fall

Vanilla Chai Hair Is the Warm and Cozy Way to Go Blonde This Fall

A close up of vanilla chai hair


In This Article

What It Is How to Get It How to Maintain and Style It The Final Takeaway

Not everyone wants to get rid of their sun-kissed blonde hues at the end of the warmer months. After all, reaching that perfect shade takes a lot of work. Thankfully, there’s an autumnal color that supports keeping those lighter strands through the colder seasons: vanilla chai.

Vanilla chai is more than the caffeinated cup you can’t wait to order when fall rolls around— it’ll also be your warm and cozy order at the hair salon. We asked pro hair colorists Jacob Schmidt and Richy Kandasamy to give us the 411 on this fall-friendly shade. Read on for what they had to say.

Meet the Expert

  • Jacob Schmidt is a senior hairstylist at Sally Hershberger NoMad in New York City.
  • Richy Kandasamy is a colorist and R+Co Collective member.

What Is Vanilla Chai Hair Color?

“Vanilla chai [hair color] is an ashy blonde blended with hints of brunette and dark roots,” says Schmidt. This buzzy blonde color, first coined by colorist Amy McManus of @camouflageandbalayage, leans cooler than the brighter highlights we see more of in the warmer months. It’s a bold and captivating contrast between darker roots and icy vanilla-toned highlights, explains Kandasamy.

Kandasamy says this vanilla blend can be “carefully orchestrated to harmonize with your skin tone, creating a balance that accentuates both your complexion and eye color.”

How to Achieve Vanilla Chai Hair Color

The best approach for achieving a vanilla chai shade is the balayage highlighting technique, followed by toning with those cooler vanilla hues. Due to the balayage technique required for this look, a visit to the salon is a must, and it can’t be replicated from home. “I would ask for an ashy, light brown or dark blonde base color, then blend in those icy and creamy blondes for added dimension,” says Schmidt.

Any hair type, color, or texture can achieve a vanilla chai shade, but there are a few things to consider. “When considering this color trend, keep in mind that having a pre-existing blonde hair color makes it even easier to achieve the desired shade,” says Kandasamy. “Naturally dark or medium blonde hair can also serve as a great starting point for this trend.” If you’re going into it with brighter blonde highlights, the base will primarily need to be toned down and darkened, adds Schmidt.

While the cost of your color service may vary greatly depending on the current color and state of your hair, you're likely looking at around $250-$500, says Schmidt.

How to Maintain And Style Vanilla Chai Hair Color

"The best way to maintain this color would be to ask for a darker root to keep touch-ups at a minimum," says Schmidt. Along with minimum base touch-ups, Kandasamy recommends toning every six weeks to keep strands shiny and tones rich.

Using the right products at home will also go a long way toward preserving and maintaining your desired hues. Keeping strands hydrated and protected from hot tools or UV will also support your maintenance efforts. “I always suggest the Sally Hershberger 24K Liquid Assets Daily Conditioner Remedy ($32),” says Schmidt, noting that this product doubles as both a leave-in conditioner for hydration and a heat protectant to shield from external factors that may cause damage. Along with minimizing hot tools, using a treatment mask once a week can help preserve these delicate hues and prevent fading; we like R+Co Bleu’s Primary Color Masque ($70).

Our experts recommend getting this color touched up every three to four months, “especially if you’re a natural brunette; you’ll want to get rid of any brassy tones,” says Schmidt.

The Final Takeaway

Ultimately, vanilla chair hair color is versatile, easy to maintain, and works well on various hair types and textures—all while being an especially effortless transition shade for pre-existing blondes and brunettes. It's safe to say we're drinking this shade right up.

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