Vivid colour trends have come and gone this past year (cue: Jennie’s orange hair), but there have also been plenty of more neutral, subtle shades that have made their way to our tresses – these are the ones that are more likely here to stay.
One such hair colour that’s trending particularly hard this season is “milk tea grey” hair: an ashy grey hue with milk-brown undertones. It’s a tantalising soft brownish-grey colour that reminds us of (our favourite) bubble tea, and it’s a colour that’s most probably going to stick with us for a long time.
If soft, muted hair colours are your cup of tea (haha), then keep reading because we share everything you need to know about “milk tea grey” hair, with tips from Carmen Wong, professional Senior Stylist at You Are My Sunshine Salon in Singapore!
Why “milk tea grey” hair just works
“Milk tea grey” hair doesn’t refer only to one specific shade of milky brown-grey. Rather, “milk tea grey” includes “an endless number of hue variations” which include everything “from warm browns mixed with grey tones, to cool and neutral browns”, noted Carmen.
It all depends on how milky, or “O” (in the sense of Teh O, tea without milk) you want your tresses to be. “Milk tea colours are very unique as they’re actually a combination of both cool tones and warm tones, hence, the numerous variations,” explained Carmen.
Since warmer, more vibrant hair colours often look better on skins that are warm-toned, and cooler colours on cool-toned skin, “milk tea grey” is an especially versatile colour. The colour category is a good fit for warm, neutral, and cool skin tones alike.
“This colour style tends to be super flattering because it’s a neutral tone and produces natural shadows and contrasts throughout the hair,” said Carmen, “It’s a new classic colour that I don’t think would ever fall off-trend.”
How to match “milk tea grey” hair to your skin tone
Still, there are ways that you can tweak that universally flattering “milk tea grey” to better compliment your skin.
Carmen suggests that people with warm skin tones go for a “caramel milk tea” with amber undertones, “honey milk tea” with golden undertones, or “latte milk tea” with neutral undertones.
People with cool skin tones, on the other hand, are free to up the ante on a creative hairstyle with a wider range of shades!
“Do not hesitate to try more adventurous, yet subtle, colours,” Carmen enthused.
She suggested, off the top of her head, “matcha milk tea” which is brown with green undertones, and “lavender milk tea” which is brown with a lilac shift. Or, you can also opt for a milkier shade of the popular strawberry brown hair colour, “berries milk tea”, which Carmen explained is brown with pink undertones.
How to style a “milk tea grey” hair colour
Balayage still reigns as a hair highlight that’s favourite amongst salon-goers, so it’s great news that “milk tea grey” flaunts an arresting aesthetic when combined with balayage.
“Since milk tea is on the lighter [end] of brunette colours, it looks best when we can play around with highlights or a balayage,” said Carmen, referring to how light “milk tea grey” colours can work to create three-dimensional contrast against naturally darker tresses.
Those who love a low-maintenance hairstyle: heads up, because a “milk tea grey” colour would be just right for you.
“We can design the balayage so that the root regrowth will blend seamlessly into a soft gradient with the rest of the [milk tea grey] hair,” described Carmen, “so even after a few months, the hair design will still look intentional.”
“Milk tea grey” hair looks to get you inspired
This darker milk tea shade adds a stunning and, at the same time, subtle refresh to your naturally black or brown tresses. It’s a colour that you can wear to the office, and yet lets you flaunt cool, chic vibes with its ashy tones.
Lighter shades of “milk tea grey” let you wear a three-dimensional balayage hairstyle oh-so-effortlessly. The pale brownish-grey tones add more volume and texture to your mane, whilst keeping your hair looking so natural.
Wear a lovely “berries milk tea” shade on your tresses, whilst sipping on a refreshing sweet and tangy bubble tea beverage on a hot summer’s day. This creative mix of milky brown and pink tones works especially well for those with cool skin tones.
These rich, dark browns shot through with lighter honeyed tea hues remind us of a fragrant coffee-tea brew. Its more vibrant hues will best flatter warmer skin tones too!
When Carmen said not to be afraid to try more adventurous colours, this is what she meant. A milky brown hue is paired with a cool lilac shift, turning regular “milk tea” hair into lip-smacking “lavender milk tea” tresses. Those with cool-toned skin will look especially good in this surprising shade – we’re jealous.
Steps to achieve “milk tea grey” hair at the salon
If the salon were a bubble tea store, the stylist would be pressing the tea leaves, pouring in the milk, and shaking up your tresses – violà, yummy “milk tea grey” hair.
It’s not though, so your hairstylist will brew a beautiful “milk tea grey” hair with these steps instead, starting with mild bleaching.
“We have to pre-lighten the hair with mild bleaching, depending on the client’s hair condition,” describes Carmen. Then, a colour session will be carried out to apply an even undertone.
After that’s done, the stylist will whip up a blend of colours that you desire, before applying it to your tresses.
“I highly suggest a conditioning treatment right after the colour session to help lock in the dyes deposited into the hair,” emphasised Carmen, “this will prolong the life of your new hair colour.”
Just how low-maintenance is “milk tea grey” hair?
Even if you don’t get a “milk tea grey” balayage that would grow out naturally, you would still find that this milky-brown shade is easier to maintain than most. “Milk tea hair colours [also] create less damage compared to other vivid ash colours,” Carmen noted.
However, just like any other hair colour, you would still have to put effort into maintaining a “milk tea grey”.
Using colour-restoring shampoos is important for “lowering the oxidation of the hair colour, so your hair doesn’t turn brassy easily,” explained Carmen. She also recommends using a deep-conditioning hair mask daily to keep your hair’s “lustrous shine” – a shine that’ll make your milk tea hair really stand out.
If you don’t already do so, you should also apply a heat protectant before blow-drying or styling your tresses, as high temperatures speed up the oxidation of hair dye.
To keep your ashy milk tea tresses salon-fresh, monthly toning and treatment are ideal, reminded the stylist.