Winter is coming. What will our winter hair color be? With the sun setting earlier and less daylight to enjoy, we are embracing the natural shift to moodier hues, like jet black, red velvet, and cherry cola.
Switching up your hair color comes with inevitable drama — especially when there’s bleach involved. This season should be slightly less shocking though after fall’s warm-up where chocolate silk-brown and rosewood red hair were the top hair colors. For those craving something even bolder for winter, we recommend the food-inspired trends that have made their way to salons (after their brief tenure in your makeup bag or on your nails). Latte bronde highlights, cherry cola red, and spiced ginger are all on the menu for the colder months.
If you prefer a more subtle update to your current style, highlights are a simple way to freshen up your look — without having to commit to full-process hair color. Master colorist at Warren Tricomi NYC Sachi Kumagai says stark streaks are on their way out. “People want a blended, low-maintenance look,” says Kumagi. It’s the easiest quick refresh.
Ahead, discover the top winter hair color ideas to ask for at your next color appointment
Barbie-platinum blonde had its moment for the large majority of 2023 — and jet black is winter’s response to the summer fad. Though the dark glossy shade is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, the goal is to make just as much of an instant impact.
“Jet-black hair looks vivid and rich as opposed to a natural off-black color that can look dull,” says Los Angeles and New York City-based hairstylist Dhairius Thomas. To make sure it stays fresh after leaving the salon, London-based hairstylist Tom Smith suggests using a color-boosting treatment once a week to “refresh the dark hair color and tone, while also adding shine.”
Dark Velvet Red
We didn’t think red hair could get any hotter… but this winter dark red velvet hair is showing us otherwise. Like most hair colors, there is a seasonal shift for ginger strands: “The natural progression goes from soft coppers into stronger coppers [for the fall]; then into punchier reds [for winter] — and we are already seeing this clear direction,” says Smith.
If you aren’t a natural redhead and are thinking ahead to the grow-out phase, worry not. Thomas says that this color will look even more eye-catching with time, especially if you have dark brown roots as it’ll create an edgy black to red ombré look.
Not quite blonde… and not quite red… this gorgeous color is the best of both. At the salon, ask your stylist for “thin highlights all over and a soft strawberry blonde tone on top of it,” says Kumagi. To be sure this color catches the light, ask your stylist for a gloss in a shade of coppery gold. Kumagi explains that this hair color is a good option to help over-processed blonde hair recover from all-over bleach.
This sunkissed blonde from California is a hair color Smith likes to call Nepo Blonde. “It’s bright, clean, and finely woven,” says Smith. He suggests skipping intense toners and purple shampoo to maintain the variety of honey shades. Need a reference image? Gwyneth Paltrow and Sophia Richie both wear it well.
Warm chocolate silk was on the menu for fall, but it’s been updated with brown butter brown for winter. The new shade adds lighter caramel babylights for an overall toastiness perfect for the season. “This beurre brunette shade softens any potential harshness when wearing darker bases,” says Smith.
You can have red and purple and brown hair all at once — without it looking like a rainbow. This highly dimensional style “gives the hair a rich and velvety tone that looks particularly great on those with olive skin tones,” says Kumagi. To achieve this cherry cola hue — versus a vivid fire engine-red — Kumagi recommends using a toner with a reddish hue or sticking to a single process in a deep red-brown color.
Give your signature blonde a cool refresh this winter. Since this icy blonde shade is as bright as blonde hair gets, hairstylists recommend avoiding purple shampoo and instead washing with a color-safe shampoo to keep hair clean and fresh.
“It’s a bold look to be sure, but if you’re ready to try it, ask your colorist for a platinum-to-vanilla blonde with controlled warmth. And don’t worry too much about your roots. That’s part of the appeal,” says Dell Miller, colorist at Spoke & Weal Los Angeles.
One of the easiest ways to warm up brown hair? A deep copper gloss. The sheen of the gloss, “makes people’s hair look healthy and vibrant,” says Kumagi. If spiced ginger is the shade you’re after, Issa Rae and Zendaya are two beautiful references to show your colorist. A deeper crimson undertone will give you a more vibrant look like Issa Rae; for a more subtle finish keep the ginger tinge light as Zendaya did above.
Cowboy Copper is riding its wave of popularity from fall straight into winter. Somewhere in between Strawberry Blonde and Dark Red Velvet, the trending ginger shade has a sparkling “golden tone and works with any skin tone,” says Angela Calisti, a New York City-based hairstylist. If you are fair-toned ask your stylist for golden undertones, and if you have tan to deep skin, go for red and brown undertones.
To prevent the color from fading, Calisti recommends shampooing with a color depositing shampoo every two weeks. Try Celeb Luxury Viral Color Shampoo in shades Cognac Quartz, Tourmaline, or Amber to keep the color vibrant in between salon visits.
Originally published in Allure.com