Watch out for a woman who’s just gotten her hair cut and colored — it’s a sign that she’s on the move, ready to make some waves. There’s something about getting a new style and switching up your hair color that brings a certain type of power that’s pretty indescribable, but sometimes you don’t exactly know what look you want to go for. Hours upon hours of scrolling through lookbooks for the perfect hair color can result in a lot of confusion, leaving you more lost than ever.
That’s where we come in. Hair color is one of those trends that’s difficult to pick up on and even more difficult to execute, so we did the digging, the combing through of the trends and the internet, to put together a comprehensive list of the best winter hair colors. What color is going to be both trendy and set you apart from the crowd? Should you go for red? Black? But in what hues? The list of questions goes on and on, and luckily for you, we have the answers. So sit back and get ready to take some notes because these are the best winter hair colors of 2021.
Give the tips of your hair an upgrade this winter with this look
The winter season is all about switching things up, doing the unexpected with your hair. So this season, don’t just stick to one color — make it two. As noted by Marie Claire, two-toned ends are extremely in this season, and it’s not hard to understand why. The look is playful without being childish, edgy without being too out there — it really is the perfect way to switch things up.
The beauty editors at Marie Claire also pointed out that the two-toned ends of any haircut and color will “look super chic sticking out from a beanie,” making the color combination truly perfect for the winter. Because let’s be honest, trying to pull off a beanie is not an easy thing to accomplish. The two-toned look doesn’t have to be over the top, either. Actress Gemma Chan proved that the look can be subtle, yet still pack a punch. If you’re looking for a softer hair color change in winter 2021, this is the look for you.
This gorgeous blonde hair color is a must-have for winter 2021
Leave it to Kim Kardashian to set a trend well before it comes into the mainstream. Wintery, icy blonde hair is the color to have this winter for its trend-setting pop, for its unexpected sophistication, and, of course, for its gorgeous, sleek look. If you’re scared that the look won’t work for you, don’t be. Hair colorist Guy Tang told Allure that the hair color will work with every skin tone and is sure to look daring no matter what.
“The cool tones won’t create a stark contrast against your skin. Rather, it’s subtly flattering,” he said, noting that even the most pale among us can still rock one of the best winter hair colors of 2021. What makes this look even better is if you have naturally dark hair. As noted by Allure, when your own dark roots start to grow back in, the look goes to a whole new level. So don’t be afraid of the winter blonde trend — the ice queen look will give you a whole new boost of confidence, plus the color itself will look amazing.
Never heard of bronde? You will this winter
There was a time when you were either a blonde or a brunette, and there wasn’t a lot in between. “But I’m a dirty blonde,” we all used to say when we were kids, just so we could stand out from the crowd. Luckily for you, the winter 2021 season is seeing a new color that is absolutely taking the hair industry by storm: bronde. Yes, you read that correctly.
Stylist Mark Townsend, the mastermind behind the Olsen twins’ amazing waves and Dakota Johnson’s bangs, told Bustle that the new color, bronde, started to pop up in the summer of 2020. Now that it’s the winter season, the color couldn’t be more popular. So what’s the big deal with the color? It’s very easy to maintain, for starters.
“You don’t need to get it touched up at the salon too often,” Townsend said. “And if you are maintaining color from home, bronde won’t require you to give yourself highlights, which can always be risky.” And for those of us who are making a full time career out of staying at home, this sounds like the perfect winter hair color to try.
Embrace "shadow roots" this winter 2021
You might not believe it, but it’s true when we say that roots are having a comeback in the winter 2021 season. But these are not the roots of the early 2000s, these are roots that are redefined and stand out in the best way possible. A new hair color trend that you’ll absolutely have to be aware of for the winter 2021 season is “shadow roots.”
Colorist Matt Rez explained to Allure just what the look entails and why it’s become so popular. “With salon capacities lowered to about 25 percent at the moment, clients will have to stretch out their salon visits,” he said, pointing out that “shadow roots” are more like a grown-out, ombré look. “With lower maintenance than a traditional highlight or the contrasty horizontal color jump of a true ombré, a shadowed root will seamlessly blend the darkest bases to brighter ends,” he said. Sounds great to us.
The key to this look, according to Rez, is “flawless blending” that connects all the different shades together. Remember: You’re going for subtle gradation that looks flawless and natural.
Feeling bold? Opt for this snowy white hair color
Icy white hair is pretty tricky to pull off, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not extremely on trend for the winter 2021 season. Thanks to singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, this hair color is more popular than ever, as noted by Marie Claire. Since the hair color looks like literal snow, it’s no surprise that it’s found its home in the winter trends.
So you’re looking to switch up your hair color, but you don’t want to go to a salon? Here’s what you need to do. Dyeing your hair white can be tricky, as duly noted by leading hair color experts at Schwarzkopf, so take some notes. First, section off your hair — you’re aiming for four different sections. Then go ahead and untie one section at a time and apply your bleach. Bleach each section, and then give your head a good massage before wrapping it in plastic wrap. You’ll want to look for the moment when your hair turns pale yellow (this could take more than one bleach job, depending on your natural hair color). Then, use a pastel purple toner to bring out the white. You got this, we believe in you. But if you’d rather leave this winter hair color to the pros at your salon, we don’t blame you.
Hazelnut brown is going to be your shade of choice this winter
Winter is all about feeling cozy and warm, so why should your hair be any different? As noted by Allure, the inviting hues of hazelnut and warm brown are the colors for the winter 2021 hair season, and you really don’t want to miss out. Rachael Thomas, the manager of product development at hair color company Madison Reed, told Allure that model Ashley Graham’s hair is a perfect example of the hazelnut look — subtle yet dimensional, with a gorgeous mixture of warm and cool tones.
“You can wear this as either an all-over single-process color or in the form of highlights to add some hazelnut dimension to your brunette base color,” Thomas said, pointing out the versatility that the trendy color has. Not yet sold? The hazelnut color trend is a winner if you already have naturally dark hair, because you won’t have to use nearly as many products to achieve the look. “If you have naturally darker hair this may be easier to achieve and less damaging than lifting your hair to a much lighter level,” Thomas said about the hair dying process. Sounds like a win!
Roots are having their moment, so if you're a brunette, opt for this color
Roots are a controversial topic in the hair color world — some people think that they have to be covered at all costs. Others think that roots can be fun and playful on their own. Some people go so long between dying their hair that the roots show no matter what. But the winter 2021 season is the one to bring your roots out on full display, according to stylist Mark Townsend. Townsend told Bustle that pop culture figures, such as Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa, have brought bold roots back into the spotlight in the form of “color blocking.”
“It’s a purposeful dark root, where the goal is that striking contrast,” Townsend said. He pointed out that before the pandemic, color-blocked roots were not in at all, but desperate times resulted in a lot of grown-out dyed hair and a lot of natural roots showing up. “Well, those pre-pandemic roots are all grown out now, and we have this really cool, high-contrast trend,” he said.
This winter hair color trend may have been born out of the pandemic, but it looks like it’s here to stay.
Switch up your brown hair with ash brown accents this winter
Having brown hair can seem like the age old dilemma — what can you do with a hair color that is so common? Well, a lot, actually, and you can stay on trend too. As noted by Allure, ash brown hues are having a major moment in winter 2021, and it’s easy to see why. Ash brown tones are beautiful, for starters, and they’re extremely easy to maintain, making trips to the salon far less frequent.
“If cooler tones are formulated correctly, they fade more gracefully as oxidation happens and hair reverts [to warmer tones] post salon visit,” colorist Matt Rez said. “They will grow out with more neutral undertones and look less brassy — therefore, regrowth and lines of demarcation will look less obvious because of tonal jumps.”
There’s nothing better than a hair color that’s easy to maintain. Celebrities like Jessica Alba and Ariana Grande have clearly gotten that message because they’ve both been rocking the ash brown look. Rez’s tip for anyone going for this look is to ask your colorist to use “acidic liquid glosses” to create the cool tones.
Feeling like red hair might be for you? Go for this winter-friendly option
Red hair is really making a comeback this winter, so prepare your box hair dye because you’re going to want to create an auburn look this season. Stylist Mark Townsend told Bustle that red is having a major moment, and despite any reservations that people used to have about the hair color, it is the shade to rock this winter. But you won’t just want to go for red — Townsend said that the color you’ll want to go with is auburn.
“I haven’t heard the word auburn in years, because 10 years ago, no one wanted red in their dark hair, it just wasn’t hot at the time,” Townsend told Bustle. “Now, people are embracing more reddish tones.” So who should opt for the trendy look? Townsend explained that people with naturally brown hair could add auburn to their look with highlights, but, of course, you could do an entire hair color overhaul if you really wanted to. Townsend also said that the auburn trend is a sign that warmer colors will dominate the winter season, so this is a trend worth investing in.
This '90s trend is making a comeback this winter, so don't fall behind the times
You can thank Bella Hadid and Zoom for this trendy look. The quintessential ’90s streak highlights are back and better than ever — the color block highlights are being used to frame the face, and it’s a very on-brand look that stylist Mark Townsend said will only get more popular. “There are a lot of different color stories happening with hair right now, but I think the biggest trend is actually where the color is — around the face,” he told Bustle. “We’re seeing face-framing highlights, which are bold chunky highlights from years ago, [and] color-blocked roots.”
So what made the fame-framing highlights so popular? The pandemic, for starters. The consistent Zoom meetings and FaceTime dates have made people more adventurous when it comes to their hair, since it’s one of the few things that people can see on a webcam. “The front of our head is what’s visible on camera,” Townsend said. “So it makes sense that we color and style our hair accordingly, really focusing on the face-framing sections of hair.”
So don’t miss out on this trend, because it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere.
If you're feeling bold this winter, spice up your look with this trendy scarlet hair color
Red is having its moment, but if you’re really feeling bold, opt for a scarlet look this season. It can take a lot of convincing to talk yourself into this popular winter hair color, but bold colors like scarlet and crimson are major trends, according to master colorist Nina Rubel.
“We see a direct inspiration from fashion to hair color, these color palettes also tend to have an uplifting effect which I feel is what a lot of people are wanting right now,” she told Bustle. What makes these scarlet hues even more popular is the freedom that comes with switching things up — this is the time to try that color that you’ve been putting off for months, Rubel said. “Try something daring” is the sentiment, and we couldn’t agree more.
So if you’re feeling bold, work with a colorist to get this look right. Rubel shared that everyone’s color should and will be a little different, and that’s a good thing. “Be yourself, do what makes you feel good, and don’t be afraid to start your own trend,” she said. Amen.
The best upcoming 2021 hair colors to look out for
Looking forward into later in 2021, the hair color trends that you’ll want to look out for include blended highlights (perfect for spring) and dimensional black hues. Colorist Aura Friedman told Allure that gorgeous black hair with layers of shine will be the look to go for. It’s sleek, sophisticated, and just what people will want to see. But this is a look, according to Friedman, that should be done by a professional, so if you’re a sworn fan of the bathroom salon, you might want to make a trip to a colorist.
To make your sleek black look even better, add “multiple brunette and blonde undertones,” said Friedman. The look will scream, “I’ve got my life together,” and who doesn’t want that?
If softer blonde and brown highlights are more your thing, look out for blended looks that feature a variety of hues all perfectly blended together. According to colorist Matt Rez, the trendy blended highlight look is “low maintenance but keeps the brightness around your face up between full-blown highlighting visits.” Love to see it.
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