As temperatures drop, so too will a slew of winter 2022 hair color trends. Overall, industry insiders predict tones that are on the toastier side will reign supreme. Their take? It’s about to be the season for “warm” hues, in part because they’re pretty — but primarily to add a pop of color to your look once the seasons start to change. “As tans fade and skin loses its color, it’s nice to replace it in the hair,” Kimberly Cannon, a hair colorist at Mark Ryan Salon, tells Bustle. “Clients have been asking to keep their hair warm because warming up the hair will help warm up the skin.”
To embrace the heat, beauty pros foresee winter’s most popular pigments to range from deep, dark reds to warm honey highlights, with “pumpkin spice” blondes set to take the stage, too — strong Mary Jane à la Spider-Man vibes, if you will. But besides a variety of freshly dyed ‘dos, experts also predict many to rock their organic tones instead — just slightly enhanced (yet still low maintenance!) versions, especially as many stylists’ clients have learned to appreciate their natural hair during the lockdown.
Whatever your preferred hair pigment, this upcoming season surely has something in store for you (and your scalp). Read on for seven of the buzziest winter hair color trends set to take the stage this season, according to top hair experts.
1. Fine Lowlights
Several stylists have noted a rise in “fine line” highlights, including Karissa Schaudt, a colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. “This is a blend of finely woven highlights and lowlights,” she tells Bustle, pointing to a picture of Khloe Kardashian’s hair color for context. “It gives you an all-over statement blonde. Ask for babylights to ensure the pieces aren’t chunky and are instead very blended.”
According to Schaudt, this color works best on short to medium hair lengths and is a great choice for those wanting to be blonde all year round. As an added perk, she notes the juxtaposition of the two shades will help keep your hair stylish as your roots grow out, too.
2. Honey Highlights
Another up-and-coming trend is honey highlights, Schaudt says. “This is a gorgeous mix of buttery golden tones created by balayage highlights,” she explains. If you’re going for this look: “Keep the thicker lighter pieces closer to the face and closer to the root to create a more dramatic look,” she tells Bustle.
Honey hues flowing throughout your hair work to deliver a warm glow throughout the colder months, says Schaudt, and make for a chic way to add lightness to your overall color.
3. “Pumpkin Spice” Blonde
Paul Labrecque, creative director and master stylist and colorist at Paul Labrecque Salon & Skincare Spa, has observed the same. “I'm noticing warmer blondes with less noticeable shade variation between the roots and the ends,” he says. “It’s OK to look sun-bleached, but that look combined with the dryness in winter just doesn't sync. So I’ve been reducing over-blonde ends and warming up dark root areas.” The end result is a pumpkin-y hue reminiscent of the season’s favorite latte flavor.
4. Radiant Reds
While some may opt for warmer blondes, Jaclyn Curti, a hair colorist at Manhattan’s Eva Scrivo Salon, foresees many taking the full plunge into radiant reds this winter. “We’re getting so many requests for deep, red, and copper tones,” Curti tells Bustle. Her theory? “Skin tends to be more dry and muted due to the lack of sunlight in the winter, so maybe clients feel like they need something to brighten them up.”
Labrecque couldn’t agree more. “Rich, auburn hues are at the forefront of fashion right now,” he tells Bustle.
5. “Ice Cube” Blonde
On the other side of the blonde spectrum is “ice cube” blonde. “The icier the color, the better,” Gloria Bonilla, a colorist at Sally Hershberger Salon, says of the hair trend. “It’s the perfect time to go for a cool blonde to match the winter season.” Schaudt agrees, adding that the tone is comparable to platinum. “It’s heavily placed around the hairline and the first one-fourth or one-half inch of the part,” says Schaudt of this iteration of blonde.
If you tend to wear your hair in an updo or ponytail, Schaudt suggests giving this color a try. “The blonde is mostly concentrated on the hairline, so it works best for someone who frequently wears their hair up,” she says.
6. “Butterfly” Balayage
Rex Jimieson, a colorist at Chicago’s Maxine Salon, predicts an uptick in what he calls “butterfly” balayage: a high definition and high contrast look reminiscent butterfly wings (and the ’90s). “Ask your colorist for the warm tone that best fits your skin tone and compliments your natural color,” Jimieson says of how to obtain the style. “Go light and tone back down with warmth for the high-definition factor.”
7. Sienna Copper
Lorena Martinez, a color specialist at Chicago’s Maxine Salon, agrees that red is making its fiery comeback, but specifically sees colors like sienna copper taking the stage — much like the shade seen here on Gigi Hadid. “It’s a rustic twist on a copper for those wanting to go a bit deeper for the new year while still maintaining a vibrant hue,” she says of the rich red, adding that while this can be done as an overall color, she believes the shade will benefit from dimension. “Get the look with a global color application, then add highlights — either balayage or traditional foils — to add movement,” she says.
8. Tone-On-Tone Colors
Cannon also predicts a strong resurgence in tone on tone coloring. “This is a style that features variations of the same color weaved through the hair,” she tells Bustle. Some examples of the look are a deep, rich brown with ribbons of warmer pieces throughout, she explains, or a bright golden blonde with a piece-y, buttery shade framing the face. See: J.Lo’s iconic mane.
9. Hair Contour
According to celebrity hairstylist Tom Smith, who also serves as Evo hair’s European creative director, the “money piece” hair trend is back — but with a modern twist. “Instead of clusters of highlights, hair contouring uses a softer-contrast lighter shade painted around the face in a soft color block, incorporating all the hair directly around the face including the shorter baby hairs,” Smith tells Bustle. “This is widely considered the most flattering hair color trend ever.”
He notes this is a great highlight technique for those who flip their hair over or push their hair back from their face. “The softer contrast between hair color and skin tone lifts and brightens the face,” says Smith. If you love the look, ask your colorist for a soft contrast panel — that’s one or two shades lighter than the rest of your hair — of color painted around the hairline.
10. Chocolate Cherry
Martinez foresees an additional take on copper red tones trending in the new year, but this time, in the form of highlights atop much darker shades. “Chocolate cherry — very warm highlights where the lightest color is a variation of reds [like rose, red, and coppers], can be achieved with highlights or balayage being emphasized by a very rich brown as the background color,” Martinez tells Bustle. “It works well with layers through the interior and curtain bangs where you can add an extra pop of color around the face.”
She recommends asking your colorist for a rich brown with ribbons of red that suit your skin tone. “Depending on your starting point you may need highlights or balayage to achieve this look, but it can be done with minimal lightener so it tends to be healthier for the hair,” says Martinez.
11. Enhanced, Yet Natural
Lastly, experts predict that low-maintenance, natural hues will remain in style. “We are definitely seeing more natural looks since clients really started to embrace their natural color during the lockdown,” Curti tells Bustle. Hence the rise in slightly enhanced yet natural dye jobs. “Clients are glazing their hair,” she says. “It’s about making your natural color prettier with a little depth and lots of shine.’”
After glazing, Curti says to throw in some tone-on-tone highlights for dimension, which should always be a pop brighter in the front. And voilá — it’s your natural hair, just a little elevated.
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