Glamour July 20, 2023



20 Black Hair Color Ideas to Embrace Your Dark Side


From midnight to onyx

If the most popular hair color trends of 2023 are any indication, black hair color ideas are trending. Deeper shades are spiking this summer, thanks in part to the rise of quiet luxury hair, so why not go all the way? Black hair is a celeb favorite, after all, with celebs like Jennie Kim, Kim Kardashian, Dua Lipa, and Lana Condor making the shade their signature color.

Why is black hair so appealing? According to Abby Haliti, founder of Abby Haliti Color Studio, the shade is a no-fail classic. “Black hair is inherently cool and exudes a powerful presence that makes a strong statement,” she says.

But just because black hair is timeless doesn’t mean it has to be boring. “My advice is to embrace the unique beauty of black hair and consider exploring various hairstyles that complement its natural allure,” she says. “A well-chosen haircut can amplify the impact of black hair, enhancing its inherent charm and making a lasting impression.”

Celebrity hair stylist and colorist Ashley Gomila agrees, pointing to the shade’s bold simplicity. “Black hair has always been highly regarded as a sleek, fashionable hair color,” she says.

How can I spice up my black hair?

If you have black hair but want to add some extra color or dimension, Haliti recommends highlights. “When it comes to choosing highlights for dark hair, a few colors can create a beautiful contrast and enhance your overall look,” she says. “Warm caramel or honey highlights can add dimension and warmth to dark hair, creating a subtle and natural-looking effect.”

She also recommends auburn or red highlights to create a vibrant contrast. To increase dimension, try copper or mahogany highlights. “It can bring out the red undertones in dark hair, adding depth and intensity to your overall color," she says, while chocolate or chestnut highlights can provide “subtle contrast while maintaining a natural appearance.”

If you want something bolder and edgier, consider touches of platinum or ash blonde. “For a striking contrast, platinum or ash blonde highlights can create a stunning visual impact against dark hair. This option is more dramatic and edgy,” she says.

What color highlights look best on dark hair?

Gomila’s favorite take on highlights for black hair is deep, warm brown. “I love adding a deep, warm brown highlight to black hair as a fun and easy way to add dimension and depth,” she says. “The tones I would recommend most would be either a cinnamon brown or deep, rich dark brown.”

How do you keep black hair from turning brown?

Upkeep is important to make sure your black hair color stays fresh. “Use a color-treated shampoo specifically,” says Haliti. “This helps preserve the color and prevent fading. Apply a gloss treatment in between salon visits to seal the hair cuticle and protect it from heat styling tools and blow drying.”

For touch-ups, Haliti recommends going to the salon every four to six weeks. “Keep in mind that black hair is highly pigmented,” she says. “Waiting longer than that may result in the hair turning brown.”

How do I maintain black hair?

Between salon visits, pick up a color depositing shampoo and conditioner, suggests Gomila. “If you just want to refresh your black hair or add a blue-black tint, you can always try a color-depositing shampoo or conditioner,” she says. “These are great for maintaining your desired tone in between salon sessions. It’s also extremely important to use a bond complex to lock your color in. I recommend using Living Proof’s Triple Bond Complex weekly, or every other time you wash your hair. This is like an insurance policy for your hair color. This will strengthen your hair and protect it from heat damage, which is super important if your hair is color treated.”

In addition, avoid exposing your hair to heat and UV rays, which can fade color. “Protect your hair from hot tools, as excessive heat can cause color fading,” Haliti says. “Use heat protectant sprays or serums before styling.” Last, avoid anything that can strip hair. “Reduce the frequency of washing your hair, as frequent washing can strip away color,” she says. “Aim for washing every two to three days or as needed.”

Does black hair dye last longer?

Yes, but there are some important factors that can affect longevity. “Black hair dye can last longer compared to lighter hair colors because black hair dye contains higher levels of pigment,” says Haliti. “The intense pigmentation helps the color to adhere to the hair shaft and resist fading. However, the longevity of black hair dye can still be influenced by various factors such as hair care routine, exposure to sunlight, and the use of heat styling tools. It’s important to follow proper hair care practices and use color-safe products to help maintain the vibrancy of black hair dye for an extended period.”

Gomila also warns that black hair dye can warp over time. “Permanent black hair dye is long-lasting when applied but can sometimes fade to a red tone,” she says. “To counteract that from happening, you can use IGK Pitch Black Color Depositing Hair Mask to your hair care routine. I recommend using it as needed to refresh your color and shine and add moisture.”

Ready to go dark? Scroll on for the best black hair color ideas to try ASAP.

Glossy Black

Add some extra to shine to your natural black hair color with a gloss. “Color Me Gloss by Kevin Murphy is an exceptional product that not only repairs and strengthens your hair but also enhances its lustrous appearance,” Kate Reid, design director at Kevin Murphy, says. With its thickening and intensified shine properties, it’s one of the best black hair color products available in the market.

Black Cherry

Looking for something bold? Reid recommends black cherry, which combines deep black with rich, warm red undertones. “This color choice adds vibrancy and a sense of mystery to your hair,” she says. “The dark cherry tones can appear subtle in certain lighting conditions or become more pronounced under direct light, making it a captivating and versatile choice.”

Black Balayage

If you want to lighten things up, Reid recommends balayage for the most natural-looking color. “Balayage involves hand-painting sections of hair with a lighter shade, creating a natural, sun-kissed effect,” she says.

Black Ash

Gomila loves ash highlights for a timeless hair color that isn’t just one tone. “This look creates a warm depth to darker hair tones and looks great when hair is styled down or pulled up into a ponytail,” she says.

Blue Black

A blue sheen on black hair is an unexpected way to add color—plus it’s possible to DIY at home. “Blue-black hair color is a fun way to change your naturally black or previously colored black hair,” Gomila says. “You can have it applied through the entire hair or added to the ends for a bit of flirty modern color. This hair color is suitable for all hair types, ages, and genders. I would recommend having this professionally applied, but there are so great at-home and DIY options available on the market too.”

Cinnamon Black

If you’re looking to enhance your black hair color, try cinnamon highlights. “I recommend ‘less is more’ with these highlights and just focus on face-framing and subtle highlights through the mid shaft to the ends of the hair,” says Gomila. “These highlights are just meant to soften the deep black tones, not to change the overall noir beauty to the hair.”

Warm Brown Highlights

“I prefer these highlights because it is less damaging and creates such a beautifully soft, natural dimension to the hair,” Gomila says. “You can go wild with these highlights or just stick to a face framing application.”

Caramel Highlights

Aaron Grenia, cofounder of IGK Hair and a celebrity stylist, loves caramel highlights on black hair to add extra dimension and movement.

Brownie Balayage

Tired of your hair looking too uniform? “Highlights will bring more drama,” Grenia says. He prefers warmer natural-looking shades like caramel and brown over ash and blonde.

Midnight Black

Shiny midnight hair will always looks modern and cool. Chase Kusero, cofounder of IGK Hair and a celebrity stylist, recommends “something that reflects light but is very cool, as if you are looking at the midnight sky.”

Cool-Toned Black

An allover black hair color featuring hints of blue undertones is a perfect example of subtle colors making a statement. “Deep blue hues like navy gleam in the light and look mezmerizing and give you an ethereal feel," says Brandi Holiday, color master at Kevin Murphy. “With a subtle but intense depth, this shade is spectacular and leaves us wanting more.”

Peekaboo Highlights

“Adding subtle accents to raven-black hair is a great way to give pops of color without compromising the hair,” says Holiday. “You can pair it with any color you like, such as a lighter natural reflect to a bright fashion shade, and achieve different looks from elegant and refined to edgy and bold.”

Lived-In Black

Kusero created this effortless shade for Camila Cabello. “It’s a lived in, effortless black, where the ends wash out to a slightly warmer lighter tone of black.”

Mahogany Babylights

If you don’t want to lose the richness of your color but still want to lighten things up, mahogany babylights are a great compromise. “This is a great option for anyone who wants to brighten up their hair and add on a sun-kissed glow,” says Holiday. “You can create this look by adding babylights to give your hair dimension and make your color more sophisticated. This deep reddish hue creates soft brightness while enhancing your look.”

Money Piece

Commitment issues? No problem. “The appeal of adding a money piece is that it can easily be done on any type of hair,” says Holiday. “This enhances the radiance, movement, and dimension of your hair. Adding high contrast around the face is a stunning option on dark hair as it brightens your eyes and your entire face. It is a flattering way to add brightness and dimension to your tresses and when you want to try a lighter color without having to fully commit.”

Black Diamond

“This power color gets us back to a place of control and glamour,” says Liz Burns, the creative director and lead stylist at Goldie x Bob Salon in Denver. “This shade represents power, authority, and charisma.” Since black hair looks so shiny and healthy, Burns says this color actually flatters a wide range of skin tones—on paler skin it has a Snow White effect, and on darker skin it can bring out richer tones. When talking to your stylist, ask for an inky-black hair dye and a gloss to make it look as shiny as possible


Wednesday-inspired goth glam is taking over hair color too. “This rich black with extra shine, as if to look reflective, is trending after Wednesday,” Lorena M. Valdes, colorist at Chicago’s Maxine Salon, says. “For Wednesday’s look, ask your colorist for an allover color from roots to ends. Malibu C treatments are great to remove any buildup that helps to dull hair and make it greasy.”

Fashion Color Highlight

Go bold with brightly colored highlights. For a more subtle look, Grenia recommends a “peekaboo highlight with a red or bright color for an edge.”

Healthy Black

When all else fails, Grenia points out, less is more. “Just straight, shiny, and healthy black” is the best way to embrace your dark dye job, he says.

Deep Black With Subtle Highlights

For a subtler look, try more low-key baby highlights. "Enhance your black hair by adding subtle highlights for dimension and depth,” says Reid. “Consider incorporating dark brown, blue-black or deep cool red that will beautifully complement the black global colour, creating a multidimensional effect.”