Glamour July 3, 2023



16 Auburn Hair Color Ideas You’ll Want to Try ASAP


From strawberry auburn to golden red.

Whether you were inspired Halle Bailey's red hair in The Little Mermaid or simply love to change your hair for summer, you can’t go wrong with auburn hair color. The shade is the perfect combination of bold, fiery red and low-maintenance brown, so it's no wonder so many stylists and colorists point to 2023 as the unofficial year of red and auburn.

“This year is going to be a huge year for auburn hair color,” celebrity hairstylist Nicholas Taylor tells Glamour, pointing to celebs like Ciara and Megan Thee Stallion as just two beauty icons who have rocked the trending shade as of late. “Auburns are taking the cake as 2023’s number one color trend.”

What is auburn hair?

Ironically, auburn is one of those colors that everyone seems to have a different definition of. “Auburn is a funny color to translate sometimes,” Tina Deeke, colorist at Chicago's Maxine Salon, tells Glamour. “Some clients perceive it as a cool red; others, a warm copper red. As a colorist, I personally feel like there’s a combination of tones in auburn: cooler red mixed with warm copper.” (Think Phoebe Dynevor's shade in Bridgerton.)

Indeed, Deeke opts for a mix of hues to achieve her auburns. “With auburn, I always love doing some balayage or foil highlights to create a multicolored auburn red, glossing over with a lighter copper or strawberry for some insane shine,” she says.

The auburn look can also be achieved by adding dimension to brown and brunette hair. “We are seeing reddish brunettes a lot this year,” says Jennifer Korab, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Renaissance Salon & Spa in Hillsborough, New Jersey. “Brunettes are adding highlights of copper to accentuate and create a warm, vibrant look.”

Which shade of auburn works best for me?

If you're wondering whether auburn works on your skin tone, you're in luck: Auburn is one of those shades that are so versatile—and customizable—that they work on almost anyone. “This hair color trend looks great on most skin tones and will never go out of style,” Korab says.

That said, choosing which auburn color works best for you comes down to how much maintenance you're willing to put up with for the sake of your hair color. Auburns and reds are notoriously tricky in terms of upkeep and require touch-ups every six to eight weeks. Plus, salon trips can be costly, with dye-jobs ranging from $75 to $200 (or more) depending on the technique(s) used. That's why salons are noticing a surge in requests for more red-tinted browns, which are a much more low-maintenance ways to wear auburn (more on that below).

How often should I visit the salon for touch-ups?

If you decide to go the professional route, how often you touch your hair up depends on the specific type of treatment you receive. “If you’re talking permanent color, root touch-ups happen on average about every four to six weeks, but it doesn’t need to be that soon unless you’re keeping up on gray coverage,” says Shvonne Perkins, master colorist at Madison Reed. “It's really toner that you’re likely to be keeping up with, which is likely touched up about every eight weeks if you’re following steady at-home maintenance.”

Can I DIY auburn hair color at home?

You can absolutely DIY auburn hair color at home, and there are countless semipermanent auburn hair dyes that will allow you to experiment with the shade. “When it comes to reds and shades of them, the more ‘into the cuticle’ you can get will lend itself to longer-lasting tonal payoff,” says Gregory Patterson, celebrity stylist and DIY color and stylist expert for Sally Beauty. “For auburn hair dye for dark hair, I love to use permanent color from the Color Brilliance line by ion, 4R Medium Red Brown Permanent Liquid Hair Color + 5G Light Golden Brown Demi Permanent Creme Hair Color at 20 volume total process time. The higher the volume you use, the brighter and lighter it will become.”

Such is the case for copper hair colors as well. “Some of the best copper shades come from the land of Vidid Hair Colors,” Patterson continues. “Of course, everything will appear brighter on prelifted hair, but you can also overlay these on top of your existing shades as long as you’re at a natural hair color level 6 and above.” To get a more copper-inspired look, Patterson suggests Strawberry Leopard Sundown Semi Permanent Conditioning Hair Color and Fire Semi Permanent Conditioning Hair Color. “I like the squeeze of red here to ground the Sundown shade and give it more depth and staying power,” he says.

How to maintain auburn hair color at home

How well your color holds up largely depends on at-home care, and pros universally encourage the use of at-home shampoo for auburn hair and glosses to ensure it stays bright. Deeke recommends consistently using Kristin Ess Signature Hair Gloss in Copper Penny to all her clients with auburn hair.

Korab similarly suggests using a color-care hair care system, such as Pureology's Hydrating and Color Protecting Hair Kit for Dry, Color-Treated Hair. “This shampoo and conditioner are color-safe, sulfate-free, and have anti-fade complex to help protect from fading,” she says. “I also love Kerastase Chroma Absolu Hair Masque; this mask is great to preserve the health of your hair, keep color vibrant, and enhance shine.”

Feeling inspired? Keep scrolling for the best auburn hair color ideas, according to experts, and get ready to screenshot.

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Deep Auburn

Taylor once again asserts that 2023 is basically the year of red and auburn hair colors. "This year is going to be a huge year for auburn hair,” he says. “Ciara is rocking gorgeous auburn hair that I’m obsessed with. Browns and auburns are taking the cake as 2023’s number one color trend.”

Auburn Cherry

Auburn hair is the best of both worlds, since it combines both red and dark brown. If your hair is on the super-dark side of brown, however, Jason Lee, hairstylist, colorist, and founder of Mela & Kera, suggests considering a shade like chocolate cherry auburn. “It’s an alternative to auburn but still in the warm, reddish family,” he says, defining the shade as adding a red wine undertone throughout brunette, which can also be accomplished through auburn highlights or auburn balayage.

“For those of us who aren’t ready to take the full plunge into red, chocolate cherry seems to be a great way to update your look and make it modern but still live in the brunette world,” he says of the auburn brown hair color.

Auburn Brunette

Another way to add a red, auburn-inspired tint to brunette? Auburn ombré hair with highlights. “We are seeing a lot of copper brunettes that are high in shine and rich in copper, golden tones,” Korab tells Glamour. “This hair color is soft and seamless. We are seeing a lot of brunettes also add highlights of copper to accentuate and create a warm vibrant look.”

Golden Auburn

“This look is fun and head-turning without being too drastic of a change from deeper tones,” says Dark and Lovely celebrity stylist Derick Monroe. That said, if you want to take your hair a few shades lighter, be sure to keep your hair healthy enough to handle the dye.

“The last thing you want to do is a chemical process on already damaged hair,” he says. “A pro tip is to have a maintenance program to keep your hair healthy, shiny, and moisturized. That could be as simple as a deep-conditioning treatment at home.”

Strawberry Auburn

Strawberry auburn blonde hair color is the perfect way to ease into red. “This shade works for anyone interested in playing with warmer colors without fully committing to a fully saturated look,” Lorena M. Valdes, hair colorist at Chicago’s Maxine Salon, tells Glamour. “Since it utilizes different techniques that give the illusion of a fully saturated color, it gives a softer grow-out.”

Raspberry Auburn

Another option is to elevate your auburn hair with highlights in an unexpected way. “I think raspberry auburn hair color is so appealing because it feels like highlight,” Devon Toth, hairstylist at NYC-based Salon SCK, tells Glamour. “The depth is still there, but it melts into this bright, rustic mahogany tone. It's an evolution of the cherry hair color with an added hint of purple.”

If you prefer your hair on the brighter side, Toth recommends asking for a hint of purple in your highlights and balayage on the ends. If you want something more subtle, “ask for foil highlights if you want to see the raspberry hues throughout the whole style from roots to ends.”

Cherry Cola Auburn

One of the most popular and well known takes on auburn is Lana Del Rey's cherry cola auburn shade. This look is perfect for blondes and medium brunettes and can be achieved at home with Color Brilliance Red Brown Permanent Liquid Hair Color.

Auburn Balayage

Auburn balayage is making a comeback. “These looks are popular because they are changing the norm of heavy balayaged hair,” says Valdes. “It’s usually so dark at the roots to extremely blonde on the ends, but that is time-consuming. Now people want more simplicity”—and to look like Rihanna, of course. And since auburn ombré hair looks so good grown out, you don’t have to worry about frequent touch-ups.

Carnelian Auburn

“A beautiful auburn color with a copper cast has been here and will continue to be one of the most desired looks,” says Valdes, who cites Phoebe Dynevor's shade as a prime example of the look. “This be achieved with an allover color, highlights, or balayage, depending on the style and vibrancy desired.”

Ruby Auburn

Stephanie Brown, a colorist at IGK Soho, predicts that Zendaya’s toned-down copper red will be having a moment soon. The key to getting it just right, however, is the “lived-in” feel. “It’s darker at the root with brunette undertones,” she says, “so it doesn’t come across as a fashion color, meaning it’s wearable for everyday.”

Auburn Spice

“I’m in love with this shade of red hair,” says says Matt Rez, celebrity colorist at LA's Meche Salon. “It’s the perfect marriage of warmth and depth that makes this color so special.” For a look with lots of depth and dimension, Rez suggests asking your colorist for an auburn shade that doesn't read as purple. “The perfect auburn has a brown background with a deep copper reflect,” he says.

Auburn Pop

Another way to gently ease your way into the auburn aesthetic? Weaving some pops of the shade throughout your hair. "Shades of auburn mixed throughout really give the hair some subtle pop,” says Jamila Powell, founder of Miami’s Maggie Rose Salon. “I love anything two-toned because it gives amazing dimension throughout your hair.” She suggests this look for warmer-toned brunettes who are looking for a small change.

Copper Auburn

Everyone's obsession with red and auburn hair isn’t going anywhere, says Emily Boulin, hairstylist and Sally Beauty DIY color and styling expert: “All variations of red are in, but copper seems to be the quickest on the rise when clients are looking for a bigger change.” One especially popular take on the shade is cinnamon copper, which is “making a heavy wave,” says hairstylist and color expert for Cosmo Prof Presley Poe, who suggests the Schwarzkopf Vibrance line for maintaining beautiful, rich, and reflective red hair tones.

Cinnamon Auburn

For a low-maintenance auburn brown hair color, Korab suggests adding hints of red to your usual shade of rich brunette. “Try adding a little red to this trend to really spice things up,” she says. “This hair color looks great on most skin tones, and will never go out of style. This a great color to try if you already have brunette hair and just want to enhance it.”

Caramel Auburn

“I love a good brunette that doesn’t read red but has elements of warmth throughout,” says Rez. “It gives a really balanced result.”

To get the look, ask your colorist for midlength auburn highlights one or two levels lighter than your base, as well as neutral warm highlights. “The combo of the two will pick up so beautifully without unwanted warmth taking over and reading as a red,” he says. “Done right, warmth on brunettes is unbeatable.”

Auburn Locs

Channel your inner Little Mermaid with auburn or copper locs, just like Halle Bailey did to portray Ariel. “I wrapped Halle's locs with 30 inches of custom-colored and perm hair,” hairstylist Camille Friend, who did Bailey's hair on set, tells Glamour. “The hair was wrapped around each of her locs to achieve the style, and loose pieces were added to achieve the loose wave, and it was made up of three shades of red and has a wavy texture.”