Glamour June 23, 2023



15 Copper Hair Color Ideas You’ll Want to Copy ASAP 


Experts share the best shades, according to your skin tone.

Among the most popular trending hair colors, copper hair color is certainly having a moment. It seems like the fiery shade is everywhere these days, with celebs like Sydney Sweeney, Chrissy Teigen, Zendaya, and Emily Ratajkowski signing off on copper hair.

Our copper obsession shows no sign of stopping. According to Shvonne Perkins, master colorist at Madison Reed, the shade is beloved for its versatility. “Copper can be worked into a variety of makeup schemes and skin tones,” Perkins tells Glamour. “It’s really about what it’s mixed with.”

Another selling point? Copper hair is easy to try out with low commitment. If you're starting from a blonde shade, a gloss is your best bet. “I like glosses for everyone, but mostly for people who don’t want to, or aren’t quite ready to, fully commit,” says Jenna Perry, celebrity colorist and owner of New York's Jenna Perry Hair Studio. “Glosses are not permanent, there is no damage to the hair, and they add shine and depth. It’s also good for in-between coloring and for refreshes—it stretches the longevity.” A mix of brown and red glosses would be the way to go if it's copper hair you're after.

What is copper hair?

There are a few characteristics that set apart copper hair from your regular dye job. It turns out the shade name is pretty literal. “Copper hair is a shade of reddish-brown that resembles the color of a copper penny,” says Abby Haliti, founder of Abby Haliti Color Studio. “It has warm orange undertones and is often described as a vivid, vibrant shade of red.”

Perkins says the shade can also be much more subtle—less the animated version of the Little Mermaid and more Halle Bailey's copper live-action color. “Less emphasis for reds on true fire-engine red and more of a copper, tangerine, gold overlay,” she says, “Think of what natural redheads look like in the sun, much less reddish and much more copper penny.”

What skin tones suit copper hair?

Copper hair is quite versatile, but it all depends on your undertones. How to choose a shade of copper can seem difficult, so Perkins recommends establishing a few baseline shades to build off. “If you have fair skin, freckles, or peach complexion, you want the copper to have some light brown and gold mixed in, almost in the strawberry blonde to apricot category,” she says. “That softness in hue plays well with the lighter tone of the skin and the pink to peach complexion. Matera Marigold and Ravello Blonde are great examples of this shade. Think Shiv Roy.”

Medium and deep skin tones look especially striking when paired with copper hair color. But again, this depends on a few factors. “Deeper skin tones tend to look really radiant when copper is mixed with a true red or an even mahogany violet hues (Sardinia Red),” she says. “In this shade, the copper really brings the red and neutral to life and the balance of cool and warm looks great on deeper skin tones without appearing too orange.”

How quickly does copper hair fade?

There are a few factors at play. “Copper hair color can fade relatively quickly,” says Haliti, “depending on a number of factors, such as the condition of your hair, how often you wash it, and how much time you spend in the sun or swimming. Generally, copper hair color will start to fade after two to four weeks and may require touch-ups every four to six weeks to maintain its vibrancy.”

Perkins agrees and says you can anticipate a noticeable change about three weeks after coloring. “However, you should not wait to notice fade before you start fighting fade,” she says. “This is the fatal hair color mistake people make.”

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

Prepare to make salon visits according to the 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 Perkins. “With coppers 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.”

Another thing to take into consideration? Individual hair type. “The frequency of salon visits for touch-ups will vary depending on the individual's hair color and hair growth rate,” Haliti says. “Ultimately, it is best to consult with a professional stylist to determine the ideal frequency of salon visits for individual hair color and type.”

What can I do to maintain my copper hair color?

“To minimize fading, it's important to use hair care products that are specifically designed for color-treated hair, avoid excessive heat styling and exposure to sunlight, and limit your use of clarifying shampoos which can strip away color,” says Perkins. She also recommends avoiding chlorinated water or wearing a swim cap when swimming to prevent damage.

Haliti also warns against washing hair too often and using hot tools, as both can inflict damage upon strands. Lastly, avoid the sun, since UV rays can cause color to fade. Wear a hat or scarf to protect hair from exposure and stock up on hair sunscreen. Other products to pick up? Anything color-protecting. “Use shampoos, conditioners, and styling products that are specifically formulated for color-treated hair,” she says.

Perkins recommends using Madison Reed’s Color Therapy Mask, which is 8-free and easy to use at home. “It's my all-time favorite to maintain copper hair—no mixing required and applies straight from the tube,” she says. “It makes it possible to not even see the fade to begin with. For reds, you'll want to use the shade Zucca. Also, every four weeks, use Cannella Gloss all over to clean, dry hair for 20 to 30 minutes, and it will perk that copper tone right up as well as create off the charts shine.”

Copper Blonde

If you're tired of the best blonde hair colors, try the shade with a copper twist. “Start with previously lightened or natural blonde hair,” says celebrity colorist Ashley Gomila. “Evenly apply a copper toner like Overtones Ginger Coloring Conditioner for a temporary color or Ion 7RC for permanent.”

Golden Copper

“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. If you’re going to go lighter, Monroe stresses the importance of keeping your hair healthy enough to handle color.

Copper Coin

According to Lorena M. Valdes, a colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago who coined—ha!—the shade name, copper coin is “the perfect way to incorporate shades of copper and caramel to create a natural dimensional look.” Kendall Jenner's shade, by celebrity colorist Jenna Perry, is one of the more natural takes on red hair.

Pumpkin Copper

Karissa Schaudt, a colorist at Chicago’s Maxine Salon, says the pumpkin spice trend includes all shades of red. “Pumpkin spice hair color looks just as good as the flavor tastes,” she says. “The color is full of bold tones that include ginger, cinnamon, and chestnut. Each of these shades can be interpreted as pumpkin spice or blended together to make one very rich tone.”

Peachy Copper

If you're itching to try the pastel hair trend, take a page from Jennie Ruby Jane and try peachy copper. “Peach is so pretty on so many different skin tones,” says Mark DeBolt, celebrity colorist and co-owner of New York’s Mark Ryan Salon. “Because it’s such a warm color, it makes skin and eyes glow and makes your hair look so healthy.” DeBolt suggests asking your stylist for a peach glaze instead of going the DIY route, but try Lime Crime’s Unicorn Hair Tint in Sushi if you’re confident in your hair dyeing skills.

Copper Orange

Vibrant copper orange is the perfect dye job for warmer months. “This is a fun color to do for summer," says Gomila. “I would recommend applying a demipermanent color to previously bleached hair. A good color line to go with would be Wella Color Charm Demi Hair Color-7RR Light Copper.”

Neutral Brown Copper

Brunettes can achieve Issa Rae's bronzy color at home. “If your hair is naturally light brown, you can easily achieve this color by doing a color gloss like the Kristin Ess Signature Hair Gloss in Copper Penny,” says Gomila.

Ginger Copper

Chrissy Teigen’s ginger shade looks especially stunning on medium skin tones—plus it's super easy to DIY. “Some of the best copper shades come from the land of vivid hair colors,” says Gregory Patterson, celebrity stylist and DIY color and stylist expert for Sally Beauty. “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 the look, Patterson suggests Strawberry Leopard Sundown Semi Permanent Conditioning Hair Color and Strawberry Leopard Fire Semi Permanent Conditioning Hair Color.

Auburn Copper

If your strands have been previously lightened, it's easy to transition to copper hair. Gomila recommends an “allover auburn color application” for highlights and balayage. “I leave the bulk of the lighter strands out and blend in a copper blend to the ends to create vibrant highlights that are the perfect blend of auburn and copper,” she says.

Deep Copper

Megan Fox debuted a chic shade of copper red hair at the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar party; the color was created by Meche Salon stylist Jacob Schwartz using Redken Color Gels Oils. “For Megan’s color, we looked through different variations of red,” he said. “Her eyes are so blue, so I knew adding more copper would be the move. I wanted her change to be a full-on moment, but also wanted to approach it with a natural touch, so I kept it a deeper copper tone.”

Cinnamon Copper

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.

Brunette Copper

Another way to add a red tint to brunette? Copper brunette. “We are seeing a lot of copper brunettes that are high in shine and rich in copper, golden tones,” says Jennifer Korab, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Renaissance Salon & Spa in Hillsborough, New Jersey. “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.”

Copper Locs

For a modern take on Ariel's iconic red hair, hairstylist Camille Friend opted for a more subtle copper shade on star Halle Bailey. “When I start designing a character for a movie, I begin with a few questions,” she told Glamour. “What are the actor's skin tones and undertones? What is their eye color and facial shape? Based on that information, I chose a golden-orange shade of red that would look most flattering on Halle.”

Copper Red

Looking for something a bit more bold? Enhance your copper dye job with bright red tones. “You can stain previously lightened hair with Adore Cajun Spice for a less damaging pop of color,” Gomila says.

Caramel Copper

Zendaya hopped on the trend at the Emmys, where she stunned in a bouncy blowout topped with an elegant black ribbon. “It’s the perfect way to incorporate shades of copper and caramel to create a natural dimensional look," Lorena M. Valdes, hair colorist at Chicago’s Maxine Salon, tells Glamour, adding that she highly recommends this shade for brunettes who love seeing warmth in their hair. “From chestnut to caramels and coppers, it works so well, and most don’t depend on a gloss, since color can be used to highlight.”