Glamour November 26, 2020



The Coolest Winter Hair Colors to Try Right Now 


Biscotti blond, anyone?  

After you nail down holiday gifts for everyone on your list, might we suggest turning your attention to the hunt for the best winter hair colors? Yes, it's somehow already that time, and what better way to usher out 2020 than a fresh new shade? But before you jump straight to the platinum, remember that salons in most states are still operating only at 50% capacity, so it may be harder than usual to grab your routine touch-up appointments, especially during the holiday season.

But that doesn't mean hair color is in a boring place—in fact, quite the opposite. Sure, low-maintenance blonds, brondes, and browns are having a moment, but there's also plenty of unexpected inspo to be had. Candy colors like pink and blue are going strong since they're easy to DIY and many of us are still working from home, and fall's peach trend got a richer upgrade for the cold weather.

We asked top hairstylists for the coolest winter hair trends to try—no matter your style or texture. We also threw in a few DIY options in case you're not ready or able to head back to the salon yet (just be sure to read our guide on how to color your hair at home first). Read on for the best winter hair colors for 2020, and prepare to screenshot.

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Iridescent Copper 

Peachy-orange shades were one of the top hair color trends for fall, and it looks like the shade isn't going anywhere for winter; it's just getting a little richer. “This color palette frames your facial features with brightness when cold and dreary climates make everything else look dull,” says celebrity colorist and Clairol partner Jeremy Tardo. “These hair colors are especially flattering on fair complexions that can sometimes look a bit washed-out in winter.” To get the shade, he suggests asking for a light red color with peach and orange kickers. If you're already blond and want to DIY the shade at home, try Clairol Nice’n Easy 8SC Medium Copper Blonde.

Biscotti Blond

Tardo calls this soft shade a “timeless Tuscan blond.” It's also the perfect shade to try if you want something on the light side but are weary of salons closing again. “This look puts just enough sun reflection in your hair but avoids excessive bleaching,” says Tardo. “I’m enjoying creating these kinds of blonds for my clients who want to give their hair a rest from all of the summer lightening processes.” This shade is great for light brunettes who want to go blonder or blonds who want something more natural, but either way it's best left to the pros. “If you’re already blond, have your hairdresser add deeper wheat tones into your previously lightened hair,” he says. “If your hair is not too light already, opt for subtle pieces of neutral blond.”

Icy Blue

If you've been platinum for a while, it may be time to give pastels a try before we have to head back to the real world. While baby pink had a moment this spring, for winter, Tardo suggests a pale blue or teal. “Mermaids are a vibe all year,” he says. “If you’re someone who loves to play with hair color, this is a great way to change up your look. We all want more fun in 2021!” 

Honey Caramel 

You can never go wrong with classic caramel swirls, especially if you have curls. Jamila Powell, owner of Miami's Maggie Rose Salon, suggests asking for a caramel brown shade with a halo effect in the front to brighten up your face. 

Opalescent Blond

This shade of blond is so unique it just-so-slightly verges into pink territory without leaning too warm. “I love this particular shade because it’s a multifaceted, shiny, and opalescent blond that has a great dew-drop shimmer when the sun hits,” says Aura Friedman, master colorist at Sally Hershberger Salon. “Ask your stylist for a platinum base, and be sure to have a gloss applied. A key component to achieving this color is the application of a gloss formulated with both warm and cool colors to create the metallic, pearlescent shimmer of this look.” 

Cherry Cola 

For a different take on red, try something with a bit more purple than gold. “This auburn color has various layers of dimension, which looks beautiful anyway the light hits it,” says Powell. “It’s suitable for all skin tones and definitely brightens up your face.” It's also a great way to warm up darker shades like black or brown. 

Golden Glow

Bring the sunshine with you with a shiny, golden shade. “I love this gilded shade of blond because it’s very warm,” says Freidman. “As skin tones tend to gradually get a bit paler during the winter season, this look is great to infuse color back. To achieve this, I use a lot more golden, warm shades, rather than cool tones, to keep the color bright.”


Spiced Swirls 

Extensions aren't just for adding length—they can also be a temporary way to play with color. For this look, Clint Torres Jr., a stylist at L.A.'s Nine Zero One Salon, started with some brown highlights, and then added in swirls of caramel extensions, one or two shades lighter than her natural hair. “I love this look because of the color-blocking created,” he says. “Warm strands of honey and caramel blended together to create warmth to her naturally dark hair.”

Buttery Blond

For blonds this season, it's all about more natural, lived-in color. “Blonds are opting for more casual, shade-on-shade dimension,” says Mark DeBolt, co-owner and master stylist at New York's Mark Ryan Salon. “We’re creating blonds that have shadowed highlights closer to the root with light ends. This season we achieve this by adding darker pieces directly beneath the lighter strands. This creates contrast and movement throughout the hair and will add depth closer to the root.” 


If you've been toying with going super dark, there's no better time than winter to go all the way. Not only is it dramatic and sexy, but it also makes hair look so shiny and healthy. “Black goes well on every skin tone, texture, and length of hair,” says Powell. “Just keep in mind that once you go black, it can be very hard to lift.”

Ginger Blond

If you want to add some warmth without going full-on red, opt for a mix of gold and ginger tones. It's a pretty way to ease into red, and the pops of blond add tons of movement on any hair type. “This really works for anyone who wants to put in pops of color, but to also use warm tones,” says Torres. “Ask your stylist for a partial ombré with some warm tones.”

Lighten Up 

Torres is a firm believer in breaking hair rules and is a fan of going lighter for winter instead of darker. For a similar look to this one—which started as jet-black—ask your stylist to do a full highlight and melt your base color at the root.

Dark Coffee 

Consider this one of our favorite takes on dark winter hair colors. “It's softer and easy to wear if you add black to your medium or dark brown base color with foils or balayage rather than going completely solid,” says Rex Jimieson, color educator and colorist at Maxine Salon. “Ask for a demipermanent color so you can change it down the road. Plus, it will be super shiny.”

Vino Rojo

“This is a gorgeous, deep ruby tone,” says Tardo. “It’s warm but dark, so it feels sexy and strong. This is a great color on most skin tones. However, if you have a super-fair complexion, I’d suggest adding a bit more warmth to the color formula.” He suggests asking your stylist for a deep neutral red-brown shade, or try Clairol Nice’n Easy 5M Medium Mahogany Brown at home.

Toasty Ginger 

“I always feel drawn to gingers, because how much movement and reflection of light these toasty tones give off,” says Torres. For another pretty take on peachy tones, ask for a warm toasty ginger with golden tones.

Honey Wheat Highlights 

Dramatic highlights are one of the season's biggest trends, but they particularly pop on curls. “This color is beautiful on warmer skin tones and is drastic enough to feel like you’re really switching up your look,” says Powell. “Dimension is key, so make sure you and your stylist are on the same page about the final color you're looking for.”

Cinnamon Chocolate 

The trick to nailing this perfect winter hair color is the contrast created between a warm auburn tint and a dark brunette base. The layering is super subtle and looks amazing on every length and texture.

Burnt Spice

“This winter is all about burnt copper and brandished red tones,” says DeBolt. “Think deep, earth reds with natural finishes. This works well for anyone with warm, peachy skin and looks particularly stunning on anyone with green or hazel eyes.”


“This look has a big impact without having to color your entire head,” says Powell. “I think this technique could work for anyone based on the shade you want for the front, and what you feel comfortable with.” While blond or light brown is a good starting point, you can also be bold and play with fun colors like blue, burgundy, and pink. 

Chunky Highlights 

“There’s a major nod to the ’90s happening right now in hair, from cuts to color,” says DeBolt. “For color, it’s the reimagined ’90s chunky highlights—it’s all about the contrast! This trend looks cooler with either a blowout or air-dried texture.”

Deep Espresso 

Embrace the cold-weather vibes and richen up your brown to an almost black espresso. DeBolt suggests asking your stylist for color support products like shampoos and glosses to maintain shine and depth between salon visits. 

Warm Dimension 

To get curls to really pop, add a variation of warm shades on roots and ends. To get a similar look at home, celebrity hairstylist Derick Monroe recommends Dark & Lovely Fade Resist in Chestnut Brown at the roots and Honey Blonde on ends. Since both colors are on the warm side, the result doesn’t look fake, just super dimensional and pretty. 

Warm Bronze Brunette 

“Brunettes often are afraid of adding warm tones to their hair, but they shouldn’t be,” says DeBolt. “Warm tones reflect more light, so adding golden or auburn richness gives your hair a shiny, healthy finish.” He suggests asking for either delicate highlights one shade lighter than your base color or, for the noncommittal, a golden brown gloss. “The tone will fade out of your hair from wash to wash without any visible demarcation,” he says. 

Pale Pink

Spring was all about warm, DIY pink, but winter calls for something a bit slicker. “Adding very subtle pastel hues to ice blond hair is cool way to change up the vibe this winter,” says Tardo. “Opt for temporary or semipermanent hair colors that will fade out. This way you can go back to rocking platinum afterward. This is a great if you want to add a bit of interest to light hair without a long-term commitment.” He says to ask for baby pink scattered throughout platinum to help with the fade-out.  

Root Melt 

“With salons being closed in many states for months, a lot of people have embraced their dark roots,” says Katie Cartwright, a colorist at Nine Zero One. “What I like about this look is it keeps your color looking lived-in and sun-kissed. It doesn’t have to be a whole situation every time you go to the salon.” The trick, she says, is to ask your stylist for a hairline highlight and root melt to refresh your current color.

Cold Brew 

You might be all about an extra-hot macchiato come fall, but the cold brew that carried you through summer can be a year-round thing. First spotted as the work of colorist Eric Vaughn, the multidimensional brown tones are paired with a subtle reddish warmth to create a rich mahogany effect.

Creamy Blond

"Warm is the best tonal direction to go for when it starts getting cold out,” says Matt Rez, celebrity colorist at L.A.'s Meche Salon. “If you're a blond that’s been more on the creamy, or even the beige side, and have wanted to try a warmer allover feel, adding midlights that will lift warm and/or warmer highlights to your existing color will ease your way to super warm down the road. Fall is the best time to try this trend—not to mention intentional warmer colors have a softer fade over time.” To ease into the shade, start by asking for a warm golden gloss on top of your existing blond. 

Rainbow Spun

“Right now we’re seeing a lot of rainbow hair as people are more inclined to experiment, since many are staying at home,” says Friedman. “Just the other day I saw a woman around 60 years old with multicolored, bright beautiful hair, and she looked absolutely fabulous.” While any color goes, she's particularly into a mix of shades right now, which can be a little harder to do yourself at home. “Bring examples to your stylist to show exactly what you’re thinking,” she says. “From an inspiration photo to a scarf you look great in, showing your stylist your ideal color palette will help them create a look that’s perfectly suited and unique to you.” To preserve the bright colors, use a dry shampoo and wash as few times a week as possible.

Go Back to Your Roots 

If there's anything 2020 has taught us, it's to embrace what you've got naturally. Torres suggests sticking to your roots and just giving your natural shade a boost with a glaze, a toner, or a demi-permanent hair color.