Glamour September 2, 2020



The Coolest Fall Hair Colors to Try This Season


From Champagne pop blond to chunky highlights, here's what you'll be wanting to bring to your colorist.

Somehow it's already almost autumn, and it's time to start your search for the best fall hair colors. While salons are now open in most states, keep in mind that many are still operating at 50% capacity, so it might be harder than usual to pencil in your regular touch-up every six weeks. For summer, that meant hair color was all about returning to our roots with easy-going shades built to grow out gracefully like Undone Blond. 

While the overarching trend for fall is still whatever is as low-maintenance as possible, there's a bit more happening than your typical sunny blonds and balayage brunettes. As the weather gets chillier, hair is about to get a lot warmer, and be prepared for red to be the shade of the season (we called it back in February). At-home experimentation is going strong, as are throwback trends like chunky highlights and e-girl stripes. And, of course, there's the usual crop of drink-inspired shades to quench your thirst. 

We asked top hairstylists for the coolest fall hair trends to try—covering the span of everything from pink and gray to stunning variations on blond, brunette, black, and red. 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 fall hair colors, and get ready to screenshot. 

Deep sea black 

Get in the mood for cool weather with a dramatic dark black. “It’s smart to transition into this dramatic color during the cooler months to prevent fading due to sun exposure,” says Karissa Schaudt, colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. For maximum impact, go with a black so dark it has an underlying shade of blue and not a hint of warmth.

Ruby bronze 

Pump up your sun-faded copper for fall with a richer bronze shade. “Mixing multiple colors, like brown and red will look incredibly natural,” says Schaudt.

Champagne pop 

Bored of blond but not quite ready to plunge into pink? A pale Champagne color is right in the middle and has almost an ethereal fairy-tale vibe. “Blush tones can be added to light blond or used all over to give a twist to your signature look,” says Rex Jimieson, color educator and colorist at Maxine Salon. “It’s both warm and cool, so it looks good on any skin tone, even without your summer tan.”

Spiced gold 

If you're not ready for a true red, something on the copper side of things is a great way to play with the shade. Jimieson says to ask for a mix of golden highlights and some copper midlights, using your natural color as the background. Or you can discuss shifting your base to copper so the gold pops. It may look intimidating, but, he adds, it's pretty low-maintenance.

Suntanned blond

You don't have to kiss your beach blond goodbye just because summer's coming to an end. For hair that still looks sun-kissed but has a little more depth, Shaudt says to keep your highlights around the hairline but add neutral lowlights within the crown area.

Black coffee 

Take your brunette into not-quite-black territory for the cooler temps. “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 Jimieson. “Ask for a demipermanent color so you can change it down the road. Plus, it will be super shiny.”

Amethyst brown 

“I’m not talking full on Duran Duran red violet, but adding a subtle muted violet tone to your medium-browns will look rich and chocolatey,” says Jimieson. “Violet is made of both red and blue, so it looks good on both warm and cool skin tones.”

Sweet chocolate 

“This falls under the warmer brunette family,” says Schaudt. “This look is adding golden undertones that will create a healthy appearance and reflect tons of new shine.”

Face-framing highlights 

A face frame is perfect for maintaining some of your summer brightness without the upkeep, says Matt Rez, a celebrity colorist at L.A.'s Meche Salon. He adds that it's an easy way to “look light and bright without full foil commitment,” and it makes your hair pop on video calls. “This is great for those who also wear their hair up a lot and want that element of light around their face without hours in the salon,” he says. “Ask for a nice melted root with face-framing the next time you get your highlights done.”

Warm creamy blond

"Warm is the best tonal direction to go for fall,” says Rez. “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. 

Solid colors

While ombrés and root smudges are one way to manage limited salon availability, Rez also suggests going the opposite direction with a solid color with no highlights. “I love this for people who want super-easy and quick trips in and out of the salon,” he says. “If you get touch-ups every two to eight weeks and want to keep it simple—especially now in these times—this is for you.” Although Rez suggests going into the salon if possible (ask for a base that's close to your natural color so there's no demarkation line), it's also easy enough to touch up at home if need be. 

Scarlet red 

Red hair had a huge moment earlier this year, and doesn't look like it's slowing down any time soon. “This scarlet hue is the perfect marriage of summer brightness and winter richness,” says Clairol color partner Jeremy Tardo. “It’s especially gorgeous on medium to dark skin tones.” For a similar shade, he says to ask your colorist for a red that doesn't lean too heavily toward orange or violet. “The color should be a true primary red with just enough brown added to soften intensity.” If you feel confident putting the color in your own hands, he likes to mix Clairol Nice N’ Easy 5R Medium Auburn and 4BG Dark Burgundy for a DIY option. 

Caramel ribbons

“I love a good brunette that doesn’t read red but has elements of warmth throughout—it gives a really balanced result,” says Rez. If you're a natural brunette, ask your stylist for midlights one or two levels lighter than your base and 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.”

Root blurring 

Again, color that grows out easily seems to be this year's top trend. One of the best ways to do this is with a blurred root, which Tardo calls a 2020 remix of ombré. “Muting your hair color near at your roots helps to alleviate high-maintenance hair color by creating a more blended grow-out,” he says. “Touch-ups are only needed twice a year, and the look maintains an intentional and fresh feel.” To get the look, ask your colorist for a shadow root and have them fade it down into your hair.

Bronze glow 

Another major trend for fall is almost red hair, like this pretty bronze shade. Tardo says warmer tones are perfect to breathe new life into brunette shades, and an easy trick for transitioning to brown from both lighter and darker hair. “At the salon, ask for a color gloss with bronze toners,” he says. “At home, try shades like Clairol Natural Instincts in 6BZ Autumn Bronze Light Caramel Brown.”

Espresso brunette 

“Brunettes are finally getting their moment,” says Katie Cartwright, colorist at L.A.'s Nine Zero One salon. “After years of balayage and blond being on trend, many brunettes are turning back to the simplicity and beauty of a deep, rich, espresso brown.” She loves a rich shade like Meghan Markle's since it flatters pretty much all skin tones and eye colors, but says you can play around with how dark you go depending on your natural color. 

Ice blond

While fall usually means warmer tones, get a jump on winter weather by going ice-queen platinum. “It's so fun to cool down a summer blond for winter,” says Lauren Grummel, a hairstylist in New York. “Make sure to get a fresh trim on the ends if you're super blond. It always makes the blond fresher and even brighter looking.”


Considering going blond but scared of the maintenance? Consider bronde—a mix of blonde and brown—your new go-to. Rez says this is a great option for anyone because your hair can be lifted or darkened accordingly depending on your base color, and the amount of depth is totally up to you. “Make sure you ask for lowlights and midlights off your face and through the interior and exterior,” he notes. “Midlights will connect the lowlights and highlights vertically throughout and create the most seamless melt into your base color.” If you're already a cooler blond, he says you can also do a gloss over it for a cozier fall feel. 

Pastel pink 

Kaia Gerber is the latest celeb to fall into the trap of the #quarantint, and while there are endless color options, pink is without a doubt the most popular since it's universally flattering and easy to DIY. “I'm really digging how everyone is getting more adventurous and creative and playing around with bold colors,” says Cartwright, who adds a shade like this is best if you already have prelightened hair. Ask your colorist for whatever shade of pink you desire, or check out our guide to dyeing your hair pink at home.

Warm blond

“I’m so happy that a lot of blonds are gravitating toward the warmer tones,” says Cartwright. “The warmth reflects the light making your hair appear shiny and healthy.” Not only is the color easier to maintain, but she points out that it's really flattering if you have warmth in your eyes and skin. Ask your stylist for something bright but not ashy.

Cinnamon chocolate

The trick to nailing this perfect fall 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.

Cinnamon swirl

Look at that, another red shade. “This is one of my favorite picks for fall,” says Grummel. “It works for so many people. In some lighting the color looks blonder; sometimes it's more strawberry.” Ask for some balayage highlights with a little warmth.

Chunky highlights

“A lot of ’90s trends are coming back, and that includes chunky highlights,” says Cartwright. However, gone are the thick stripes of your youth, and instead the look is now more about a few bold face-framing pieces to really accentuate your features. “This trend works best for someone who likes to be pretty light around their face without having to deal with the maintenance of being light all over,” she says. “Ask your stylist for an exaggerated pop piece with some baby-lights or balayage sprinkled in.”

Golden brunette 

Similar to bronde with a little more blend, Grummel recommends a light gold brunette shade for those who want to brighten up without a lot of commitment. “A color like this you could get done twice a year,” she says. “Ask your stylist to focus the brightness on the ends, and keep warmth throughout.”


“More than any other postquarantine request, I have talked to many clients about renegotiating their relationship with color,” says Mark DeBolt, colorist and co-owner of New York's Mark Ryan Salon. He says that while growing out gray hair can be challenging (most people make it to the eight-week mark and give up), during quar some of his gray clients made it to 14 weeks and decided they like what they saw. “Some have opted for a more translucent type of coverage from a demipermanent, which only stains grays and doesn’t offer 100% coverage,” he says. “Some clients have decided to keep growing out the gray but then add more ‘pepper’—a slate, silver, or charcoal color—to add depth and interest while getting away from regular three-week retouches.”

Melted caramel 

You know what they say: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. You can never go wrong with caramel brown highlights for fall. “This is such a soft melted caramel,” says Grummel. “You can achieve a soft look no matter what your natural shade is. Ask for a soft balayage highlight no more than two to three shade lighter than your natural color.”

Natural black 

“This color is timelessly chic,” says Tardo. “Natural black tones are not overly pigmented, so they don't look too inky, and they give a strong appearance without looking too aggressive.” Unlike deep sea black, natural black doesn't have much blue added in it. If you want to try this at home, Tardo recommends Clairol Nice N’ Easy in 2 Black or 2.5 Soft Black.

Warm brunette 

“We’ve been infusing brunettes with dimensions ranging from shades of honey, chestnut, peanut butter taupes, and tawny tones,” says DeBolt. “Warmth in hair color reflects more light, which makes your hair look brighter and healthier.” Subtler swirls of color look great on straight hair, while bolder highlights make curls pop. 

Root melt

“With salons being closed in many states for months—and still closed in California—a lot of people have embraced their dark roots,” says Cartwright. “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. Ask your stylist for a hairline highlight and root melt to refresh your current color.”

Soft brown highlights 

While warmer tones are trending, that doesn't mean cooler tones aren't still equally stunning. If you're looking to break up your brunette without making a major change, try barely there cool brown highlights. Keep your base dark, but ask for some soft balayage highlights, says Grummel: “A gloss will also help add extra shine to a dull brunette and get rid of any unwanted red tones.”


“Some people have decided to go bold and step into something more expressive,” says DeBolt. “We’ve seen this in subtle versions where women have added a glimmer of delicate rose tones to highlighted blond hair—or on other end of the spectrum, we've also seen rich jewel tones. I had one client ask for a hair color inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night.” Don't be afraid to play, and look for inspiration in unexpected places. 

E-girl streaks 

If you’ve spent any time on TikTok, chances are you’ve come across a pair of e-girl streaks, those bleached stripes on an otherwise dark head of hair that bring to mind Avril Lavigne and Hot Topic. The trend has been going strong on the internet for some time now thanks to its DIY nature, but celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan thinks they’ll only get more popular and more extreme as we start to exit quarantine. 

Strawberry glaze 

“As the summer winds down, a lot of people have been looking to make their hair warmer,” says DeBolt. “Red is always a great trend for fall because it complements many skin tones. There is a spectrum of commitment here too. In lieu of making a big change, you could try a strawberry gloss after a highlight refresh—it's very low-commitment.”

Sandalwood stripes 

If you want to add some dimension to your curls without an extreme change, go for bright highlights. “This color works best for those with thicker, dark hair,” says Tardo. “The lighter ribbons of color give separation to highlight beautiful natural textures.” He says to ask for subtle ash bronde highlights.

Au naturel 

“During the pandemic, everyone’s really gotten the time to embrace the natural parts of themselves. And you realize how beautiful the natural you really is,” says Nine Zero One Salon co-owner Riawna Capri, who recently took Julianne Hough’s hair back to its natural shade after she’d experimented with fun colors in quarantine. While Hough’s version of natural is a beautiful soft brown, this trend is all about enhancing your natural color. “It’s a perfect, easy color to maintain as we continue to social distance and have restrictions on how many people we can have in the salon at a time. I suggest thinking about getting a more low-maintenance hair color so you can come in every three to six months instead of every four to six weeks.”  

Pearl blond

“I love this look because it gives a slight tonal shift and iridescence on the platinum-blond trend,” says Tardo, who recommends this shade for anyone who’s getting bored with true platinum but still loves a superlight shade. Ask your stylist for an extra-light blond with pale yellow undertones, and make sure to stress you don’t want anything too gray-toned. 

Deep roots 

Consider this the anti-dye-job. Since it may be harder to snag an appointment, you could be rocking roots into the holiday season. The plus side is, as demonstrated by Dua Lipa, this can look cool as hell when it’s high-contrast. When you can get an appointment, go for a superlight shade and a blunt cut, and enjoy the grow-out. 

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. 

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 that create a rich mahogany effect.

Ginger peach

If anyone refers to this as red hair, make a point to correct them that it's actually ginger peach. There's much more going on here than simply red: The dark, almost brunette roots keep it low-maintenance, while the golden and auburn tones prevent the copper color from pulling too orange.

Chocolate truffle

Chocolate-hued hair isn't new, but chocolate truffle puts a delicious twist on the fall standby. Subtle gold highlights woven throughout hair (but not at the roots) gives the color extra dimension and an even richer hue.