Real Simple July 6, 2023

Real Simple


Call Your Colorist—These 11 Hair Colors Are Trending for Summer 2023


Good news! Summer 2023 means warmer weather is finally here—and so are warmer hues. If a seasonal shift signifies anything in the world of beauty, it's a good time to make some hair changes. Summer hairstyles from the '80s, '90s, and Y2K are all returning (with an updated spin, of course), so you have a plethora of coordinating options to choose from. And we've got all the hue inspiration here, starting with classic seasonal shades like sunshine blonde and Louis Vuitton brown to newer shades like strawberry auburn and copper brown. Curious about what all that translates to in terms of summer 2023 hair color trends, we asked top colorists to share which hues they see emerging this year.

Sunshine Blonde

As bright as possible without being a raw bleach blonde, sunshine blonde is a more polished version that oozes soft gold tones (almost as if highlighted by the sun itself). "Also known as champagne blonde or expensive blonde, we love this shade because it evokes summer fun with its youthful and sunkissed look," says Shvonne Perkins, lead educator at Madison Reed. "Get this color by implementing a shorter lightening process and avoiding the cross into platinum blonde territory."

Strawberry Auburn

From fashion week to red carpets, Perkins says there's a new wave of red coming this summer that we're already seeing everywhere. "Blonder than red, it leans into the copper category to flirt with a red without going all the way into the bold category," she says. "It's subtle, sweet, and perfect for warm weather."

"This is the best way to play with reds with a softer approach," agrees Lorena M. Valdes, colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, Ill. "The look uses auburn to create a rich feel, while the strawberry highlights have more copper to brighten up the look."

Copper-Infused Brown

Looking for a way to add a little fire to your brunette? Both stylists Nick Stenson and Annagjid "Kee" Taylor agree that a copper-tinted brunette is a great way to bring the heat without totally changing the script. "Copper browns are refined, but playful. It's such a great transition for summer without the damage," says Stenson. What's more, it's universally flattering. Warm copper colors will work on fair to deep complexions, and can be maintained at home as well.

Louis Vuitton Brown

As seen on Karlie Kloss and Selena Gomez, Louis Vuitton brown is the next evolution of "expensive brunette," says Tom Smith, celebrity hairstylist and international colour creative director for evo hair. "Think of the color of the aged leather of a Louis Vuitton handbag—a gorgeous rich tan, not too pale, but not heavy or dark either. This shade suits a variety of skin tones due to its medium depth, and should be worn with healthy flowing hair that shines to best show the shade off." To achieve the look, ask your stylist for a medium-light brown shade with a warm golden toffee tone.

Two-Toned Colors

Opting for two tones instead of just one is another way to make a major statement this summer. "This color style is distinct because it's usually a dark and light pairing for ultimate contrast," says Stenson. "This is a total departure from subtle blends that have been common most recently. It's a great way to mix it up with your look and make a bold statement for a summer splash." This daring style is super customizable and can even be worn with fantasy colors.


The silver movement has been gaining momentum over the last couple of years, and quarantine only fueled this tinsel fire. "People are really embracing their grays right now, and I find it to be so inspiring and beautiful. Also, I personally think as you mature, lighter colors [like silver] become more flattering against your complexion," says Traci Barrett, a celebrity stylist and colorist based in Phoenix, Ariz. "If you aren't ready to go all-out gray, you can also slowly start highlighting or lightening your base color to blend with your natural." You could even try gray highlights for a smooth transition.

Face-Framing Highlights

Bold, face-framing highlights are another quick way to freshen up your look without having to spend too much time at the salon. "I have seen this style all over and I think it's trendy because it's an easy style to achieve," says Kee. "I love it because this is one universal style that can suit any hair color—just a quick refresh on your natural hair without all the fuss." Aim for a shade that's three to four shades lighter than your natural tone, which will likely range between ultra-light blonde to a caramel-tone. 

Honey Blonde

Is it even summer without a little honey? We argue no, and a classic honey blonde hue is the perfect way to liven up your locks for these warmer months. It's also the perfect level-up for those who want a change but are digging the low-maintenance looks from the last year. "Honey Blonde tends to be a great way to achieve a glow of blonde without the commitment of brighter highlights," says Stenson.

Light Caramel Brown

A shade or two darker than golden or honey blonde, light caramel brown brings lightness and depth to naturally dark tresses. "This is a fresh brown that feels very warm and rich. It's the perfect caramel," says Barrett. "I love this color because it feels really new, and it particularly lends itself to darker complexions."

Fantasy Colors 

Give the rainbow a run for its money this summer by picking a fantasy hue. While classic shades like pink or soft blue will stick around, we're seeing more people lean into shocking colors and wild combos. Think lime green, electric blue, bright orange, and teal. You could also try a sherbet swirl or rainbow strands.