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The big chill (a.k.a winter) is coming, but that isn’t an excuse to let your hair color be any less fire. From surprising pinks to tried-and-true chestnut brown, there’s a hot (cool?) new winter hue for everyone. I caught up with a handful of celebrity colorists to share their predictions on what shades we’ll all turn to come Arctic tundra time.
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Ok, there’s no debate that Zendaya basically broke the internet when she popped up at the Emmys with her latest head turning hue.
“This rich red is a perfect complement to fairer skin tones and a dark winter wardrobe,” explains Matrix celebrity colorist George Papanikolas (whose clients include Jessica Stam, Fergie, Camila Alves, and more.) “When it’s so red, it crosses past the line of natural into blue-red territory.”
According to Redken brand ambassador and colorist Matt Rez, this shade works because “in the winter your skin tone tends to get cooler and lighter by one or two shades—the warmth and richness of an espresso wash really balances that out beautifully.”
To make the shade look the most natural—and not like you dipped your strands in a bucket of black dye—he suggests monthly in-salon glosses and the addition of a a mid-light, or an additional highlight that falls somewhere on the spectrum between your natural highlights and your new base. That way, you’ll have more dimension and proper tonal balance. Two of his notable clients (Lorenza Izzo and Jenna Dewan) have nailed this look in the past.
“Rose and pink shades are always popular because it’s interesting without being over the top,” explains master colorist Stephanie Brown, who works with Kate McKinnon. “When the colors are pastel, they even sort of pass for natural now. But bolder purple pinks are coming back thanks to Megan Rapinoe.”
Plus, according to texture and color specialist Jaxcee, who works with Amanda Seales, Anika Noni Rose, and Jasmine Cephas Jones, “Soft pale pink look absolutely angelic in winter weather.”
We get it—on the surface, brown hair can feel like a bummer. That’s why Papanikolas suggests working in some soft chestnut highlights and going into “bronde” territory. The blend has a universally flattering appeal.
“Since this falls right in the middle of the hair color spectrum, it works with most people’s hair,” he explains. “The key is to stay within two shades of your natural color, and strategically place highlights to accent the face so that the overall color stays darker—and gives a subtle variation.”
“Light blonde is great for winter,” explains Brown. “Sometimes blondes want to be bright all year, but I’ve been seeing more opting for a rooted look.” Why? It’s lower maintenance than single-process, yet the effect is still vibrant. “I always love a platinum pixie for winter, too,” she loves. Yep, we’re looking directly at you, Michelle Williams.
Auburn and Ginger
The best part about going ginger or auburn during the colder months? Minimal fading. “Reds are great for every season, but it’s best to go red in the fall or winter seasons because you won’t be out and about in the sun (or the ocean) which can cause faster fading,” explains Redken brand ambassador and colorist Cassondra Keading, who works with Olivia Munn, Olivia Culpo and Katherine Schwarzenegger, to name a few.
Bored with your blonde? Adding pastel tones to an allover blonde pushes the limits with these colors and offers a bold choice explains Papanikolas. “Since these tones tend to fade relatively quickly, you don’t have to worry about longterm commitment. The highlights can easily be changed once they wash out.”
Jaxcee adds, “Mint is going to be major this holiday season.” She also recommends maintaining your color with moisturizing treatments. “Cold dry winter air leads to dry winter hair if you’re not careful. At-home treatments and masks like Redken Frizz Dismiss or Hair Rules Quench are fab for thick curly hair—a texture that is most prone to winter dryness.”
Mix up this classic look by asking your stylist for gold undertones. “The blue-black that was popular last year won’t be as popular this year,” explains Brown. “Rather than dark ashier tones, warmer hair is more flattering for most skin tones.” To avoid veering into dark eggplant territory, make sure your colorist doesn’t add a red to the color bowl.
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