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This Winter’s Trendiest Hair Colors Are Rich and Bold

From "expensive brunette" to copper.

With a change of the season, often comes the inspiration for a hair change, and switching up the color can often be the easiest way to make a dramatic statement. Changing your hair color can make you reassess your makeup and what clothes you wear, making it a big overhaul to your style if you’re looking for a total refresh. Whatever your hair type and current color, there is a bold new color for you that will be completely on trend for winter 2021 (albeit possibly under a beanie or wrapped up in a winter scarf).

Before you go reaching for the hair dye, there are many factors that go into the perfect winter hair color. The first factor is that while we often opt for darker hair shades in the colder months, as we do with clothing, colorists (and common sense) recommend choosing a new shade as an adjustment from your current color to maintain hair health. For example, you might not want to swap your freshly bleached hair for jet black, but could choose to make a slow transition with some dimension-creating brunette lowlights. Another recommended step is talking your change through with a hair professional.

If you’re stuck for ideas or looking to get ahead of the curve, we’ve rounded up a few wintery shades that are currently taking off. From "expensive brunette" to copper, these are the hair colors will define this season.

Expensive Brunette

The “expensive brunette” hair trend was coined earlier this year after Hailey Bieber swapped her usually blonde hair for an unexpected (for her) chocolatey brown. Despite the name, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, it refers to the shine, bounce, and depth of thoughtful hair color without damage. It reflects that increased interest in hair health is driving people away from bleach and towards to their original hair colors. To get expensive brunette hair, you blend a range of subtle highlights and lowlights into a brunette base, for a natural but dimensional look.

Barcode Blonde

Just because people are moving towards darker colors for winter, does not mean bleach is out entirely. In true Y2K-revival fashion, chunky highlights are returning as a way to achieve light hair with an untraditional way. This trend digresses from both warm, sun-kissed surfer-y blondes and ashy blonde East Coast shades. Whether it’s evenly-spaced stripes or larger bleached chunks, Carla Salceda, Colour Director at Sassoon Academy, calls this new blonde trend “barcode blonde”. Yo Kruiz, a senior color tech at Whip London, says traditional highlights on fair-haired people have faded “into near non-existence, moving more into doing pieces of blonde or color framing around the face”. But if you’re a current blonde who’s not ready to embrace such a dramatic look, still consider adding some contrast. This season we’re also seeing a lot of heavily lowlighted blondes, like Adele and Blake Lively.

Lucky Penny Copper

Copper has been having a moment all year, with the likes of Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa briefly trying out the smoldering shade. However, this winter is time for the trend to really shine. “All the citrus shades are coming for us in the grey months of January 2022 and to be honest I'm here for it, let's brighten up everyone's day with our hair,” says Kruiz. This shade of red is closer to natural red hair than some previous red trends, so it’s more easily worn by many.

Back to Black

With the return of punk and goth fashion, it’s only natural that jet black hair has its rightful moment, too. Glossy black hair is creeping up as a favorite trend amongst it-girls this winter (alongside having a punk boyfriend). Even Kim Kardashian has returned back to her natural dark roots. HoYeon Jung, who modeled for years with flaming red hair, has gone back to black. For the extra bold, Salceda says she’s expecting people to double down on the goth hair trend. She sees, “blood red with black streaks becoming a new look for winter.”