There’s something about the change in seasons that naturally makes us want to switch up our hair color. Longer days, (slightly) warmer temperatures, fewer layers of clothing—it all adds up to the desire for a new spring hair color.
“This spring the biggest color trends seem to be uncomplicated yet bold statements of individuality. With a lot of people still living many parts of their life through a screen, it is more important than ever for our hair to be utilized as an important part of our identity and signature style,” says Nicole Tabloff, a colorist at Chicago’s Maxine Salon.
But no matter whether you’re craving a subtle shift or a drastic change, this season’s trendiest shades offer a little something for everyone. Ahead, six of our favorite spring hair colors for 2021.
Spring Hair Colors
From strawberry to copper, red hair has never been hotter. This vivid new take on red is perfect for most skin tones, though it’s especially flattering on fair complexions, says Tabloff. “It’s one of the lightest of red shades with ribbons of copper, gold, and pink, the exact tone and amount of which can be customized for a totally personal result,” she says.
As far as maintenance goes, using a color-safe, sulfate-free shampoo is essential, given that red hair dye has the largest molecules and is the most prone to slip out of hair and fade as a result. To boost the color and shine at home, use a semi-permanent gloss, like dpHUE Gloss+ Semi-permanent Hair Color and Deep Conditioner ($35; sephora.com).
We’ve seen cool-toned grays and bleached blondes in seasons past, but this spring it’s all about an icy white tone, says colorist Sabit Hantal, founder of SH Fifth Avenue Salon in New York City. Known as Nordic white, the shade is a solid white with subtle, silvery undertones. The key to pulling it off? Confidence, Hantal says of the bold statement.
This bright white shade is possible to achieve on most natural hair colors, though the darker your base is, obviously the longer the lightening process will take. Hantal also recommends bringing in photos of your desired shade to make it clear to your colorist exactly how white you want to go.
Also important: At-home maintenance via heat protectants and masks, since the bleaching process can still cause damage, no matter how light you were to begin with. Try Color Wow Money Mask Deep Hydrating & Strengthening Treatment ($45; sephora.com).
Both colorists we spoke with say blonde tones, especially this warm, golden blonde, is big for darker complexions this spring. “Believe it or not, dark skin tones can pull off more shades of blonde than lighter skin tones,” says Hantal. It also works well for anyone with a darker base who wants a lighter, sun-kissed vibe, adds Tabloff.
Depending on your natural base color, this can be achieved either with a permanent color on lighter shades or a bleach and tone on darker natural tones, she explains. Stylists also suggest a subtle “root melt,” aka keeping the hair slightly darker at the roots, which creates a cool layered look while also allowing for a more graceful grow-out period and less upkeep.
Just keep in mind that newly-lightened hair is fragile due to the lifting process, so it needs a lot of extra moisture and consistent deep conditioning. We like Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask ($36; ulta.com). Try to cut back on heat styling, too.
Who says a single, all-over color has to be boring? Tabloff says this is the perfect option for darker, solid shades, ranging from chocolate to jet black, with the focus being mega-watt shine. It perfectly complements the trending geometric bobs that are popular this season, she says—not to mention that it’s a great option for those who want to go very subtle with their color.
Surprisingly, allover color does require some regular upkeep. Tabloff says to ask your colorist for a singular demi-permanent color applied every six to eight weeks. In between appointments, up the luster at home with shine-enhancing products, like Kristin Ess Hair Weightless Shine Leave-In Conditioner ($10; ulta.com).
When it comes to spring hair colors, highlights are a simple update that have a major impact. “This is the perfect way to add new life to your existing signature shade, like a vacation glow for your hair,” says Tabloff. “It’s great for anyone looking for a little hair pick-me-up without making a big change.”
She says to ask your colorist for what’s known as an express balayage, which involves painting only a few strategic, face-framing pieces, one to shades lighter than your base. The result: Strands that look naturally lightened by the sun.
The other big pro? The upkeep is minimal, with the highlights only having to be touched up every three to six months; use a clear gloss in between if you want a little extra refresher. Try IGK Expensive Hi-Shine Gloss Treatment ($29; sephora.com).
Bored with your hair color? You’re not alone. Pastel pink became one of the biggest hair color trends during quarantine, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Just look to celebs like Lana Condor, Ciara, and Chrissy Teigen for proof.
Pink is a cheerful, positive color, and rosy toned hair plays into the idea of escapism beauty we’ve seen throughout the pandemic. And if you’re interested in making the playful change, you can easily DIY it using over-the-counter box color, like this one by L’Oreal Paris Feria. Or, you can go to your salon for a look with more dimension.
That’s the real beauty of pink hair: It’s temporary. Pink hair color is as low-maintenance as it is light-hearted, fading and washing out over time.
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