15 Fresh Hair Colors to Inspire Your Spring Style Makeover
One of the simplest things you can do to update your look for Spring is experiment with hair color. After all, nothing's really that permanent, right? Kylie Jenner and Jennifer Lawrence have been using their color to make drastic statements, while others like Jessica Alba and Jessica Biel are known for taking more of an au naturel route. We spoke with some of our favorite celebrity colorists about the hottest shades right now, who they look best on, and how to make sure you leave the salon satisfied. No matter if you dream of looking like a unicorn or just want to brighten up your locks a bit, we found a fresh look to inspire your warm-weather style.
The color: Au Naturel
Description: While this is not a specific color, it is an overall concept of dyeing hair and making it appear as if it hasn't been colored. Liv Tyler, Jessica Alba, and Jennifer Lawrence are all taking note from Bond girls like Barbara Bach and Gloria Hendry, who had hair hues that complemented their assets and didn't distract from them their natural beauty. It can work for brunettes, blondes, and redheads. To put it simply, it doesn't look done. “Hair color this Spring doesn’t look old or grown out,” commented Marie Robinson of the Marie Robinson Salon in NYC. “Instead, it’s just glimmering, sexy color from roots to ends.”
Who it works for: Honey-brown shades work best for fair to medium olive skin tones and all textures. Dark natural mocha brown will work with all skin tones except for people with fair skin who naturally have a strawberry blonde blend. Champagne blonde brightens up the fairest skin, adds a warm golden glow to olive or combination toned skin, and looks cool on someone who has a dark complexion.
Technique: Glosses are used for the browner shades to give them tone and depth and if you’re a blonde, your base color should consist of golden and pink tones. Once the base shade is set, wisps of lightener are hand-painted throughout the top of the head to give subtle glimmer when the light hits your hair. It's not intended to look like hair color, just beautiful hair. Because the look is more on the natural end, you can maintain it every eight to 10 weeks.
The color: Platinum Blonde
Description: Look no further than Jennifer Lawrence for inspiration. Sharon Dorram, celebrity colorist and owner of Sharon Dorram at Sally Hershberger Uptown predicts this dramatic, ashy, superpale blonde shade to be hot for Spring.
Who it works for: Anyone can go platinum blonde, but if you’re already light, it’s easier to achieve and less damaging on your hair. Since this is a high-maintenance look, you'll likely need touch-ups every two to four weeks (depending on how dark your natural base is). The hue works best for someone who has the time and cash to make frequent visits to the salon. That said, it pops in Instagram photos!
Technique: This shade looks best when it's a double process or a blonde-on-blonde creamy shade made up of different tones. The best technique is to have your colorist lighten the base to with a high lift tint and weave in baby blonde or pale blonde highlights around the face.
The color: Honey
Description: Two words — Jennifer Lopez. Dorram also predicts that honey-kissed strands will be a popular pick this season.
Who it works for: This shade looks best on people who have light brown to cocoa skin tones with dark or hazel eyes, because it brightens up their whole face and adds warmth.
Technique: Lifting the base by two to three shades (with ash undertones is key) and lighter highlights strategically around the face and crown is the best method to create it. Depending on how dark your natural base color is, this look is still flaterring when the roots come in and usually needs upkeep every six to eight weeks.
The color: Strawberry Blonde
Description: This coveted shade of blonde has been seen on Blake Lively and, according to Dorram, is pretty low maintenance.
Who it works for: Anyone with a peaches-and-cream skin tone with blue or green eyes can rock this shade.
Technique: If your natural color is light enough, then a simple highlight mixing in shades of honey and strawberry will achieve this look. If your base is a bit darker, then a single-process lift of two shades from the natural color along with subtle shades of strawberry blonde will give the same effect. This is actually a low-maintenance style if done strictly via highlights. Typically, it needs to be done every two to three months, but if the base is lifted, then it may need upkeep every four to six weeks.
The color: Caramel Twist
Description: “The hottest colors in Spring 2016 hair trends definitely have a '70s flair to them,” said Corinne Adams, senior colorist at Serge Normant at John Frieda. "Women in the '70s were using natural henna to add shine and color to their hair for dimension, which gave them a natural golden, chestnut-y tone. The key to achieving this look is for hair to appear effortless, natural, and healthy, regardless of how extreme your color transformation is.” Olivia Wilde, Miranda Kerr, and Jessica Biel are just some A-listers who do caramel right.
Who it works for: Because it adds warmth to the face, this shade works best on people who have dark hair and fair skin.
Technique: Ask for babylights all over or just from midshaft to the ends of your hair. Your stylist will create blended highlights, very fine in very small sections, to create an even color. Touch-ups are minimal and needed only about every three months.
The color: Blended Blonde
Description: Gigi Hadid, Beyoncé, and Khloé Kardashian have all gone blonde, but their colorists make sure to “blend the roots with different shades so the color doesn't clash harshly with their naturally dark hair,” Adams explained.
Who it works for: This technique looks best on people who have naturally dark strands, because it allows them to go blonde in the most natural way possible.
Technique: Your stylist will have to create a more natural blonde with lots of highlights if your hair was previously lightened. If not, he or she will need to lift the hue in order to make your base lighter and then add extensive highlights to bring in some brightness. Normally balayage is paired with babylights in the root area, which allows for more time in between color appointments. Touch-ups are needed about every two months at the root.
The color: Denim
Description: According to Kylie Jenner and Jan-Marie Arteca, colorist at Broome & Beauty in NYC, out of all of the rainbow hues to try, playing with smoky blue shades like pale blues (think acid wash jeans) and navy will be the most popular for Spring.
Who it works for: This shade is great for people who are looking to make a trendy statement.
Technique: Ask your colorist to balayage your ends to a pale yellow and then tone all over for an awesome denim ombré. Make sure you bring pictures of the exact denim shade you’re trying to achieve. Since a fashion-forward look like denim fades, a toner is needed every four to six weeks, but if you opt for ombré, you won't need to get your dye done again for about two to three months.
The color: Multitonal Brunettes
Description: “I am loving this trend because let's face it, despite all of the blonde we’re seeing, brunettes are making a serious comeback,” said Arteca. Instead of looking dark and flat, this look is all about multitonal strands like Selena Gomez.
Who it works for: This look works for anyone who’s a tried-and-true brunette or wants to deepen their color.
Technique: To achieve this look, ask your colorist to add fine highlights around your face or throughout your hair. Stay within a level or two lighter than your base and then use a gloss or toner to add shine. Your highlights can last about three to four months before needing another appointment.
The color: Champagne Blonde
Description: This pale blonde has a cooler tone, and it can be seen on stars like Michelle Williams. According to Rita Hazan, celebrity colorist and owner of Rita Hazan Salon in NYC, it’s “an edgy, younger color.”
Who it works for: Because it’s a damaging shade, it’s best for people who have short hair. It complements light skin tones well.
Technique: Your mane has to be beached out and then toned. It also looks cool with grown-in roots, so you can get away with the color for about eight weeks.
The color: Pastel Rainbow
Description: Nicole Richie, Kylie Jenner, and Hilary Duff have all been experimenting with unnatural hues and according to Hazan, candy-colored shades like powder blue, smoky lavender, sunshine yellow, cotton candy pink, and seafoam are here to stay.
Who it works for: These shades are best suited for someone who works in a creative field.
Technique: First, your colorist has to bleach your hair out to a very pale blond. Then, you can add one or a few different shades to create your own look. Rainbow strands are high maintenance (needs touch-ups about every six to eight weeks) and very damaging, so your colorist has to be careful about overprocessing.
The color: Chestnut Highlights
Description: According to celebrity colorist Katie Neutz, light chestnut highlights at the ends are going to be everywhere this Spring. Just look to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Suki Waterhouse, and Alexa Chung.
Who it works for: This can work for anyone, blonde or brunette, and is the perfect transition look for when your sun-kissed hair is on its way back so it doesn't require a lot of maintenance.
Technique: If you’re naturally a dark blonde to light brunette, have your stylist enhance your roots with a similar shade. Then, have them balayage a few highlights to brighten the ends and create a sun-kissed feel around the face. Dimension is key to this style. For brunettes, richen up your root shade and then have your stylist add cool, ashy chestnut highlights throughout your ends to create contrast.
The color: Jewel-Toned Rainbow
Description: The color technique is called Borealis. Michael Haase, Wella top artist and Salon Platinum Black owner explained what this means: “[It is] a term coming from the magical Northern Lights, which include rich gemstone quality hues with the slightest hint of fairy tale.” Envision green, blue, pink, and violet tones that have richness and depth. Katy Perry’s violet (pictured) is exactly on point.
Who it works for: This works for anyone who wants to showcase their personality and has time to make trips to the salon each month to keep the color in check.
Technique: Hair is usually prelightened to a light blonde and then shades like amethyst are added. When booking your appointment, let your stylist know that you want to dye your mane a rainbow shade so that he or she can allot the appropriate amount of time. In most cases, booking a consultation is important.
The color: Tortoiseshell
Description: Salma Hayek and Jessica Biel have this saught-after color. According to Kari Hill, L’Oreal Paris celebrity colorist, this shade incorporates a blend of golden, caramel, or light copper tones on dark hair.
Who it works for: This look works best on women with brown to black locks who want a lighter overall look or even just a few bright pieces around the hairline.
Technique: To achieve these results, you can apply subtle babylights or light-handed balayage. When going to the salon, schedule partial or full highlight depending on how much of a change you want. Make sure you bring in photos of what you want and what you don’t want to make sure that tonally, you and your colorist are on the same page. Because tortoiseshell hair has this layer effect and grows out in a subtle ombré, it's super low-key and the timing of touch-ups is up to you.
The color: Sun-Kissed
Description: Cameron Diaz, Martha Hunt, and Gwyneth Paltrow are just a handful of Hollywood blondes who rock this shade. Tracey Cunningham, Redken celebrity colorist, said the key to achieving it if you’re not a beach bum is with sandy highlights with golden wisps around the face.
Who it works for: This shade is for the sun chaser in all of us. "She likes to feel healthy and looks forward to wearing little summer maxi dresses by Free People and J Brand frayed denim shorts," Cunningham explained. Because it softly brightens up the face, this hue works for all complexion types.
Technique: Ask your colorist for highlights that are lighter in front and less going toward the back of the head. The sun will naturally add a desired lighter effect. The more organic it looks the better, so trips back to the salon are on your time.
Dimensional Icy Blonde
The color: Dimensional Icy Blonde
Description: Master colorist at Ted Gibson and brand ambassador for L’Oreal Professionnel Jason Backe said complementary bright blonde tones with a very subtle hint of violet or blue to keep it super cool is the It shade for Spring. Envision Julianne Hough and Soo Joo Park.
Who it works for: This shade looks great on all complexions, because it appears almost white, which warm, cool, and neutral skin tones can support.
Technique: There are so many different ways to go about achieving this look. If you simply want the icy highlights, you can work off your base color and the technique can be done either with balayage or in foil using different tones to add depth. If you do painting, it will have a beachier feeling, while foil will give you a stronger, more defined highlight. Either way, you won't need touch-ups for about 12 weeks. You can also jump in and go with a bleach and tone for a double-process blonde, which will need touch-ups every three to four weeks.