Imagine it's Friday night, and you're at the bar tapping your nails on the counter waiting for your next gin and tonic. Your eyes land on the girl standing next to you. Well, not so much her as her hair: glossy, caramel-tinted waves throw haphazardly in a deep side part that, to the untrained eye, would read as God-gifted or sun-bleached from vacation. But you know the truth: It's the work of a good colorist.
Even if you can't afford the crème de la crème when it comes to your salon — because hey, we're all on a budget — you can have that kind of enviable cool-girl color, so long as you do your photo research and bring the visuals to your next appointment. To that end, we've rounded up the breakout hair-color trends out of L.A. and NYC's hottest salons right now.
Whether it's white-blonde babylights, or face-framing copper brunette pieces, scroll through to find the color that will have you feeling fresh and cool for spring — even as you wait on another drink for what feels like forever.
There's something about the official start of spring that makes light, face-framing highlights — a naturally warm gold, as if touched by the sun — super enticing. As of late, we've seen color inspiration all over Hollywood, with fresh, gilded highlights sported by supermodels, actresses, and A-listers alike. Bella Hadid and her honey-tinged babylights and Lea Michele's newlywed lift are likely just the beginning of the spring trend takeoff.
Jenna Perry — lead colorist at Manhattan's cool-girl boutique salon White Rose Collective — shows us how golden, butterscotch highlights scream spring when layered over glossy, brown waves.
If your hair is naturally black or dark brown, a caramel highlight will add subtle lightness. "I love the warm tones of caramel, rose-tinged brown, or toffee next to a very dark base," says Oscar Blandi Salon lead colorist Kyle White. "A multi-tonal shade creates a strong contrast that actually deposits a gorgeous glow to any skin tone." Photo evidence courtesy of the Coachella Queen, Julie Sariñana.
For the most natural-looking effect, Devachan colorist Brian K. Hawthorne recommends asking for balayage. "Especially with curls, soft brown highlights should start away from the root," he says. "It's less maintenance and the grow out is gorgeous."
If you follow celebrity hair trends, you may have noticed that A-listers like Lucy Hale, Emma Roberts, and Katherine Langford have all simultaneously broken up with their blonde highlights, taking their color to a rich, shiny chocolate brunette shade. Celebrity colorist Larisa Love tells us the look is all about the more natural vibe. "The next big color trend is going to be warm, but subtly so," Love says. "Ask your colorist for a rich, dark shade that's close to your root color. Then if you want to go a little lighter, stick to a neutral, warm-toned balayage for that sun-kissed feeling."
Nova Arts Salon
With a deep shade all over — with no highlights — you can get a little dimension by going super-glossy with the finish.
If your hair is on the fine side, adding a little bendy texture though the mid-shafts and ends will give the chocolate-brown color a whole new sense of vibrancy.
Photo: Courtesy of Rob Peetom Salon.
Light-blonde babylights look cool painted on the ends of naturally dark curls, and even more so when contrasted by a purposefully grown-out root.
Double-process platinum is undoubtedly a huge commitment, but if anyone can convince us to jump on board (with a bottle of Olaplex in hand), it's Vanessa Hong, with her bright, shiny lob and terracotta long-sleeve maxi.
As de Zeeuw explained, you can infuse white blonde into your hair via super-fine highlights. That said, no matter how light you go, it's vital to commit to a maintenance plan to keep the blonde tones fresh. de Zeeuw recommends stocking a color-protecting shampoo and conditioner, like Davines Alchemic Silver line, and a repairing hair mask for once a week use. She likes the Davines Nourishing Building Pak, which you can buy on Amazon.
Another big color trend for spring is going to be a warm, blended copper brunette, like a muted version of the fiery copper hair trend we've been seeing recently. Los Angeles-based hair pro Cherin Choi of Nova Arts Salon tells us she's been recommending the shade to all her natural brunette clients looking for a change. "I've found that copper highlights complement most skin tones and add a nice dimension and contrast to dark brown hair," she says. "If you have naturally dark hair and you're craving a change, copper and warm gold accents bring some lightness to your hair to get you one step closer to your summer color."
You can take your copper-tinged highlights more red or bright orange in tone, depending on how drastically you want to contrast your brunette base.
Here, Choi shows us how to give your copper brunette more of a gold effect, another choice for those who want to accent their dark roots with a warmer shade somewhere between blonde and burnished copper.
Photo: Courtesy of Nova Arts Salon.
You can get wild with your blending by combining rich red with pale blonde strands and golden brunette face-framing pieces for a gorgeous multi-tonal effect.
Blondes are going both cool white and more yellow-tinged cream in tone, according to colorist Cassie Cohen of Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Salon. "I love a soft, creamy blonde for spring," Cohen says. "For the most natural look, ask your stylist for ribbons of cream-toned highlights on the top layers, right where the sun would hit." The best part, Cohen tells us, is that the upkeep is pretty relaxed: highlights every 3 to 4 months, adding a gloss in between to refresh the shine and tones.
Photo: Courtesy of Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Salon.
Colorist Morgan Parks tells us that a subtle cream highlight will be easier to maintain than an white blonde. "I find that this type of neutral blonde is a universal shade that works on every base shade, and gives a natural, warm glow to the hair without being super obvious," she says.
You can blend your cream blonde accents into just the ends of your curls for a look that reads like a warm gold tint, not a streaky blonde highlight.
Click HERE to read more from Refinery29