Color trends come and go, but red hair colors have been in high demand for the past few years—and auburn is without a doubt the most versatile of the bunch. The reddish-brown hue is classy, dimensional, and just in case you need any more convincing, it looks amazing on every skin tone.
If you’re wondering which shade of auburn hair color is best for you, we’re here to help! We’re breaking down everything you need to know about the shade, including how your colorist will create it, finding the best shade for your skin tone, and maintaining an auburn hue. We’re also sharing 30 of our top auburn hair color ideas you can bring to the salon to make your fiery hair goals come true.
What colors make auburn hair color?
Auburn is made up of a variety of red shades, all of which have brown and ginger undertones and range from light to dark.
What is the difference between auburn and red hair?
Auburn is a variation of red hair, and while all auburn hair is red, not all red hair is auburn. Dark auburn hair leans toward deep reddish-brown, and light auburn hair may appear more orange.
Is auburn a natural hair color?
While auburn is one of the most popular shades to ask for at the salon, it’s possible to have a natural auburn hair color. It’s possible to be a natural redhead, but it’s also rare. In fact, only one to two percent of the global population is known to have natural red hair.
Is auburn hair cool or warm?
While auburn is sometimes considered a cool-toned color because of its slight blue undertones, auburn can be worn either cool or warm depending on your chosen shade. If you want to go warm, opt for an auburn shade with coppery, golden undertones. If you’re more into cool tones, stick with the deeper shades with purple undertones.
What skin tone looks good with auburn hair?
Since auburn ranges in shades from light to dark and cool to warm, it can be customized to flatter any skin tone. If you have a cool complexion, ask your colorist for an auburn hue with cool undertones. For those with warm undertones in their skin, auburn shades with warm, copper undertones will work best.
How To Maintain Auburn Hair Color
When you opt for any shade of red, you can expect your hair care routine to change a bit. First, you’ll need to swap out your regular shampoo and conditioner for a system formulated for color-treated hair to prolong its vibrancy. We recommend L'Oreal Professionnel Vitamino Resveratrol Color Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner to keep dye looking its very best.
If your colorist needs to use bleach to achieve your desired auburn shade, you’ll want to add a weekly hair mask like Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment to your routine. This highly reparative rinse-off formula works within your hair to strengthen hair bonds weakened by stressors like hair color, lightening, aggressive brushing, daily heat-styling, and more.
It’s no secret that heat styling can strip the vibrancy from your salon color. We always suggest always using products formulated with heat protection like Pureology Colour Fanatic Multi-Benefit Leave-in Spray. This lightweight mist primes, protects, and perfects while delivering 21 essential benefits for color-treated hair.
What is the best auburn hair color?
The best shade of auburn hair for you depends on your skin tone and desired level of maintenance. If you’re ready to try auburn hair for yourself, keep scrolling for 30 of our favorite auburn hair color ideas.
The Best Auburn Hair Color Ideas To Try Now
Not too dark or too light, true auburn falls somewhere in between the two. If you’re a sucker for a classic shade, true auburn is the perfect choice for you.
An auburn hair color named after our favorite date night beverage? We’ll drink to that! If you’re looking for an auburn hue that’s deep and sultry, we recommend giving mulled wine a try.
Chocolate Auburn Balayage
Unlike its wine-inspired cousin, chocolate auburn leans more toward true brown. This makes it an ideal choice for anyone looking to add dimension and depth to their very dark brown hair.
For those who aren’t completely sold on a full head of auburn locks, ask your colorist for auburn highlights to add spice and dimension to your natural base color.
Auburn falls into a gorgeous middle ground between brown and red, one that flatters almost every complexion. Amber is an excellent starter shade because it’s basically an over-the-top brunette with red accents.
While some enjoy a toned-down and sophisticated auburn hair color, others like a little zest. Case in point: copper. This lighter, punchier take on auburn is perfect for adding a little spice to your look. If you have a pale complexion, this one’s for you!
Sugar and Spice Copper
Sweetly spun streaks of light auburn, copper, and golden blonde bring beautiful dimension to strands and can be easily recreated on both a natural red or blonde base.
What do you get when you mix deeper auburn with accents of ginger? A fiery, dimensional color that’s wearable for every skin tone.
If you’re partial to hair colors with intense shine and vibrancy, ask your colorist to add hints of rose gold throughout your auburn hue to give it a touch of radiance.
Natural brunettes searching for something a bit more muted should look to chestnut. This warm-toned, reddish-brown hue leans more towards brown with just the right amount of red to ease your transition.
Ginger beer was one of the hottest red hair color trends of 2020 and 2021, and this spicy, orangey-red hue is still one of the most desirable. Click here to find out how to achieve it.
If you're on the lookout for a vibrant variation of auburn, you can't go wrong with cherry, no matter your skin tone. To maintain a shade as bright as cherry, you’ll need a shampoo and conditioner system formulated to prolong the vibrancy of fast-fading hair colors like Matrix Total Results Keep Me Vivid Shampoo and Conditioner.
You’ll find that dark auburn hair color is the extra nudge your hair has always needed to attain true bombshell status.
While it looks great on everyone, auburn is (somewhat famously) a shade that’s especially gorgeous on women with dark skin tones. If you have dark or medium skin, go for it.
Strawberry auburn walks the thin line between red, blonde, and brown. In other words, it’s a versatile shade that suits a range of skin tones.
Mahogany is to auburn what honey is to blonde: a rich, luscious shade that flatters the complexion and looks good on every skin tone.
Auburn And Caramel
Let’s be honest: A few caramel highlights can do wonders for any hair color. If you want to add more warmth and shine to your auburn hue, ask your colorist to add a few caramel highlights throughout your strands.
Whether you like to keep your hue bright or you’re looking to switch it up from dark hair colors, you’ll love light auburn hair color.
Bleach will likely be used to recreate this shade, which can leave hair dry and prone to split ends. On top of your color-preserving products, it’s important to add an anti-breakage formula to your regimen to keep ends healthy and more resistant to snapping off. We love Matrix Total Results Instacure Anti-Breakage Porosity Spray because it fills in porosity, smooths the cuticle, and controls frizz in dry, damaged, brittle hair.
Choose a fiery, dimensional shade like cayenne if you're hoping to spice up your hue for 2022. We love the way this shade pairs with medium and dark skin tones.
Medium auburn hair color is the perfect balance between red and brown shades—which also makes it a neutral choice that complements any complexion.
If you want to add that golden hour glow to your mane (without going blonde), ask your colorist for an auburn shade with hints of gold. Amp up the shine with a few spritzes of shine spray like Redken Shine Flash Hair Spray.
Copper And Auburn Balayage
While we used to cringe at the thought of dark roots, now we embrace them! Ask for a balayage to show off your dark brown roots while trying an auburn shade.
To create a cinnamon shade, your colorist will incorporate hints of orange-red throughout a medium to dark brown base to create a shade inspired by the spice of the same name.
If you’re searching for a metallic-inspired auburn hue, we recommend trying rust, an orangey-copper shade with tons of natural shine.
Auburn Money Piece
Face-framing money piece highlights add a pop of auburn color and brightness to a deep brunette mane, accentuating your complexion and facial features.
Espresso with Auburn Babylights
When ever-so-subtle auburn babylights catch the light, they enhance the warmth of deep brown tresses and create beautiful depth and dimension.
An easy way to sharpen the vibrancy of these ultra-fine streaks is to treat hair with a shine-restoring mask, like Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ashita Supreme Intense Revitalization Hair Mask. Infused with the self-regenerating Japanese Ashitaba Extract, this deeply nourishing formula softens, smoothes, and leaves hair with a glowing shine.
Red Hot Auburn
Looking for a bolder way to try out auburn? Why not try this stunningly blended combination of fire-engine-red-meets-brown!
While all red hair tends to fade fast, a bright hue such as this is even more prone to dullness. Refresh it in between salon visits with a color-depositing conditioner like Biolage Professional Red Poppy Color Depositing Conditioner. This temporary vegan color depositing conditioner adds a cool red luster and dimension.
Chunky Auburn and Blonde
Another daring look that’s not for the faint of heart is chunky streaks of red, orange, and gold atop a deep auburn base. Because why limit the colors of the sunset to just one?
Mocha with Auburn Highlights and Lowlights
We’re so used to seeing blondes and brunettes create multi-tonal looks using highlights and lowlights, but trying the technique with mocha and auburn color looks equally as enchanting. Lighter streaks infused with caramel really help the final look pop.
Auburn and Plum
If you’re into dark, rich auburn shades, you have to ask your colorist for a plum base with bright auburn highlights. Consider us mildly obsessed.
Interested in trying auburn hair color for yourself? Discover everything you need to keep the shade looking healthy and lustrous at Hair.com.