When a certain someone from a famous family stepped onto a Milan catwalk in a spicy red-orange mane, the change-up enraptured the world. After all, it’s not every day you see a celebrity make such a drastic tress transition from brunette without the help of a wig or extensions. Copper hair color is the name of the game, and it’s taken the hair world by storm with no signs of slowing down.
If you’re hesitating about going red, you should know that this shade is for everyone. With hues ranging from copper brown hair color, copper hair with blonde, and copper hair with highlights, there’s no excuse not to dial up your stylist today. Ready to live life as a scarlet siren? Before taking the plunge into copper hair, here's what you need to know.
What does it mean to have copper hair?
Copper hair color is a less-vivid red hue with golden undertones like bronze and gold. It falls on the warmer side of red shades since its base colors include yellow, orange, and gold.
What skin tone does copper hair look good on?
When done by a trained professional, copper hair can flatter every skin tone since they can tweak the final look based on your current hair hue and undertones.
As a general rule of thumb, olive to dark complexions can benefit from darker shades, such as copper brown hair color, to pick up their undertones. For folks with lighter skin tones, opt for brighter, redder shades, which create a beautiful contrast against the skin and help pull out its natural rosiness.
What is the difference between auburn and copper hair color?
Auburn is made of red, brown, and ginger pigments, while copper hair color skews red or orange and is more golden.
Is it hard to keep copper hair?
While this gorgeous gilded shade makes quite the standout statement, it’s worth noting that the larger molecules of red hair dye escape faster than other formula colors. This means that the shade can be a higher-maintenance color that is more susceptible to premature fading. Luckily, there are a few ways to keep your mane fresh before heading back for touch-ups, including a customized hair routine.
The more you wash your hair, the quicker your color will fade. Try not to wash your hair more than two to three times per week, relying on a dry shampoo like Pureology Style + Protect Refresh & Go Dry Shampoo to freshen roots and remove oil buildup between washes. It’s also made with the brand’s exclusive AntiFade Complex, which protects hair color vibrancy and shields your mane from harmful UVA and UVB rays. If the ends appear dull, apply a bit of Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ashita Supreme Intense Revitalization Hair Serum to revitalize second or third-day hair.
When you do wash, pick up a color-extending system like Biolage Professional Color Last Shampoo + Conditioner Duo. This low pH, paraben-free shampoo gently cleanses without stripping hair of color.
Can’t put down your hot tools? A thermal protector is vital to keeping the cuticle smooth and healthy, which can help keep your dye locked in. We love Redken Iron Shape 11: Thermal Holding Heat Protection Hairspray since it’s made specifically for colored hair.
Now that you’re ready to take a step into the spotlight and go copper, here are 40 looks to inspire your next salon visit.
Copper isn't just any shade of red—it turns heads and attracts attention. As its name implies, true copper is the burnished red at its most genuine hue. The copper shade is warm, vivid, and exciting. It should liven up your complexion, bringing new life to your skin and brows.
As its name implies, dark copper hair is a richer, deeper version of its true copper counterpart. When styled with flipped-out ends, this shade will surely elevate you to vixen status.
We’d like to coin (pun intended) light penny as “the red hair color starter pack.” It’s just red enough to officially call yourself a redhead without the heavy lifting required by a fiery crimson hue.
Copper Brown Hair
Copper brown hair color—also known as cherry chocolate—is just as delicious as it sounds. Approach finding the right shade of copper hair like you would be picking out a red lipstick: For copper brown, medium or neutral skin tones work best. If you love a head-turning look, this hue is for you.
Best paired with shine to enhance its dimension, Redken Shine Flash Hairspray will help you show off the gorgeous sheen reflecting from your copper brown hair color.
Copper with Highlights
Many women are wary of diving into a full head of color if they’ve never tried it before. To ease the transition, jazz up your ‘do with copper highlights. They’ll help add depth and dimension to all levels of brown hair.
Copper Hair with Blonde
Think about copper blonde if you're looking for a more neutral reddish shade. This shade is an instant highlighter because you can strategically place blonde streaks to accentuate your best features.
Even when done by a professional, the bleach required to lighten up hair can still cause damage. Reverse it by incorporating a treatment like Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment into your routine. Part of the Acidic Bonding Concentrate family, this intensive acidic rinse-off treatment helps reinforce weak hair bonds and repair damaged hair.
Black and Burnt Orange
Here’s a more literal way to experiment with dark copper hair if you can’t part with your brunette base color just yet: Ask your colorist to paint only your face-framing layers a burnt orange to see how you’d look in the shade before fully committing to it.
The only thing better than one copper shade is two! A modern version of the face-framing highlights beloved in the 90s, a lighter-hued money piece around the face makes your complexion glow and facial features pop.
If you love copper hair but want a much more subtle hue, ask your colorist for a soft copper. You’ll still reap all the benefits of the warmth of copper hair color with some much-needed brown undertones for added depth.
A leave-in conditioner like Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave In Conditioner can calm frizz and define curls if you decide to rock muted copper with your natural texture.
Transition into this memorable look if you're tired of wearing the same-old bright copper. Fire ombré hair is a little different than the fantasy hair color looks you’ve seen on social media. It’s all about blending shades of orange, red, and yellow for a bright copper with lightened ends reminiscent of a tropical sundown.
Like a citrus fruit's bright, juicy interior, this punchy copper shade leans orange. While it may overwhelm medium complexions, ladies with very light or very dark skin should absolutely take burnt orange copper for a spin this summer. For a surprising twist, ask your colorist for a few hot pink peekaboo highlights beneath, which will reveal themselves every time you flip your hair over your shoulders.
Consider bronze copper the sophisticated older sister of honey highlights. This color adds a neutral hue to red-influenced hair colors. If you’re wearing a tan or have naturally dark skin, you’d better believe bronze hair will make you look like a beachy goddess.
When you mix deeper auburn with accents of ginger and copper, you get this fiery, multi-tonal shade that looks striking and wearable on every skin tone.
Half Sunset Ombré
Go bold or go home. This effervescent blend of orangey copper and yellow isn’t for everyone, but the rare few who try it will be awed by its impact. If you like to turn heads when you enter the room, talk to your stylist about a vivid copper ombré on just one side of your head.
Electric yellow and orange not quite for you? Don’t worry. Copper is versatile, which means plenty of muted versions exist. A subtle champagne copper will hit the perfect note if you're more of a timeless beauty in the making.
A two-tone application is one of the edgier ways of wearing copper hair color. Your stylist will apply two very different shades next to each other, creating a punk-inspired contrast. While upkeep on this look requires regular maintenance, we’re confident you’ll adjust to the routine.
Do you lean toward the red end of the copper spectrum? Try cherry roots, a color reminiscent of the stain popsicles leave behind when they melt. Because this shade is so punchy, we prefer it on bobs, lobs, and pixie cuts instead of long lengths. A little goes a long way.
Cherry and Golden Copper Highlights
Here’s another way to play around with cherry color: Incorporate the tart shade into your roots and let the rest of your hair gradually transition into a gorgeous gilded copper.
Skip the trendy shades in favor of ginger copper hair color. This is a shade that’s been beloved by Hollywood’s A-listers for decades because it’s both fun and flattering. If you have extremely fair skin, don’t let ginger pass you by.
Cinnamon copper hair is one of those shades that makes any hair texture or length look more beautiful. Reflective and silky, this brownish-red hue can do no wrong. Try it with brighter copper highlights for a multifaceted approach.
Cinnamon Copper Balayage
Speaking of the spice, you can never go wrong with balayage if you like dark copper hair. The lightened ends will breathe new life to your style while allowing your darker base to shine through at your roots.
Feeling like your hair's a little lackluster? Don’t panic. Opt for a zesty, red-hued shade like spicy copper. Just barely edging into dark strawberry blonde territory, this bright copper shade is a head-turner.
Saffron might be the world’s most expensive spice, but taking inspiration from it doesn’t cost a thing. We’re totally smitten with the vibrant red shade, which you can keep vivid for longer with Biolage Professional Saffron Red Color Depositing Conditioner.
Do you want to branch out into redhead territory but fear accidentally stepping outside your corporate dress code? Try russet copper, a brown-based take on red that’s stunning but not overwhelming.
Let’s start on the lightest end of the spectrum: peach. The vibrant hair color is between a pastel and a full-fledged shade, and it’s perfect for the adventurous and youthful among us. Bright, blonde undertones meet top shades of copper and orange, creating a color that reminds us of melted sorbet.
We love this color for spring and summer, particularly as an eye-catching alternative to bleach blonde hair on the beach. For pale complexions, peach hair is a surefire win.
Not every copper hair color is named after a fruit, we promise. Still, we can’t quite get over the vibrancy of mango hair, so named for its resemblance to the yellow and golden tones of the beloved tropical fruit. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how this light coppery red makes your skin glow, especially when paired with bright blonde ends.
Pro tip: Keep bleach-lightened ends from getting that straw-like feel by adding a deep conditioning mask to your hair routine. Biolage Professional Ultra Hydra Source Deep Treatment Pack offers a weekly intensive dose of hydration with a highly concentrated blend of conditioning ingredients that pump each strand full of vitality.
There's no fruit we won't let inspire us at this point. This apricot shade is halfway between copper penny and pastel pink, mixing notes of both into a delightful, colorful cocktail.
Interwoven with faint hints of copper, this deep pastel shade of red gets accentuated when the light hits it just right. Lucky for you, the washed-out quality of the color means fewer dollars spent keeping it vibrant.
Dark Rose Gold
Word on the street is that rose gold is the new millennial pink. Whatever the case, rose gold is practically inescapable these days—phones, laptops, accessories, you name it. Embrace the rosy hue by trying it out in your hair. Think of rose gold hair as a base of copper, then topped with notes of pink. It’s a lovely shade that’s almost reminiscent of a sunset.
Of all the shades of copper on the color wheel, golden copper is the one you’re most likely to spot on the red carpet—with good reason, too. The extra-warm shade of red is infinitely flattering, suiting nearly all hair lengths and textures.
If you’re a blonde who’s been looking to make the fiery transition to red, golden copper is an easy place to start.
This fiery sienna combination features a coppery base spun with rich auburn tones. It’s one of the most wearable shades, regardless of whether you’re into bold looks or prefer to stay in your comfort zone.
For some women, there’s no such thing as too much red. Whether you’re a born redhead or recently converted, jolt your color into a new gear by opting for a copper closer to a genuine red. This shade is far less blonde than its traditional counterpart, offering wearers a chance to enjoy purple undertones.
Take a walk on the dark side, and take your hair red copper. It’s a subtle change that will make your hair feel fresh without totally taking a chance on a new look.
Fact: Chestnut copper is one of the red spectrum's most underrated, overlooked shades. This stunning color rides the thin line between brown and red, melding the best of both shades to create a beautiful dark red. The shade is striking, especially against very pale skin, but never washes its wearer out.
Here’s a note to take to your stylist: Try chestnut copper hair with a light copper balayage. It’ll help you transition to the new shade without feeling like you’re totally leaving redhead status behind.
Blonde to Copper Ombré
Traditional versions of ombré go from light to dark, but we love switching things up with a reverse form of this color technique. It allows you to keep your fiery roots, but you still get that brightening hit of blonde throughout the ends.
Did someone say balayage? We love the hand-painted technique for trying any new color, but it’s particularly spectacular when used to dye copper streaks into brunette hair. The dark shade gives way to glowing, rich copper in a look.
Who says copper is just for the blondes to try out? Brunettes can have their turn, too, mixing their base color with exciting reddish hues while keeping the same color around the face.
Copper Ombré with a Skunk Stripe
Are you a woman who’s never met a color gradient she didn’t like? If so, this look is for you. It has two of our favorite hair color techniques: A gorgeous copper ombré that gets gradually sunnier towards the ends and a buttery blonde skunk stripe to create a halo of brightness around the face.
Beginning with a deep, near-purple mahogany shade, this look fades gently into a copper brunette through the ends.
Speaking of gradients, we’re also huge fans of copper ombré. Bright copper dominates the lengths, ending in a brief burst of golden yellow-blonde.
This look is best for ladies who already know they’re committed to the copper lifestyle but may want to lighten up their color for summer.
All our favorite trends start with Instagram, and phoenix hair is no exception. The sunny color gradient spread took the internet by storm months ago. The look begins with fuchsia hair at the root, fading into copper and then yellow or blonde.
Phoenix hair will require more maintenance than true copper, but it will undoubtedly get you plenty of attention.
Copper sombré (also known as subtle ombré or soft ombré) hair’s reflective finish has us itching to add a flash of shiny-penny red to our manes. It entails the slightest hint of copper brightness at the ends—not more than a shade or two above your base tone.
After deciding to take copper hair for a spin, shop Hair.com for all the salon-grade products you need to maintain and prolong your new hue.