Beauty (and especially hair) enthusiasts typically have a special place in their hearts for curls, often viewed as wild and carefree. Plus, it’s aspirational—for many, curls are impossible to achieve without permanent treatments and frequent heat styling.
That said, there are times when even curly-haired girls yearn to switch things up with a new hue (or two) which is where our handy roundup of the best curly hair color ideas comes into play. Whether inspired by our 2023 hair trend predictions or looking to take your big hair energy to the next level, you can rest assured that it’s possible to color curly hair as long as it’s done with care. Here are all the answers to some of your biggest questions surrounding curly hair color, along with a full spectrum of ideas to help enhance your natural ringlets.
Is it okay to dye curly hair?
One of the biggest questions surrounding curly hair color is whether it’s safe. After all, curly hair often comes with a separate user manual that some owners spend years trying to decode (and then, with weather and bodily changes, often re-code). Curly girls are often rightfully cautious of anything that could put a kink (pun intended) in their tried-and-tested routines.
Hair color for curly hair is different than hair types, but even amidst other curly hair types, not one-size-fits-all. An experienced colorist can properly assess your mane and develop a customized approach, using colors and techniques optimized for your hair texture and needs. In addition, your stylist has access to the best products to help preserve the health and integrity of your spirals. If you’re going lighter, lightening formulas like Redken Flash Lift Power 9 Bonder Inside are formulated with glycine and citric acid to help minimize the amount of strong (disulfide) bonds that break during a chemical process (like lightening) to help protect your curl pattern. It’s always important to visit a professional when changing your hair color, but maybe even more so for those bestowed with curly hair.
How can I care for curly hair color?
Your colorist can help you develop a personalized care routine for keeping your newly-colored coils vibrant and healthy. Shower staples typically include a color-safe, sulfate-free washing duo. We recommend Pureology’s Hydrate Shampoo and Hydrate Conditioner for medium-to-thick densities. Fine hair types should stick to a lightweight system like Pureology Hydrate Sheer Shampoo and Conditioner.
Keeping a bond-repairing system on hand, like Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate, can also nourish colored hair from the inside out. The brand’s acidic formulas help repair and strengthen hair against the damaging effects of coloring, heat styling, and other chemical services. The four-step routine includes an Intensive Treatment, Shampoo, Conditioner, and Leave-In and is suitable for all hair types and textures.
Last but not least, a salon-quality dry shampoo like Matrix Styling Refresher Dry Shampoo and a curl refresher spray like L'Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Curl Expression Curls Reviver Spray can go a long way. They help extend your styles by cutting back on washing and heat styling, which prevents premature color fade and helps keep curls in shape.
What should I dye my hair if I have curly hair?
If you’re wondering what color looks best on curly hair, keep scrolling for 45 of our favorite real-life applications that are guaranteed to make your spirals shine.
The Best Curly Hair Color Ideas to Try Now
Whether creating them by hand or rocking your natural texture, you can make your ringlets pop with an iridescent champagne-inspired shade. Ask your stylist about the new Redken Shades EQ Gold Rose Hair Gloss in 010GRo Sparkling Wine to achieve this subtle rose reflect on lightened or blonde hair.
Rose isn’t limited to just blonde hair—this brunette rose shade with hints of gold pairs exceptionally well with darker skin tones.
Why said curlies can’t get in on the latest hair cut trends? Nuances of red paired with a curly wolf cut make this look a true standout. Not to mention, a properly-cut curly bang can expertly frame the face.
What happens when fire engine red meets brown? This fiery auburn explosion. It’s (almost) too hot to handle.
Creamy Golden Blonde
Equal parts cool, beige, and golden, this lightened-up look is an ideal way to brighten up your skin tone and inject extra dimension into your twists.
Who says gingerbread hair color is just for the holidays? Warm up your mane year-round with this brunette that weaves a reddish ginger glow throughout.
Not all fantasy colors have to be bright and commanding. If you’re wary of your hair color coming off as too artificial, this deep purple is so dark it can almost pass as black—-until the sunlight hits it, of course.
Is there a color (or scent) as universally loved as lavender? The best part is that if you’re starting with light hair, you can use a temporary formula like Biolage Professional Color Balm Lavender Color Depositing Conditioner to give you a lilac look without the commitment.
Embrace your inner (punk) princess with an up-and-coming pastel purple-blue. We love how it’s mixed with violet here for a whimsical yet slightly edgy appearance.
If you crave something a little more unexpected, why not take dreamy pastel rainbow for a whirl? Protect the vibrancy of fast-fading hair colors like pastels by adding a system like Matrix Total Results Keep Me Vivid Shampoo and Conditioner to your routine.
True golden pigments bring out the warmth in skin, making it ideal for those with medium to olive complexions. Revive your gilded hair in-between salon appointments with Pureology Color Fanatic Top Coat + Tone Gold, which will refresh your golden color for up to six washes.
We’ve always been told to strive for gold, but we’ll take the bronze when it comes to hair. If that just-stepped-off-the-beach glow were ever bottled into a hair color, this would be it.
This balayage is a prime example of how well warm and cool blonde tones play together when it’s done right. Golden warmth frames the face, while cool ends give you a hit of brightness that is much easier to maintain than it would be at the root.
It’s red, it’s copper, it’s mocha! Whatever it is, this trio marries beautifully to create a unique shade of reddish brown. Replicate this look by asking your stylist to blend Matrix Coil Color in shades 7M, 6CC, and 6RR.
You don’t need to change your hair color to make an impact with your spirals—giving them bounce and definition is sometimes all it takes to put your jet black hair in the spotlight. L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Curl Expression Definition Activator Gel is perfect for giving strands frizz-free definition while infusing curls with the hydration and strength it craves.
If you’re one of the lucky ones who were born with natural ginger hair, we’re majorly side-eyeing you. If not, going ginger has never been easier or more popular. Just ask any Hollywood A-lister.
A touch brighter and less pigmented than its platinum counterpart, white hair is as back-to-basics as it gets.
Blue and Green
Channel your inner mermaid with this majestic mix of blue and green curls. It’s particularly beautiful on curly hair because the motion of your ringlets can be reminiscent of a flowing body of water.
Want to go a touch darker with your aquatic mermaid hair? Choose a deep turquoise instead. Paired with natural hair, it’s a sure knockout.
Like honey drizzled generously into your morning tea, honey blonde makes everything sweeter.
A honey color can make your curls look dreamy, but a honey-infused gel keeps them supple and soft! Pick up Matrix’s A Curl Can Dream Light-Hold Gel, made with manuka honey to help define curls and coils without the crunch.
No matter how much we try to fight it, gray hair is inevitable. If you’re thinking of letting your natural grays shine through, have your colorist dye your hair silver or add silver highlights to make the transition into gray hair that much easier.
Light up your life with this vivid shade of yellow. After all, sunshine-reminiscent hues are associated with boosting your energy and happiness—and we could all use a little bit of that.
Soak up all the flirty vibes with peachy pink. Especially great for fair-to-light skin tones, peach is also practical because it looks good even when it slightly fades or washes out.
Situated squarely between a natural and fantasy color, mauve is one of our go-to curly hair color ideas because it’s so wearable. Have your colorist focus a bulk of the shade around your face to illuminate your skin.
Somewhere in between jet black and dark brunette falls espresso hair color, a neutral shade with a high-shine finish that never appears dull. Amp up your hair’s sheen with Redken’s Shine Flash Hairspray.
Smoked Out Roots
If you want to keep your salon touch-ups to a minimum, ask your stylist to smoke out your roots to ensure a more seamless grow-out and reduce your upkeep.
Embrace two sides of your personality (or simply pat yourself on the back for being indecisive) with stylish half-and-half hair color. Also called Gemini hair, this trendy dual-toned look celebrates anyone afraid of hair color commitment or fears missing out on the latest hair color trends.
Whether it be the nails sitting in our junk drawers or our dating life, we usually shy away from anything that presents itself as rusty. The only exception is this electric rusty red hair shade, of course.
While some like their highlights to be bold and chunky, others prefer them fine and delicate. Opting for skinny, lightened streaks can help you add depth to your curls, and your stylist can strategically place them to blend any stray grays.
Elevate a deep brunette curly base with a sprinkling of curry-kissed chunky highlights.
This toffee shade is especially great for amplifying lighter eye colors. Treat the toffee as an accent color instead of the whole picture, and you’ll have yourself a showstopping, voluminous ‘do.
As recently gushed about, chocolate brown is taken to new decadent heights when combined with ribbons of creamy almond. Try the fresh twist on an old classic to ease into hair color and embrace your brunette.
For another sweet treat, try lightening up dark curls and creating the appearance of more volume with honey-hued highlights. This lightweight Biolage Professional Volume Bloom Shampoo delivers a natural boost and next-level shine without stripping your hair.
Copper takes on an edgier, warmer aesthetic when met with its bronze counterpart. Pick up a toning hair mask formula like Matrix Total Results Brass Off Custom Neutralization Hair Mask to help preserve your color while managing brassiness.
Command attention wherever you go with a metallic-inspired look. A gel or lotion, such as Mizani True Textures Sleek Holding Gel, can help keep hair in place and provide the perfect foundation for your crown.
Named one of the hottest red hair color trends, maroon is a great option for those looking to try a bright, yet still office-friendly, shade. A quick tip: Your colorist may need to darken your base first to ensure proper saturation if you have lighter hair
The nostalgic concoction, typically identified as a brown base with waves of violet and red, resurfaces for the summertime but still goes strong all year. This hue is especially great for those with darker shades who want to lighten up without using bleach.
Lean into all that is fall with the ongoing seasonal that is pumpkin spice (also known as the perfect blend of sweet and spicy). While universal, this shade is among those we’d specifically recommend for darker skin tones.
This colorful style combines maroon, red, and orange for an ombre aesthetic reminiscent of fall leaves, regardless of what the calendar says.
Interested in coloring your curls? Shop Hair.com for our best professional products to maintain your look.