2020 is officially the year of the brunette, and even though every girl believes she's the proud owner of the most beautiful brown shade ever to exist, the truth is that we could never pick just one favorite. While hues like mushroom brown and espresso might cater to specific skin tones, there’s one shade that we’ve always considered universally flattering: chestnut.
It’s not just our imagination that chestnut hair color is popular, either. Abbie Addotta, L'Oréal Professionnel brand ambassador and stylist, sees many clients who request the hue for its versatility.
Wondering how to try chestnut hair color for yourself? Keep scrolling for everything you need to know.
Is chestnut hair color warm or cool?
Chestnut hair is a rich and dimensional shade of reddish brown. While chestnut can be customized to fit your skin tone, the hue is typically a medium brown shade with warm undertones.
What is the difference between auburn and chestnut hair color?
While auburn and chestnut are often confused, the two colors are very different. Think of auburn as an umbrella term for various shades of red. While auburn shades can be considered anything from subtle red to vibrant cherry, chestnut hair color always leans more brunette.
How do you care for chestnut hair color?
Like any other shade, chestnut will require regular maintenance—both at home and in the salon.
"You could maintain anywhere from every eight to ten weeks with a demi-permanent color service, possibly with a few face-framing balayage pieces to make the chestnut color pop,” Addotta says. “The beauty of this tone is that it fades gracefully, as long as at home maintenance with your stylist recommended shampoo and conditioner.”
The good news is that while chestnut hair color has red tones in it, it’s not as challenging to maintain as other red shades. Still, if you opt for chestnut, your current go-tos might not make the cut anymore. You’ll need to make the switch to color-protecting products.
Start by swapping your regular shampoo and conditioner with a system formulated for color-treated hair. We love Kérastase Bain Chromatique Riche Shampoo and Reflection Fondant Chromatique Conditioner. This multi-protecting system for color-treated hair protects and prolongs hair color.
If you’re worried about bleach damaging your precious mane, we have good news! No matter what hue you’re starting with, your colorist can likely achieve your desired chestnut brown shade without any bleach whatsoever. After any color session, however, your strands might feel a bit drier than usual. That’s why we recommend adding a hair mask like Kérastase Masque Chromatique Hair Mask to your hair care routine once a week. This formula deeply nourishes hair to protect and prolong color vibrancy.
Whether you flat iron your mane daily or give yourself a bouncy blowout, be sure that you always use a heat protectant 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.
The Best Chestnut Hair Color Ideas To Try Now
Good hair day by @jessicascotthair.
Black With Chestnut
If you’ve always wanted to color your hair black but haven’t worked up the courage, ask your stylist about a look that blends black with chestnut. Black with chestnut can ease you into very dark hair while giving your hue depth and dimension.
Good hair day by @hairbybritny.
Chestnut hair is nothing new, but colorists are always dreaming up new and exciting takes on the classic shade like brown amber. To achieve a brown amber hue, your colorist will blend notes of chocolate, gold, and auburn onto a brunette base.
Good hair day by @tbtbsalon.
What we adore most about chestnut hair is that it looks amazing on every hair texture. In fact, we particularly love how shiny and dimensional it looks on curly hair.
Good hair day by @carla.jean.styles.
If you’ve been brunette your whole life, adding red to your mane for the first time can seem scary—but it doesn’t have to be! Ask your colorist for subtle pops of chestnut for a lowkey way to try the shade.
Good hair day by @hairbyalisharose.
If you have light brown hair and have been thinking about going red, light chestnut is the perfect happy medium.
Good hair day by @queenvenalove.
The whole world is talking about face-framing highlights, but who says they need to be blonde? Chestnut face-framing highlights will instantly brighten and add dimension to your hue.
Good hair day by @sos.hair.studio.
Dark Chocolate Chestnut
Like the delicious sweets you unwrap on Valentine’s Day, dark chocolate chestnut is sultry and irresistible. If you’re looking for a chestnut shade that’s wearable for every skin tone, you can’t go wrong with dark chocolate.
Good hair day by @suetyrrellstylist.
Chestnut And Caramel
Caramel-influenced chestnut hair helps you maintain a lingering hint of summer long after your vacation days are over. It’s particularly gorgeous on a blunt bob.
Good hair day by @ggstruecolors.
In case you hadn’t heard yet, all the cool girls are embracing ashy brown manes. This beige-tinted shade looks effortless but flattering—kind of like “no makeup” makeup for your hair.
Chestnut is a beautiful way to add a touch of red to your hair without totally overwhelming your complexion. Ask your stylist for a natural-looking color like reddish-brown if you’re looking to be right on-trend.
Good hair day by @hairmira.
Add a touch of spice to your chestnut shade with a cinnamon-inspired look. If you’re nervous about going too light, ask for cinnamon balayage.
Good hair day by @ljroy_at_115.
We love a subtle hair color change, so it only makes sense that we’d be obsessing over golden chestnut hair. Try golden influences for added dimension in your chosen hue.
Good hair day by @holly_shaghair.
Light red hair color is so beautiful that you won’t be able to resist running your fingers through it. If you're nervous about making a color shift, talk to your stylist. He or she should be able to explain how to go from brown hair to red hair in a way that's not scary at all.
Good hair day by @anna_g_stylist.
Like our favorite sweet drink, cocoa chestnut hair color satiates our craving for something luxurious.
Who doesn’t adore a nutty take on light brown hair? Much like cinnamon, this approach to chestnut hair color is a great way to make your favorite shade even more warm weather-appropriate.
Good hair day by @lyndadidit.
We’ve got a sweet tooth, but it isn’t just for chocolate bars. Chocolate chestnut is a melting, gorgeous color combination that will have all your friends booking salon appointments.
Cool-toned hair has had its time at the top of the trends list, so now it’s time for warm shades to rule.
Good hair day by @joshwoodcolour.
Your inner ginger will thank you for trying out a red-influenced chestnut shade, which never fails to cause a scene.
Good hair day by @SouthMarkSouth.
Rose Gold Chestnut
Attracted to the rose gold trend? Choose rose gold chestnut, a sophisticated, pink-influenced shade that is sure to set you apart.
Good hair day by @candy_hairart.
Maple is darker, moodier take on chestnut hair that has a dreaming of cashmere sweaters and chilly nights spent indoors. If you’re looking for a hint of vamp in your life, this is the way to go.
Mahogany hair color is chestnut at its most dramatic. Like any fiery redhead will tell you, red hair is all about making a visual impact.
If you like the look of reddish brown shades but don’t want to go quite so dark, talk to your stylist about adding red accents throughout your hair.
Angling for a red that tinges on blonde? Try copper highlights to up the shimmery, jewel-toned aspects of your chestnut color. As a bonus, this shade is perfect for spring and summer.
Few things are as universally flattering as the lob, which has become the favorite cut of ladies young and old. What’s better than showing off your new color with a fresh cut?
No one says you have to pair chestnut with blonde—we love the look of dark, chocolatey locks on any length.
It’s pretty much impossible to go wrong with caramel, particularly in highlight form. Chestnut and caramel are like peanut butter and jelly—once you’ve tried them together, you’ll never go back.
Color names can mean different things to different colorists, which is why it’s so important to bring photo examples to any appointment. Cappuccino hair color, which blends ashy brown highlights with a darker base, is the perfect trend shade to try.
Not a trend person? Step up your look with a classic shade like inky espresso.
Ombre is the ideal choice for ladies who can’t decide between shades. Why not try them both?
For an effect that’s even more subtle than traditional ombre, ask your colorist for balayage that mimics the appearance highlights created by the sun.
For customized chestnut hair color advice, use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.