Let’s be honest: Many of us love shiny things. Whether it’s a polished new ride or a coveted piece of jewelry on that finger, sparkle has a way of making us feel special, luxe, and expensive. Since we’re hair folks, we prefer to embrace our love for all things shiny with metallic hair colors. These dimensional, high-shine shades are lustrous, chic, and every bit as opulent as you might expect.
Ahead, we’ll explain everything you need to know about metallic hair, including what it is and how to care for these multi-faceted hues properly. Plus, discover 25 metallic hair color ideas to inspire your next hair transformation.
What is a metallic hair color?
While we typically associate metallics with metals (like gold and silver), virtually any hair color can be made metallic. Essentially, metallic hair refers to a dimensional hue that's big on shine—an optical illusion that mimics how light hits metal objects. Because metallic refers to the finish rather than the actual color, there is no shortage of options to suit your style and skin tone. You can try the trend in natural shades like browns and blondes or go bold with fantasy hues, such as purples, pinks, and blues.
Does metallic hair dye work on dark hair?
At the hands of a skilled colorist, it’s possible to achieve a metallic effect on darker hair. However, depending on factors like your current hair color and desired outcome, your colorist may need to bleach your strands to remove all existing color before adding your metallic hue.
It’s worth noting that bleach will always cause some hair damage, but your hairdresser will use all the tools at their disposal to minimize damage and preserve your hair's integrity. Plus, pros have access to the highest-quality coloring formulas to ensure your hair looks and feels its best after you leave the salon.
How do you take care of metallic hair color?
Depending on the shade you pick, metallic hair may require a bit more maintenance than your current color. To keep your hair looking its best, prepare to visit the salon for touch-up appointments every four to six weeks. Making a few adjustments to your at-home hair care routine can also help your metallic shade appear fresh and vibrant between visits. Consider swapping your existing shampoo and conditioner with a system formulated for high-maintenance hair colors, like Matrix’s Keep Me Vivid Shampoo, Conditioner, and Lamination Spray. When used together, this trio can help high-maintenance permanent hair color stay vibrant for up to 65 days.
Another thing to consider when building your at-home hair care arsenal is whether or not your hair was bleached. Bleaching your hair can break hair bonds, leaving your mane feeling dry and damaged. To mend those damaged bonds, incorporate repairing products, like those in Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate collection, into your routine. Formulated with citric acid and the brand’s Concentrated Bonding Care Complex, this mix-and-match hair care regimen reinforces weakened bonds to help strengthen and repair damaged hair.
Finally, enhance your metallic hue’s signature luster with shine-enhancing products, such as Kérastase’s cult favorite Elixir Ultime L'Huile Original Hair Oil or Redken’s Shine Flash Spray, both of which add shine without weighing your hair down.
How do you get metallic hair dye out of your hair?
When you’re ready to change your color, make an appointment with your colorist to adjust your hue without too much damage. If you can’t snag an appointment quickly enough and want to take matters into your own hands, we suggest reading up on our hair color remover explainer (linked at the end of this article) with pro-backed advice. A word of caution: Removing permanent hair colors can be challenging (even for pros), so we advise DIY removal as a last resort.
By now, we have a hunch you’re ready to take on a metallic hue yourself. Ahead, discover 25 of our favorite metallic hair color ideas to consider before you book a colorist.
25 Metallic Hair Color Ideas for Glossy, Lustrous Strands
While everyone’s striving for gold, we’ll happily take the bronze—at least when it comes to hair color. Bronze is a warm brunette shade spun with red, caramel, and gold for a bright, multi-faceted shade reminiscent of a mid-summer glow.
Give your hair a sunkissed effect with a luxurious golden blonde hue. Those with naturally blonde hair may only require a few gilded highlights and glossy lowlights to attain the intended metallic effect, but if you have darker strands, you’ll need to lighten your hair before layering on the dimensional color.
Whether you’re trying to go soft and subtle or channel your adventurous side, there’s a way to tailor violet silver to every skin tone. This gray-leaning shade merely hints at purple and is a must-have for color enthusiasts.
Ash blonde has historically been the reigning blonde of choice for those seeking to go cool. Because it’s already fairly close to silver, this cool-toned shade can also provide an easy (and wearable) entry point for those looking to go metallic.
You don’t have to bleach your natural black hair to experiment with metallics. Adding a touch of inky blue to your jet-black base color can add depth and mega shine, especially when the light hits it just right.
Sterling silver isn’t just for jewelry. Like its namesake metal, sterling silver hair is luxurious and reflective—and particularly flattering on those with cooler skin tones.
Sterling Silver Money Piece
Dip your toes into sterling silver by adding a money piece (a chunky silver highlight) around your face. This trend-forward color technique addresses graying at the temples or hairline in a modern, impactful way.
Going green is never a bad idea. Whether you opt for a deep, glossy emerald or a platinum-tinged mint shade, metallic green hair is a playful and unexpected outlet to rock your favorite hue.
Teal hair typically leans bold and vibrant, but those interested in a toned-down variation of the blue-green shade can try this dusty teal with a gleaming finish.
Put a glossy twist on your copper mane by adding shimmering golden and amber highlights for a warm hue that shines like a freshly polished penny.
There are few hair colors that complement ultra-fair skin quite as beautifully as platinum. With a high-shine finish, this bold white-blonde shade will have your mane shimmering like a snowflake in mid-winter.
Looking for a fantasy hue that’s wearable for every day? Enter steel blue. This silvery-blue shade is just enough to make a statement but not too over the top to wear to work. Best of all is its rock-n-roll appeal: Paired with a grungy, overgrown root, the faded blue looks even cooler over time.
Cobalt hair color is steel blue’s bold, attention-seeking cousin. Classified as a true, deep royal blue, the vibrant shade adds a dose of moody drama to any look. Ask your colorist for metallic cobalt if you’re ready to take on a wild hair color—and all of the maintenance that comes with it.
Metallic Lilac Highlights
When you tire of brunette and blonde but aren’t ready to commit to a complete color change, consider experimenting with metallic lilac highlights. Whether you opt for full or partial highlights, the unexpected shade adds interest without requiring a full day in the salon chair.
Metallic Strawberry Blonde
Show off your bolder side by asking your colorist for a strawberry blonde hair color with a metallic sheen. This blonde-copper hybrid is a striking marriage between the two shades and is perfect for playing up the rosy undertones in fair skin.
With so many hair trendsetters embracing shades of gray hair, you may find yourself wanting to foray into gray, too. Dip your toes in with a deep, steely shade, like this glossy gunmetal.
To maintain your gray hair color, we recommend Matrix’s So Silver Shampoo and Conditioner. The violet wash day duo neutralizes unwanted yellow undertones while toning, nourishing, and strengthening gray and silver hair.
Another way to experiment with gray hair is with a gorgeous graphite-inspired balayage. The dark-to-light gradient lets you embrace a variety of shades on the gray spectrum.
Gray hair colors are typically created with either blue pigments, violet pigments, or a combination of both based on your skin tone. Be sure to consult a colorist well-versed in gray for the best possible results. Perusing their social media pages before booking an appointment can give you a good idea of their experience with gray hair transformations.
So many hair color trends come and go, but ultra-wearable rose gold hair remains a staple for a reason. With a metallic touch, this stunning harmony of pink, gold, and blonde satisfies the urge to try a fantasy color in a more understated way.
Brunettes, don’t despair: With rose brown hair, you can still achieve a rose-tinted hue for spring without completely abandoning your dark tresses. For hair that isn’t naturally brown, be prepared to head back to the salon for touch-ups every six to eight weeks.
Oil Slick Highlights
Ideal for deeper bases that dream of metallic rainbow hair with minimal damage, dark oil slick highlights are the way to go. With a moody blend of black, purple, and blue, this unexpected hue glistens like an iridescent oil slick—and the effect is especially pronounced in the sunlight.
Fairy floss, as they call it down under, isn’t just for carnivals. The sweet treat has inspired the namesake cotton candy hair trend, which blends shades of pastel pink, blue, and purple. Like the confection, the shiny, metal-tinged variation of this whimsical color creation is hard to pass up.
Calling all hair daredevils out there—a fiery, ruby-colored red with blue undertones packs a serious punch, especially when made metallic.
While red dye generally fades faster than other colors, reducing how much you wash your hair can help extend the life of your vivid hue. On days when you’re not shampooing, lean on a dry shampoo like Kérastase’s Fresh Affair Dry Shampoo to refresh your roots (and make your hair smell amazing).
While we don’t advise coloring your hair with fruit juice, you can take color inspiration from your favorite healthy sip with a metallic berry shade like blackberry—the glossier, the better.
Metallic Pastel Pink
Ever since the dream doll aesthetic made its rounds in 2023, it’s been difficult not to think pink. This season, forgo the bubblegum and hot pink hues in favor of a metallic pastel shade, like this sparkling rosé. We recommend this cooler, silvery shade here for fair to medium skin tones.
Metallic Pastel Blend
Can’t decide between pastels? You don’t have to. Have your colorist hand-paint pastel pink, blue, and purple highlights onto a silver base for a multi-tonal color with tons of personality.
Check out our article How to Use Hair Color Remover to discover how your colorist can help you safely switch between looks.
Use our salon locator to book a metallic hair color transformation with a pro near you.
Header image credit: @francescadidit