Hair color trends are ever-changing, and although we’ve been obsessed with bright hair colors, the skunk stripe, and expensive brunette, we’re always looking out for the next best thing. Luckily, we have our team of professional colorists to thank for keeping us in the loop on the biggest upcoming trends.
We caught up with h Chrystofer Benson, Matrix artistic director, who filled us in on the color trends he’s loving. While he says vivid hair colors are definitely maintaining their popularity, he noted there’s a variation of the trend we should keep an eye out for—smoky hair colors.
From smoky gold blonde hair—a.k.a. greige hair—to true smoky gray hair, there are so many ways you can lean into this 2023 trend. Keep scrolling for everything you need to know, including our favorite smoky hair colors to try and what to tell your stylist if you want one of these cool hair colors for yourself.
What Is a Smoky Hair Color?
Even though vivid hair colors are trendy and stunning to look at, a vibrant hue is definitely not for everyone. That’s where smoky hair color comes in; it’s essentially a toned-down take on the vibrant hair trend. This look is perfect for anyone who wants to make a statement with their strands but isn’t quite ready to commit to a full-on fantasy shade.
“A smoky color is not in its full saturation as a vivid. There are definitely the muted tones, but there is still a vividness to them,” says Benson. “A smoky color is usually mixed with grays or a saturated blue, but brought down so, it has a smokier vibe to it.”
How Do You Get Smoky Hair?
As the old saying goes: A picture is worth a thousand words. Before you head to the salon, we suggest gathering a few inspo photos to ensure your stylist knows exactly what you want to achieve.
Not sure about whether or not a smoke hair color is right for you? A salon professional can help you decide on whether the look will be flattering and the best approach to take. Benson says, “I think the best thing is to go in and have a consultation with your hairdresser and let them decide what will work best for you.”
If you do lean into the smoky hair color look, Benson says that your stylist will likely mix grays or a saturated blue hair dye to your strands to create that classic smoldering aesthetic.
How Should You Care for a Smoky Hair Color?
Whether you went with smoky brown hair color, smoky bubblegum, or smoky gold blonde hair, you’ll have to do some upkeep. First things first: Stock up on salon-quality hair care products to keep your new tresses looking great between salon appointments.
We recommend swapping out your regular shampoo and conditioner with a system formulated specifically for high-maintenance hair colors, such as Matrix Total Results Keep Me Vivid Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner. Incorporating a deep conditioning treatment once or twice a week can help keep your strands soft, glossy, and healthy-looking, too. One of our favorites is Biolage Color Last Deep Treatment Pack Multi Use Hair Mask.
You can also head into your salon for a hair glazing service between appointments to boost shine, tone, and brilliance. As is the case with any time you use hair dye, aim for a color touch-up every six to 12 weeks, depending on your preferences and color technique. A balayage approach will require fewer touch-ups, whereas a stark contrast to your natural color will require more.
The Best Smoky Hair Color Ideas to Try
Inspired to try a smoky hair color for yourself? Keep scrolling for our favorite ways to wear the look.
If your skin is on the fair side, a smoky blush hue adds just enough color to brighten your complexion without washing you out. To keep your hair from looking dull, incorporate Kérastase Soin Acide Chroma Gloss into your regimen. In addition to strengthening and sealing your hair, it promotes vibrancy and brilliance.
Give this punchy, fruit-inspired shade a smoky twist for a look that’s equal parts wearable and eye-catching.
Smoky Green Balayage
Celebrities and influencers alike are obsessed with green hair right now. If committing to a vibrant green hue is a little much for you, a smoky take on the trend may be more your speed. For even less commitment, ask your colorist to apply your new hue via a balayage technique.
Of all the smoky hair color trends to emerge over the paHow To Wear The Blue Gray Hair Trend On Every Skin Tonest few years, blue gray might just be our top pick for every complexion. Fair skin tones can go a bit brighter with their blue gray hue, while people with tan or dark complexions can opt for a darker take on the shade.
Smoky Gray Hair
Does it get much smokier than charcoal hair? We argue no! This sultry combination of black, gray, and silver is ideal if you’re searching for a neutral take on smoky hair color. If you do commit to this style, we recommend adding Redken Color Extend Graydiant Shampoo for Gray Hair and the accompanying Color Extend Graydiant Conditioner for Gray Hair. This system helps tone, nourish, and strengthen gray and silver hair.
There’s no shade of purple hair we don’t love, but smoky lilac hair takes our admiration to the next level. Paired with a chin-length bob, this on-trend color is a true showstopper!
Smoky, Silvery Purple
If you like the idea of smoky lilac but want to go just a bit lighter and cooler, try a smoky, silvery purple instead. This dreamy fantasy hue is giving us major mermaid vibes. Use a deep conditioning treatment once a week, such as Redken All Soft Heavy Cream Deep Conditioning Treatment Mask, to keep your strands looking gorgeous.
Smoky Pink & Purple
If you can’t decide between a smoldering pink or smoky purple, why not choose both? This beautiful hair color is perfect for blondies and people with silver or gray hair who want to take things up a notch.
Smoky Pastel Blend
Looking for a statement-making color that you can still wear to the office? This muted pastel creation is the perfect way to wear rainbow hair without going over the top.
If you tend to lean toward buttery, creamy, or golden hues—but still want to play with smoke—try smoky gold hair color. Also known as greige hair, this approach features a fusion of cool and warm tones so you can get the best of both worlds.
This look is similar to smoky gold, only it’s much darker. Perfect for our brunette babes out there, smoky brown hair color delivers a gorgeous combination of warm and cool.
Mauve is an inherently smoky hue that’s not quite that's equal parts pale purple and subdued pink. Try it as an ombre, add a mauve money piece, or opt to wear the color all-over.
Yes, you can have your smoky hair color and copper vibes, too. This particular look even weaves in a hint of lavender for extra depth and dimension. We’re in love!
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