Even if you live in a warmer climate, the shorter, darker days of winter have many of us spending lots of quality time indoors. Feeling restless is often inevitable when we’re cooped up, and the urge to reinvent ourselves may start creeping in. Call us biased, but a winter hair color transformation is one of our favorite ways to satisfy the need for change.
This year’s top trending winter hair colors include vivid hues like fireside red and icy tones like snow blonde, as well as subtler shades like auburn and toasted blonde. Ahead, we’re breaking down 42 of our favorite winter hair color ideas for 2023 and offering tips on how to make the most out of your cool new look—whatever hue you choose.
What are the best winter hair colors?
Warm hues like chestnut, auburn, chocolate brown, and caramel blonde are classic winter hair color choices. Their golden undertones can help add vitality to the skin, a major plus when those sunkissed summer days feel so out of reach.
“People are leaning to go warmer in hair color right now, and I'm seeing so much more warmth in blondes,” agrees Biolage Professional celebrity hairstylist Danielle Keasling. “Five years ago, we were trying to make everything as ashy and cool and as platinum as possible, leaning over to a silver tone. Now, blondes are coming back warmer and more natural. They actually want gold in their hair.”
That’s not to say that you have to rule tones shades out. For winter 2023, you can also opt for on-trend cool shades like ash blonde, espresso, or gray. Red hair, in particular, is having a moment, with wearable hues like ginger and cowgirl copper making a serious splash on social media. “It was a hard color to try to sell before unless it was going to a natural redhead,” Keasling notes. “Now, people are very open to it.”
If you’re unsure which red shade will look best on you, consider your skin tone. Cool, copper-toned reds, like strawberry blonde, tend to look best on those with fair skin, while deeper purple-tinged reds (think burgundy) complement darker skin beautifully. If you fall somewhere in between, try a deep, brownish red—auburn is an especially accessible pick. That said, there’s no one-size-fits-all guide: We always advise consulting your colorist about what color pairs best with your skin tone, base shade, and desired maintenance level.
Should I go darker or lighter for winter?
Lighter hair colors are often associated with spring and summer, but there’s no reason to forgo them in winter. You can go cool-toned to match the chilly weather or deepen your base with warmer notes like caramel or honey to offset a fairer complexion. Darker hair colors will lend your look a more sultry and moody vibe—the perfect complement for gloomy weather. Reds and fantasy colors, meanwhile, can brighten up dark winter days, but they do require a bit more maintenance to remainvibrant and healthy-looking. As such, it’s important to consider how much time you want to dedicate to upkeep when choosing your new hue.
The bottom line: The best winter hair color ultimately boils down to personal preference. There’s no right or wrong answer, so pick the one that makes you feel the most beautiful and confident. That’s what’s most important.
The 42 Best Winter Hair Colors to Try
Mirror the moody winter weather with glossy, jet-black hair. This bold shade begs for shine, so add a bit of luster with an at-home gloss like Pureology’s Color Fanatic Top Coat + Sheer in Clear, or ask your stylist to use Redken Shades EQ Hair Gloss to condition, shine, and add color to your strands.
A touch of blue adds depth and dimension to uniform black strands. This inky shade looks like a classic black in low light, but under direct lighting, it reveals a navy undertone that’s especially flattering on those with cool, fair skin.
Rose gold hair color blends blonde, pink, and gold tones to create an iridescent shade with tons of warm dimension. Opt for a copper-flecked pink for a bold foray into the feminine hue. Or, recreate the soft blushing pink seen here by asking your stylist about Redken Shades EQ Gold Rose in 09GRo Blush Spritz, an extremely subtle venture into pink hair.
Blended Blonde Highlights
Spend more time snuggling up before the fire and less time at the salon by keeping your winter blonde natural-looking and low-maintenance. Opting for simple, blended blonde highlights will do the trick.
Like the toasty beverage, this fusion of mocha brown and reddish golden blonde shouldn’t be passed up. Have your stylist hand-paint the warm highlights onto your base color for a subtle balayage that won’t need monthly touch-ups.
An intense, all-over ginger may not be for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you should rule it out completely. Have your colorist softly blend a ginger shade with your brunette roots using a balayage technique to dip your toes in the warm, spicy hue.
A caramel balayage is at the top of our winter hair color wishlist since it meshes well with many base shades: It brightens up darker strands, adds dimension to brunette tones, and blends seamlessly with lighter locks.
It doesn’t have to be summertime to rock beachy, ash blonde hair. Have your stylist add tonal ash blonde highlights throughout your mane, then add texture with Pureology Style + Protect Beach Waves Sugar Spray to give your tresses a tousled, wind-swept finish.
Neither overly warm nor overly cool, strawberry blonde hair color is the perfect marriage of red and blonde. Opt for a lighter version of the color to subtly warm up sun-starved winter skin, or turn up the intensity for a bolder, brighter take on strawberry hair. Fully embrace the hue by pairing it with the fresh-faced strawberry makeup trend.
Black and Silver Balayage
A dyed gray mane is undoubtedly gorgeous but can be hard to upkeep if your roots have yet to match the shade. For less maintenance, ask for a black and silver balayage to stretch your time between root touch-ups.
There’s nothing better than curling up by the fireplace on a cold winter day. Recreate those cozy vibes with a smokey blue shade woven with ashy gray and charcoal highlights.
Colorful fantasy shades scream confidence—something that never goes out of style. With the dream doll aesthetic resurging in 2023, we have a hunch that vivid magenta hair will be the fantasy color making waves this winter.
If you want to experiment with fantasy colors but prefer a softer hue, try a silvery metallic pink shade. When styling, spritz your hair with Redken’s Shine Flash Hair Spray: the reflectivity really makes the metallic tones in this shade shine (pun intended).
Cooler than sipping on iced coffee in January, this frosty blonde shade is a winter hair color winner. To achieve this ultra-pale hue, your colorist will bleach your mane to create the lightest, brightest shade possible. While bleach always causes some damage, strengthening products like Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate can help improve the look and feel of bleached hair. This mix-and-match system is formulated with citric acid and Redken’s Concentrated Bonding Complex to reinforce the weakened bonds in damaged hair and help build strength and resiliency.
You’ll also want to invest in a purple color-toning formula like Redken Blondage Express Anti-Brass Mask to fend off brassiness between salon appointments. This purple-pigmented rinse-out mask removes yellow undertones and repairs hair so your icy mane can shine.
Video credit: @oliviawoodhousehair
For a cozier shade of blonde fit for the colder months, we recommend adding this dimensional toasted blonde to your list of winter hair color ideas. The toasty shade adds a hint of warmth to your natural blonde base, creating a wearable hue throughout the seasons.
Ask your colorist whether they’re stocking up on Redken’s Shades EQ Hair Gloss Natural Chocolates collection in 07NCh Fondue to replicate the final look above.
When it’s cold out, we love putting a movie on, curling up under a blanket, and drinking a glass of red wine. If cozy vino nights are your hibernation vibe, too, mulled wine hair color will be right up your alley.
Keep your spicy burgundy shade bright between appointments by adding a shampoo and conditioner system like Matrix Keep Me Vivid Shampoo and Conditioner to your routine. Used together, this duo helps maintain the vibrancy of fast-fading hair colors.
Take inspiration from your favorite brunch beverage with bloody mary hair color: an earthy reddish hue punctuated with bold color-blocked blonde highlights. This spicy shade is unexpected—and a great way to add color to gray winter days.
Ashy Brown Balayage
If you love cool-toned hair color, this ash brown balayage screams winter vibes. Be sure to use a blue-toned shampoo and conditioner system like Matrix Brass Off Blue Shampoo to tone and prevent brassiness that can sometimes appear in lightened brown hair.
Red hair doesn’t have to be rainbow-bright to make a statement. Experiment with a warmer color by having your colorist blend fine streaks of auburn throughout a brunette base for a low-key red hair look.
Ultra-violet is the opposite of subtle. Instead, it’s a vivid, cool-toned purple that commands attention. Be sure to use a hair oil like Kérastase’s Elixir Ultime L’Huile Original Hair Oil when styling to add shine and reduce wintry static or flyaways.
Ideal for anyone not quite ready to commit to a fantasy color, this deep eggplant shade appears purple in the daylight but can almost pass for black come night.
If the holiday season is your favorite time of the year, consider taking a wintry dark green hair color out for a spin. Add star embellishments to your Christmas tree-inspired hue for a festive touch, and keep your color moisturized and conditioned hair with a multi-tasking leave-in like Mizani’s 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner.
Anyone who savors pumpkin spice coffee year-round will adore this hair color equivalent, regardless of the season. Like your beverage of choice, it’s warm, it’s cozy, and it’s just a little bit spicy.
Bronde hair color offers the best of both worlds for those who are torn between brunette and blonde. The in-between hue is easily customizable and can be made warmer or cooler to flatter your skin’s undertones.
Red velvet cake is a quintessential holiday treat, so it’s no surprise that red velvet hair color spikes in popularity come winter. This sumptuous, cool-toned red has a vibrancy that contrasts beautifully with pale skin tones.
Help protect your bright red hue against fading by reducing how much you wash it. Lean on a dry shampoo like Biolage Professional’s All-In-One Intense Dry Shampoo With Rice Starch to refresh your roots and a reviving treatment like Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Ashita Supreme Hair Serum to restore your mid-lengths through ends between wash days.
Dirty brunette hair is the hair color trend we just can’t get enough of year after year. This take on bronde is a striking way to bring dimension to your dark brown hair for the winter months. Your colorist will paint golden blonde highlights over your base for a result that’s bright, but still distinctly brunette.
Inspired by the rich red undertones of classic Western leather, cowgirl copper made quite the buzz when it trotted into the hair world in 2023. The hue falls midway between brunette and red and boasts a subtle warmth ideal for the cooler months.
Copper and Amber Highlights
There’s nothing that warms up a chilly day quite like hot apple cider. Channel the spiced beverage’s cozy warmth by adding dimensional copper and amber highlights to your natural brunette hair.
Let’s be real: Winter isn’t for everyone. If you’re someone who prefers the sunny days of summer, consider upgrading your look with a mermaid hair color. Created by fusing whimsical shades like blue, purple, and green, this beachy shade will serve as a welcome reminder that warmer days aren’t far ahead.
Calling all ‘90s babies: Face-framing highlights are the sophisticated older sister of the stripey highlights that were all the rage in the 1990s through the early aughts. Opt for high-contrast blonde streaks against a brunette base to recreate this classic Y2K look.
You can’t go wrong with mushroom brown hair for a brunette shade that’s more ashy and cool as opposed to warm and chocolatey. This ashy brunette has grayish undertones, so those with cool undertones in their complexion will find this chilly brown hue particularly flattering.
Chocolate-covered cherries combine two sweet treats that just go together—chocolate cherry hair is no different. This masterful blend of rich chocolate brown and deep cherry red will be the center of attention at all of your holiday parties.
Take your cherry-inspired color up a notch with cherry cola hair, a velvety shade that marries deep brown and burgundy for a vivid hue that screams luxury.
Pop of Color
You can have vibrant fantasy hair without committing to a full color change. Ask your colorist to give your natural strands a pop of color via bold, face-framing highlights or colorful ends. Whether you go for technicolor streaks or dip-dyed ends, you’ll have all the fun of a fantasy shade without the tedious upkeep.
With less sun to lighten our strands, many of us see our hair turn darker in the winter. Infuse your mane with brightness by tapping into the expensive brunette trend. It blends highlights and lowlights in tones like warm-toned blonde, copper, or ash blonde to create a naturally dimensional, sunkissed look.
Like the sweet treat for which it’s named, gingerbread hair is cozy, spicy, and luscious in the wintertime. This stunning combination of deep brown and rich auburn lends a touch of warmth to various skin tones.
Espresso hair color is rich, dark, and bold—just like your morning coffee on a cold winter day. This nearly-black shade of brown is a winter staple year after year, so you won’t regret trying the look for yourself.
Cold brew may be our summer drink of choice, but we can’t get enough of cold brew hair for wintertime. This dark look is totally doable if you’re a color virgin since it only lifts your base color a level or two.
Channel a moody, mid-winter sunset with a dimensional blue hue softened by tonal gray highlights and lowlights.
Choose a fiery, dimensional shade like cayenne to spice up your mid-winter mane. We love how this shade pairs with medium and dark skin tones, but it’s equally flattering on those with fairer skin, too.