Variations of light brown/dark blonde hair dominate our Instagram and Pinterest feeds more than any other shade, from bronde to tortoiseshell to caramel. The way the light catches the subtle variation within the hues makes it one of the most nuanced hair colors, and we're here for all the hues, styles, and cuts that showcase caramel in all its glory.
To inspire your next salon visit, we spoke with three celebrity colorists who specialize in caramel hair color: Michael Canalé, Jennifer Aniston's longtime colorist; Matrix and Bioage celebrity colorist George Papanikolas, whose celeb clientele includes Hannah Jeter and Ana de Armas; and Rita Hazan the woman responsible for the tresses of superstars like Beyoncé and J.Lo.
Choosing a Shade: "It's important, when trying to achieve that perfect caramel shade, to decide if you want to go lighter or richer," says Hazan. "You can go one way or the other to achieve that perfect balance of lightness in the hair. Caramel is always a warm shade, so either way you go, it has to have that perfect balance of warmth."
Maintenance Level: Low to Medium. Your maintenance level will depend on how far you stray from your natural shade, and whether you opt for highlights or all-over color.
Goes Great With: Warm or neutral undertones, brown or hazel eyes, brunette hair
Price: Cost will vary depending on techniques used
Take a look at their favorite caramel hues and styles below.
"This is one of my most-requested looks in the salon," says Papanikolas. "The placement of the highlights is very strategic, focusing on the face frame, natural part, and ends. It's a great way for brunettes to add lightness and dimension to their hair, and it's universally flattering." The subtle transition from dark-brown to caramel is truly astonishing.
Pumpkin spice has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, including beauty. This look incorporates a blend of warm caramel, strawberry blonde, and honey blonde tones.
Pumpkin spice, according to Papanikolas, "is a great way for very dark hair to go lighter. To avoid the look from feeling brassy, you should be very strategic with a few highlights."
"These warm tones are a great complement to neutral and golden skin tones," explains Papanikolas. "If your hair tends to bleach out very late, you can ask for a warm golden gloss to give the hair a sheer finish." Ana de Armas positively glows with this raven to honey ombré, created by Papanikolas.
"This is an ideal shade for clients who don’t want to see any red or orange undertones," says Papanikolas. "It’s very flattering on fair skin and olive tones. Keeping the highlights very delicate allows them to lighten past the warm tones." These chestnut locks, have a soft and subtle bronde balayage, that's also highlighted lightly at the roots.
Caramel Coffee Balyage
LA-based colorist Christine Silverman-Ramirez is responsible for this gorgeous, creamy balayage. This rich tawny color is painted through her dark, coffee colored locks, and brings some warmth her long, ample waves.
To produce the weightless volume that you see here (and keep it intact throughout the day) keep the travel size bottle of Bumble and bumble Spray de Mode Flexible Hold Hairspray ($16)
If anyone knows sandy blonde color, it's the magical hands behind Jennifer Aniston's beige mane. This particular color is great for someone who wants a more ash hue instead of the warmer spectrum of caramel. Canalé describes it as "medium blonde with a cool tone." This is a perfect example of balayage done expertly.