When you think spring and summer hair color trends, you probably don’t immediately land on deep red; traditionally, bright blondes and sunkissed brunettes heat up along with the forecast. That’s what makes cherry cola hair color all the more refreshing. Like an ice cold glass of Cherry Coke on a sweltering hot day, this trending shade feels like a delicious throwback. It’s giving Lana del Rey vinyl, summer nights at the local carnival, heart-shaped sunglasses-chic, and TikTok is super thirsty over it.
Behind the Trend
Deep, lush cherry tones rise and fall in popularity; they had a big moment in the ‘90s, and like all things grunge and Y2K, they’re back to grab the spotlight again. As its name would suggest, cherry cola hair isn’t fire engine red or auburn, but rather a dark burgundy or ruby. Just look at Dove Cameron’s luxurious rich red or the current cherry cola obsession on TikTok; it’s the shade of the season, with TikTokers showing off their take on the trend or sharing their secret cherry recipe with drugstore box dye, color-depositing conditioners or products from the beauty supply.
The red resurgence was always going to come back around, given the trend cycle’s current obsession with the ‘90s and early ‘00s. “It is no surprise that cherry cola-colored hair is trending. With the ‘90s influence still strong in fashion, it is time for a revival of ‘90s color trends for hair,” explains Ian Michael Black, Global Artistic Director for Hair Color at Aveda. “We have seen in recent months a strong move towards all shades of red, from bright true reds through burgundies, and all shades of copper, from soft strawberry blondes to strong Irish red tones."
What Is Cherry Cola Hair?
According to Shvonne Perkins, professional hair colorist and manager of training and education at Madison Reed, “A cherry-cola look has mahogany tones that sit between red and violet. It is a more sangria, violet-infused brunette that is less muted, less ash. It tends to look like a deeper violet brunette indoors and more red shines through in natural sunlight—making it dimensional and look a little different in various photos."
“Depending on your hair's starting point, and your overall desired look, you could go about cherry cola hair in a few different ways. Making the 'cherry' brighter and more vibrant, or do an all over blend of dark, deep reds and violets, for a sultrier look. Your colorists can adjust the tones to be cooler, or warm, to create a suitable cherry cola hue for any skin tone,” adds Justin Anderson, professional colorist and co-founder of DpHue.
How to Get the Look
Before you visit the salon for a head full of red, do a little prep work to find the right cherry cola hue for you. “An easy way to find what tones look good for your skin tone is to hold up some colors just above your eyes and you will see easily which tones suit you the best,” advises Black. “Your salon professional can give you further advice on what will look great on you, as it’s not just the tone that has to be right but also how light or dark the shade is to perfectly complement you.” You may find that a brighter red really makes your eyes shine or a deeper tone works better for your day-to-day looks. “Trying different colors against your face may lead you to some surprises and open your mind to the possibilities of what will look good on you.”
Step one: salon. (If you’ve dyed your own hair before, go forth and play colorist yourself, but if you’re a newbie, this is best left to the pros—especially if you have lightened hair or super dark hair that may require bleaching.) Step two: color care! There’s nothing worse than looking in the mirror and noticing your formerly vibrant and shiny hair color has faded into a dull imitation of its former self. This is especially prevalent in red; it’s one of the hardest tones to keep in your hair due to its large molecule size, so targeted color care is key to making it last.
Start in the shower with a shampoo and conditioner specially formulated for color-treated hair. Black loves Aveda Color Control ($30); the sulfate-free shampoo cleanses without stripping. “It even has naturally derived ‘magnets’ that instantly neutralize color-dulling particles, keeping your color salon fresh,” he explains. Your water temperature can have an effect on your color, so turn down the heat or keep your hair out of the stream when it’s piping hot.
Should you rinse in cold water to help preserve color? Black says it can help, but it’s best if you do so on days you’re not blow drying, curling or straightening “People say to wash your hair in cold water, and while this will have the benefit of closing down your cuticles, you only get the benefit if you are not going to follow with heat styling,” he explains. “But on those sunny days where you are going to let your hair air dry, just use a cold rinse to finish your hair care regime.” Use hot tools on low heat settings and prep with a leave-in treatment to protect from thermal damage.
“Remember, the better condition your hair is in, both internally and externally, the better your color will last,” advises Black, who recommends a weekly treatment like Aveda’s Botanical Repair Intensive Strengthening Masque ($65). UV protection is also essential, especially as we head into summer. “UV protection is not just for your skin! Protect your hair and your color by finishing off your styling with a spritz of Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil ($40)” says Black. “This will help you protect your color as you enjoy the sun.”