Did you catch that scent in the spring air? In between the smells of blooming tulips and lemon spritzes swishing around highball glasses, you might catch a whiff of something distinctly salonlike. As the weather (finally) warms up and spring fever fully sets in, the temptation to undergo a hair color transformation is overwhelming—and with trending colors like rose blonde and caramel latte highlights, how could you resist? Springtime is all about rebirth and reinvention, and your hair color should be allowed to get in on the fun too.
As luck would have it, spring 2022's hottest hair colors just so happen to be as happy-go-lucky as the sunny, breezy weather. Warm washes of mood-boosting colors, illuminating highlights, and even actual floral patterns are all trending this season, adding some serious cheer to even existing shades. To help make sense of all the new trends (and exactly how to ask for them at the salon), Byrdie called on some of Hollywood's top hair experts for a no-nonsense guide to all things spring colors.
Whether you're looking to enhance the color you already have or commit to a full-on transformation, here's everything you need to know about spring 2022's top hair color trends.
Meet the Expert
Brunettes Are Finding Their Light
Admittedly, adding some face-illuminating color for the warmer weather isn't necessarily new territory, but these innovative shades and color placements definitely are. After a long winter marked by lusciously deep mahoganies and "expensive brunettes" with multi-dimensional color and high-gloss shine, it looks like spring will capitalize on the expensive brunette groundwork and loosen it up a bit with warm-toned caramel highlights. "Brunettes will transition to slightly warmer and brighter tones," explains Guy Tang, expert colorist and founder of #mydentify. "They're keeping their same base but introducing caramel latte-looking highlights to increase the dimension of their color."
For those with even deeper brunette shades, it looks like you're quite literally hitting the jackpot. Forget merely expensive brunette, says Sienree Du, celebrity hairstylist for Mane Addicts—get ready for rich brunette, its even more monied cousin. "Think Kate Middleton, Megan Fox, or Anne Hathaway," she explains. Sumptuously deep shades—punctuated by highlights so faint, they're nearly imperceptible—lend this style a born-this-way brilliance to brunettes of all types.
For those who found themselves free of more restrictive obligations, 2020 proved a perfect time to experiment with more nontraditional colors for a bit of expressive fun. Who among us didn't reach for the wash-out pink hair dye that summer? With a pastel twist, though, it looks like the at-home trend is back for round two.
Tang describes rose blonde as one of spring's top color picks, pointing out the delicate blend of pink and blonde to an effect that's bright but not blinding. "If you have an even canvas to start, I recommend always toning the hair to achieve this," he says. "You can create your own color melt or balayage technique without the need for bleach." Continue diluting the starting shade you apply at the roots with a clear, he instructs. This will sheer out the color as you get closer to the ends. Also, opt for an icy base to get that quintessential frozé blonde. Even though cool tones are typically more associated with winter, the pinky pastel makes it springtime fun.
Buttery Beige Blonde
Warm shades, though, still have plenty to work with. "All warm shades will be trending for spring," Tang tells Byrdie, ticking off buttery beiges and light copper blondes as just two of the ways to adjust your warm blonde for the season. "A copper blonde is a slightly warmer and less pink version of rose blonde," he describes. On the other hand, "a buttery beige blonde is a natural blonde with a hint of gold. Show your stylist inspiration photos to show them the shade of blonde you want." That last part is especially important. Because it's so easy for intentions to get lost in translation, it's always better to bring in a photo of what you're looking for and see what your colorist thinks. A Pinterest photo is worth a thousand words, right?
And, of course, it wouldn't be spring without a classic sunny blonde shade trending, though the 2022 version is a lot more natural. Du says that "a more natural, sunkissed blonde" is the big spring get, and the color placement here is so crucial. "Ask your colorist not to over-highlight you & keep some dimension," Du recommends.
The Copper Craze
Kendall Jenner, SZA, Sydney Sweeney, Barbie Ferreira, and Zendaya (that's almost half the Euphoria cast, people!) have all recently experimented with copper elements in their hair. Unsurprisingly, that makes them all early to one of spring's biggest trends. For the past several years more vibrant reds have taken over Young Hollywood come Daylight Savings Time, but 2022's take on red is more muted, natural, and suitable for every skin tone and type. "Copper red is a huge hit for spring," Du confirms, though exactly how deep, light, ashy, or warm you'll want to go is largely dependent on your undertones.
Tang has a solid hack for figuring out a starting point on your undertones and the copper tone that best suits them. "Cool reds are best for warm olive skin tones," he says, and "warm copper reds are best for cool neutral skin tones." Both Du and Tang agree that the redhead trend is going to get even bigger through spring, too, which means if you jump in now, you'll be well ahead of the summertime back.
'60s Flower Power
Forget highway-side blooms and the tulip farms everyone seems to be obsessed with right now—the real floral fun can happen right in your hair this spring. Stencils, cutouts, and patterns can be used with color and light base to create all sorts of eye-popping designs, like '60s flower power florals. "I love the creativity of adding unique designs and images to the hair," Tang says. "Something like unique flowers can be applied freehanded or with a stencil under your top section of hair for a subtle peek-a-boo look, or more boldly as Kellon Deryck designed here (see above)."
Tang points out that these designs are totally customizable, which is why they're so fun. Experiment with something daring or quirky. You can even use some letter block stencils to spell out a message. Also happening in the world of standout color is a softer version of color-blocking. This style is more about letting each color melt and blend into the next rather than bold division. Think of it as the hair version of your favorite gradient mani. Case in point: Megan Thee Stallion's recent pastel rainbow wig, another custom design by Deryck. "Color-blocking is an easy way to play with these fun colors without a full commitment," Tang says. "Choose shades for color-blocking that complement your skin tone or choose your favorite colors—and have fun with it!"
Embrace (And Emphasize) What You Already Have
To be clear, just because a new season is underway doesn't mean you have to drop everything and rush out to the salon for a complete overhaul. Not only are there plenty of ways to pump up the color you're already loving (and already paid for), but this spring continues one of winter 2021's best trends overall: a return to natural hair color. This time, however, there's a youthful twist.
In the past few years, many people were forced to live with their natural color. Most people loved it and looked for ways to further enhance it with glosses and toners. The 2022 edition of that natural-color homecoming is identifying your childhood hair color, Du says. "People are going pretty natural," she explains, "like the hair color of kids that have been playing in the sun." Working back towards a happy-go-lucky, sunlit tint might involve going through some photo albums, but don't be afraid to bring a picture of your 6-year-old self to the salon.
Protect Your Color
If you're not looking to change much at all, there are a few ways to add some extra oomph to what you have right now. "I would recommend a color depositing shampoo or conditioner to give your existing hair a boost of shine," Du says. "That color deposit will also help refresh your color if it’s dull." And to keep hair color (be it yours from birth or from the salon), Du says great things about the Davines Alchemic line of shampoos and conditioners.
"They help revive the hair color while creating shine and softness." What you put on hair after it's dried is just as important, too. "A heat protectant is a must-have to keep your hair color looking vibrant and for overall hair health," Tang explains. "Invest in a heat protectant you use either before and/or after your hair is dry. #mydentity #MyDefender ($15) is my favorite to use on dry hair before styling with a heat tool."
If you're not already feeling twitterpated by the electric buzz in the slowly warming air, these exciting new hair colors should do the trick. A few hours in the salon chair and you'll be feeling spring-break refreshed.