The difference between December 31 and January 1 might be as minor as an actual second, but really, that's all it takes for a complete energy shift. The start of a new year always brings hope and promise, but most importantly, it ushers in plenty of new trends and styles. As much as everyone pretends to be sick of the "new year, new me!" trope, it's always undeniably exciting to see a fresh calendar year before you just begging to be filled with excitement, adventure, and possibly a new hair color.
Winter 2022 has only just begun, but it's already shaping up to be a thrilling one for beauty. Experts point to natural color-amplifying techniques, rich highlights, and bold, playful shades for the new year, all anchored by fun and glamorous haircuts and styles.
To navigate the new winter color trends, Byrdie tapped some of the industry's most sought-after (and knowledgable) colorists for a from-the-source comprehensive guide. Regardless of if you're after a punch-up of your own natural color, a refreshing set of highlights, or a complete image-altering color overhaul, there's a winter 2022 hair color perfect for everyone. Below, explore the possibilities—and learn exactly how to get the looks.
What's Staying In 2021
By now, most are familiar with the only real rule of beauty: that there are no rules. And as such, the coming and going of trendy hair colors shouldn't necessarily be what entices or deters you from trying them out yourself. But that said, there are a few 2021-popular shades experts expect to see less of this winter.
"Ombré is over," Franck Izquierdo, co-founder of IGK Hair Care, declares. He explains that while the faded look was immensely popular over the past decade, clients are now opting for a more overall healthy, shiny look with natural colors, or looking to play with fun shades like pastels. "Ombré is beautiful but it looks like you didn’t color your hair for a while, and it damages your hair a lot."
Richy Kandasamy, co-founder of Rikoko Beauty and R+Co Collective member, agrees with the healthy hair sentiment, adding that ashy-toned shades and flat color are on the way out. "Colors will be less complicated—just abundant, vibrant, healthy-looking hair," he predicts.
Considering the expert consensus on amplified natural colors, it's no surprise that one of winter 2022's biggest color trends is an opulent take on brunettes of all shades. "Brunettes are starting to have more fun," Kandasamy says, adding that what sets the color apart this season is "all about depth and dimension." Dubbing the trend "lux brunette," Kandasamy describes multidimensional, rich shades chosen to suit skin tone and eye color.
"It’s all about balance, so it’s worth understanding whether warmer or cooler tones complement your skin tone, as this decision can be taken independently of how light or dark you want to be depending on the depth of the color of your eyes and your complexion," he explains. Kandasamy suggests those with warmer tones ask for shades like caramel, warm chocolate, chestnut, copper, and gold, while those with coolers tones go for iced, dark chocolate, and cool dark leather.
For Tracey Cunningham, celebrity colorist and Olaplex ambassador, the expensive brunette trend is marked by multidimensional highlights—and she has a pretty brilliant technique for them, too. "Expensive brunette will not be completely all one color," she says. "It will seem to be, but it won't—it will flow beautifully." To get those hints of color, Cunningham's salon likes to place babylights around the face, down the hairline, and through the part, then apply a lighter brown over them. "It looks beautiful, like you're backlit," Cunningham says, calling the look a youthful one.
One of 2021's most easily identifiable color trends was undoubtedly copper, sweeping through Hollywood for a large part of the year. Fortunately for anyone who didn't manage to jump on it in time, the experts all say reds aren't going anywhere—though they are shifting a bit. "Redheads will remain all winter but we will see them getting softer in vibrancy as the season starts to end," Kandasamy tells Byrdie, and according to IGK's Izquierdo, the warmer the better.
If red's been in your crosshairs for a while, Cunningham encourages you to go for it regardless of trends. "If someone's going to make an amazing redhead, they should do it," she tells us.
According to Cunningham, everyone is after some sort of blonde right now, even clients who are already blonde. She assures us, though, that there's a shade and tone of blonde out there for virtually everyone. Kandasamy's also noticed an uptick in clients looking to go blonde, but not the classic California blonde you might think. Sun-kissed is timeless, he says, but right now is all about tones like honey, butter blonde, nylon blonde, and cashmere blonde. That last shade is a soft blonde marked by a blend of cool and warm tones for a soft, woven effect that looks effortless.
Blonde and light brown accents, like the sort seen in 2021's massive money piece trend, are here to stay, too. The practice of illuminating the face with well-placed highlights will only get bigger this winter and beyond, with Cunningham sharing that even her blondest clients are asking for even brighter pieces around the face.
Play With Very Peri
As Izquierdo points out, the major divergence this season is clients wanting either very natural colors or very fun colors. And really, nothing could be more fun than the color of 2022, Pantone's Very Peri. The bold, cool-toned periwinkle is an ideal color to incorporate this season while the weather is equally cold and icy.
According to the pros, there are plenty of ways to wear it, both subtly and loud and proud. "Your options are limitless," Izquierdo says, suggesting an all-over color or some subtle periwinkle-toned highlights for maximum fun. To test drive a hint of periwinkle, he recommends tinting just the tips of your hair, which can be removed with a quick trim.
"If you are an all-over double-process blonde, a nice pastel version of periwinkle as a glaze or toner will look fabulous," Kandasamy adds. "If you have a platinum blonde balayage, you can add a few panels of periwinkle glaze to create movement and dimension to your balayage."
Maintain Your Color
Once your dream winter hair color is secured, all that's left is to maintain it for as long as possible. Considering most of the trends are built around shiny, healthy hair, a gloss can help add (and maintain) dimension and depth right at home.
"I recommend using IGK's Expensive Hi-Shine Top Coat ($32) because it acts like a nail top coat and helps prevent color loss by sealing up the cuticle while also nourishing your color-treated hair," Izquierdo says. Plus, the name couldn't be more perfect for the luxurious-slash-expensive brunette trend.
Cunningham is a fan of turning haircare into a moment of me-time and reflection with 20-minute masks and restorative leave-in treatments. For maintaining color, she recommends the Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector ($30) and the Olaplex No.0 Intensive Bond Building Treatment ($30), the latter of which, she notes, is stronger.
These vibrant, ultra-trendy hair colors can help break any ice.