There are only a couple of hair colors that seem to seamlessly work on just about anyone. To us, those are platinum blonde (surprising, we know) and honey-colored. For some reason, these two shades seem to fit every single person who wears them. Other colors, however, may need adjustments to look their best depending on each person's unique skin tone.
When we say honey-colored hair, we mean honey blonde or honey brown—either variation that incorporates the creamy, golden hue of honey. "Honey brown hair is a warm golden brunette, which can be created in varying levels of brightness and depth, that add dimension and life to the hair," Christine Silverman at Ramirez Tran Salon says.
Honey is what gives the color warmth and richness, Ben Matat at Mure Salon says, and because of this, there will often be a red or orange undertone to the hair. "We have to make sure that the client understands that because when they go out in the sun, or when they see it in the light, they may see some red pigmentation or orange pigmentation or yellow pigmentation," he says. "So they have to make sure that they are okay with that."
Silverman is quick to advise that those with naturally light or blonde hair never go for anything darker as the upkeep will be grueling, but Matat says as long as you're emotionally ready for the change, and it works with your lifestyle, anything is possible as long as you're willing to go in for regular touch-ups.
It mostly depends on the tones you'd like to end up with, as well as your target version of "honey," as everyone sees color differently, To get the look in general, Silverman says, "I paint highlights throughout the client's hair to add in dimension and overlay a shine-infusing gloss to meld the lighter and darker canvas, which creates my final global look."
Maybe it's because it looks bright and youthful, or maybe it's because it brings natural-looking warmth to the hair. Either way, we're convinced that honey-colored hair is the most photogenic.
Yep, it's official. We called it. Keep scrolling to see all the proof you need.
Meet the Expert
Christine Silverman is a professional hairstylist and colorist based in Los Angeles.
Meet the Expert
Ben Matat is a professional hairstylist at Mure Salon in New York City.
Choosing a Shade: Silverman personally believes that warm tones look good on just about everyone, and "the level of warmth is what you would want to tweak in accordance with skin tone—some people can carry off more warmth than others depending on levels of red or pink undertones in the skin."
Maintenance Level: "If one practices proper at-home haircare and gets regular in-salon glosses, this is a low-maintenance color with highlights as minimal as one to two times yearly," Silverman says. Though, it does depend on your starting point. If you have grey hair, go in for a touch up every four to six weeks, Matat says. For naturally brown hair, go in every three months. If you have naturally light or blonde hair, go in every six to eight weeks.
Goes Great With: Anything, really. Try a glossy pink lip and a smokey eye for a makeup look that'll still pop against a warmer hair color.
Price: If you're blonde going honey brown, expect to pay at least $210 for priming and color. If you're brunette, it could be around $105, though it depends on individual salon mandates.
Josephine Skriver's Waves
Model Josephine Skriver is another celeb who immediately comes to mind when we think of honey-brown hair. She often wears her tresses in loose waves, which is right on-brand with her Victoria's Secret background.
Gigi Hadid's Bronzed Highlights
Gigi Hadid cycles between bright blonde and muted brunette. This photo, which was taken while she was traveling in Greece, shows her subtle honey highlights.
Getting and maintaining a hair color requires work from the colorist but also the client. Your colorist should tell you what type of maintenance you'll need, whether that's weekly moisturizing masks, a glossing treatment, or more frequent touch-up appointments.
Beyoncé's Honey Lob
Even though Beyoncé is known for her long, flowing hair, she dabbles in short hair too. We love her chin-length bob with a center part and defined honey-colored curls.
Jessica Alba's Sleek Color
Jessica Alba's honey-brown hair is always sleek and shiny. We recommend using a product like the Sachajuan Shine Serum ($33) for a similar result.
Hilary Duff's Darker 'Do
Even though Hilary Duff is often an icy platinum blonde, we still remember her honey-colored locks fondly. Still incorporating blonder tones from the mid-shafts to ends, this color idea is great for natural brunettes who want to gracefully grow out a lighter dye job.
Ciara's Blended Look
We like the fact that Ciara's honey-brown hair starts out dark brown at the root before slowly and seamlessly turning golden blonde at the ends.
Sarah Jessica Parker's Iconic Gold
Sarah Jessica Parker's hair has been a similar golden shade since the days of Sex and the City. If it's good enough for Carrie Bradshaw, then it's good enough for us.
Chrissy Teigen's Mixed Brunette
Chrissy Teigen's warm-toned locks bring out the golden tones in her skin, which makes her look bright and radiant. Silverman says, "She occasionally moves more to the blonde end of the spectrum, but consistently has beautiful warm golden tones in her brunette."
Olivia Palermo's Balayage
This iteration of Olivia Palermo's hair is darker than it's been in a while, but it still fits the honey-brown category thanks to super-subtle balayage highlights.
Try to avoid sulfates and frequent heat styling, Silverman says. Also, wear hats in the sunshine, and use proper professional products to maintain your color, hair health, and tone.
Beachy Waves like Shenae Grimes-Beech
She's now a deep brunette, but if you scroll back a bit you'll find the actress offers the most perfect honey brown inspiration. Her beachy waves are to die for, which is achievable with a sea salt spray like Sachajuan’s Ocean Mist ($34).
Jourdan Dunn's Illuminated Bob
We have one word and one word only for Jourdan Dunn's monochromatic lob: illuminated. Her strands are so sleek and shiny that they look like they're lit from within.
Tia Mowry's Balayage Highlights
Tia Mowry regularly experiments by painting golden highlights in her naturally dark hair. We're partial to this pretty balayage.
Alexa Chung's Effortless Waves
Chung's hair could easily be described as chestnut, but she also falls on the honey brown spectrum. There are these really gorgeous highlights woven throughout her effortless waves.
Retta's Amazing Curls
We highly recommend Good Girls not only for its comedic timing and highly insane feminist plot line, but for another glimpse at Retta's amazing honey brown curls. She's moved between a blonde and brunette look over the seasons, but this honey-hued tone is a winner all around.
Leona Lewis's Lived In Curls
Beyond her impressive singing skills, Leona Lewis has some seriously enviable honey curls. If you look at the top, you can see a bit of natural grow-out, which makes for a great lived-in look.
Eva Mendes's Copper Mix
Eva Mendes has such a beautiful copper and honey hue, it's kind of hard to describe—it's just that good. Honestly, we want to emulate the warm, rich tones ASAP.
Face Framing Color like Iva Nikolina
Feast your eyes on these incredible honey brown waves. Additional face-framing highlights look great with Iva Nikolina's coloring.
Jackie Aina's Golden Curls
The beautiful thing about honey-brown hair is the countless ways you can create the look. We love how Jackie Aina's naturally darker roots continue seamlessly into blonde ends.
Savannah Smith's Bouncy Blowout
Just like her Gossip Girl character Monet de Haan, Savannah Smith is constantly experimenting with the most stunning hair colors and styles. We love this honey-brown blowout she rocked for the show's premiere.
Polished Highlights like Jessica Biel
We'll end the list with Jessica Biel and her perfectly polished honey-brown waves. Look closely and you'll see that her highlights are evenly dispersed across the top layer of her hair for a naturally sun-kissed effect.
What color is honey-brown hair?
Honey-brown hair typically consists of a warm, rich brown base with honey or caramel highlights. It skews golden, especially in the sun, and has a very lived-in, low-maintenance vibe.
How do you get honey-brown hair?
That will depend on your starting base shade. If you're already a brunette, you can visit your colorist for balayage to add golden dimension throughout. A glaze afterward boosts shine and helps the highlights visually blend with the rest of your hair. If your hair is significantly lighter or darker than the examples, you may need a single process to achieve a honey-brown base color.