With the change of seasons comes new beauty trends. Well, for some. In this case, orange hair is the latest hair color trend that is abuzz in the beauty world. For those who enjoy a more subtle seasonal change, you might read the word orange and immediately say, "This isn't for me." However, orange doesn't mean you have to go bright and bold.
Experimenting with orange highlights, tips, protective styles, and wigs gives you a chance to try on an orange hue without going all in. To get the deets on all things orange, we chatted with two color experts: Redken and Mizani brand ambassador Rachel Redd and celebrity colorist Mark DeBolt. Keep scrolling to learn more and see the best orange hair color inspiration to try now.
Orange Hair Shades
- Choosing a shade: "When selecting the correct shade of copper or orange for your skin tone, you first need to identify if you have cool or warm undertones," explains Redd. "There are a range of orange and copper tones [that] one can achieve." She says olive skin tones are complemented by copper-gold shades, while copper-red shades best complement deeper tones with warmer undertones. Of course, "it's all based on preference," she says.
- Maintenance level: How and where your orange color is placed will determine how often you need a touch-up. If it is a single, uniform color, Debolt recommends a touch-up every four to six weeks, with 12 weeks being the recommendation for lighter or darker orange highlights.
- Similar shades: Copper, cinnamon, and ginger
- Price: Hair color services vary in cost, so we recommend checking in with your salon for pricing.
Going orange doesn't mean you have to try the trend just one way, and this red-orange ombré look proves that. If you're someone who grows tired of trends quickly, placing your color toward the ends of the hair gives you the option to cut out the color as your hair grows out.
Dark Rooted Orange
For those looking for a bold change, a sleek orange bob is certainly the ultimate switch-up. To keep your bright new color rooted, you can embrace dark roots. "For example, someone with a short, chic, architectural haircut could wear a runway version of the color à la Ziggy Stardust. Someone whose style is more casual can still play with orange by adding a delicate wash of orange over highlighted hair or perhaps add some russet, auburn tones to brunette hair," DeBolt says.
At first glance, you'd never guess this glorious orange hair was a wig. Changing up your hair color can be as simple as investing in one. Opt for a customized option to ensure that you get the color and cut of your hair dreams.
To maintain the vibrancy of orange hair color, Redd says, "shampooing the hair with lukewarm to cool water will help prevent stripping the pigment."
This is like Jessica Rabbit, but make it trendy. Grounding the orange trend with deep red roots makes this color combination ideal for the gradual trendsetter.
Yellow Orange with Red Highlights
These bright, vibrant orange curls with red highlights could make anyone want to add some sunshine to their life (and hair). Before going for the gusto with this bright hue, consult with your stylist to create your personal hair color blueprint to achieve this color, because bleaching may come into play.
Redd does note that taking dark hair orange without bleach is possible, depending on a few variables. "If the hair is not previously colored with tint or dyes and naturally dark, you don’t have to lift the hair with lightener to achieve a copper/orange hair color," she tells Byrdie. "The preexisting undertone in dark hair is red, red-orange, orange-red, and orange. This means it’s fairly easy to achieve a vibrant tone with the additional warmth already in the hair."
Alternatively, if your dark hair has been previously highlighted, DeBolt says that will give you a hair color advantage. "If your hair has been highlighted, you will not need to lighten to add orange."
Red with Orange Fringe
Red hair with a pop of orange gives the hair depth with a side of adventure.
The right shade of orange can warm up and brighten the skin tone. A few copper-orange highlights around the face can do just that, even if they're a hint lighter than your natural hair color.
Going this bright will likely require more maintenance than highlights or a tone closer to your natural hair color would in terms of time in the salon chair and maintaining hair health. "Orange or copper tones are low-maintenance to achieve, but can be high-maintenance when maintaining the vibrancy," says Redd. Keep a weekly deep conditioning and a monthly protein treatment on the schedule to keep your curls nourished.
For naturals who want to give orange highlights or full color a try, you might be afraid of keeping the bounce and integrity of your curls—which is a legitimate concern. But Redd says coloring without damage is possible (when done properly). "You can achieve orange/copper hair color without disrupting or damaging the natural hair," she tells us.
"Using a permanent hair color such as Redken Chromatics, which has zero ammonia, protein extract technology, and an oil-in-cream developer, will add value to the hair color in terms of shine, moisture, and richness," Redd says. "This also helps maintain elasticity for textured hair types, resulting in bounce and brightness."
Red with Orange Highlights
Using red as your base with orange highlights at the crown of the head, make this pixie hot like fire. Short hair might seem like less maintenance, but given the intricate coloring and heat styling required to keep this sleek look on point, weekly conditioning with steam (or heat) is a must.
For deeper skin tones, copper-red shades add warmth and provide curly hair textures with more depth and definition.
Fire Red Orange
To keep the shine you see on these fiery, red-orange loose waves, Redd recommends a visit to your colorist for a gloss treatment every 10 to 12 shampoos to refresh the color and add a beautiful shine.
Going orange all over isn't for everyone, but that doesn't mean you can't join in on the fun. Talk with your stylist about how to best incorporate a splash of color with your cut or hair texture.
A perfectly shaped, solid orange bob? Sign us up. This color will likely work well with fair skin tones, but DeBolt says if you're in doubt, try on a sweater. "If you are on the fence about [what shade of orange] is best for you, it's best to try on an orange sweater and see how you feel and how it complements your skin."