It’s only fitting that pumpkin spice is most prominent during the Halloween season, especially since it lurks around and pops up everywhere like a villain in a horror film. Pumpkin spice can be found virtually anywhere come fall: candles, hand soaps, candy, Oreos…and, of course, the OG Starbucks drink. If it can be pumpkin-spiced, chances are it already has been.
But while we’d be lying if we said that this obsession didn’t feel a little tired, there’s a PSL-inspired hair trend sweeping Instagram that we can actually get behind. After all, warm, cinnamon-tinged locks are a classic look that feels particularly fresh—no matter the weather outside.
Laura Estroff of Kennaland Salon in Brooklyn explains the methodology behind the warm, spicy tones of this color (and its sister seasonal color gingersnap): “We’re seeing that pumpkin spice hair has more copper undertones whereas gingersnap tends to fall under the category of a brunette with red undertones,” she told Cosmopolitan as the Insta-trend was just starting to take flight.
Choosing A Shade: Meredith Connors, stylist and head of education at ColorDesign, notes that despite the very seasonal moniker, this color has a timeless feel. “Undertones of copper, gold, and warm browns are available in all different levels of darkness or lightness, allowing pumpkin spice hair to appeal to everyone any time of year,” she says.
Maintenance Level: High. These tones fade fastest, so it’s important to show yours some TLC with a color-saving shampoo. (Davines’s Alchemic Red, $27, is top-notch.)
Goes Great With: “It’s the perfect transitional color for a brunette," says Connors. "A little bit of warmth can create the appearance of natural highlights.”
Similar Shades: Gingersnap, cinnamon, auburn, copper
Price: $10-$30 for store-bought dye, $50-$200 at the salon
Even if the words pumpkin spice are cause for hesitation, before your eyes roll into the back of your head, give this look a gander. (Psst: It’s even model-approved.)
This burnt coppery shade is true pumpkin spice.
Sleek Burnt Orange
This deeper burnt orange shade of pumpkin is great for darker complexions. To keep a bold shade going strong, use a preserving conditioner like Overtone Orange for Brown Hair Daily Conditioner ($18). It contains hydrating ingredients like coconut oil and comes in several shades to suit your variation of pumpkin.
The lighter streaks and wavy texture of this choppy bob call to mind the foam on top of your daily PSL fix.
A less in-your-face take on pumpkin spice, this gorgeous 'do is mostly brunette with just a hint of orange and even a bit of purple to add dimension. Who thought purple and red hair could be so subtle?
Emma Stone has been every shade of red under the sun, but this take on pumpkin spice from the 2015 Golden Globes has to be one of our favorites. Face-framing highlights lighten up the burnt orange base color and flatter her peaches and cream complexion and raspberry lipstick.
For a beachy, summery take on pumpkin, consider adding some almost-blonde highlights to your look. It gives the hair a fresh-off-the-sand vibe, and the contrast really enhances the shape of curls.
Rich red roots fade into sun-washed pumpkin for a unique, dimensional take on burnt orange. The differing tones add a whole lot of depth and create the appearance of even more length.
A vivid yet toned-down red hue makes this fishtail braid extra modern and even a bit edgy. We love how the braids start high up around the hairline and meet around the back of the neck to create a united style.
Autumnal Barrel Curls
This rich shade of auburn pairs perfectly with glossy lips, thick lashes, and sculpted brows.
We love how the sharp lines of this asymmetrical cut look paired with a rich brownish-red color and heavy eyeliner. This is artful dishevelment at its finest.
These pumpkin-tinged ends prove that naturally curly hair can rock this bold shade. Keep color-treated spirals in great shape by using a moisturizing hair mask once or twice a week. Rahua's Color Full Hair Mask ($62) is a nice option.
A touch of ombre ends adds interest otherwise fairly natural reddish brunette.
A pinkier take on the trend gives life to a structured shoulder-length bob with scrunched waves. This color is a mix between pumpkin and orange creamsicle that can transcend the seasons.
The balayage highlighting technique is a great fit for pumpkin spice hair—have your stylist give you a darker base shade and brighter highlights for the perfect blend.
This lighter pumpkin spice color has blondish red strands of balayage spread throughout.