Summer 2022's Biggest Hair Color Trends Are All About In-Between Shades

Think: Strawberry Blonde, Bronde, and Toffee.

Toffee and bronde hair colors

@richykanda / @igksalons

Summer’s hazy, happy-go-lucky vibe seeps into absolutely everything this time of year. Lunches are long and lingering, outfits become brighter and more irreverent, and everyone seems to be in a good mood. Plus, that all-important vitamin D is suddenly everywhere. There’s something about June, July, and August that’s ripe for reinvention. Maybe it’s a holdover from years of school, but at summer’s start, with the entire season stretched out before you, it’s impossible not to wonder who you’ll be (and what you’ll look like) come fall. 

This summer, in particular, has a trendy hair color for every possible style and aesthetic. A far cry from the one-size-fits-all blonde highlights and (shudder) Sun-In of yesteryear, summer 2022 is as much about glorifying what you already have as it is embracing jaw-dropping transformation.

The popularity of in-between colors like bronde, strawberry brunette, and brown toffee use subtle highlight tweaks to put the spotlight on your natural hair color. But if it’s a major “new summer, new me” makeover you’re after, there are plenty of striking shades (think full-on copper, bright blondes, and rainbow patterns) sure to make a splash beyond just the pool. 

To get a sense of what’s hottest for summer 2022 (beyond just the temperatures, that is), Byrdie turned to a slew of celebrity-loved hair professionals for a true inside look. Below, find your complete guide to summer 2022 hair color trends. 

Blondes Are Embracing Their Dark Side

Have you noticed more and more formerly bright-blonde celebrities returning to their roots lately? Chalk it up to the bronde hair color movement, often interchangeably referred to as cappuccino blonde. "It’s the perfect in-between for a blonde or a brunette, and it’s super versatile without the heavy maintenance of a full blonde look," explains Olivia Cassanova, IGK Color Partner & IGK Soho Salon Colorist. Stars like Hailey Bieber and Jennifer Lopez have all recently experimented with a darker, more true-to-their-roots blonde, and the result yields tons of shine (and fewer hours in the salon chair).

"This look is dimensional with some highlights/balayage," Cassanova explains. While it does require a bit more maintenance than other shades with greater color contrast, it's not nearly as demanding as a true, bright blonde. "As long as your colorist gives you a suitable tone and level of lightness," Cassanova says, "it can also work for every skin tone and hair texture. It’s the perfect way for brunettes to dabble with the idea of going lighter without committing to anything they can’t handle."

But Bright And Buttery Is Still In

It's true: When most people think of a "summer blonde", it's those bright, sunny highlights that come to mind. And for that reason, they'll probably never go out of style. Rita Hazan, celebrity colorist and founder of Rita Hazan, reports seeing plenty of requests for buttery blonde shades, especially those that veer very warm as opposed to cooler tones or more neutral ash. "Summer beauty is effortless," she says, pointing to "light but buttery sun-kissed yellow tones" as an easy, natural-looking way to embrace the sunshine.

Brunettes Are Getting Even Richer

At this point, you might as well call it billionaire brunette because summer's best shades are richer, glossier, and more dimensional than ever before. "We will see more luxe brunette hues, very rich and shiny with natural blonde reflections to add movement and an illusion of texture," explains Richy Kandasamy, Colorist and R+Co Collective Member. Overall, Kandasamy says, it creates an expensive feeling. He ticks off shades like leather brown (a warm, rust-infused brunette), mushroom brown (a paler, ashier tone), and warm copper-tinted chestnuts as just a few of the trendy brunette colors expected to rule summer 2022.

"The reason brunettes are trending is because we are in a season where people are looking for healthier, shinier, richer hair that is low maintenance," Kandasamy says. "We are seeing some carryover from past seasons in working with richer and warmer brunettes."

He's right about that carryover—Cassanova says that mocha brown, one of winter's biggest trends, is back and better than ever for summer. "I haven’t stopped getting requests for this color, and I even have it myself," she says. "I love it because it can be so versatile. It looks good on every skin tone and every type of hair texture and cut. It’s usually a solid color, which also means that it tends to be pretty low maintenance."

There’s A Highlight For Everyone

Moreso than any one distinct color, summer is all about highlights and their brightening, spotlight-like effect on every shade, length, and texture. Technique, though, can make a bigger difference than even a standout color. According to Hazan, if it's a classic, not-too-extreme summery refresh you're into, even subtle highlights will get the job done.

"The easiest thing is to add highlights framing the face hairline and crown—it really makes a huge difference without doing too much," she explains. It's similar to the "shadow highlights" she gave her client Beyoncé for this year's Oscars ceremony. By following the natural contours of the face (and haircut) with highlights, it not only acts as an illuminating halo but also gives the illusion of fuller, thicker hair.

Hazan also notes that standout, contrasting highlights, chosen to glorify the base hair color, are huge right now too. She points to "bright and light multi-dimensional shades with contrast—brown toffee tones, honey highlights, red copper tones, and golden highlights," as staples of the season.

Reds Of All Kinds Are Here To Stay

Surprise, surprise! If you still haven't managed to get in on the redhead craze, you still have the whole summer. All of our experts agree that fiery reds, warm coppers, and sweet strawberry blondes and brunettes are, once again, here to stay. A favorite color of celebrities like Kendall Jenner, SZA, Cardi B, and the Euphoria girls, red is shockingly versatile—the difference between a lived-in, sun-faded copper and a bold fire-engine red is technically negligible but aesthetically monumental. "I think the copper and strawberry blonde trend is here to stay," says Justin Mckay, IGK Color Partner & Colorist.

"Recent color trends have been focused on very bright, icy blondes. It makes sense that we would see trends moving in the opposite direction, embracing the warmth with copper, red, and strawberry blonde shades." Mckay warns that red hair is most prone to fading, so it's crucial to protect it with color-safe products (check out the pro-approved recs below).

Color-Depositing Glosses Are the Perfect In-Between

These days, don't even necessarily need a full-fledged foil session at the salon to add some interesting new color and dimension to your hair. Color-depositing glosses can keep your paid-for color looking vibrant and fresh in-between appointments, but it's also an easy, at-home way to level up your natural hair color—think a hypnotic blue-black effect on raven hair or an infusion of reddish warmth into mouse brown.

"IGK’s brand-new Color Depositing Masks ($29) are perfect for someone who wants to refresh or add a temporary pop of color to their hair," says Chase Kusero, Co-founder of IGK Hair Care. The 18 semi-permanent shades range from natural-looking colors like honey, chocolate brown, and silver to fun, irreverent colors like hot pink, amethyst purple, and peach. Plus, the mask doubles as a nourishing deep conditioner for extra hydration and shine.

How To Protect Your Color This Summer

Once you've nailed your perfect summertime hair color—be it a major or minor departure from your spring look—all that's left to do is protect it from the sun, chlorine, saltwater, and richness-zapping products. The first place to start is in your own shower. Color-safe shampoos, masks, and conditioners are crucial for extending the life of your new shade.

"To help maintain and accentuate the hair color, I recommend using either R+Co GEMSTONE Color Shampoo and Conditioner ($66) or R+Co BLEU Primary Color Shampoo and Conditioner ($118)," says Kandasamy. Sealing in color, hydration, and gloss, they'll help hair continue looking fresh until it's time for a refresh. "If your hair is in good condition," he says, "I suggest going in for touch-ups every six months or every two months if your hair is porous."

Threats to your hair color's liveliness lurk outside, too. "The sun can damage and dry out your hair," warns Aaron Grenia, Co-founder of IGK Hair Care. He recommends making sure your styling products are loaded with UV protection, the same way you use sunscreen on your face daily, and adds that all IGK products come pre-loaded with UV-blocking ingredients. "Then, make sure you’re rehydrating your hair. Coconut oil is great for this. It’s a weightless formula that conditions, nourishes, and strengthens hair." Grenia adds that coconut oil is a perfect pick because of how well it air dries in hair to lend a sexy, tousled texture with plenty of shine. "Our Rich Kid Coconut Oil Air Dry Styler ($29) and Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm ($29) contain UV protectants, coconut oil, and can be used on heat or air-dried hair," he says.

Hazan agrees that environmental protection, even against summer-favorite activities, is key. "My best advice is to gloss," she says, recommending her fan-favorite Rita Hazan True Color Gloss ($13). When in doubt, "use good products for color-treated hair. Before going in the pool, wet your hair with spring water so the chlorine doesn’t affect your color, and do a lot of conditioning because your hair gets dehydrated in the summer from the sun."

Related Stories