As salons start to reopen, the search for the best summer hair colors is on. But before you go straight to the bleach, consider the fact that most salons are operating at 50% capacity, so it might be even more difficult to schedule your monthly touch-up than usual. Because of this, paired with the risk of a second wave of coronavirus infections, Stephanie Brown, master colorist at IGK Soho, predicts that natural, low-maintenance shades will be having a moment this summer. “I think it’s going to be all about the grow-out,” she says. “Whether someone goes natural or a little extreme, people are going to want their hair color to be able to grow out easily without having to touch up their roots as often. I think there are going to be a lot more conversations between colorists and clients about what will look best and what will grow out best on each individual person.”
On the other hand, celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan predicts it’s going to be pure fun and fantasy when it comes to post-quarantine color. Whether it’s bright colors or early-2000s streaks, she thinks people will seize the day and make a major change—especially given the fact that none of us could for the past few months.
We rounded up the coolest summer hair colors to try, from the bold Technicolor to the low-key natural and everything in between. We even threw in a few DIY options, in case you’re still committed to social distancing (just be sure to read our guide on how to color your hair at home first). Read on for 31 hair colors to try this summer, and get ready to book an appointment. (Aren’t you so glad we can say that again?)
If you want to add some dimension to your curls without an extreme change, go for bright highlights. “This color works best for those with thicker dark hair,” says Clairol Color partner Jeremy Tardo. “The lighter ribbons of color give separation to highlight beautiful natural textures.” He says to ask for subtle ash bronde highlights, or use Clairol’s Natural Instincts 7A Dark Cool Blonde to tone any existing highlights.
“I think pink is having a real moment right now since it’s an easy color to apply at home, and it’s pretty on everyone, which will carry over to this summer,” says Brown. “Pink is easy because it looks great throughout all stages of washing out. It looks great bold and pastel. It’s a fashion color, but it’s not aggressive so it’s wearable for most people.” Want to go the DIY route? Check out our step-by-step guide on dyeing your own hair pink.
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you need to go lighter or make a crazy change. Sometimes all it takes is a few subtle highlights, as with this melted chocolate shade. “This is very diffused and natural. Ask for a few highlights around your face,” says Lauren Grummel, a hairstylist in New York. “The gloss is really the magic here to make a brunette extra shiny. Have your colorist mix a gloss on the cooler side for a more cocoa-powder-chocolate highlight.”
“I think it’s going to be all about the grow-out,” says Brown of where color trends will go this summer. “Whether someone goes very natural or a little extreme, people are going to want their hair color to be able to grow out easily without having to touch up their roots as often. People want to be able to have their hair color last longer and not feel as if it’s going to need as much maintenance in case shelter-in-place orders happen again.” Shadow roots work on any shade of highlighted hair, though the contrast is strongest on blondes. Brown says the key to this technique is making sure your roots are toned closer to your natural shade so the grow-out is more gradual.
Looking to refresh your red after quarantine? Try a bright, sunny shade for summery vibes. “This color works great on faded red hair that needs a breath of new life in it,” says Tardo. For a similar shade, he suggests asking your stylist for a light auburn hue with peachy tones.
“This color adds a soft brightening for brunettes which is perfect for the summer season,” says Tardo. If you’re a medium or dark brunette, this shade will brighten up your hair after months inside while still being relatively low-maintenance. Tardo says to ask your stylist for a light warm brunette, or use Clairol’s Nice’N Easy 6.5G Lightest Golden Brown to DIY at home.
If you want to make a bold change post-quar, try really bright blonde highlights, even if you have darker hair. “It will still grow out well since it’s close to the root around your hairline and mixed with your natural color throughout the rest of your hair,” says Brown.
A big trend this summer is subtle bursts of brightness, without going too extreme so the grow-out is easy. “I love a nice chocolate-brown base with caramel pops of color,” says Brown. “Subtle, pretty, and summery, it adds dimension without going blonde.” Ask your stylist for subtle warm highlights and a nice, rich base.
“I love this color because it adds a subtle warmth to bright, creamy blondes,” says Tardo. “This color works best on blonde highlighted or naturally light hair.” Ask your stylist for a creamy bright blonde but with warmer undertones. Or if you’re very brave, try it at home with Clairol’s Nice’N Easy SB 2 Ultra-Light Cool Summer Blonde.
“This is a beautiful red that’s darker than the usual strawberry blonde but lighter and a little more natural-looking than the bright coppers we’ve been seeing,” says Brown. “It’s a great update for redheads who want to try something a little different.” Just remember that all shades of red take a lot of upkeep, so be prepared to commit.