The Prettiest Hair Colors for Winter 2021

Shades so good, you'll swear off hats.

winter hair colors
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Every winter, as we live life from beneath 15 layers of wool, we rely on exceptionally great hair color to elevate our just-rolled-out-of-a-snow-bank look. Hey, it's often the only part of us that's visible. But in 2020, a cold-weather makeover can be more transformative than ever. According to AJ Lordet, colorist at New York City's Frederic Fekkai Soho, many of us have rediscovered our strands this year. "Many clients got a taste of their true natural color, or color their hair by themselves for the first time," she says. "With the near future unforeseen, I feel we will see looks that are more natural and long-lasting. The current uncertain economic climate is also is a factor, so more subtle highlights in skin-complementing winter tones are becoming popular."

As for specific shades, the palette is looking distinctly lighter. "Rich, neutral browns or coppery gold will be long-lasting. Bright highlights and funky fashion tones such as blues, purples and bright reds are also happening, but I suggest that my clients leave things more natural at the root and focus mid length to ends," she says. "These can be applied after the highlights are finished processing so they slowly wash out over time, leaving the highlights behind and offering an easy grow out." Now that you know the trends, it's time to cozy up and find your signature winter shade. Here, the prettiest of them all.

studio city, california   march 06  actress gemma chan visits the imdb show on march 6, 2019 in studio city, california this episode of the imdb show airs on march 13, 2019  photo by rich polkgetty images for imdb
Rich Polk
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Amber Tips

Two-toned ends like Gemma Chan's make for a bold statement—and will look super chic sticking out from a beanie.

paris, france   february 26 gigi hadid wears sunglasses, a gray jacket, a green wool pullover, outside lanvin, during paris fashion week   womenswear fallwinter 20202021, on february 26, 2020 in paris, france photo by edward berthelotgetty images
Edward Berthelot
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Bronde Waves

Anyone can rock this warm shade, even if they're not Gigi Hadid.

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Noam Galai
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Deep, Dark Espresso

If your locks are curly like Indya Moore's, your hair can handle a gradient of rich shades.

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Kevin Mazur
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Honeyed Roots

Taylor Swift's shade is deeper at the scalp than the ends, which makes for a more complex, beautiful final result.

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Alison Buck
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Icy Blonde

Take a cue from the snow outside and go ice cold, like Phoebe Bridgers.

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Spiced Hot Chocolate

Rich chocolate brown with cinnamon-tinted highlights throughout is as warm and pretty as it gets.

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George Pimentel
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Creamy Blonde

A hint of warmth makes this shade feel accessible.

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Dimitrios Kambouris
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Jet Black

Glossy dark locks never go out of style.

beverly hills, california   february 09 florence pugh attends the 2020 vanity fair oscar party hosted by radhika jones at wallis annenberg center for the performing arts on february 09, 2020 in beverly hills, california photo by daniele venturelliwireimage,
Daniele Venturelli
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Embrace your grown-out roots and lean into the contrast with blonde ends.

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Albert L. Ortega
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If you're nervous about going red, shoot for a more subtle, warm iteration like Emma Stone.

paris, france   march 03 anya taylor joy is seen during paris fashion week womenswear fallwinter 20202021 on march 03, 2020 in paris, france photo by arnold jerockigc images
Arnold Jerocki
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Earthy Roots

This look is ideal for natural brunettes that love their bleach; roots are back en vogue.

los angeles, ca   january 26 chrissy teigen and john legend attend the 62nd annual grammy awards at staples center on january 26, 2020 in los angeles, ca photo by david crottypatrick mcmullan via getty images
David Crotty
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Pretty, painted panels of highlights can warm up straightforward brown strands.

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Jackson Lee
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The Raven

If there was ever a time to go full Black Swan, it's now. With the cold weather comes the opportunity to go darker than ever.

jennifer lopez
Amy SussmanGetty Images
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Blonde Roast

Want to go blonde but maintain some warmth? J.Lo's chosen shade of blonde looks lovely for medium skin tones.

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Rodin Eckenroth
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Hot Cocoa

Megan Fox's deep, dark waves get their dimension from some subtle streaks of chocolate brown. If your skin is on the fair side, this welcome shot of warmth can help make raven hair more wearable.

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Amber Waves

If your hair color from early spring has faded and you're just now heading to the salon again, it might be time to embrace your darker roots. Ask for some honey-hued warmth throughout your strands.

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Sunset Bronde

Indecisive minds, listen up: get the best of both worlds and blend blonde and brunette together to create the "bronde" shade you've always wanted. Do as Hadid did and let your dark roots gradually get lighter to achieve a reverse ombré effect. Both deep and warm, this sunset blonde shade is timeless.

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The darker the hair, the sweeter the shade. If you want to look as enticing as Dunn, you need to rock a hue as sultry as this. This milky chocolate color will work with every item in your wardrobe, and won't require a lot of salon upkeep. Go easy on yourself with a color as effortless as this.

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Rich Red

Just because the weather is cold doesn't mean your hair can't be hot (sorry, had to). Fire up your hair with a rich red because YOLO. Stop being scared of this scarlet shade—you know you've been daydreaming about trying a daring color for the longest. If worst comes to worse and you hate it, you can stay inside and shield yourself from the cold anyways.

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Icy Lavender

Euphoria breakout star Hunter Schafer shows exactly how to switch up spring's supreme shade of pretty pastels for colder temperatures to come. Her topknot transitions from an icy lavender to a cool blonde on the perimeters, mastered by celebrity colorist Matt Rez using Redken products. This style proves that two-toned hues on the cooler side suit every season.

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Caramel Ombré

It's official: The ombré is here to stay. But unlike the dip-dye look of your high school years, this style is all about using complementary colors versus contrasting hues. For dark brunettes, we're loving a seamless bronze melt from the mid-lengths to ends.

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Chestnut Brown

While your first instinct may be to go darker and cooler for winter, try layers of chestnut brown instead, which help to add a warmer tone to your skin. And come spring, it's a perfect transition shade/base color for highlights.

2018 MTV Video Music Awards - Red Carpet
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Honey Blonde

Honey-blonde hair is the ultimate in-between shade for brunettes and blondes who want a minor change without looking too severe. J.Lo amped her brown hair up a few notches to an autumnal bronde (brown and blonde—you're welcome), proving the color is just as adaptable for winter as it was for fall.

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Ash Blonde

Remember that one time when JLaw dyed her hair every possible shade of blonde? Our favorite of the hues is her recent ash blonde with platinum, face-framing highlights, which, honestly, is wearable every single day of the year.

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Barely There Balayage

Let's be real: Gorgeous, low-maintenance color is #goals when the weather outside is constantly terrible, which is why we're so in love with going Joan Smalls' grow-out friendly route with touches of balayage on the mid-lengths and ends. If you're a brunette, try soft waves caramel, and if you're blonde, try a teensy-bit blonder.

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White-Gold Highlights

Leave it to Beyoncé to be both glow-y and frosty at the same time. Just in time for winter, her caramel highlights have been taken from blonde to icy white-gold. Almost like champagne on ice. Sorry.

2018 InStyle Awards - Arrivals
Steve GranitzGetty Images
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It's not just for coffee: The newest hair trend is multidimensional brunette locks, dark with different shades of brown tossed throughout the hair color. You'll want your highlights to frame the face, using chestnut and gold highlights as opposed to mahogany lowlights.

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Dark Mahogany

If you have your heart set on going darker, try this slightly subversive shade of ultra-dark mahogany. The plum undertones add a quiet vibrancy that suits winter's moodier vibes.

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