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.

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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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new york, new york   september 25 indya moore seen on september 25, 2020 in new york city photo by noam galaigc images
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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new york, new york   february 11 megan thee stallion attends the coach 1941 fashion show during february 2020   new york fashion week on february 11, 2020 in new york city photo by dimitrios kambourisgetty images for nyfw the shows
Dimitrios Kambouris
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Jet Black

Glossy dark locks never go out of style.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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us fashion designers mary kate r and ashley olsen arrive for the 2019 cfda fashion awards at the brooklyn museum in new york city on june 3, 2019 photo by angela weiss  afp  alternative crop        photo credit should read angela weissafp via getty images
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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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Etro - Runway - Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020
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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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Street Style : Paris Fashion Week - Womenswear Spring Summer 2020 : Day Five
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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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Spider-Man: Far From Home photocall
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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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2019 ELLE Women In Hollywood - Arrivals
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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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Premiere Of Amazon Studios' 'Suspiria' - Arrivals
Steve GranitzGetty Images
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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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Beautycon Los Angeles 2019 Pink Carpet - Arrivals
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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.

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2018 MTV Video Music Awards - Red Carpet
Jeff KravitzGetty Images
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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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90th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Steve GranitzGetty Images
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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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'Set It Up' New York Screening
Nicholas HuntGetty Images
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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.

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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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2018 Tony Awards - Red Carpet
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Snow White

Cynthia Erivo's hair will have you running to the hair salon for a double-process, because a platinum look is always perfect for winter. The color isn't the definition of 'low-maintenance', but is it chic? Most certainly.

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71st Cannes Film Festival - Girls of the Sun (Les Filles du Sole)
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Unfiltered Rosé Pink

Pink so natural it looks like it grew out of your head is all the rage this season, and is entirely attainable. For blondes, bleaching combined with a shadow-root technique will make the color softer and not-quite-so out there, will give you a worn-in but standout look. For brunettes, dark pink lowlights in the hair will create extreme dimension.

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2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals
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Red Velvet

Sure, this one seems only attainable of you already have red hair, but fun fact: Julianne Hough's natural hair color is actually blonde. With the right colorist—please, never try to get red hair at home; you'll almost always end up with some peachy-pink disaster—you can try a single-process copper hue for winter that won't be at risk of fading in the summer sun.

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Toasted Coconut

It looks as delicious as it sounds: the hair is a rich, dark color at the roots, blending, almost melting into a much light blonde color at the ends. The transition is seamless, and the dark roots make the blonde look just a tad brighter. It's perfect for those with both warm and cool-toned hair, and the multi-tonal hair looks different depending on the light. Lauren Conrad goes for a more traditional ombré look, but highlights blended in with dark roots, like Suki Waterhouse's, look great too.

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Tinsel-Toned Tresses

Metallic pastels were all the rage in 2018, with the blorange and millennial pink shades of the summer transitioning easily into fall by turning into shades of silver and gray just in time for the holiday season. A switch-up from the bright, unicorn bold colors of winter 2017, the easiest way to make sure this look stays completely wearable day-to-day is to make sure the roots transition beautifully into the silver shade.

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