winter is coming

9 Ways to Upgrade Your Hair Color for Fall

After a summer of bleaching your hair, it’s time to think about easing your color into fall. This season, try warmer, richer tones — like a subtle ombré or strawberry blonde. (Even the once-platinum Michelle Williams is a warmer shade of blonde in her most recent campaign for Louis Vuitton.) To find out how we should transition our hair color for the season, the Cut asked nine hairstylists, including Tracey Cunningham (Gwyneth Paltrow’s colorist) and Rita Hazan (Beyoncé’s colorist), to share their favorite new shades. They talked about their inspirations, how to find the ideal color for you, and what to ask for at your own salon. Click through the slideshow for all these tips and more. 

Photo: 2014 Daniel Zuchnik

Go Brunette With Just A Hint of Blonde

“Clients are always asking for Lily Aldridge’s color. It’s natural-looking; think your hair when looking back at childhood photos. It works best on brunettes and long layers (it doesn’t translate as well to short hair) but is extremely low maintenance. It should look as carefree as it is to maintain. I usually see clients every three to six months, depending on how fast the hair grows. I achieve the look with a combination of foils and balayage [a French hair-coloring technique] with a deepened root.” —Tracey Cunningham at Mêche Salon

Photo: Courtesy of Celine

Or A Strawberry-Beige Blonde

“I think that one reason why reds are popular for fall is all the talk about redheads becoming extinct. But it’s bold and striking, it looks rare and unusual, especially on someone who isn’t meant to be red. There are endless variations, which you can make work on all skin tones. The downside is that it does fade quickly, but monthly touch-ups should work. I’ve had specific people request Charlotte Carey’s red. People always ask for Julianne Moore, Amy Adams, and Jessica Chastain. Lara Stone’s strawberry-beige-toned blonde is beautiful and a favorite of mine that I do on a client.” —Aura Friedman at Sally Hershberger Salon

Photo: �� Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

Stay In The Same Color Family, But Go For A More Golden Tone

“I think this season’s hair is going to be more natural, like a tone-on-tone. It’s not even a subtle ombré, it’s even more subtle than that. If you look at the fashion shows in Paris, like this one from Sonia Rykiel, you see all that — they’re all really rich, gold, warm shades in the same color family. Fashion has been making such a statement that hair color can’t compete with it. If you’re a brunette, more chocolate tones. If you are a blonde, go for buttery, golden blondes. And for redheads, like a Christina Hendricks red, not too fake-looking. I’m not feeling red for everyone though.” —Rita Hazan at Rita Hazan Salon

Photo: 2013 AFP

Go Brold

“I call this the Brold (brown, blonde, and gold). You achieve it by carefully painting highlights (no foils necessary) and softening them with a glaze. The glaze, usually a gold overlay, helps to make it reflect the sun more. It’s a color that brings light to the face and also requires less maintenance (refreshed every two to four months). It works best on medium-blonde to brown and medium to long hair. Overall, there is a trend for soft warmth (soft gold, soft copper), richer tones. No one wants to be flat dark anymore.” —Daniel Villano at Fekkai Fifth Avenue

Photo: Victoria Hunter/LOVE Magazine

Try A Hybrid Of Browns, Caramels, and Reds

“This fall, I was inspired by the coloring I saw from a marble floor. The tones and the way the colors merge all complement and gives a lot of warm golds, browns, and reds. There are gold, dark rich browns, light caramels, and auburn-copper red tones. Maintenance with this color is very low; as the tone fade, it evolves into a lighter version, which the client either likes or can refresh with a color conditioner. This works on all hair lengths, as it is more about tone and color. People want to put color back in their face and tone their colors down after the summer. You would bleach for the light color for the red, do a permanent or semipermanent color for the dark brunette, and add a gloss that has a golden honey to reflect over everything.” —Victoria Hunter at Whittemore Salon

Photo: Steve Granitz/Getty Images; Shutterstock

Try A Richer Color, But Don’t Go Too Dark

“Richer amber, golden, and honey tones are hair colors to consider for the fall. The warmth of the fall colors inspires us to bring those deeper, richer tones to our hair color. As we’ve seen on the runways, platinum is out and deeper tones are in! The key to changing your color in the fall to a deeper, richer tone is to pick a shade that will add warmth to your skin tone, especially while the summer glow starts to fade. Don’t just go dark; try changing the tone or deepening a few shades. If you go too dark, it will make you look more pale. If warm tones don’t look good on your skin, I would recommend choosing a deeper cooler tone to add shine and still have a change in your color. ” —Marcy Cline at Bumble & Bumble

Photo: 2010 Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho

Color Should Have A Sun-Kissed, Weathered Feel 

Freja has the perfect color for fall. With more jewel-toned warmth, it moves seamlessly into the cooler months. This look has darker roots and lighter ends, evoking an ombré feel without being so obvious. It works the best with natural movement and texture, and it doesn’t need to be blown out to look sophisticated. I do a hair-painting technique, similar to balayage, by using a special bleach that mixes into a paste. Make sure your colorist checks it every ten minutes or so. Using too strong of a heat source and having it too close to your head can create overprocessing and over-lightening. Avoid relying on a toner or glaze to achieve the tone. If you do that, many times you will be muting out the brightness and losing that sun-kissed, weathered, lived-in feel that you were going for.” —Ben Stewart at Cutler Salon

Photo: 2013 Joe Scarnici

Pick Something That Adds Warmth To Your Face 

“For fall, it’s a monochromatic blonde that has the ability to add warmth to the face. It’s a good way to give your hair a break if it has been bleached out all summer. This hair color is especially flattering for someone with light eyes because it has the ability to really make them stand out while adding a slight blush to the skin. Don’t go much darker than your natural color. Try to look for a more experienced colorist because it can be tricky taking pre-lightened hair to a darker color without it looking muddy.” —Parvin Klein at John Barrett Salon

Photo: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images; JP Yim/Getty Images

Think About Experimenting (Carefully) With Red

“I think red hair gives a sense that a woman is playful, open to taking chances, and feels like making a statement with her hair color. If you’re going red, keep the tone within the same depth as your natural hair. For example, a woman whose natural hair color is a medium blonde or light blonde would look great as a lighter copper or strawberry blonde versus deep auburn or reddish brown. I would reserve a deeper chestnut or auburn tone for a woman with medium to dark brown hair. Try and stay away from cool-toned reds (i.e., purple-y, bluish). The look is very artificial and can wash out most complexions and make you look pale or sallow.” —Nikki Ferrara at Marie Robinson Salon

9 Ways to Upgrade Your Hair Color for Fall