If the entrée into the dark-at-4 p.m. time of year is any indication, it's time to head into the salon for your annual pre-winter lowlights. But before you schedule that appointment with your colorist, take a step back and consider something a little different from last year's look: smoky gold, the on-trend balayage shade of the season.
Celebrity colorist Cassondra Kaeding is calling it now: "Smoky gold is going to blow up," she says, explaining that the shade feels appropriately seasonal, but still fresh. "Most people gravitate to cool colors this time of year, but this take on dark blonde is within the comfort zone because it picks up on ash and espresso tones, just with a subtle gold lift at the face frame and ends. The result is soft and blended — and a gloss finish gives it that gorgeous shine."
With Kaeding's help, we rounded up visual evidence of the trend — and all the proof you need of just how pretty it is on a range of different hair types — ahead.
Kaeding tells us that Natalie Portman is the quintessential example of what smoky gold looks like. "Natalie's hair color is naturally light brown, so we gave her a honey balayage highlight," she says. "With the depth in her root shade, it created a soft, smoky golden effect."
"With a medium brunette root, the blended golden highlight adds warmth but feels deep and autumnal instead of beachy," Kaeding explains.
Colorist Rita Hazan — who gives Beyoncé her perfect golden highlights
— tells us that adding warmth to a dark root isn't always as scary as it seems. "Gold is not orange or brassy," she explains. "It's a super-soft, dimensional blonde with more of a yellow tinge to it."
Katherine Schwarzenegger's new bob
nails the smoky golden trend. According to Kaeding, Schwarzenegger's base shade is dirty blonde, so she focused the palest gold around her ends for dimension and an easy grow-out process.
Here, you can see the way that the ash undertones and the golden blonde play together to create a blend of warm and cool tones.
As Kaeding explains, you need a high-shine finish to perfect that smoky gold color. "You can't go wrong asking for an in-salon gloss
," she says. "Whether it's clear or colored, a shine gloss will help seal in that smoky golden sheen."