Makeover Season: Spring’s Hottest Hair-Color Trends

We’re not sure about you guys, but we are bored out of our minds with our hair right now. What is it about March that just makes everything feel so blah? Time for a change, right? So, let's bust out the dye — because nothing freshens up a drab ‘do quite like a new color. We asked Tracey Cunningham, a celebrity colorist and Redken creative consultant for color, to recommend three hot hair colors for spring, then had a trio of real girls try them out on their own locks.
Check out their tress transformations and get Tracey’s tips for scoring seriously cool strands this spring. And then you tell us, what's the most serious color leap you'd be willing to take this season?
Dark-haired girls are going warmer for spring, adding hints of caramel, cocoa, and golden undertones to their manes. "My clients are loving the illumination technique of darker roots with lighter ends," says Cunningham. "It's like ombré, but it's more light-handed — not everyone wants so much contrast. This effect creates the illusion of hair that has been naturally lightened by the sun, and opens up the face."
Our real girl model, Chelsea, had dark brown hair that she said she was getting a bit bored with. "I was definitely ready for a change, but I didn't want anything drastic that would require a lot of upkeep," she says. According to Cunningham, this is a great technique for brunettes who want to try something new but don't want to go for such a major change. Cutler Salon colorist Gaby Bowen used Redken's new Chromatics Prismatic Permanent hair color — a zero-ammonia permanent hair color that's infused with proteins to help your hair feel stronger and look more vibrant — to warm up Chelsea's all-one-color mane.
"Most brunettes who come and sit in my chair say, 'I don’t want to see any red or warmth in my hair.' They don't want any brassiness," says Cunningham. But warm browns don't need to be brassy or red — they can look gorgeously warm and buttery, if your stylist knows what she's doing. In order to get a hue like Chelsea's, your stylist needs to make your hair lighter by adding highlights first, then applying a glaze in your desired shade. You don't want to lift all of your color at once because then you're stuck with that shade for the long haul. By adding very fine highlights in a hue that is a few shades lighter than where you want your color to be, Cunningham says you get the brightness you need in order to lighten up without the commitment. She warns that your hair is going to look stripe-y at first, but once the colorist adds in the glaze, that should create the rich, dimensional color you are trying to achieve.
Chelsea's verdict on her new hue? "I love how the warmer color really illuminates my complexion — it's perfect to get ready for spring," she says. She was also a fan of Chromatics: "My hair feels really soft, still, like it did before we colored it. My hair dries out very easily and I was worried coloring it would cause damage, but my hair is still very soft and also looks really silky," she said.

Photographed by Guang Xu

Flaxen-haired babes are going in the opposite direction for spring, with ashier, cooler tones being the hot hue for blondes. According to Cunningham, lighter blonde shades are a great update for most true blondes, because they are almost universally flattering with their natural coloring.
Again, the key here is not to have your colorist lighten all over, but to work in a mixture of highlights and lowlights to get that cooler color you're craving. Cutler colorist Laura Falco took our real-girl model Julia from her unintentional ombré to a more sophisticated, light blonde shade using this technique. "I love it," says Julia. "I think it looks much prettier with my skin and eye coloring."

Photographed by Guang Xu

Michelle here said she was "up for anything," so we thought she would be the perfect candidate to try out the vibrant, Bryce Dallas Howard-inspired red that's so hot right now. Cutler colorist Ben Stewart took Michelle's natural brown to a bright auburn shade — a huge transformation for her.
According to Cunningham, if you're undergoing a major change like this, you need to let your colorist know your hair history for at least the past year, otherwise you could end up with some wonky colors. "If you've changed or lifted your hair recently, the ends could wind up looking a weird color," she says. If your hair is longer, you might have to go back even further. "Your hair can tell a story for about five years, so talk to your person and don't lie," she says.
This vivid marigold is obviously not for everyone, so if you're interested in trying red but don't want to go quite so bright (or orange), Cunningham says to have your colorist highlight your hair blonde and then add in a red glaze to give it an auburn hue. "You have to be really certain before you make a change like that — you have to really want it," she says.

Photographed by Guang Xu

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