5 Fresh Hair Color Trends To Try This Fall

fall hair colors 2021
Instagram/@karissakolorist, @hair_by_na_na

While we love a chunky knit scarf as much as the next person, our all-time favorite fall accessory is undoubtedly fresh new hair color. There’s just something about the change in seasons that inspires a shade refresh, one of our go-to ways to mark the summer-to-fall transition. And this fall, the trendiest hair hues offer a little something for everyone, with gourmand inspired shades that are ideal whether you want a totally natural and low-maintenance look, or are ready to embrace something a little more out-of-the-box. Ahead, top colorists weigh in on the five fall hair colors that are sure to be huge in 2021.

Fall Hair Colors 2021

fall hair colors 2021
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Mocha Melt

Consider this the fall 2021 version of the ‘bronde’ shade that was so popular a few seasons ago. It’s a great option for brunettes who want to incorporate golden blonde tones, but without going full-on blonde, explains Karissa Schaudt, a colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. “Ask your colorist for a full head of balayage highlights, with color that’s darker at the root and brighter through the mid-ends,” she suggests.

To this point, it’s also a more modern take on ombré highlights, since that the lightness starts a little higher in the hair. And because the lighter, ‘melted’ color should only be lifted two to three levels from your natural base, the end result doesn’t look overly-lightened and is great for fall, adds Schaudt. Bonus: The upkeep is also super minimal. Given that a little bit of visible root is the desired effect, it will only look better as it starts to grow out, helping you go months between salon appointments. 

fall hair colors 2021
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Minty Fresh

Yes, green if going to be one of the trendiest fall hair colors. “It definitely takes a certain person to pull this off, but I love this color for its boldness,” says Schaudt. “We’ve been seeing a lot of grey and blue tones this summer, so this faded, almost translucent, minty green makes for a nice transition into the fall and winter months,” she explains. FYI, this is going to work best on previously-lightened hair; if your hair isn’t lightened, you’re going to need an all-over bleaching, which can take a toll on strands.

Make sure to tell your colorist that you want the look to be intentionally faded, almost a washed-out type of green, to ensure you don’t veer into emerald territory. Also, keep in mind that upkeep is super important here; Schaudt suggests minimizing washing as often as possible to protect the color. Using a regular treatment mask, like Olaplex No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask ($28; sephora.com), will also keep your lightened hair in the healthiest and strongest state possible to prolong the dye job.

fall hair colors 2021
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Mauve Mushroom

Brunettes tend to have a difficult time switching up their look, says colorist and #mydentity founder Guy Tang. But brown doesn’t have to mean boring, and this subtle-yet-modern take on brunette is proof positive. “The muted tone plays off the neutral tones of the fall season, making it the perfect transition post-summer, and it’s a great way to level up brunette hair without straying too far from your natural color,” Tang points out.

There are a variety of cooler lavender and even slightly gray tones that give this brunette shade that mauve effect, so your best bet is to show your colorist inspo photos and ask him/her what will work best with your skin tones, suggests Tang. They can also help you decide if this is better created via highlights or single process color. And that’s what makes this fall hair color trend so appealing — it can be completely personalized.

fall hair colors 2021
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Sugar Blonde

Bright blonde may be most associated with summer, but this neutral blonde shade is full of dimension, making it seasonless. “It’s a nice way to carry blonde over from summer to fall because there is a lot of contrast throughout the nape and back of the head,” Schaudt explains, adding that it’s a perfect option for natural blondes who are looking for a subtle change.

Ask your colorist to keep the face-framing highlights light and bright, and incorporate lowlights at the nape of the neck. This will add dimension back into the hair, especially if it’s been bleached out after months in the summer sun, she says. Her top tip: Use a violet-based shampoo, L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Purple Shampoo & Conditioner ($14; amazon.com), once or twice a week to help keep the blonde crisp and ward off any unwanted brassiness.

fall hair colors 2021
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Chunky Carmel Highlights

If you thought the chunky highlights of the 2000s went the way of the bucket hat…well, they did. But, like the bucket hat, they’re back in a big way. The difference? Rather than thick blonde highlights set on a brunette base, like the tiger stripes Bella Hadid recently rocked, these are tonal, caramel highlights that make for a much more subtle effect.

The caramel shade is flattering on all skin tones and help brighten up your complexion, always a nice benefit come fall, points out Tang. Plus, because the contrast is so tonal, it makes for a lived-in look and is super low maintenance, he adds. Still, asking for larger, bolder balayage highlights keeps the overall effect fresh and modern, and makes it impactful, rather than basic and boring.

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