As the new year approaches, you might be itching to change up your hair color. But which direction to go in? A bright summery blonde no longer feels appropriate, but going with a cool brown may feel too boring. Allow us to introduce you to “smoky gold,” the winter hair color trend that strikes the perfect balance between blonde and brunette.
“Smoky gold is a multi-dimensional balayage with a darker caramel root and ribbons of butterscotch blonde throughout the ends,” explains Aoife McCarthy, Amika pro educator. “Those buttery tones bring warmth to the skin in the dull months of winter, which is why it’s such a hot hair color trend right now.” Smoky gold is an appropriately seasonal shade, thanks to its depth at the root, but it has just enough warmth throughout to brighten your complexion.
It’s also universally flattering. “This hair color can be suitable for any skin tone, and that’s why I love it,” adds Amika pro educator Claire Speers. “You simply adjust the tone slightly depending on the result the individual is hoping to see.” For example, the warmer your tone, the more golden you can go; if you have cooler skin tones, your stylist can give you a smokier shade. When going to the salon, just ask your colorist for ‘bronde,‘ Speers says. “Tell them you want dimension and a touch of more warmth.”
Natalie Portman is the perfect example, but other stars, including Brie Larson and Katherine Schwarzenegger, have also been sporting the smoky gold shade lately.
The best part? Smoky gold requires little maintenance, which is perfect for the winter months when we barely have the energy to drag ourselves out of bed. McCarthy says you could go as long as 12 weeks before retouching the balayage highlights. Or, you could allow them to grow out completely and still transition seamlessly into spring.
The key, according to the Amika team, is using a tone-controlling shampoo at home. Both Speers and McCarty recommend Amika’s Bust Your Brass Shampoo ($20; sephora.com) to keep the tones balanced, but you may also want to consider getting a clear gloss at the salon to keep the color from becoming dull between dye jobs.
While most people gravitate toward cooler hair colors this time of year, smoky gold is a great way to switch things up. And as far as our experts are concerned, warmer tones are here to stay this season. “I think we are realizing as a whole that “warm” tones don’t necessarily mean brassy,” says Speers. “That has been a huge discovery in my chair this year.”
Scroll through for more smoky gold inspo below, then take your favorite shot to your stylist.