When I sniff out a sprinkling of a new hair trend, I am all over it, keenly looking to see if it’ll take off imminently. And that’s exactly what happened when I noticed more people dyeing their hair copper at the tail end of the A/W season 2021. Doja Cat and Barbie Ferreira marked the new year with their fiery hues and the trend was cemented with Kendall Jenner’s hair colour switch ahead of the A/W season, certifying it as one of the hottest colours of the year. Seeing it on the catwalks of Paris and Milan for the A/W 22/23 season was the cream on top of the cake.
In fact, I was so taken by the trend I decided to dip my toe, actually dive head first, into the trend myself with a red balayage– a first for me. I have tried a lighter brown and even a bronde balayage before but I’ve previously chickened out of anything in the red colour family. But the time felt right and I’m obsessed with my new colour. However, if you’re thinking of taking your hair copper, I have two words for you: colour fade. This hue requires a lot of upkeep but in a different capacity to bleach blonde. For reds, it’s all about topping up the vibrancy, which will be naturally lost when washing, styling and exposing it to the elements rather than diligently fending off warmth (as with blondes), as this is what makes copper hair look super vivacious. To keep mine looking fresh I use a colour gloss conditioner every two weeks to reignite the pigment and bring the boldness and shine back to my colour.
"Copper is the perfect trend for spring and summer, as it has the warmth and shine of a red shade, but it is lighter and more delicate against the skin,” says Siobhan Haug, international colour director at Toni&Guy. "So it makes it the ideal choice for this time of year when your makeup, clothes and hair all want an injection of summer sunshine.” If you’re worried about whether copper will suit your skin tone, you’re in luck. There’s a copper intensity for everybody. "The great thing about coppers is that you can add a little extra warmth or coolness to reflect every skin tone,” notes Haug. "There’s a whole spectrum to choose from. There isn’t only one shade of copper. Think copper brown, rustic copper, lighter auburn or peach.”
If you’re unsure about the vibrancy or hue you want to go for, make sure you book a consultation with your colourist, as they’ll guide you not only on the maintenance level but also on what will suit your skin and eye colour uniquely. "Copper is suitable for all,” says Matthew Evans, freelance stylist at Blushes. "It helps to make eyes pop with pale skin tones and gives a warm glow to those with more olive tones to their skin. It’s the colour that can really be as muted or as vibrant as you want it to be.”
Not quite ready to make a full switch? You can dip your toe into the trend. "If you want to try the trend but aren’t totally sure you want it all over, try complementing shades of copper round the face or a few highlights to add dimension and interest,” says Karen Perry, co-owner of Room 97 Creative. "And don’t worry if it starts to fade; it looks just as gorgeous when it’s a muted peach or paler rustic version.”
The punchier the hue, the more upkeep it’ll require at home, so a colour-protecting haul will be necessary. "Copper can lose up to 20% of the vibrancy in the first wash, so choose your products wisely,” warns Evans. The first thing you need to do is switch your shampoo and conditioner for a duo that’s completely colour-safe. I usually opt for ones that are created by colour brands, as tone maintenance is usually at the top of the list of properties. Along with this, Perry advises keeping a UV heat protector to hand and a weekly hair mask, too. The heat protector will ensure your colour doesn’t become dull due to sun exposure and excess heat styling, while the hair mask will stop dryness creeping in, which is especially important if you had to pre-lighten your hair to achieve your look.
Celebrities and Influencers with Copper Hair
Doja Cat's chosen copper is super-saturated.
Hints of copper can be woven throughout.
Sydney Sweeney's take is muted and soft.
Barbie Ferreira brings her vibrant copper tones to life with equally striking makeup.
Zendaya's subtle copper finish just hints to the trend in a very sophisticated way.
Gigi went through a copper phase a few months ago.
Angela Scanlon brings extra vibrancy to her naturally red hair.
Girls with grunge style are also taking copper on—it looks great against black.
The Haircare Products That Help to Look After Copper Hair
This shampoo is free from sulphates to prevent overdrying and leaves hair feeling smooth and strong. It helps to prevent UV damage, and the complex at the core of the formula binds to hard-water minerals to help preserve hair colour.
Fortify the strength of your hair and the boldness of your colour with the signature complex in this formula. It protects against oxidation, with honey-derived humectants to provide dye protection and edelweiss flower extract to stop dryness.
This iconic pre-treatment mask is a must-have if you’ve bleached your hair before dyeing it copper. Where bleach can disrupt the structure of hair, this builds the bonds back up to enhance strength.
No time for a deep-conditioning session? This water works in just eight seconds and is great for finer hair types thanks to the lightweight lamellar technology.
Use this hair protector pre–heat styling, or air-dry your hair before you head out into the sun for UVA and UVB protection. The texture is light, so you don’t have to worry about it weighing your hair down.
With red hair, you don’t have to worry about water changing your colour as much as blondes, but it can definitely look duller, quicker. This shampoo from L’Oreal stop minerals in water (especially important if you live in a city) changing your hue.
This mask works in conjunction with the shampoo to maintain a true-to-tone colour for longer between salon visits. It’s rich enough to strengthen and condition but won’t weight hair down.
I really adore these glosses by colour icon Josh Wood. The ultimate colour equation: vibrant hue plus shiny condition equals perfect at home maintenance. Make sure you use gloves though as this colour is highly-pigmented.
This mask nourishes and enhances colour thanks to the amino acid blend, apricot kernel oil and of course, the argan oil in the formula, plus it smells incredible too.
I swear by the Glaze glosses to maintain shiny colour at home. Use a few times a month to refresh your colour and leave your hair with a mirror-like shine.
Next up, the 15 best daily SPFs.