Hair colors you’ll be asking for in 2020

Halsey showing a 2020 hair color


If you’re considering a new hair color in 2020, there are a few things to keep in mind before choosing a shade. If you’re going for a big change — like dark to light — you should know it’s probably going to take a few trips. “I have to explain to clients and social media followers that to have, for example, Khloé Kardashian’s blond takes time and commitment,” Tracey Cunningham, celebrity colorist and creative consultant for Redken, told Glamour. “If you want a major change,” she continued, “it may take more than one salon visit to achieve — especially if you want to keep your hair healthy.”

It’s also wise to heed your hairstylist’s advice regarding color. It’s advised to bring an inspo picture to the salon, but it’s not always a good idea to be hellbent on the exact color. “It’s optimal when we end up meeting halfway between their photo and my suggestions for what’s best,” Kari Hill, celebrity colorist for L’Oréal Paris, revealed.

Need some ideas? According to hairstylists, these are the hair colors worth trying in 2020.

2020 is all about contrasting hair colors

Billie Eilish showing off a popular 2020 hair color

If your look is feeling stale, why not go for a bold hair color in 2020? Edward Tricomi, master hairstylist and co-founder of Warren Tricomi salons, said he expects more clients opting for contrasting colors. “If you’re looking to achieve this look you want the contrast color to puddle in your hair,” the expert told The List. “It won’t be straight lines like traditional highlights, it’s going to be more jagged, but it looks stunning.” Can’t quite picture it? “Billie Eilish would be a great example,” Tricomi continued. 

After all, PopSugar dubbed Billie Eilish the “hair color icon we didn’t know we needed” in 2019. Although we can’t help but love her locks, it’s important to remember that a look like hers is going to take time. “If you look at [Eilish’s Instagram] pictures where she has some roots and some regrowth, you can see her natural color,” hairstylist Stephanie Diaz told PopSugar. “It’s not super dark, but way darker [than the colors she dyes it to].” If you’re transitioning from a natural dark brown, Eilish’s look may take as long as eight hours to accomplish. Still, it could just be worth it.

Consider going for a “turmeric latte” hair color in 2020

Blake Lively showing off a 2020 hair color

“Move over Pumpkin Spice!” Kate Reid, multi-award-winning colorist and design director for COLOR.ME by Kevin Murphy, told The List. There’s a new, delicious style to try. “Trends like turmeric latte shades are now hitting high street,” Reid explained. “As the months get cooler, the summer blondes get warmer with golds and apricots being more predominate.”

In the bitterly cold months of 2020, a turmeric hair color can at least give you the appearance of warmth, even if it can’t actually do much to heat you up. Reid revealed that these rich, golden shades also give the wearer an “instant glow and health” to the skin, which is something we’ll be sorely lacking as the temperatures drop. The expert continued, saying, “This helps to enhance our features, makes us look well rested, plus adds color to our cheeks.” According to Reid, this color pairs best with warm and neutral skin tones.

Don’t be afraid to embrace a red, red wine hair color in 2020

Rihanna showing off a 2020 hair color

If you need inspiration for a perfect hair color for 2020, this may be the one time you can actually find the answer at the bottom of the bottle. Edward Tricomi, master hairstylist and co-founder of Warren Tricomi salons, foresees “beautiful burgundy” colors and “wine-colored highlights” in 2020. Although traditionally fall colors, Tricomi explained that these darker shades work just as well in colder months. “Colors that imitate nature like rust, rich browns, and reds look beautiful from fall to winter,” he told The List.

One of the best things about burgundy shades is how well they pair with different skin tones. “If your pale skin is seemingly porcelain, this shade will be striking and dramatic, whereas on medium and dark skin tones the color will seem subtle,” L’Oréal Paris explained. The cosmetics company advises going for a more violet burgundy if you have cool undertones and a redder burgundy for warm undertones.

Who knew “tweed” would be a go-to hair color for 2020?

Tweed hair color in 2020

Although platinum certainly had its moment, the bright hair color is being replaced with much gentler blondes in 2020. “The movement to less over-lightening hair is hitting us,” Kate Reid, expert colorist and design director for COLOR.ME by Kevin Murphy, confirmed to The List. “In the past, colorists have really over-processed hair with the movement of bond builders as their savior. Colorists are now moving back towards higher integrity colors, promoting glossy and strong hair.”

Yes, the new year means we can officially say goodbye to our crispy bleached ends and embrace what Reid calls the “tweed” trend. She elaborated, saying, “This is being achieved by leaving more natural or depth in between the blonde balayage, foliage or highlights, which creates more of a tweed finish.” The result? A perfect “velvety texture,” according to Reid. Unlike traditional balayage, the result is also more subtle. “A contrast is still present, but not as ‘overachiever’ as seen in recent seasons,” colorist Rex Jimieson revealed to Allure. 

In 2020, “fantasy” hair colors will be in

Neon Sunset hair color for 2020

Although the unicorn hair trend has all but died out, vivid hair colors are thriving. “Fantasy colors will be alive and well with even more vibrancy in 2020,” Tonya Reid, hairstylist and owner of the beauty salon T. Reid and Company in Charlotte, N.C., revealed to The List. “The new take will be multiple colors on the same strand. The outcome will be a more banded effect.”

Unlike the contrasting colors hair trend à la Billie Eilish, this would mean opting for two or more bright colors as opposed to jaggedly weaving in one statement color. If going bold is your jam, Reid said she expects fantasy color combinations like “deep purple or fire red at the root with a lighter pink or orangey yellow at the ends.” 

For an exceptionally stunning and vivid look, you may want to consider trying the “Neon Sunset” — a particularly great trend created by Alix Maya, global artistic director for Manic Panic Professional, and hairstylist Brook Gilmore. 

Pale tones will impress as hair colors in 2020

Maisie Williams showing off a 2020 hair color

If you want to experiment with hair color, but aren’t sure about vivid hues, master hairstylist Edward Tricomi has a solution. “I call it ‘Killed by a Flower.’ Colors like rose, blue, and all pale tone colors are great,” he told The List. “They always work well in any style from highlights to contrasts and even your entire head.” Tricomi especially recommends this color for later in the year. “For the spring in 2020, colors that are fun and playful are always the way to go,” he explained.

“Dusty rose” is an especially fabulous pale tone to try in the new year. Stephanie Brown, colorist at Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York City, explained the shade to Byrdie, “Champagne pink and rose gold are warmer pinks.” Dusty rose is instead “ashier” and has an almost “velvety look.”

You should know that this color, as well as some other pale tones, will take quite a bit of upkeep. “With creative colors like this, it usually needs to be touched up often,” Brown revealed. But there’s a benefit. “This color — and pinks in general — fades well, at least in my own personal experience,” Brown revealed.

Citrusy shades will make for refreshing new hair colors in 2020

Miranda Makaroff showing off a hair color for 2020

“While copper is always eye-catching for fall and winter,” Kate Reid, multi-award-winning colorist and design director for COLOR.ME by Kevin Murphy, told The List, “the biggest incoming shades for 2020 are from tangerine, mandarin [orange], burnt peach, and golden red tones.” And, yes, these shades look as good as they sound. 

Reid explained further, saying, “Citrus shades are taking center stage on the catwalk, [with] these tones working in multiple ways.” Like pale tones, the hair guru said these citrusy hair colors are going to be used as highlights, balayage, all-over application, and even dip-dyes. 

In May 2019, Gerilyn Ghaisarzadeh, a colorist at Capricci Ricci Salon in Orlando, Fla., created what she called “peach blonde” — a shade that we can’t wait to see more of in 2020. “Peach blonde is perfect for anyone with olive skin or with someone with golden flecks in their eyes,” Ghaisarzadeh told Allure. She continued, “Fair skin can accommodate peach blonde as long as [the face is framed] with a darker, more complementary color to contrast to their light skin.”

Coral pink will be a bold hair color trend in 2020

Mery Racauchi showing off a hair color in 2020

If a peachy shade of blonde isn’t quite pink enough for you, why not try something brighter? John Blue, master colorist and founder of Chicago-based Boss Hair Group, told The List that he expects Pantone’s New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020 color palette to be a guiding force for hair trends in the new year. One such color from the palette is “Coral Pink.” Pantone describes the chosen shade as one that “wraps you up in a warm and welcoming embrace.” And, really, who wouldn’t want to rock a hair color with that description? 

If you’re worried about having to bleach your hair, we have some good news. “There’s also no need to go the whole hog, damaging your hair with a scalp bleach,” Sophia Hilton, Not Another Salon founder, told Metro. “It’s a myth that you need a fully bleached base to play with these kinds of shades.” Hilton also recommends going for “a balayage base” to further minimize damage.

“Vibrant” peekaboo hair colors will be popular in 2020

Peekaboo hair color for 2020

In 2020, peekaboo hair colors are expected to take over. Tonya Reid, hairstylist and owner of the North Carolina-based beauty salon T. Reid and Company, said she expects styles calling for a “rich chocolate brown on top” and, underneath, “a multitude of vibrant colors popping out depending on how you move or style your hair.”

Reid continued, telling The List, “These vibrant colors used to be just an add-on, after thought for color companies. Now companies are building entire color lines around vibrant colors with greater longevity to please consumers and their wallets.”

Yasmeen Osman, hairstylist and colorist based in Boston, Mass., noted that she’s receiving fewer requests for all-over bright colors. Instead, when someone requests a bright shade, Osman told The List they’re usually looking for “more of a pop” of color. If you’re loving the brighter trends of 2020, like coral pink or any of the fantasy color shades, but don’t want to part with your current color, adding some vivid peekaboo highlights allows for the best of both worlds.

“Fiery, flaming scarlet reds” will be everywhere as a hair color in 2020

Christina Hendricks showing off a 2020 hair color

Based on Pantone’s New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020 color palette, hairstylist, colorist, and founder of Boss Hair Group John Blue said he believes we’ll be seeing more “fiery, flaming scarlet reds” in the new year.

If you’ve always flirted with the idea of going red, 2020 may be the perfect time. However, you should be prepared for extra maintenance. “When red fades, the changes are more noticeable than blonde and brunette colors,” Stephanie Brown, master colorist at New York City-based IGK Salon, told Refinery29. “The further away you stray from your natural hair color, the more often you’ll have to be touched up, which is also why I suggest getting highlights — it blends better as your hair grows out.” Brown also recommends purchasing a shampoo and conditioner specifically for color-treated hair as well as a gloss. 

Lastly, Hair Rules color director Jaxcee advised, “Try not to let your new hair grow past an inch,” adding, “Once it goes beyond that, it can start to look uneven and your stylist may have to approach it as virgin service, which can also be more expensive.”

Smokey violet may be the hair color you’re looking for in 2020

Smokey violet hair color for 2020

One of our favorite trends from 2016 is coming back in a big way. “We are seeing a lot of smokey violet tones — think deep amethyst,” Jamie DiGrazia, award-winning hairstylist and owner of Chicago-based salon Logan Parlor, told The List. “We will still be seeing a lot of silver-based blondes yet at darker levels … like gun metal gray versus platinum silver.” Cosmopolitan said the 2020 hair color, which was first known as “smokey lilac,” can be “dark and mysterious on brunette locks, or nymph-like on blonde hair.”

Depending on the look you’re going for you, you may want to ask your stylist for more purple than gray or vice versa. Either way, though, the color will apply best to paler hair. “Make sure there are no yellow tones in your hair; otherwise you’ll lose the look of these pastel colors,” Stephanie Brown, master colorist at New York City-based IGK Salon, told Allure.

Hair color spicy cinnamon will be trendy in 2020

Julianne Moore showing off a 2020 hair color

Scarlet isn’t the only red shade you can expect to see in 2020. John Blue, colorist and founder of Boss Hair Group, told The List that Pantone’s cinnamon shade, Cinnamon Stick, will be a favorite hair color in the new year. The color — which Pantone describes as “earthy and warm” while also being “sweet yet spicy” — is especially perfect for fall. 

“You can keep any light strands, like your post-summer ombré or blonde balayage, then blend red-bronze tones throughout,” celebrity colorist Ryan Trygstad told Refinery29. “The result is a full-bodied shade that’s warm, dimensional, and reflective.” Unlike some other colors, cinnamon isn’t a hard one to picture. “You have cinnamon in your cupboard, so it’s easy to visualize that warm golden-brown color,” Trygstad noted. 

Like scarlet, cinnamon is susceptible to fading. However, Trygstad said Christophe Robin’s Shade Variation Mask in the color Warm Chestnut will prolong your color. “It’s very pigmented, but totally user-friendly with a color wheel on the back of the package that tells you exactly how long to leave it on depending on how pigmented you want your color,” he explained.

Classic hair colors will find new life in 2020

classic hair colors for 2020

As great as the colorful trends are, you may not want something quite so different — and that’s okay. “The classics are always great any time of year,” master stylist and founder of Warren Tricomi salons Edward Tricomi confirmed to The List. “Blondes, browns, brunettes: You can’t go wrong with the classics.”

There’s also plenty of room for variation within each main shade. And, of course, you can switch it up. If you’re naturally a light brown, a deep brunette hair color could be a game-changer in 2020. If you’re blonde, why not switch it up and go darker or, if you’re a natural brunette, why not go blonde? The possibilities are essentially endless.

Still, there are a few things to keep in mind, especially if you’re going from dark to light — one of them being your brows. “Currently the trend for brows is for them to be slightly darker and bolder than the rest of the hair,” celebrity colorist Nicola Clarke told Harper’s Bazaar. However, if you do choose to lighten them, the professional says to avoid “brassy brows” and “go no lighter than two shades of your current brow colour.”

Why not rock a natural gray hair color in 2020?

Alexandra Grant showing off a 2020 hair color

If you’re sick of dying your hair, we hear you. Thankfully, 2020 is the year of the grays. Tonya Reid, hairstylist and owner of the beauty salon T. Reid and Company in Charlotte, N.C., told The List that she expects to see “more women embracing their grays.”

Transitioning from a dyed hair color to a natural gray in 2020 can take some time, though. “If you are ready to commit to growing out your gray, know that patience is key,” Lauren E. Hack, celebrity colorist, told Reader’s Digest. “It will be a shock to the eye and maybe some emotions will arise too, but focus on the end result and keep in mind the reason you have chosen to make this decision.” 

You may find it easiest to go for a big chop when transitioning to gray. Or, you could try highlights, which will enable “the roots [to] grow in a little more gracefully,” Kali Ferrara, senior colorist at New York City-based Roy Teeluck Salon, told the publication.

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.