No matter what the current hair trends are, every fall there’s one colour that always has a strong showing. And this year, copper hair is the perfect colour to kick off the new season ahead. “After the summer season ends, we’re all ready for a change when it comes to hair colour and copper is a great transition colour when going into fall as it offers a change without washing skin out,” says celebrity hairstylist Roger Medina. Adding to the growing evidence for copper is the slew of celebs like Zoey Deutch and Zendaya that have recently dabbled in the trend, showcasing just how versatile a terracotta crown can be.
If you’re contemplating test-driving this ultra-flattering shade of red, read on for our guide on how to indulge your copper hair dreams from two of Canada’s top colourists. We’ve got all the answers to your burning colour Qs along with a few need-to-know tips for maintaining your new shade.
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What should I know before going copper?
Unlike other hair colour trends that tend to fade quickly, like pastel and rainbow tones, copper has significantly more staying power. “Before diving into copper and red tones, you should know that you’ll be copper for a while,” says David Nadicci, creator of We Are We Are Hair Collective in Toronto. He adds that red is the first colour to fade and the last to leave, meaning that shades of copper tend to fade quickly but once faded, the remaining dye can linger in your hair for an extended period of time. With copper tones, most stylists won’t be able to switch you back to another colour right away, explains Nadicci, so dabbling in this section of the colour wheel isn’t a quick fling, which is important to remember when deciding on whether copper is the right hue for you.
What shade of copper is best for my skin tone?
Just like blonde and brunette, copper includes a broad range of tones, from deep red to lighter strawberry blondes, which means there truly is a shade of copper for everyone. While there’s a spectrum to choose from, all shades of copper have a warm undertone as the hue itself has an orange base. Medina explains that strawberry blonde and vibrant copper compliment fair skin tones, while medium and olive skin tones look best with red and auburn hues.
When determining what shade you want to go, Nadicci recommends scouring celeb images and your Instagram feed to determine which tones you’re drawn to as this can help guide your stylist in choosing your just-right colour. “Go to your hair consultation with at least three photos of what you consider to be copper and what speaks to you,” he says.
Can I try DIY copper hair at home?
With any drastic colour transformation, both Medina and Nadicci recommend booking a consultation with your colourist if you’re thinking of going copper. Not only will they be able to determine which shade is best for you, they’re also able to troubleshoot any concerns or questions. While DIY dyeing is tempting right now (especially because of booked up salons due to COVID-19), going copper at home can be tricky due to the shade’s undertone and the level of skill required to get the colour just right. Both experts advise steering clear of box dyes as the results can vary dramatically depending on the base colour of your hair, the condition your hair is in, the formula of the dye and more.
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How do I maintain my new copper hair colour at home?
“Similar to any vibrant colour, copper requires maintenance,” says Medina. And since copper fades quickly, it’s a colour that needs a little extra TLC to stay looking vibrant. Below, our pros shares some A+ tips for maintaining your copper ’do at home.
Put down the hot tools
To keep your strands glistening, Nadicci recommends staying away from heat styling as much as possible, as heat is one of the main culprits for fading colour-treated hair. If you can, avoid blow drying your hair from soaking wet to dry, as air-drying (or just using your blow dryer to finish the job) is loads less damaging than a full blow out. He also emphasized the importance of a high-quality dryer if you are using one: A top-notch tool will have more powerful air flow, so you won’t need as much heat.
If you are going to use hot tools, using a heat protectant product is a no-brainer. In addition, make sure to turn down the heat on your flat iron or curling iron—stay under 400 degrees Fahrenheit. When the dial is turned up too high the heat will strip out your colour right before your eyes.
Christophe Robin Regenerating Serum with Prickly Pear Oil, $68, sephora.ca
Hydration is key
Not only is hydrated hair shiny and healthy, but a well-moisturized mane holds onto colour better, preventing that glorious copper from going straight down the drain. Swap out your conditioner for a mask once or twice a week and look for formulas that contain moisture magnets like shea butter, glycerin and avocado and jojoba oils.
Kérastase K Nutritive 8H Magic Night Serum, $65, kerastase.ca
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Steer clear of sulfates
Opt for a sulfate-free shampoo that’s targeted to colour-treated hair, as sulfates can strip away colour and essential oils that are necessary to maintain optimum hair health. Another alternative is swapping out your regular shampoo for a cleansing conditioner as it will provide a gentle cleanse without stripping away your copper colour, says Nadicci. And don’t forget to rinse with cold water versus hot. Medina explains that cold water will help prevent fading by sealing your hair’s cuticle and locking in your tone.
Nexxus Colour Assure Shampoo, $15, shoppersdrugmart.ca
Refresh your copper with tinted products
Incorporating a copper-boosting shampoo, conditioner or mask into your routine can work wonders for refreshing your colour. “Copper is one of the easier vibrant shades to maintain because all you need to do is redeposit pigment back into the hair,” says Medina. A colour refresher works like a typical shampoo or conditioner while also depositing a sheer amount of pigment onto strands to help keep your copper colour looking fresh, not faded.
Garnier Color Reviver 5-Minute Colour Mask in Vibrant Copper, $11, shoppersdrugmart.ca