Auburn Is a Timeless Hair Color — Here's Why

The red hair color has become a permanent staple at salons.

Auburn Hair Has Become a Year-Round Staple — Here's Why

Getty Images/ Instagram @gigihadid/ InStyle

Natural redheads are somewhat of an anomaly. According to the National Institutes of Health, the rich, gorgeous hair color is extremely rare as it's associated with a gene mutation that only affects around 2% of the population.

Thankfully, anyone who isn't genetically blessed with copper or spiced cherry can go red with the help of some hair dye and their colorist. While certain shades have become bonafide trends in recent years, the entire red hair color family has become a permanent staple at salons year-round.

While all shades of red hair are stunning, auburn is a great option for anyone who's going red for the first time or simply wants a luxurious warmth to their hair regardless of the season. The red-brown hue is extremely versatile as it compliments all skin tones and is low maintenance — as far as red hair goes.

What are the benefits of dyeing your hair auburn?

While choosing to go auburn is ultimately based on personal preference, there are few benefits to choosing the red-brown hair color.

Frédéric Fekkai, a celebrity hairstylist and founder of FEKKAI haircare, says the auburn brings warmth and softness to the face for those with a brunette base and will enhance any eye color. Additionally, if you have gray strands the color will help blend them as they'll transform into strawberry blonde highlights.

Additionally, it's a bold, head-turning look that's great for brunettes and blonde who want to spice up their hair colors. "A redhead typically stands out in a crowd, and changing for your hair color can instantly make you feel like a different person," says Tauni Dawson, a celebrity hair colorist and L’Oréal Professionnel ambassador.

How to pick the right auburn hair color for you

Before heading to the salon, screenshot your ideal shade of auburn hair to show your colorist. They'll consult with you at the start of your appointment to discuss your ideal look and determine how to adapt the shade to suit your skin tone and your base color.

"Your colorist should accentuate and enhance the natural tones in your skin, and makeup routine," says Min Kim, L’Oréal Professionnel Global Ambassador.

If you're brunette, Fekkai says that auburn or mahogany hues are better for you, while blondes will fair well with a lighter auburn color that's slightly copper.

As for skin tone, Dawson says, "for fair skin a golden/copper auburn tone would work best. For medium and darker skin, a cooler more violet undertone would complement beautifully." And if you do want to change your hair with the seasons, you can alter the depth.

How to maintain auburn hair

The rumors are true: Red hair is notoriously hard to maintain because it trends to fade faster than any other color. While it's it doesn't require as much maintenance as bold red velvet, auburn does still need some extra TLC to keep it looking fresh.

Using a color-safe shampoo and conditioner can help maintain auburn hair. "Red hair fades faster because the dye molecules in red are the largest, so it’s hard to keep them attached to the hair," Fekkai explains. "Use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner designed for preserving hair color longer." He recommends the Technician Color Extended Color Vibrancy Shampoo and Conditioner from his namesake line.

Hard water can also compromise your hair color. In addition to keeping your hair moisturized, using a treatment specifically formulated to pull the mineral buildup from your hair can also help refresh your color. "My trade secret is the L’Oréal Professionnel Metal Detox treatment system. It pulls metals out of the hair pre-color service for longer lasting results while reducing the risk of breakage," Kim says.  "It also treats and protects hair after a chemical service to maintain the best results between salon appointments at home."

Celebrities With Auburn Hair

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Ombré Auburn Hair

Issa Rae at the 2021 BET Awards

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Issa Rae's warm ombré highlights add more dimension to her auburn hair, resulting in a pretty sun-kissed effect.

02 of 07

Light Brown, Auburn Hair

auburn hair

Instagram @gigihadid

The model's hair color is a perfect example of how to add warm, rich undertones to a light brown base.

03 of 07

Copper-y Auburn Hair

Kendall Jenner at the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscars Party

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If you don't want to go full-on copper, try a coppery auburn shade like Kendall Jenner had earlier this year.

04 of 07

Rich Auburn Hair

Zendaya at the TommyXZendaya Collection Launch In Milan

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Zendaya's rich mahogany auburn hair is gorgeous in any season. The allover tone adds depth to her brown base.

05 of 07

Warm Auburn Hair

Julia Roberts at the Ticket To Paradise Premiere

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When you think of auburn hair, Julia Roberts probably comes to mind. The hair color has become synonymous with the star who's worn iterations of the color throughout her decades-long career.

06 of 07

Chocolate Auburn Hair

Janet Mock at the 13th Annual Essence Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon

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For a subtle take on auburn hair, try adding warm undertones to your chocolate brown hair like Janet Mock did.

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Strawberry Auburn Hair

Jessica Chastain at the SAG Awards

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If you're blonde or want to brighten up your natural red base, opt for a bold copper auburn shade like Jessica Chastain's signature look.

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