Low Maintenance Hair Color Ideas You Can Wear Year-Round

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Whether it's the start of a new season or a post-breakup move, getting a new hair color is a thrilling way to change up your look. But as much as we love a good hair transformation, our wallets beg to differ.

While any changes to your hair color will require maintenance, some require way more upkeep, like frequent salon appointments and a custom haircare routine. And when it's all said and done, the time and cost of caring for your new hue can rack up quickly.

If you're looking to change up your hair color, but still want something low maintenance, experts say it's all about choosing a hair color and technique that offers a seamless grow-out. "Staying within four shades of your natural color keeps things softer, more blended, and gives a more forgiving regrowth," says George Papanikolas, a professional hair colorist, and Matrix brand ambassador.

Katie Holmes with soft caramel highlights and a side part
Getty Images

Ahead, check out nine hair color ideas that you can try for a beautiful and low-maintenance look.

Expensive Brunette

A lot of celebrities have recently gone over to the dark side, and we're here for it. The trending hair color has earned its official name as "expensive brunette" because it's rich in hue, warm, and glossy. Despite its name, though, this hair color won't break the bank in upkeep.


"Hair painting or balayage is a way to color hair with no harsh lines of demarcations," says Rachel Bodt, a professional hair colorist and Matrix brand ambassador. "It's effortless and timeless."

Papanikolas says balayage is his go-to technique for someone asking for low-maintenance hair color. "The highlights can be delicate at the root area, gradually getting thicker and heavier towards the mid-shaft and ends," he says. "This allows you to have a dimension that is either bold or subtle, but keeping the root area delicate gives a more forgiving grow out."

Shadow Roots

If you're a natural brunette, then you know how difficult it can be to choose a hair color that brightens your hair without requiring a ton of maintenance. Instead of dying your entire head a different hue, opt for shadow roots. "Some ways to add color to brunettes but make it easy are adding mid and end lights staying away from color at the roots and adding the root shadow to make it seamless," says Bodt.

Depending on the color you choose for the bottom, though, it may require some extra TLC, so be sure to talk to your stylist to chat about the best hair colors that won't require too much maintenance.


Babylights are very thin, fine highlights subtly placed throughout the hair. "Babylights are the most common ways to add dimension while keeping it low maintenance and natural-looking," says Papanikolas. You can also customize your look by choosing to get lighter or darker baby lights than your natural hair color to either brighten or darken your overall hair color.

Hidden Highlights

If you have naturally red hair and want to add more dimension, Bodt recommends getting hidden highlights. "For redheads, it's all about painting underneath and the ends so it's hidden and builds lots of dimensions," she says.

Tracey Cunningham, a celebrity hair colorist and Olaplex ambassador agrees, and says you can also vary the color from copper to cinnamon, depending on what compliments your natural shade, without much upkeep. "Subtle highlights are a great way to add dimension without a heavy schedule of salon visits," she says. "By adding them off the roots and not all over, it will be subtle but yet vibrant."

Caramel Highlights

Papanikolas says less is more when it comes to brunettes. If you want to add some lightness to the hair, stick with a golden caramel color. "You want the majority of the hair to remain dark, as too many highlights can turn the hair brassy and in turn, become high maintenance," he says. "Keeping the tones within two to three shades, such as a dark brown base with caramel highlights, gives a more blended effect and lessens the chance of a hard regrowth."

Copper Gold Highlights

"Similar to brunettes, you want the majority of the hair to remain red with highlights as accents," says Papanikolas. "A copper base with copper-to-gold highlights allows a softer blended effect and gives soft dimension without losing the overall red look of the hair."

Face-Framing Highlights

"By staying away from the top of the head and using face-framing pieces, it looks natural, adds dimension, and does not need to be done more than a few times a year," says Cunningham. No matter your natural hair color, you can opt for face-framing highlights to brighten up your face and hair.


Ombré is great for naturally darker hair colors. "It's a great technique to color brunette hair because you can tailor it to exactly what each client loves," says Cunningham. "It's also the best way to keep a brunette true to their hair color without going blond." So whether you want to go lighter or darker, an ombré is a sure-fire way to make darker hair more multi-dimensional and beautiful.

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