Let us guess: you hear the word ‘warmth’ on the subject of hair colour, and your pulse starts to race. We can hear the very question your mind is no doubt screaming at us: “Isn’t brassiness exactly what we’re all trying to avoid?!”
And yes, yes it is. But warmth and brassiness are not the same thing. One (brassiness, be warned, this is you) can sabotage your shade, and the other (what’s up, warmth?) can enhance it entirely.
So how do you guide your hair into its golden era (whether you’re a blonde, brunette, or a redhead)? We recruited the best in the colour biz to find out…
What is warmth and how does it differ to brassiness?
“Warm colours are absolutely beautiful, so there's no reason to be scared of them,” explains Justin Pace, owner of Co and Pace Salons and AHIA Australian Hairdresser of the Year 2023.
“People have been scared of warmth because it implies yellow or orange, which are generally the exact colours we are trying to avoid,” expands Stevie English, owner of Stevie English Hair and AHIA Colour Expert of the Year 2023.
“A good warmth is intentional and planned by your colourist, like a buttery blonde or a creamy biscuit tone,” English explains, also breaking down the difference between the good (warmth) and the bad (brassiness). “Bad brassiness is an untoned blonde which can look 'raw' and harsh against the skin.”
So why is warmth entering its 'in' era? Well, because it actually suits more of us better. “I think [the uplift in warmth is] because warm tones are actually flattering on most skin tones, and can be more achievable than white or ash tones, [especially] for darker hair,” says English.
“Celebrities all around the world are increasingly leaning toward warm tones and they are always the most popular references in the salon,” Pace adds. “Plus, because our hair naturally sits in a warm tone, the upkeep is a lot easier than keeping it cool, which is great as people are trying to find a more sustainable way to keep their colour looking beautiful in these changing economic times.” A chic look that leaves us with more change? Perfection.
How to master ‘golden’ blonde
So you want to go golden in the blonde department? You’re in extremely chic company. “95 per cent of celebrities are warm right now!,” says Pace. “Gigi Hadid, Blake Lively and Rosie Huntington-Whitely are all great examples of warm blondes at the moment.” Um yes, we’d like to look like them, please! But how?!
“Firstly, it is essential to make sure your blonde is lifted to the correct level and tone,” Pace explains. “The last thing you want is your hair not to be lifted properly as this allows yellow to come through. I like to use two to three different warm tones to create dimension in my blondes.”
“You should ask for golden ash or a violet gold so it’s not too warm,” says English, reminding us of the fine line between warm and brassy. “It’s also really important to either bring pictures or ask your colourist to show you some examples of what a great warm blonde can look like,” he adds, singling out a certain celeb whose warm blonde is perfect for anyone with similar colouring: “Margot Robbie often has a stunning warm blonde. It really highlights her features and is so flattering.”
Pace’s final tip for deliciously warm blondes? Nourish to the nines. “Always keep your blonde in healthy condition so it maintains both its shine and holds its warm tone,” he confirms. English echoes this statement. “Remember that no matter which colour you are aiming for, strong healthy hair, in good condition, holds colour longer,” he explains.
Huntington-Whiteley's golden mane is an absolute standout there's no doubt, but we're also loving Sabrina Carpenter and Jasmine Sanders' honey-hued takes on the warm blonde trend.
How to master ‘golden’ brunette
Anyone whose address doesn’t start with ‘under a rock’ knows brunette is big this season. There are a few tricks to the wizardry of warm brunette, though. “Start by asking for a golden brown rather than a red brown,” advises English. “Brunettes are really having a moment right now and we are [even] seeing a shift away from blonde.”
We don’t mean to discourage anyone with damage (ahem, us), but when it comes to warm brunette, Pace does stress that “the healthier your hair, the more shine will be reflected in brunette tone.”
“Technique wise, I use multiple colours in different sections to give the hair depth, lightness and texture and I also prefer to use a [finishing] gloss, as it produces a glass-finish effect," he notes.
As for some glass-finish warm brunette idols you can look to for inspiration, there are two topping the category right now. “Hailey Bieber is definitely the brunette name people are talking about,” says Pace, while English notes that “Miranda Kerr is a stunning example of a rich and healthy warm brunette with so much shine and dimension.”
Topping our ‘winning the warm brunette category’ list are also stunners like Madison Bailey, Joan Smalls, and Zoey Deutch.
How to master ‘golden’ copper
“Red by nature is a warm colour, so the difference is really between whether you have an orange undertone or blue undertone,” English explains. “Your colourist can advise you on this as it can be quite technical colour work and the tones and techniques may differ from person to person.”
Pace agrees that mastering a magical warm copper is a personal process. “Achieving the perfect warm red copper is very technical as it's all about understanding 'are we lightening the hair or are we going darker?'. Your colourist will need to analyse this for you,” he says. “We're lucky that hair fades to a natural red/copper, so it's about achieving the right level for a true warm red. Another tip [when booked in with a specific colourist] is to check out any of their red colour work on social media and chat to them about how they achieved that look."
“Again, make sure you bring photos so you can check that your and your colourist are both on the same page with the direction,” English adds. Photos of who, you ask? Pace and English have some stellar suggestions. “Sophie Turner and Megan Fox are both fantastic warm reds. If you want to see more inspiration #coppercowgirl is a hashtag to search for,” Pace notes. English is on the same page: “Megan Fox is inspiring lots of people to experiment with a warm red shade for the first time,” he confirms.
Fox and Turner are the captains of the 'cool-girls of copper' club, for sure. Another celeb copper look we're loving? Anitta's; just look at that warmth.
Delaney Loane is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor (and resident winged liner lover). An expert in everything from sensitive skin solutions to superior lip gloss formulas, her words have also appeared across mastheads such as ELLE and marie claire.