Although “expensive brunette” and “winter gold” have been a popular choice for years, there is one shade that remains on the top of our minds. Copper has turned everyone into redheads at this point and it looks like we’re adding another iteration to the family. Welcome “cowboy copper,” a blend of warm browns and deep reds that has the likes of Emily Ratajkowski, Meg Thee Stallion and Gigi Hadid sporting the hue. If you’re looking to spice up your hair for the season ahead, we tapped two celebrity hairstylists to give us the lowdown on how to rock the shade for fall.
“Cowboy Copper” Has Entered the Group Chat, and it's *the* Hair Color for Fall
The stylists have spoken
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Meet the Experts:
- Carin Freidag is a brand educator leader for Clairol and has 30 years of experience in the industry. She has extensive knowledge of hair coloring, haircare and chemical treatments. As a senior global manager, she also educates others on the brand, products and the importance of hair coloring at home.
- Meaghan Phelps is hair colorist at Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Salon in New York City. She studied at the Aveda Institute before working her way to the Sally Hershberger salon in 2014. Since then, she has developed her NYC clientele and continued to use the latest coloring techniques while putting a twist on her own style.
What Is "Cowboy Copper"?
“Cowboy copper is a mix between copper and auburn. It’s a little deeper and darker than copper, but a little lighter than an auburn. It’s rich and warm and exactly what you think of when you think fall,” says Phelps. And if you’re wondering if the addition of ‘cowboy’ was just for fun, the name actually has a purpose. The shade also offers deep brown undertones and evokes thoughts of leather, cowboy hats, saddles, an episode of Yellowstone, you get the gist.
Why is the “Cowboy Copper” Hair Color So Popular?
Whether you’re browsing through the hashtag on TikTok or learning about your favorite celeb sporting the shade, “cowboy copper” is the look of the month and we’re not mad about it. After all, it’s a color that suits everyone and can be customized to fit your hair type, texture and natural roots. “I’ve also seen ‘cowboy copper hair’ on all different skin tones and it’s pretty universally flattering. It’s really more of a personal preference on how red or how copper the client wants to go,” adds Phelps.
Wait, How is "Cowboy Copper" Different from Regular Copper?
The color wheel is such a magnificent thing, and the key difference lies with the formula. If you add more brown to the mixture, you’re left with “cowboy copper.” On the other hand, if you add more red to the color bowl, you can see more of the traditional copper color coming through. Your natural hair color can also change the outcome of the shade and determine where you fit in the copper spectrum.
What’s the Color Process for a Natural Brunette vs. a Natural Blonde?
According to Freidag, brunettes will have a better chance at achieving the hair color. She explains, “It will either match or appear slightly lighter (or darker) than your natural level of lightness. Natural brown hair will receive and take the tone without any interference from past color since color is designed to work with your natural pigments.”
On the flip side, blonde hair can take a few rounds of color to get the desired shade. “Blondes pose a different challenge since you are going at least two shades darker. Blonde hair will take the color differently from brunettes since there is less underlying pigment in the hair,” says Freidag. It’s also common knowledge that red shades fade the fastest for blondes, so you’ll want to stay on top of those touch-up appointments.
What Should You Bring to Your Color Appointment?
It’s important to book a pre-consultation with your hairstylist. Here, you can show off any visual inspiration, so you can the exact color you want and not leave the salon disappointed. “As a colorist I usually have a thorough consultation when a client asks for some version of "cowboy copper." I have found over the years non-natural redheads find shades of copper fun but shortly after want to go back to their blonde or brunette bases. This color is just as hard to get out of the hair as it is to get in the hair, so if clients are not ready for at least a year of warm tones in their hair without having to do a complete color stripping (which can lead to dry brittle hair) then this trend is not for them,” shares Phelps.
Can I Try This Hair Color at Home?
There were mixed reviews on this one from our experts. Phelp says to leave it to the professionals, but Freidag encourages readers to keep one tip in mind if you want to try it yourself. “If you want to try this at home, you should avoid shades that say ‘copper’ in the description as they may pull too much orange from your own hair. Instead, choose a shade that says ‘medium auburn,’” says Freidag. Note: If you’re coloring your hair for the first time, Freidag recommends doing a strand test before going full throttle into the new shade.
How Do You Maintain the Color at Home?
According to the experts, any red shade tends to fade quicker than other hair colors, so invest in products that cater to color-treated hair. Use nourishing shampoos, conditioners and styling products (i.e., heat protectant, leave-in) that can maintain moisture, prevent color fading and strengthen strands. Other helpful tips from our stylists include avoiding super hot water while washing your hair, limiting your heat tools usage and implementing a toner gloss to your routine. “The healthier you keep your hair, the more resistant it will be to fading,” says Freidag.
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