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It’s the prime of summer — hot AF, beach cocktails, short shorts, and it’s time to do something new with your hair. Everyone knows that it’s not summer until you change your hair color, and this is your sign to get with the times and try something a little new and different this time around. Whether you choose to go lighter and warmer to match the weather, or pull a Jessica Alba and go extra-dark, it can always be a welcome sight to dye your hair and do something fun for the season. We tapped the brains of Madison Reed Expert Colorist Shvonne Perkins, and celebrity hairstylist and author of the new book True Color Tracey Cunningham for their insight on why these are the hottest hair colors for this summer. Get something particularly fun and trendy, but uniquely you.

Maple Red

Ciara had us all shook when she revealed her latest hair color on Memorial Day Weekend. This is a rich, warm, brownish-red shade accented with gold to crimson tones. “Red hair is not for everyone, but this particular shade of red is very appealing and looks good on most people,” says Cunningham.

Pretty Pastels

“It sounds counterintuitive to think of pastel hair as being ‘natural,’ but the shades are soft and look almost floral,” mentions Perkins. “They are also much friendlier to your skin tone than higher velocity fashion tones in bold or neon shades.” When it comes to deciding if you’re going to go for a rose or a lavender, or even a robin’s egg blue, she wants to remind people that hair color trends can be done “cafeteria-style,” meaning take what works for you and leave the rest behind. “If we are saying pastels are in, but you feel best in a neon green pixie cut, then that is the summer trend for you! Trends are meant to plant seeds and help inspire, but you should never take them as rules.” Perkins also wants to remind you that you’ll only get the full effect of what a hair color looks like with a full application. “When trying a new trend, I despise the idea of just doing a little streak of pastel to try it out. It won’t give you the answer you’re looking for. If you ARE going to partake in a new color trend, just commit to it.”

Face-Framing Highlights

Cunningham loves this style, which is far from the chunky highlights Kelly Clarkson wore when she won American Idol, in case that’s where your mind wandered. “Highlights around the perimeter of your face do what they are meant to do  — they create a natural, sun-kissed look and they bring attention to your eyes. They are also perfect for clients who want low-maintenance hair color,” Cunningham explained.

Mocha Espresso


“Rather than red or brown, clients are looking for really specific tones, such as ‘Maple Red’ — an autumn-inspired red with a bit of a brown base, and ‘Mocha Espresso’ which has ash tones and a cooling effect,” says Perkins. “Another trend with these shades continues to be the shadow root / deepened base where clients are looking for variation from roots to tip.” Cunningham calls this shade “uber-sexy,” adding, “I love the depth and dark colors really show off the shine in your hair.”

Honey Platinum

We’re still getting used to Billie Eilish as a blonde, but we’re mostly impressed that she pulls off the honey-blonde most often seen on America’s Next Top Model after they lifted a girl’s hair to “platinum” but didn’t give her the tools — purple shampoo — to maintain it, so a few weeks later, the icy white is now… more yellowish. But yes, we’re into it, and so is Cunningham, who loves this ultra-wearable shade. “Platinum hair color is one shade up from white and can be harsh on many skin tones so adding a bit of warmth makes it look more natural and wearable.”

 Multi-Dimensional Brunette

“Many shades of brown hair consist of more than one color, particularly when spending time outdoors where the sun lightens up strands,” explains Cunningham. It’s clear when looking at shades like Jessie Ware’s, who is somehow every shade of brown all at once, but also completely individually. Layers of richness and dimension are a great way to update what you have without the maintenance of going lighter. It also gives the illusion that the hair is fuller — oftentimes, one-dimensional color lays flat, making the hair look thinner than it really is. “Adding multi-dimensional colors to brunette hair provides a very natural look and can be tailored to with warm blonde to red tones, depending on the base color and client preference.”