Everything You Need to Know About the Coffee Shop Hair Color Trend
With so many gorgeous gals taking their tresses to the next level with colors, cuts, and styles, it’s only natural to have a major case of hair envy. The Mane Attraction will help you sort through which looks are worth trying with a biweekly dive into the latest hair trends taking over the red carpet and Instagram.
In beauty — especially in regard to hair color — we often find that inspiration is everywhere. From stashes of chocolate truffles and cherry blossom season to classic cocktails and rose gold jewelry, one scroll through Instagram proves that we shamelessly want to put our passion where our part is. And, now with temperatures dropping, sunlight fading, and sweater weather kicking into high gear, the colorists of Instagram have one thing in mind: coffee shops. Inspired by a few of the most popular menu items of fall, the hair color trends below stand center stage, promising to transform your tresses into the mane attraction.
Balayage may have been one of the biggest hair color trends to ever hit the beauty world, but this double-tap worthy hue (that’s received over 2,000 likes and counting) proves that ombré — albeit with a modern update — is making a comeback. Characterized by rich honey roots melting into cool, grayish blonde mid-lengths and ends, toasted coconut hair is all about deep ashy contrast with a soft transition.
The icy concoction was first brought to life by Kayluh Stewart, colorist and owner of Elysian Salon in Atlanta. To achieve the look she started by adding dimension to her client’s roots with a slightly deeper dye. Next, she wove a series of lowlights from her roots into her mid-lengths before applying bleach to the ends. “My client wanted to keep her ends super icy so we decided on an extreme contrast of colors,” Stewart says. To nail the frigid finish — and tie the look together — she toned the ends with the coolest, brightest toner she could get her hands on and treated strands with Olaplex ($28) to help protect the hair’s integrity.
When it comes to maintaining this delectable color it all comes down to your natural hue. “For this client, a base touch-up and a toner would be all the maintenance she needs for the next several months, leaving the depth in her hair,” Stewart explains. “Depending on the starting canvas, this look can be low or high maintenance.”
Since the shade favors dark roots, brunettes looking for a new take on lived-in color and root growth should consider themselves lucky. As for blondes, you’ll need to book touch-ups every six weeks or so to keep your roots looking fresh. If your starting hair color isn’t a concern, but rather the way this icy hue will pair with your skin tone, Stewart says, “If bright tones wash your skin tone out you can always tone down the honey pieces or super ashy ends and go for a warmer version of toasted coconut.”
Who would have known that the scrumptious mix of chai tea and frothy vanilla cream could translate so well to hair? Showcasing a balayaged mixture of dark roots and bright, ashy highlights, this natural-looking hair color creates all-over dimension — earning it nearly 5,000 likes on Instagram. Just because it looks natural, however, doesn’t mean the process to achieve it is a piece of (coffee) cake.
“This took four sessions (spaced 16 to 20 weeks apart) over the course of a year,” Amy McManus, the Massachussetts-based colorist who created this Insta-famous color, says. While you might think that extensive bleaching, foils, and loads of lift were involved in the process, think again. “Each session was balayage only. No root shadow or base color. I used my client’s natural base (a dirty blonde) and built on her color with each session,” she says. “The reason balayage looks so soft and dimensional is because with each new session some hair gets painted multiple times, some gets painted barely at all, and some never gets touched.” Since there are different levels of saturation, this dyeing technique naturally creates varying degrees of brightness to match. And once McManus had the brightness in check, it was time to tone. Using a blue-violet-based pastel blonde toner, she cancelled out the warm tones in Bailey’s hair and homed in on the subtle cool finish that makes this shade so striking.
“Because this is fairly soft and natural looking, it works best on medium to fair skin,” McManus says, adding that the ideal base for vanilla chai hair is a dark to medium blonde base. “Darker hair wouldn’t be able to achieve this look using balayage as a technique but could get a better result doing tease foils or traditional foils with a root shadow to erase lines of demarcation.”
If you’re of the camp that believes coffee is best with little to no milk and autumn hair colors are meant to be on the darker side, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a trending shade that blends those ideas together. Cold brew hair is the brainchild of Stephanie Brown, master hair colorist at the Eddie Arthur Salon in NYC, though it’s been recreated by a handful of stylists, receiving thousands of likes in total on the ‘gram. The rich hue consists of ribbons of neutral and golden tones mixed throughout a deep brunette base to mimic the way a dash of milk flows through your morning cup of joe.
To achieve the low maintenance look, Brown takes a minimalistic approach, veering away from a heavy ombré and instead focusing the highlights on a few thin pieces throughout the entire head. “I find that most brunettes like more neutral tones because they are afraid of their hair looking red or orange,” she says. “So having two [highlight] colors in their hair balances that for them.”
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Illustrations by San Trieu