Celebrity hair colors might make you think of multi-session bleach jobs, elaborately foiled highlights, and a crack team of a dozen specialists all pitching in to give an actor (seemingly) effortless shade. While that’s definitely true in many cases, there’s plenty of inspiration to be found in Hollywood for beautiful color that doesn’t require bi-weekly trips to the salon and a small fortune to maintain. It may seem like bright reds, pinks, and even rainbow hair are on everyone’s mind but the best low-maintenance hair colors, often the ones most complementary to your palette, can look just as striking for a fraction of the work and money.
The secret to low-maintenance color is finding one that you feel elevates and enhances your features but isn’t too different from your natural hair color — that’s where the minimal-effort, maximum reward part starts. For example, while bleaching dark hair platinum requires near-constant root touchups and toners, coloring that same dark hair a medium brown still lightens hair but disguises the contrast between your natural color and your chosen one.
No matter if you’re after a subtle red (yes, it exists!), gold tones, a rich raven shade, or somewhere in-between colors, we’ve rounded up the best low-maintenance hues — as seen on some of the top celebrities — to inspire your next salon visit.
Everything about Zendaya’s look at the 2021 Academy Awards was stunning, with high drama delivered in the form of the dichotomy between her structured, neon-yellow Valentino gown and her long Botticelli waves. Her hair color is a stunning shade of bronzed cinnamon, adding gorgeous warmth to her face without straying too far from her natural hue. The effect is apparent: The color is light enough to reflect some sunlight while contrasting against her skin tone just enough to highlight her bold brows and big eyes.
Though it feels like the entire world is waiting with bated breath to see Halle Bailey debut some fiery red hair for her titular role in the upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid, this warm oak brown color looks so lush on the young star, it almost makes you wish Ariel was a brunette. The soft shade quietly draws the eye but never threatens to steal complete focus from her features.
Once upon a time, Taylor Swift’s hair was a tangle of butter-yellow corkscrew curls but her current shade of pale gold is so beautiful, one forgets that her old hair color ever existed. The Folklore singer’s hair, falling into place like dominos, boasts effortless and natural-looking color while still adding some accentuating warmth and reflecting just enough light. It’s Swift’s version of low-maintenance color: Take what you were born with, add a little bit of spice, and watch sparks fly.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas
The perennially gorgeous Priyanka Chopra famously has such great hair, fans begged her to develop her own line — thankfully, she obliged. But it’s not just the incredible volume, texture, and style that makes her hair so enviable: no matter the color she chooses, it’s always just a few degrees lighter or darker than her natural shade for an attention-grabbing effect that requires very little upkeep. Here, she’d added a few touches of deep red blended seamlessly with her own raven hair. The masterful mix can disguise grown-out roots with ease.
A non-natural redhead going all-over scarlet might seem like the least low-maintenance thing in the world, but that’s only the case if you choose the wrong red. In Gigi Hadid’s case, transforming her golden blonde hair into this strawberry blonde shade kept both colors roughly in the same color and tone family which conceals any bits that might be fading as well as advancing roots. There’s a low-maintenance version of red for everyone — stick to your natural undertones and go just a few shades away from your birth color, and you can’t lose.
The most low-maintenance hair color of all? Your own, of course! While she’s played with baby pinks and colorful streaks, Lana Condor keeps coming back to a rich version of her own natural hair color. Add color-enhancing glosses, depositing shampoos, and toning products to tease out the best version of your natural shade. With the quality of at-home hair products so high these days, you can get that just-back-from-the-salon effect right in the shower.