Deciding on the perfect hair color can be tough. Ideally, you’ll want a shade that complements your complexion, is manageable to maintain, and continues to look flawless as it grows out. While most dramatic colors, like platinum or icy blonde, for example, don’t offer this much variation, one of the biggest fall 2023 hair color trends does. Enter cowgirl copper, a bold shade that’s versatile thanks to its harmonizing undertones. “The main elements are rich and rustic dark copper tones that have elements of both brunette and caramel,” says celebrity colorist and Olaplex ambassador Bianca Hillier. She continues, telling TZR that unlike a vibrant red, this copper is subdued and nearly anyone can wear it.
Natural brunettes and reds will have no trouble achieving a variation of cowgirl copper as the warm shade thrives on those underlying pigments. But Hillier explains that blondes can own the look too. “Cowgirl copper is great on all bases, however, if you are beginning with a lighter hair color the shade may require more trips to the salon to maintain [it],” she says. For this reason, she recommends talking with your stylist to determine the most realistic shade of copper you can achieve.
Regardless of your starting point, this lush color can be adapted to match your personal style. And given its resemblance to the warm colors of whiskey, it’s a fitting color for fall. With that in mind, TZR spoke to celebrity hairstylists for their insight on the trend and expert tips on how to keep your color fresh throughout the season.
If you’re interested in trying the shade but aren’t completely willing to commit, try using a hair gloss that will allow you to experience the color temporarily. This method is especially useful for blondes as the light-toned base color will help the gloss to appear vibrant. “For blondes, it can be difficult to remove the warm dark tones of copper at a later date,” says Hillier. “If you’re thinking of transitioning back to to a lighter shade, a non-permanent color can be more ideal.”
A balanced blend of warm brown and spicy copper, ‘bropper’ is a soft, romantic take on the color. The subtle glimpses of red and auburn help round out the shade to ultimately give it a robust and vibrant look. Even better, it can easily be achieved with darker hair, so you can avoid having to lift your existing base before dyeing it.
Of the many tones that make up cowgirl copper, rust is one that is most intriguing and flattering for brunettes. While the fiery, earthy red does make for a nice allover color, it works best when used to add dimension and/or as a complementing pop of color.
Warm rust tones meet soft brown in this alluring shade to create a look that’s balanced and oh-so inviting. While a full head of rich color does require a tad more upkeep, Hillier assures that it’s manageable with the right products. Adding a color-safe shampoo to your routine will be essential for increasing hydration, but she also recommends prepping hair with a heat protectant before using hot tools. “Olaplex No. 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum is a great option because it has UV protection and works to repair damaged hair bonds,” she says
Copper maple with shimmering brown and golden hues has also been on the rise. While this shade can work on anyone, Rex Jimieson, colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, notes that given its complex tones it’s best for those with virgin hair. “Dark hair may require the use of bleach which can be stressing on the hair,” he says. His pro tip is to come to your appointment ready with inspirational pictures to help the stylist find the right level of color best suitable for your hair's health.
At its core, cowgirl copper is a true mixture of autumnal hues that are perfectly melded together. So why not embrace them all in one look with subtle ombré highlights? The undertones of this style, which range from a warm blonde to burnt orange to reddish brown, add intensity to your base and create a one-of-a-kind color. “By nature, color fades over a period of time, but using a moisture-rich shampoo and conditioner like Oribe’s Shampoo for Beautiful Color will help ensure the vibrancy of your look,” says Jimieson.
Face-framing highlights are an easy way to bring focus to your best features. But this copper color does so in a unique way. Using golden tones, it also brings light to the center of the face for an illuminated look.
Auburn Copper Melt
Leaning into the cowgirl copper trend is easy with this melted mix of colors. Instead of focusing on just one shade, this look amplifies the warmth by layering custom tones and glosses. “This is a great option for the cozy months when you feel the urge to richen your color but do not want a dramatic change. Not only does it have the ability to reflect light from all angles, but as a base you can keep it solid or add dimension” says Jimieson.
Don’t forget red is another tone that characterizes the cowgirl copper trend. If you’re looking for a darker tone that still has a natural feel, try this cherry hue.
Touch Of Spice
When going for a multidimensional color, balance is key. By adding a touch of a spice tone to copper, you’ll be able to give the shade a bit more range and warmth. “Copper fades the fastest so you want to ensure you are doing the most to protect it,” says Hillier. Her pro tip for maintaining the color? “Use color-preserving products that are sulfate free directly after your service. These won’t strip your new shade and will also help strengthen your hair,” she says.