Whether you subscribe to the annual pumpkin craze or not, there’s no denying that it finds its way into nearly every aspect of life. What started with lattes is now a common ingredient in skin care, candles, soaps, and even collagen-boosting beverages. Aside from the sweet, nutty aroma it offers, people are also drawn to pumpkin’s rich orange pigment — so much so, that there has been a number of hair colors inspired by the seasonal gourd. Pumpkin spice latte hair, a bright orange copper with blonde highlights, is the latest to emerge as a major hair trend for fall 2021. If you’re not quite ready to let go of your lighter summer locks, but are eager to hop on the red hair train for fall, this is your sweet spot.
Red hair as a whole has become extremely popular as of late, often attributed to Anya Taylor-Joy in the Emmy-winning hit show, The Queen’s Gambit. Pumpkin spice hair, however, is markedly lighter and brighter. It involves blonde highlights added to copper-colored hair, creating a softer look that’s more of a hybrid between red and blonde hair. “I would describe the pumpkin spice latte hair color as autumn shades that are medium blonde to light; blonde that has copper, gold, and red undertones,” colorist and R+Co Collective member Richy Kandasamy tells TZR. Think: “Saturn ring, honeycomb, peach sorbet, clementine, candlelight, the end of a summer night,” and Blake Lively circa 2011.
Celebrity hair colorist Bianca Hillier adds that pumpkin spice hair is a great way to transition from dark to light without going overboard. “It has tons of warmth and offers hints of blonde for a lighter look and feel,” she says. “Some may think pumpkin spice is a bit more faded than a true copper, however, it’s a way to move out of coppers and reds and into more of a blonde realm.”
A unique spin on recent trends, pumpkin spice hair is also a perfect way to change up your look for the early fall season. “Clients start to lose their summer tan and the weather starts to get cooler and gray, so your skin tends to get cooler or pale,” Kandasamy explains. “By adding those soft warm shades, it makes the skin look more healthy and shiny.”
Because the colors of pumpkin spice latte hair are more delicate than other recent red hair trends and have more color layers than strawberry blonde, he adds, an individual’s ideal shade will vary depending on their skin tone and complexion. At the salon, make sure your stylist takes the time to assess your specific needs so that you get your most flattering color. “If you have a cool skin tone and a pink/white complexion, I would advise for a color blend with copper and orange tones,” Kandasamy says. “If you have a warm skin tone and olive/dark complexion, I would advise pumpkin spice hair with honey and amber tones.”
Kandasamy also suggests going for golden blonde highlights for added dimension. “If you already have old balayage highlights, you can just tone those blonde pieces to brighten up your pumpkin hair,” he says.
After you find your perfect shade, it’s important to ask your colorist for proper at-home care to keep the color looking fresh, Hillier points out. “My favorite go-to is Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask to keep hair glossy and shiny.”
If you’re intrigued by pumpkin spice latte hair, you might want to book yourself into the salon soon; before you know it, there’ll be another seasonal trend on the horizon that you’re itching to try.