The auburn hair color sits somewhere on the spectrum between red, brown, and blonde hair, perfectly embodying the best traits of each one of these shades. It is a more natural and sophisticated take on red, but it is also more fun and livelier than your average brown.
In this article, I’ll break down the characteristics of auburn hair color, and help you figure out what kind of auburn hair dye will work best with your skin tone. I’ll let you know what the step by step process is for using auburn hair dye along with some extra tips for perfect color.
I’ll also explain how to maintain it so that it looks its best for as long as possible. Once you make the switch to auburn hair, you may also want to update your makeup and fashion, so I have some advice on that front as well.
In this article:
- Which Auburn Hair Color Works Best for Your Skin Tone?
- How to Dye Hair Auburn?
- Tips for Keeping Your Auburn Hair Color Vibrant
- Expert Makeup Tips for Auburn Hair
- Best Fashion Colors for Auburn Hair
Which Auburn Hair Color Works Best for Your Skin Tone?
The beautiful thing about the auburn hair color is that it is a subtler take on red, and it is therefore extremely flattering for almost every skin tone. Auburn hair colors work equally well with both warm and cool undertones to the skin, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
- If your skin tone happens to lean towards cooler, with purplish veins and pinkish tones, you will perhaps prefer a more neutral shade of auburn hair that has a bit of red, a lot of brown, and not too much orange or gold to it. Most people with cool skin tones also tend to be on the paler side of things, in which case a lighter auburn hair color will be super flattering, while a darker auburn shade will be intense, striking, and regal.
- Those with warm undertones to their skin, meaning that their veins appear more green while their skin has yellow tones to it, can try almost every shade of auburn hair dye without fear. The more golden tones of auburn hair will be the most flattering, of course, as they will bring out the gold in the skin, but even cooler takes on auburn hair are never so cool as to clash with warm skin. Lighter takes on auburn hair will make the skin appear more tan, while darker shades of auburn hair color will simply complement.
- The only folks who might want to be a bit more careful with auburn hair colors are those whose skin has olive undertones, meaning that it appears slightly greenish. In this case, only auburn hair colors that are very nearly brown or gold can work, as too much red (especially orange red) will make the skin look sallow and sickly.
How to Dye Hair Auburn?
While it’s always a good idea to have your hair dyed professionally in a salon, if you still decide to take the DIY route, here is how you can dye your hair auburn at home.
First Things First
- Whenever you set out to dye your hair you need to remember that dyes, including auburn hair dye, will not lighten your natural hair color. If your hair is very dark and you are hoping for a lighter auburn hair color, you will have to first bleach your hair until it reaches the lightness you desire. Only then can you finally follow these instructions and dye your hair auburn.
- The auburn hair dye will damage your hair less and will take a better hold if you avoid washing it the day of and the day before you dye your hair. Don’t be afraid to let your hair get a little greasy before you dye it.
- You can prep your hair for the dyeing by doing a nourishing treatment mask, or even by just soaking your hair in coconut oil a few days before the dyeing session.
- You also want to prepare yourself mentally, but thinking about how you’d like your auburn hair to look. Are you going to just dye your whole head one color, or do you maybe want to leave the roots dark. Will you attempt to do an auburn balayage or ombre at home?
- If you’re going to try a more complicated hair dyeing technique, then make sure to think ahead about how you will separate the hair and where you will apply the auburn hair dye in order to achieve it.
As you feel completely ready for the dye job, here is what you need to have:
- Auburn hair dye (or auburn hair dye kit, which will include the color as well as most of the following items)
- Plastic gloves
- Mixing bowl or bottle
- Hair dye applicator brush
- Hair clips
- A plastic bag or shower cap
- Old button-up shirt
- Petroleum jelly (optional)
Step 1: Auburn Hair Dye Process – Applying the Dye
- Now that you have everything ready, begin by mixing your auburn hair dye and developer together in a bowl with a brush, or in a bottle if you’re using a hair dye kit.
- Let the color sit for as long as it requires in order to develop. This will usually take a few minutes.
- While the auburn hair color develops, get ready by putting on an old button-up shirt that you don’t mind getting dirty.
- Apply petroleum jelly along your hairline and to your ears to avoid the skin getting stained with the auburn hair dye.
- Separate your hair with the help of a hair comb or with the sharp edge of your hair dye applicator brush, and then clip each section. Professional hair colorists will separate the hair into four sections, by splitting the hair from ear to ear along the crown, and again in the center.
- Put on the plastic gloves so you can avoid staining your hands.
- Choose the section of hair you want to start with (normally this would be one of the front sections), and take the hair clip off of it.
- From that section take a piece of hair about 2.5-cm in length, to begin dyeing.
- If you will be dyeing your hair from root to ends, apply the auburn hair dye to the roots of the piece of hair, and then pull it down all the way to the ends with the help of your hair dye applicator brush. If you’re opting for a balayage instead, apply the dye where you want the balayaged strands to go. If you’re doing an ombre, apply the auburn hair dye where you intend the ombre to start.
- Massage the auburn hair dye into the piece of hair you just covered, and then move on to the next 2.5-cm piece of hair from that same section.
- Continue dyeing the hair in pieces the same way, until you’ve covered that whole section of hair in auburn hair dye.
- Clip the dyed section of hair back up, and unclip the next section of hair. Split that section of hair into pieces much the same way you did for the previous section, and clip it all back up once all of the hair is covered in auburn hair dye.
Step 2: Waiting for the Color to Process
- Once you’ve finished dyeing all sections of your hair and clipped them all back up, put a shower cap or a plastic bag over your dyed hair to prevent the dye from coming into contact with anything and making a mess, as well as to trap heat in and speed up the processing time.
- Do not throw out your bottle or bowl of auburn hair dye – you might need it again later for touch-ups.
- Let your hair process for around 20-45 minutes. Your auburn hair dye should come with instructions as for how long processing time will take, so follow those.
- Once the processing time has elapsed, it’s time to enjoy the fact that you chose to wear a button-up shirt – you simply unbutton it without having to worry about pulling it over your head!
- Hop in the shower to wash out the dye with lukewarm water. Rinse as much of the auburn hair dye out without using a shampoo.
- Once the water is running clear load your hair up with conditioner, and let the conditioner sit in your hair for a few minutes.
- Rinse out the conditioner, and when you’re ready, get out of the shower.
- Gently towel-dry your hair or let it air-dry – try to avoid blow-drying it if you can.
- Once you’ve dried up, admire your new auburn hair color! If it’s perfect, then simply go ahead and enjoy it. If you seem some missing spots or areas that need correcting, go back in there with the auburn hair dye and correct the mistakes.
Tips for Keeping Your Auburn Hair Color Vibrant
- Every time you shampoo your auburn hair you end up taking off some of the hair dye, so make sure to avoid shampooing your hair too often. After you’ve dyed your hair wait at least 2 or 3 days before using any shampoo. Afterwards, try to only shampoo your auburn hair once or twice a week.
- When you do wash your auburn hair, make sure to use a sulfate-free shampoo, as sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate will strip the hair dye from the hair very quickly.
- Avoid washing your hair with hot water, as it will speed up the fading of your auburn hair color. Lukewarm water will be much kinder to your freshly dyed auburn hair.
- Even better, use a color-refreshing shampoo, conditioner, or hair mask every time you wash your hair, so they can deposit a bit more auburn hair color into your locks.
- Heat styling, including straightening, curling, and even blow-drying can damage dyed hair, so try to avoid doing it as much as possible. When going for heat styling, always use a heat protectant.
- Use hair strengthening masks with protein like keratin, silk protein, or soy protein to give your hair extra strength and moisture, since the dyeing process can really take its toll and make the hair brittle.
- You can expect to need a refreshment of your auburn hair dye job after 6-8 weeks, at which point you can also change up your color if you like!
Expert Makeup Tips for Auburn Hair
The change over from blonde or brown hair to auburn hair is not an overly drastic one, so chances are you don’t have to change your way of doing makeup – at least not dramatically. However, I do have some tips for making auburn hair really jive with makeup.
Complexion Makeup for Auburn Hair
Auburn hair should not have an unflattering impact on your skin tone, so you shouldn’t find a need to change the way you do your foundation. Whether you like a matte, high-coverage foundation, a BB cream, a dewey tinted moisturizer, or anything in between, you can keep enjoying that product. The same goes for other complexion products like bronzer, highlighter, and contour powder or cream. Do you, boo!
When it comes to blush, you do need to be a bit more thoughtful, however. Blushes, especially very cool-toned mauve or magenta blushes, do pose the risk of clashing against warmer reddish auburn hair. If you are the daring type, feel free to play around, but for most it is more advisable to opt for a neutral or peachy blush instead.
Eye Makeup For Auburn Hair
Once you make the switch to auburn hair color, the most drastic change to your eye makeup is going to be your eyebrow pomade or pencil. You will definitely want to switch over to a pencil, powder, or cream that will match auburn hair better. You don’t have to switch to something that matches perfectly, but a brown tone with more reddish or golden undertones to it will work better than a cool taupe or yellowish brown.
When it comes to eyeshadows, however, there are fewer rules! Some women with auburn hair love having their eyeshadow clash against their hair, by using green or deep blue tones. Bright neon takes on these colors are likely to clash, but smokier or jewel-like metallic shades will be super classy.
The safe shades to wear for eyeshadow include smoky grays and blacks, metallic bronzes, coppers, and golds, and earthy neutrals like beige, taupe, or chocolate brown.
When it comes to eyeliner, you can skip it altogether. Especially if you went down to a brighter shade of auburn hair than your previous hair color, you can rock the seductive liquid eyeliner look with a sharp wing, or you can wear a pencil in a smoky smudge.
Black is a classic choice, but browns, plums, and even dark blues can work well as long as they match your eyeshadow look. As far as mascara is concerned, sticking to black or dark brown is the way to go.
Lipstick for Auburn Hair
Unlike with bright red hair, most lipsticks will not clash against auburn hair colors. Both blue-based and orange-based red lipsticks can work well with your new hair color, especially if you like the bombshell look.
Cool, purple-based lipsticks are a bit riskier, but they’re style worth trying – just make sure to pair them with very neutral eye makeup. The safe choice, of course, is wearing neutral “my lip but better” shades like rose and raspberry, or lively peach shades. Be careful with nude lipsticks, as too light of a nude shade will wash you out.
Best Fashion Colors for Auburn Hair
The beautiful thing about auburn hair colors is that they’re more neutral, and therefore more versatile than more vibrant takes on red. Colors that might clash with red or ginger hair will not clash with auburn hair, so you don’t need to worry about getting creative.
- For more professional looks, opt for neutral solids. Beige is an especially flattering option, and you can combine it with chocolate browns and taupes as well.
- Other neutrals, like white and black, will allow your auburn hair to take all of the attention.
- If you’d like to draw even more attention to your auburn hair, then make sure to wear its opposite colors on the color wheel: green if it leans more towards red, and blue if it leans more towards orange.
- If you’re a fan of color blocking, you should know that most shades of auburn hair are not red enough to become part of your color pattern. This means that you can combine all the colors you like for a fun color-blocked outift!
- Pastels are not necessarily a bad color option, but they can look a little weak when combined with auburn hair colors. Once you punch them up with some darker colors in the form of a scarf or jacket they should work well!
- Normally we tell redheads to be careful when wearing pinks or reds – however, those with auburn hair colors don’t need to worry. Red will always be a sexy choice, while pinks will give some girlish brightness to your look!
Photos via @seangodard, Instagram