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Last fall, it felt like everyone on the Internet was dyeing their hair red, including celebs such as Emily Ratajkowski and Nicola Coughlan. Red was the color of the season. This year, the trending red shade, cowgirl copper, is similar but just different enough to feel fresh and new for fall 2023. It’s a little bit caramel, a little brunette, and a little red, and more muted than the bright shade favored last fall. It might even be more wearable.
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One scroll through beauty TikTok and you’ll see “cowgirl copper hair” trending. It’s blown up so big one user even created a filter so you can see what the color looks like on you before you take the plunge. (It’s pretty realistic!) Hair colorists have taken to the app to share the formula they used on their clients so you can save the video and hopefully get a similar look for yourself. Of course, everyone has a different base color so the results will be slightly different — but this is a good thing. It’ll look more natural. The blonde-to-red transformations are the most eye-catching currently on the app.
No matter your base, the upkeep on faux red hair is serious so keep that in mind before going for the big transformation.
With that in mind, I couldn’t resist trying the trend for myself. To get the perfect cowgirl copper hue, I visited Dom Forletta at Mark Ryan Salon in New York City. After a quick consult, I discovered that even though I’m a true brunette with dark brown hair, I wouldn’t need to bleach my hair first since I didn’t have any pre-existing hair dye on my strands. You will need to bleach if you have a lingering dye job.
I was a little nervous about going red and having it match my skin tone, but Forletta says that’s why you go to the professionals. “There’s such a variety of different copper tones that could pretty much work for anyone, there’s also so many ways it can be done,” he told Stylecaster. “There are ways that require a lot more commitment, or less commitment; it’s really more about how often you want to be in the salon.” For example, he said, if you want to visit less, you can request a cowgirl copper color that blends into the roots with a balayage technique. But because I wanted to go all in, I opted for a total shade transformation from root to tip.
Red fades fast so in addition to using a pigment-depositing shampoo made for redheads, you’ll have to get your entire mane refreshed every 4-6 weeks. Forletta also recommends to opt for the copper hair color in the fall because “you’re not going to be in the sun as much, which typically lightens it and washes it out faster.” Otherwise, he says, you can do glosses in-between and root-only touch-ups. He also says to cut down on washing it and make sure to use sulfate-free shampoos that are color-safe. He loves the Shu Uemura color-safe shampoo, and the Christophe Robin copper tone conditioning mask. *Adds to cart.*
Here is my official before and after photo.
The entire process took about three hours and Forletta made sure to give me the perfect signature shade by doing a complete full hair dye and then custom highlights after for subtle dimension. It was so nice to sit back in the salon chair and relax without having to make specific hair color decisions; Forletta was a master at his craft and did all the hard work for me and I couldn’t be happier with the shade.
I definitely recommend going to a hair salon and definitely Mark Ryan salon if you’re in the city to get the perfect red/copper shade that your stylist can tailor to your skin tone.
But If you want to try a similar look at home without the commitment, we love Kristin Ess Signature Hair Gloss in Copper Penny ($15 at Target), a toning treatment you can do right in the shower. Otherwise, there’s always the TikTok filter.
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