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The 15 *Very* Best Hair Colors To Try If You Have Short Hair

Best Hair Colors For Short Hair
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) Instagram/rodrigopimenta_hair, Instagram/styledbylizsustaita

If your tresses barely touch your shoulders, they fall under the category of short hair. Congratulations—you're one of the few women who know what it's like to not have to pick long, icky strands from your shower drain, or spend precious time in the morning figuring out if you'll go for a ponytail or a top knot.

But whether you have a bob, a pixie, or a buzzcut, the easiest way to inject change into your 'do (aside from growing it out or using accessories) is to dye it! But what IS the best color for short hair? Take note that the length of your mane influences the style of coloring to go for; a buzz cut, for instance, cannot accommodate colored tips the way a longer pixie could.

You also have to consider your lifestyle: Can you afford to visit the salon every three weeks for root retouching? When short hair grows, it's more noticeable compared to a longer style, so even a hint of regrowth would be super obvious. You'd also need to have your hair trimmed regularly to maintain its shape, so whatever hue you dye it in now will be completely snipped off in a month or two. People say short hair is low-maintenance, but this is actually a big misconception! Still, the pros of a short haircut outweigh its cons, and dyeing it is one of the most fun ways to flaunt your personality. Looking for inspo? We're here to help: We rounded up the best hair colors for short hair so you can screenshot this on your next trip to your colorist!


The Best Colors For Short Hair To Try Right Now

  1. Ash Brown

    Ash brown is universally flattering and pretty versatile; depending on your skin tone, your colorist may add highlights in different brown tones to brighten up your complexion. If you want to go a shade lighter but remain a brunette, this is the ideal color for you. 

  2. Raven With Ash-Toned Highlights

    Dark hair doesn't have to be boring! Opt for subtle definition by using a grayish-silver hue to highlight chunky sections. The downside of black or dark hair is it appears as a monotonous blob if you don't have the right cut, so with the proper highlighting technique, your tresses will have movement and dimension it would otherwise lack. 

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  3. Dark brown

    Anne Hathaway? Check. Natalie Portman? Check! If you want the most low-maintenance color for your naturally dark tresses, go for a hue that is a shade or two lighter (at most) than your roots. This way, regrowth would be super subtle and you could even DIY your color with box dye! 

  4. Dark Brown With Babylights

    "Babylights" are called such because they mimic the naturally sun-kissed strands found in children and babies. The highlighted sections are smaller and more delicate, compared to traditional foil highlights. This also means that growing out your hair will be a breeze because people will just assume your strands were touched by the sun! 

  5. Multi-tone Caramel Balayage

    "Balayage" comes from the French word "to sweep," and it refers to the way dye is painted onto the hair in the coloring process, to make the transition to a lighter color look more natural and seamless. This is the common technique used to achieve an "ombré" style (ombré is French for "shadow"), best used on brunettes because of the shift of the colors from dark to light. Using different shades of brown and caramel, you can fake a sun-kissed look and emphasize the blunt layers in your cut.   

  6. Honey Blonde Balayage

    Go even lighter than caramel and take on this gateway color combo for girls tempted to go full-on blonde. The gradation from brown to honeycomb to light blonde makes this suitable for a variety of skin tones, but most especially for those with a tan!

  7. Auburn With Highlights

    Auburn is reddish-brown and could be your transition shade to red. Depending on your skin tone, your colorist can mix the formula so it's leaning towards the orange (aka copper) or brown spectrum. Naturally, brown hair holds auburn pigments better compared to blonde tresses, because of the strands' natural composition. This means this is a go-to shade if you're a brunette! Red hair looks great with highlights, so ask your colorist for recommendations!

  8. Light Caramel Brown With Golden Undertones

    This color looks great on blunt haircuts, and while it looks like it's just one solid hue, there's usually a lot that goes into this coloring technique. You'll see darker undertones and a touch of gold all blended perfectly so there's no visible beginning and end for each hue. Caramel complements most skin tones and looks amazing on girls with deep skin. 

  9. Dark Roots With Platinum Tips

    Got blonde ambition? If you're looking for a platinum blonde style that won't compromise your scalp with bleaching (Notice how this look still retains dark roots?), go for this hair color. Bonus: This color technique emphasizes a bob cut's thickness and volume.

  10. Blonde With Lowlights

    Remember when Gigi Hadid showed up at the American Music Awards with a bob? Granted, it was a wig, but a colorist can copy the same look by adding "lowlights," or sections dyed in a shade or two darker than your base color. Think of it as the opposite of "highlights," or dyeing sections of your tresses in a shade or two lighter than the base color. Lowlights add depth to your mane and look amazing slicked back, as seen on Gigi. 

  11. Dirty Blonde

    "Dirty blonde" refers to blonde hair mixed with shades of wheat, beige, and brown; think of it as medium-blonde. Also called "dishwater blonde," this color technique suits golden and warm skin tones. Like the no makeup-makeup look, however, faking this color is tougher than it looks, and involves different-hued balayage highlights and lowlights all over your crown. 

  12. Metallic

    We strongly recommend leaving this dye job to the pros, because it involves sophisticated coloring techniques to achieve a seamless color gradation. It's also most flattering on straight to wavy hair textures, because the metallic shades will "reflect" better on a smooth surface. If your skin's undertones are on the cool side (check your wrist veins and see if they're mostly blue) then stick to silvery shades. If you fall under the warm undertone category (your wrist veins are mostly green), pick bronze tones instead. 

  13. Reverse Ombré In Pastel Colors

    Since the ombré style refers to the transition of color from dark to light, a reverse ombré is the opposite: Your roots start off light, then eventually shift to darker tones. Play around with the color gradation by using unconventional hues like rosé or lilac; if you're feeling feisty, maybe dark blue or red! Because the colored tips are near your face, this coloring technique has a bigger impact on girls with short hair. Have fun with it!

  14. Ombré In Steel And Blue

    The best thing about ombré? It's never boring! Combine your favorite colors and ask your hairstylist to find a way to blend them seamlessly on your tresses. Why not pick an unusual base shade like ash or steel (perfect for covering grays!) and something bold for the tips? Your imagination is the only limit with this color technique!

  15. Undercut Hair Tattoo With Color

    A "hair tattoo" is not really a tattoo, but a shaved design on the lower half of your head, near the nape. It's temporary, and it will disappear as soon as you grow your hair out. To make the carved shapes stand out, opt to color them in vibrant hues that match their designs. Take note: This color idea is not for the faint of heart; it takes guts—and attitude!—to pull it off. 

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