If you’re looking to change up your hair color but you can’t quite decide which direction to go, there’s a beautiful place between the lands of blonde and brunette that you need to know about. It’s called caramel hair, and yes, it’s as pretty as it sounds. It’s basically the middle ground between buttery blondes, golden browns, and soft reds—and it might be exactly what you need to change up your color without fully committing to either side.
If you need a visual, allow me to show you the 20 prettiest caramel hair trends straight from Instagram, including everything from classic caramel tips to a honey-caramel balayage. Trust me when I say these looks will have you DMing your colorist, like, immediately.
20 Caramel Hair Ideas That Are Legit Perfect Year-Round
Classic Caramel Hair
Caramel is a great option for brunettes who are looking to lighten their hair up a bit without going full blonde. The light literally bounces off the golden tones in this stunning color.Continue reading below ↓Continue reading below ↓Recommended Videos
If you aren't down for a full caramel color, these curly tips are super cute and super low-maintenance. No need to worry about your roots coming in or your color fading—just be sure to keep your ends moisturized with a leave-in conditioner or curl cream.Continue reading below ↓
This sleek caramel ponytail contrasts so nicely next to the dark roots. And, TBH, the ‘60s vibe makes me want to head down to the roller rink. Adding this one to my summer mood board.
Caramel Hair With Shadow Roots
Heads up: Shadow roots are A Thing, and I’m obsessed. What’s better than a hair color where you don’t have to touch up your roots or use a color remover? This caramel hair color with classic brunette tones is just so pretty.Continue reading below ↓
Caramel and Honey
If you like a mix of complementary shades, add some honey to your caramel hair. The two colors work so well together in this balayage and bring out all the warm, summery (read: not brassy) tones you need. Psst: If you’re dealing with brassiness, purple shampoo can help balance out those harsh tones as you cleanse.Continue reading below ↓
Just because caramel falls somewhere between two colors doesn’t mean you can’t make it bold. Try getting two face-framing caramel streaks so every style you create will have that eye-catching effect. Snag an at-home color kit or have a pro take care of it—either way, you can’t go wrong.Continue reading below ↓
Don't these locs look so pretty with a soft caramel shade? If you're looking to try out a new hair color but don't want to run the risk of damage, look towards a color wax for an easy temporary style (that way, you can test the waters before you commit).Continue reading below ↓
Ginger Caramel Hair
Caramel hair itself comes in so many different shades and hues. This option has just a slight red hue to it, which is great for natural redheads or anyone who likes that red hair tint (hi, me).Continue reading below ↓
Brunette to Caramel Ombré
Similar to shadow roots, ombré is a super cute and easy way to change up your color without getting a full dye job. The brunette to caramel ombré here is legit magic. P.S. Even if you're a box dye pro, you'll still want to screenshot this pic and take it to the salon (a professional colorist will help you get that smooth transition from brown to blonde tones).Continue reading below ↓
Sandy Caramel Hair
Another reason to love caramel hair? It’s an ideal beach wave hair color. Like, you can obviously get beach waves with any color (all you need is a salt spray or ~the beach~), but this sandy caramel shade basically screams, “I just got back from vacation” (even if you haven’t left your apartment all season).Continue reading below ↓
For a more cold-weather-appropriate shade, this deep, rich caramel hair color is a great option. BTW, if you have a sensitive scalp, try using a non-toxic dye or ammonia-free dye to get your perfect caramel shade, minus the irritation.
This caramel hair is on the lighter end of the spectrum, which makes it a great choice for anyone who still loves the traditional blonde look. Wear warm-toned makeup shades (like peach eyeshadow and highlighter) to bring out the warm caramel color.Continue reading below ↓
Caramel + ash blonde = a really pretty, cool-toned look. This is a great shade option if you prefer softer, more subtle hues over warmer ones. Anyone else down to try this one for fall?Continue reading below ↓
If you’re looking to stay blonde but you still want to try some different tones, this caramel hair color is for you. The perks? You don’t have to change up your hair routine much, and blonder hair is an easy base for any temporary dyes you want to try out.Continue reading below ↓
Strawberry Caramel Hair
Still into that strawberry blonde look? This caramel hair has a sweet strawberry tint that really brings out both shades beautifully. While maintaining your color, try a hair toner or gloss to keep it looking shiny and bright.
Sorry, but can we take a quick sec to admire how pretty these caramel curls are? Like, talk about the perfect golden hair color. BTW, if you're dyeing your natural hair for the first time, read through our guide before you book your appointment.Continue reading below ↓
Rose Gold Caramel Hair
I like rose gold in my jewelry, my eyeshadow, and now I want it in my hair. But really, isn't this caramel shade with subtle rose undertones so pretty? BRB while I book an appointment with my colorist.Continue reading below ↓
Smokey Caramel Hair
The cousin of ash and dark blonde hues, this smokey caramel hair color really leans into the blue and gray undertones. The result? A color so cute I've already added it to my summer hair inspo.
Golden Caramel Hair
The best thing about caramel hair? It works as a summer color or a fall color. Basically, the summer sun bounces off the light tones really nicely, but the caramel also pairs well with fall jewel tones. Whichever way you spin it, the shade of these 4a curls is the actual definition of gold.Continue reading below ↓
Toffee Caramel Hair
This shade technically leans a little darker than your average caramel hair color, but the mixture of red and blonde tones is actually gorgeous. For a darker shade like this, you’ll want to manage any brassy hues with a blue shampoo.Continue reading below ↓
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.