20 Great Ways to 'Go Dark' for the Winter

20 Great Ways to 'Go Dark' for the Winter
Image: katie_durling/Instagram

brown hair

At the end of spring, most are usually impatient for the warmth and light of summer. Winter usually overstays her welcome, and the cool and darkness we yearned for at the end of the previous summer, we beg that they leave. To usher in the new season, in addition to pulling out the floral and bright-colored clothing, many lighten their locks to various levels of golden hues. Forget mother nature -- it's dyeing the hair that signifies the beginning of summer. And the truth is, that's accurate for every season as each time of the year really has its own sense of style. 

Now, we're at the end of summer. The heat has beaten us up and cool breezes begin to greet us at the door. We know the end is nigh, as the countdown to daylight saving begins. In anticipation of the darker days, darker clothing, and hats, why not take the hair down a few notches as well. Our summer highlights have no doubt been made brassy by the sun, or at least our roots have grown out and we need a touch up. 

Personally, I prefer the cliche winter looks, the moody lipsticks, the jewel-toned clothing, and the hair in a rich, single-toned, blue black or mahogany shade. Ombre lovers might prefer to add other shades, whether they choose to be inspired by the autumn leaves with intense red and oranges, or go the other direction with a cooler palette of blues and purples. To get some inspiration on how to embody the coming fall and winter, let's check out some lusciously warm and luxuriously frosty hair color ideas. 

  • Deep Mocha Brown


    This entire style is so fall! The dusty hickory brown with ever-so-subtle chestnut highlighted tips, along with the gorgeous bangs, would look great under the beanies and hats we're forced to wear in the cold. 

  • Rich Chocolate Brown


    Who doesn't love chocolate? Some say they need it. A warm, more approachable way to go deep dark without going completely noir, is this deep single-process color. A great way to welcome fall.

  • Natural Black-ish


    The stylist behind this color describes the look as "dark and stormy." A natural black with just a few mahogany highlights on the tips. The black almost looks like a cool brown -- I swear there are just so many shades of black!

  • Subtle Brownish Red Ombre


    I'm in love with subtle ombre effects on the hair. The dramatic gradients are nice too, but the subtle ones are just so delightful. I find that the less dramatic the contrast of colors is in the hair, the more full and plush the hair looks. Here we see a beautiful dark brown gradually flow into a merlot color. 

  • Multi-Toned Brown and Burgundy Ombre


    The lighting of this picture makes it hard to really see what's going on, but it appears that the woman's hair is brown and then the tips are burgundy, but there also appear to be a few burgundy/red lowlights in there. A multi-toned color adds dimension and sort of an optical illusion. From one angle, people will see this range of colors, but from another, something else. Also depending on the style that day, one can show more or less of a color. 

  • Golden/Amber Brown


    I'm in love with this color because its like an amplified natural hair color. Stylists can amplify one's natural hair color or make it evenly the same shade, which would be great for women who don't want to step too far outside of the box.

  • Black to Bronze Ombre


    This bronzey/coppery color reminds me of a shiny new penny. This would look so great in fall, especially  with oranges and reds and even burgundy colored clothing, accessories, and even makeup.

  • Mahogany With Auburn Tips


    According to Madison Taylor (the color specialist behind this look), the base hair color is a cappuccino brown, and the ends are a vibrant red. It sort of resembles a flame burning in a fireplace. 

  • Black Base With Red & Orange Highlights


    This red and orange-tipped look provides a little more contrast than some of the others we've seen. I love how much of the red permeates the hair and orange/peach color is less saturated in the back and more in the front. A work of art, if I say so myself. 

  • Dark Red 


    One of the greatest things about going light or blond during the summer is that it makes it much easier for brunettes to go any other shade after that. This deep cherry color is so gorgeous to me -- I'm instantly imagining a dark burgundy lip, a long black dress, and low bun. 

  • Burgundy


    Burgundy is one of my favorite colors to wear. In clothing, in lipstick, accessories -- everything in the color just looks so lush, so opulent. Hair in the color does no less. 

  • Subtle Plum With Burgundy Tips


    This luscious color palette resembles a colorful bowl of grapes (without the green ones). The blackish purple ones, the red ones -- just so juicy! Not that looking at this hair makes me hungry. But I love how these deep shades of red and purple complement each other. 

  • Obsidian Black With a Blue Streak


    The "before" picture of this hair color transformation is already super fall, with long, chocolate locks. But to take it even further down the wintery "rabbit-hole," why not take that chocolate to a blue black with blue streaks? Just looking at this style, I feel a shiver down my spine. 

  • Black With Purple & Violet Highlights


    Want something a little warmer than blue black, but not as much intensity? Try purple. This flat black with purple and violet highlights still looks wearable. Purple looks great on warm undertones of skin, and can work with both cool-toned as well as warm-toned outfits or makeup looks. 

  • Black, Plum, & Purple Ombre


    The black-purple color palette takes another form with this brilliant color job. A whole family of colors appear to have been applied to the ends of her hair, not just purple, but also a warm brown and a cooler indigo/violet color. 

  • Plum Hair


    This shade of purple is just so sumptuous. Its edgy and a little rebellious, but still subtle.  

  • Black With Purple & Blue Highlights


    We've seen blue-black hair, we've seen black with blue streaks, and black with purple highlights. But what if none of those is quite enough? This purple and blue highlight look is actually a spray-on color job, and is for the artistic at heart. Whether for one night, or permanently, this color is lots of fun, and would look great with winter apparel in colors like plum, navy, or even black. 

  • Black, Brunette, Auburn, & Blonde Ombre


    This potpourri of colors is like a rainbow of all the basic hair color families. A concept like this is great for the risk-taker who has a corporate job, or the mom who cant decide if she wants to go super dark for winter, warm for fall, or keep her hair summery and light. 

  • Autumn-Inspired Ombre


    Wonder what it would look like to take a bunch of fallen autumn leaves to the hair colorist and say "give me this?" Look no further. This look appears to have bottled up the entire fall season, and poured it onto a cute bob. I love this color palette -- and this style would be great for someone who doesn't like to do too much with makeup or clothing color-wise. The hair does all the talking.

  • Dark Black


    This entire beauty look screams winter to me. Dark black hair is just the epitome of winter, and is the perfect contrast to the pale hue everyone's face takes during those months. On occasion, pop on a red lip and some blush, for a rosy, flushed look.

  • Blue-Black


    This cool-toned black is one of the deepest blacks one can try before going into another color. Blue-black gives hair great shine and a voluminous look, and looks great with waves and curls.

  • Black, Blue, & Gray Ombre Hair


    Icy! Some of the coolest (literally) colors in the color wheel appear together in this not-so-subtle, but not-so-vibrant ombre design. If any of these styles gave me the essence of the frigid arctic, this would definitely be number one. 

  • Grayish Black/Ash Blond Ombre


    Most moms try to put off having any sort of gray hair -- even a single strand -- as long as they can. But this beautiful subtle black into gray ombre gives us a beautiful gradient that looks super modern and sleek, while ending with ash blond tips! 

  • Natural Black-Gray Ombre


    A subtle gradient is on display here, but it's using that gray we talked about earlier, without as much contrast. From the natural black to the warm brownish gray, this color job completely removed the warmth from her hair for a chilly, arctic vibe. 

  • Platinum Blond


    Although this article is about going darker for fall and winter, I couldn't leave out one of my favorite winter hair colors. Although blond is generally considered a summery, beachy color, this icy shade of platinum blond is almost white like snow, and looks gorgeous in the winter, whether it's paired with a red lip and rosy cheeks, or a natural look and glossy nude lip. 

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