Amber Hair Is Replacing Cowboy Copper As The Go-To Red For 2024

You may have noticed that red hair has been creeping back into our lives more and more over the past few years. One of the reasons for that? It's a fun and much easier way for brunettes to change up their tresses without going as dramatic as a fully blonde makeover. "It definitely has an accessibility that blonde doesn't. Especially for more melanated hair types, blonde is just very expensive to keep up," hair stylist Nicole Keenen explained to CNN. But besides the practicality, there's another reason why the fiery shade may be on the rise. As hairstylist Jenna Perry told Glamour, red hair can bring a certain air of confidence to our lives. And with this new turn towards red locks, we've seen plenty of shades trending over the past few months. 2023's hot red shade was a mix of copper-y and warm brown earning it the name cowboy copper. But, yeehaw no more everyone, because 2024 has brought us the western copper shade's official red replacement (or red-placement, if you will): Amber hair.

So, what exactly makes amber so different from previous iterations of red?  "If you mix a golden tone with copper, you end up with this beautiful amber shade that has a way of complementing any skin tone and eye color," Tiffanie Richards, master colorist at Louise O'Connor Salon, explained of the new hot tone to Allure. This means that unlike other shades of red, which may only look right on people naturally blond or super light hair, amber hair can look great on just about any base — even dark hair.

So many celebs have tried amber hair (and there are so many different ways to wear it!)

If you have dark hair and are looking for amber hair inspiration, you'll be in good company. Countless natural brunette celebs have tried this shade, including Emily Ratajkowski, who debuted it on Instagram in July 2023. In the caption for the post, the star credited her new 'do to the work of stylist Jenna Parry. Parry later dished on the Ratajkowski's vibrant "glazed amber" transformation to Glamour, sharing, "I wanted to create a red shade that not only complemented her skin and eye color, but something that was fun for summer and easy for her to transition back to her signature brunette." Another star who's sported this shade? Kendall Jenner, who wowed with cinnamon amber hair in 2022. Jenner's shade was slightly different to Ratajkowski's though, as it was lighter and more golden.

Since it's heavier on the red tint, amber has a slightly more golden undertone than cowboy copper. In some ways, this makes it more versatile on a variety of skin tones. Unlike yellow or orange, golden hues flatter lighter naturally warm, cool, and neutral undertones. For those who have darker hair or olive skin, like Ratajkowski or Jenner, the shade can be a great way to brighten an overall look. 

What to remember if you're trying amber hair

If you're ready to head to the salon to try out amber tresses yourself, then there are a few things to keep in mind before booking your appointment. First, make sure you've done your research on your skin tone (and undertone), as amber isn't one-size-fits-all. If you're a natural brunette, you may consider an amber with a bit of an auburn tone. If you're going lighter, you may want a golden amber. Know that achieving the right color may take several processes, depending on what color hair you're starting with. If your hair is already a lighter brown, you may able to lift to the amber shade without a problem, but if your a darker brunette, it will probably require multiple steps. This is also true if you're working a highlight or balayage into your amber. 

Jenna Perry suggested to Glamour that anyone who wants to go amber (or any color red, for that matter)sit down with a hair stylist to ensure they find the shade that flatters their skin and eye color. Consider whether your hair is in the state to be color-treated, too.  You may even want to book a short pre-appointment to discuss your options in detail. The good news is even if your hair isn't in the best condition, amber can still be a viable color option. "It's perfect for damaged or dry hair, because its warm tones will make hair look rich and healthy," Tiffanie Richards pointed out while speaking to Allure. 

However, keep in mind that although amber locks aren't quite as high-maintenance as going blonde, it still needs requires some extra care. So have a good think about if you have the time (or desire) to do the upkeep. As Perry pointed out, "There's a lot of aftercare if you want it to stay vibrant and healthy." As InStyle notes, it's always good to use a copper shampoo to keep the reddish hue bright without looking too orangey. On that note, it's also good to be wary of using too many heat styling tools, as this could shorten the lifespan of your hair color.