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19 Pics of Hair Color Ideas from Stylists at Real Salons

BY: Colleen Loggins Loster | Jun 30, 2017

When you're looking for hair color ideas, you see a lot of pictures of celebrities with perfectly buttery strands. Or glossy chestnut locks. Or striking auburn waves that look like they wouldn't even be able to fade to a lackluster orangey-brown if they tried. The pictures are beautiful, but not exactly realistic, which means you're never quite sure if the hair color is A.) Something a noncelebrity stylist can actually do and B.) Something that would work for your lifestyle. That's where we can help.

We asked professional stylists who work with us to share with us some of their latest color creations for real clients, from classic platinum blonde hair to dark locks swirled with blue and magenta. Below, they give details on each look, including how much maintenance is required, helping you navigate your next salon visit.

Melted Balayage Ombre

Designed by Alisha M. at Color Love by Alisha

Technique: I used a full balayage technique, where I went through every section of the hair and hand painted it to create a melted ombre effect.

Why do you like it? The seamless transition from dark to light. It's a different play on blonding.

Upkeep: The upkeep on this is very low once the desired color is achieved on the ends. It allows the guest to leave their root natural so they aren't forced into a high maintenance color. With this look, I usually see my guests every 3–6 months.

Midnight Edge Blue Accents

Designed by Alisha M. at Color Love by Alisha

Technique: I used Redken's Midnight Edge technique: a portion of the head is lifted out with a lightener, pretoned with a glaze, and then a blend of Redken's cool-toned colors are blurred into the hair.

Why do you like it? The colors blend but have definition all in one. The look changes depending on how the guest parts her hair, which gives her a lot of versatility in one color.

Upkeep: The upkeep is a little more than a basic color. ... You'll typically come in to see your stylist every 6–8 weeks if you would like to keep the color vibrant, but the colors actually look pretty cool as they fade.

Dark Chocolate Glazed

Designed by Alisha M. at Color Love by Alisha

Technique: This look was achieved using a series of Redken Shades EQ glazes to add richness and depth.

Why do you like it? The dimension. It is not a flat all-over color, it has intense shine.

Upkeep: This look is very low maintenance if you're already in the brunette family. Shades EQ leaves the hair like a tan so there's no extreme line of demarcation.

Highlights with Gold Lowlights

Designed by Alisha M. at Color Love by Alisha

Technique: This look is a highlight and lowlight service using a traditional foil technique; however, I used a gloss in a gold iridescent as a lowlight to create natural-looking dimension.

Why do you like it? The soft highs and lows. It's dimensional blond with a lot of depth.

Upkeep: With this look, a guest would typically return every 6–8 weeks.

Caramel Balayage

Designed by Alisha M. at Color Love by Alisha

Technique: I used a balayage technique using Redken's Free Hand lightener made specifically for free-hand techniques.

Why do you like it? The soft highlight effect

Upkeep: A guest can leave their root natural and wear [it] for about 8–12 weeks.

Sunset Balayage

Designed by Alisha M. at Color Love by Alisha

Technique: I balayaged lighter pieces on the guest's prelightened hair, and then went back in and painted pinks, purples, and yellows in varying combinations.

Why do you like it? It's just fun! It's a really nice blend of spring-inspired colors.

Upkeep: The upkeep on this is usually 6–8 weeks, but can sometimes be longer because the guest may enjoy the differences in the colors as they fade.

Dimensional Honey Blond

Designed by Alisha M. at Color Love by Alisha

Technique: This guest's hair is actually very dark, so she is retouched with a lightener, and then we go through the hairline and part with babylights, which are super fine natural highlights that mimic the hair being sun-kissed. Then the look is finished with a gloss to tone and add immense shine.

Why do you like it? It's a dimensional honey blond with controlled warmth.

Upkeep: The upkeep on this is usually 4–8 weeks.

Balayage, Babylights, and a Root Drop

Designed by Alisha M. at Color Love by Alisha

Technique: This look was achieved using a combination of balayage and babylights with a root drop, which is where we use a darker shade at the root area.

Why do you like it? The brighter face frame. There's lots of blond and dimension, but the eye can't tell exactly where it's coming from, giving a more organic effect.

Upkeep: The upkeep on this is low because the highlights are soft and melted into the hair, and the root is left darker and more natural.

Blue and Magenta Swirl

Designed by Alisha M. at Color Love by Alisha

Technique: I sectioned out a triangle of hair on one side of the head and prelightened it, then added in violet blue and magenta using a blur technique.

Why do you like it? The intense swirl of colors and the different looks that are created by changing the part

Upkeep: This look is fairly low maintenance because it is only a portion of the hair, but to keep it fresh, I would suggest getting it done between 6–8 weeks. If you enjoy the changing colors as they fade, services can be stretched out further.

Multidimensional Blond Highlights

Designed by Deb at Asha Salon & Spa at the Shops on Butterfield

Why do you like it? This is fantastic for adding brightness to the hair.

Upkeep: The upkeep is minimal since the pieces all blend together to create a soft look.

Violet Red Tint

Designed by Deb at Asha Salon & Spa at the Shops on Butterfield

Why do you like it? This iridescent violet red gives richness to dark hair. With its multitone look, it has the illusion to be violet, red, or brown depending on the lighting you are in.

Upkeep: This color should be maintained every 6 weeks to keep it fresh.

Hidden Pop of Color

Designed by Deb at Asha Salon & Spa at the Shops on Butterfield

Why do you like it? This fun and trendy look gives a pop of hidden color to enhance your hair. It's like a little surprise that shines through.

Upkeep: We recommend maintaining this hidden gem every 6–8 weeks for optimal results.

Classic Platinum Blond

Designed by Deb at Asha Salon & Spa at the Shops on Butterfield

Why do you like it? We love blond bombshells!

Upkeep: Best maintained every 6–8 weeks to keep your brightness fresh.

Chocolate-Caramel Ribbons

Designed by Deb at Asha Salon & Spa at the Shops on Butterfield

Why do you like it? Chocolate and caramel ribbons make this ombre have soft dimension.

Upkeep: The best part is that it's low maintenance enough to only be done every 3–4 months.

Golden Highlights and Lowlights

Designed by Deb at Asha Salon & Spa at the Shops on Butterfield

Why do you like it? Golden gleams of soft blond bring warmth to the hair.

Upkeep: This look requires being highlighted and lowlighted every eight weeks.

Double-Process Blond

Designed by Deb at Asha Salon & Spa at the Shops on Butterfield

Why do you like it? This all-over double-process blond keeps [its] consistency of brightness and gives a youthful, fun look.

Upkeep: This color needs to be maintained every 3–4 weeks.

All-Over Deep Brunette

Designed by Deb at Asha Salon & Spa at the Shops on Butterfield

Why do you like it? [It's] dark, shiny, and healthy.

Upkeep: Keep this beautiful look refreshed every 4–6 weeks.

Natural Golden Balayage

Designed by Deb at Asha Salon & Spa at the Shops on Butterfield

Why do you like it? A fresh summer balayage gives warm golden hues to make a sun-kissed finish.

Upkeep: Upkeep this natural look every 3–4 months.

Blond Balayage Ombre

Designed by Deb at Asha Salon & Spa at the Shops on Butterfield

Why do you like it? Give a darker hair dimension with a blond ombre balayage to show movement in the hair.

Upkeep: Upkeep this pretty color every 2–3 months.


What to Know Before You Go

Before you head off to the salon, take a peek at our guides below: 

Is It Balayage, Ombre, or Highlights Want Fantasy Colors in Your Dark Hair
We define the most popular hair color terms. Oil slick hair color can turn dark locks into mermaid hair. 

Stop! Don't Wash Away Your Color. Can't Decide What Look You Want?
These eight cute styles for dirty hair can help you go longer between washes. How a glaze can give commitment phobes color