Short strands need an amazing color to really pop. We found the best hair color for short hair – plus a bunch of runners-up – and you’re going to love them!
What’s the Best Hair Color for Short Hair?
- Tweak basic shades to add gold, red, or ash undertones
- Look for dimensional colors that add depth to short hair
- Try mixed shades that blend multiple colors
If you’re done with so-so color and want the absolute best hair color for short hair, you’re in the right place. Our mission to find the most stunning color to wear with short haircuts led us to a few – okay, more like 18 – shades that really make short strands come to life.
There’s really no single best hair color for short hair, but there are several shades that we’re considering tied for first place. If you genuinely want the best of the best, it all starts with looking at your own skin tone and choosing shades that mirror some of the same undertones.
That means warm skin undertones – peachy or golden skin tint – look best in warm hair colors that have gold, copper, or bronze undertones. Think golden and strawberry blonde, copper, chestnut brown, and chocolate tones.
Cool skin undertones – pinkish or bluish skin tint – look best in cool hair colors that have ash, silver, or violet undertones. That means shades like ash blonde, platinum, champagne blonde, ash and espresso brown, and soft black are amazing on cool skin tones.
Forget the basic blonde, brown, red, and black shades. You’re looking for unique colors that are tweaked with subtle undertones and tints of gold, copper, or silvery ash (whichever undertones match your skin’s).
Pinpointing your color search to shades that sparkle with dimension and metallic undertones will ensure your color never looks dull or flat on short hair.
Speaking of dimension, it’s key for short strands because you have less room overall to let your color make a statement. We love all-over color for short hair – it’s definitely easier and lends itself more to DIY color. Just make sure you’re picking shades that add both depth and brightness.
High-dimension colors appear to change in different lighting and really elevate short hair. We love shades like auburn chestnut, dark golden and strawberry blonde, icy platinum, and caramel copper to add interest to short strands.
Mixing shades is another way to land on amazing colors for short hair. Instead of going with a single shade you like, try blending it with other colors to formulate a custom color that complements your skin!
Warm skin tones can try mixing in a touch of copper, auburn, golden bronze, or nutty brown to tweak a blonde, red, or brown shade. Cool skin tones should add a little ash, silver, or violet to colors like light blonde, medium brown, or deep auburn.
Making these small changes to your color makes a huge difference on short hair. When in doubt, go with a bold color that suits your skin’s undertone – warm colors for warm undertones, cool colors for cool undertones – that puts your short strands front and center.
Bold copper, dramatic soft black, shimmering platinum, and unexpected light strawberry blonde are all excellent options when you want to think outside of the (dye) box. In fact, if you’re daring enough, go all the way with vibrant fantasy rainbow colors. They’re absolutely stunning on short hair.
Ready to see the best hair color for short hair? We’ve got 18 amazing shades coming up next!
The 18-Way Tie for Best Hair Color for Short Hair
We couldn’t possibly choose a winner out of these 18 flattering hair colors for short hair. Maybe you’ll have better luck! From unexpected shades like muted cinnamon and caramel copper, we’ve found some amazing options for the shortest of strands to cute chin-length bobs. Take a peek and see which shades you like best!
1. Auburn Chestnut Brown
Check out auburn chestnut, one of our favorite shades for short hair. It’s warm with golden, copper, and deep auburn undertones in a universally flattering brunette base. The metallic undertones make this color shift in different lighting and really makes short hair look amazing.
2. Neutral Cool Golden Blonde
This blonde color has both cool, icy undertones and warm, golden undertones to make it universally flattering for short hair. All skin tones will look great with hints of gold and silvery, faint-violet tones and a darker root melt to blend it out.
3. Golden Brown to Honey Sombre
Two-tone colors and ombre effects can be tough to achieve on super-short hair, but it’s a great look for a chin-length bob! Here, toasty golden tones in a medium brown shade slowly fade out into a flaxen golden blonde tone at the ends for a subtle brown to blonde ombre (sombre) color.
4. Dark Chocolate Brown
Dark chocolate tones can really skew warm or neutral, depending on how much gold or red there is in the shade. This version is one of our favorites for short hair with a very subtle red undertone that brightens up the face!
5. Stunning Silver Platinum
This is one for the cool-toned ladies, and it is absolutely dazzling in its silvery sheen. Ultra-bright platinum gets toned with metallic silver for a cool edge that somehow looks 10X hotter on short hair. If you’re not cool-toned, try a rosy toner for a rose gold look that’s just as gorgeous.
6. Rich Cool Espresso
You probably like your espresso hot, but this cool-toned espresso brown is really hitting all our checkboxes here. It’s rich and dark with a faint violet undertone and no warm red or gold tones. Try this on short hair if your skin has cool undertones!
7. Vibrant Copper Balayage
Balayage looks a bit different on super-short hair, but it really adds dimension and depth to the look. Here, two vibrant shades of copper (light and medium) light up a pixie cut beautifully. Make sure the light copper highlights don’t reach all the way to the roots for that trendy balayage look (and less maintenance).
8. Chocolate With Golden Blonde Money Piece
Brighten up a basic chocolate brown shade with pale golden blonde money piece highlights to frame your face. The overall look is soft with a bit of an edge thanks to the bold chunks of color up front. Perfect for short strands!
9. Caramel Copper Blonde
It’s the hard-to-pinpoint quality of this color that we love so much. Is it dark caramel blonde? Oaky brown? Copper? It’s dimensional with tons of depth and so perfectly suited for a short haircut.
10. Strawberry Blonde
Pale copper tones light up a golden blonde shade to make it strawberry blonde – a real contender for the best hair color for short hair. It’s bubbly, unique, and so complimentary on warm skin tones.
11. Light Golden Brown
Not only is her cut super cute, but this color is phenomenal for short ‘dos! Golden brown in a nutty shade goes perfectly with warm undertones and cropped cut.
12. Dark Smoldering Auburn
Who doesn’t love a good auburn shade on short hair? This delicious color balances rich red tones with sultry brown for a deeper auburn that absolutely kills it with a short bob.
13. Rooty Platinum Blonde
Leaving a bit of your natural color intact at the roots or opting for a darker smudged root will really elevate and edge out your platinum color. Plus, it makes maintenance about a thousand times easier! Try this color on short hair and you’ll see why it’s so popular.
14. Cafe Noir Black-Brown
A deep, rich brown that borders on black is such a stunner for short hair. A shade this deep instantly draws your eye upward to the cut (that’s the point, right?) and highlights your skin tone and eye color nicely. Definitely a favorite!
15. Muted Cinnamon
Always wanted to try red but don’t want anything too vibrant? Muted cinnamon it is, then! This shade is similar to copper with a little more light golden brown in the mix. Try on short strands and watch your hair come to life!
16. Cool Ash Blonde
Maybe the crown is a sign that this ash blonde color is a *winner* for short hair! With rich silvery and taupe tones, ash blonde is a forever favorite that always slays on short hair.
17. Mahogany With Burgundy Highlights
Rich mahogany brown has hints of cherry, plum, and brown in the mix for a very dimensional shade. It looks amazing with burgundy highlights throughout and copper accents in the back, especially on short hair.
18. Inky Soft Black
Shiny soft black is neutral and appealing on all skin tones, but really looks great on medium and deep skin. This inky hue enriches a dark eye color and puts short hair in the spotlight.
Things to Consider
You’ll achieve longer-lasting, more vibrant color when you keep these things in mind. Try these helpful tips to fall in love with your new color for your short hair!
- Stop using regular shampoo. A new color calls for a new shampoo! Sulfates will strip your hair color faster and literally wash your new shade down the drain with each shampoo. Switch to a sulfate-free shampoo to prolong your color and prevent premature fading. Sulfate-free options are gentler on the hair and won’t remove all your natural oils, but still provide a good cleanse.
- Prep your hair for color. Whether you’ll be dyeing your hair at home or going to a great salon for color, you need to take steps to prepare your hair first. A good deep conditioning treatment a day or two before you dye it will inject extra moisture into your hair to prevent damage from processing, especially if you plan to use permanent color.
- Consider a new cut. A new short haircut always highlights a brand-new hair color and creates a more complete hair transformation. If you’ve been rocking the same short haircut for a while, consider tweaking it – go shorter, get bangs, taper the length in the back, or add layers to switch things up. Your new color will look even more stunning!
- Commit to regular trims. Your color will always look more vibrant and fresh when your short hair isn’t looking grown-out or filled with split ends. Commit to getting regular trims every few weeks to help your new color look great and get rid of the oldest sections of hair at the ends! This will help color adhere more evenly without patchy spots and give your cut a more polished look.
- Trust a professional for custom color. While it’s fun to think about mixing up your own custom color for short hair, it’s easy to mess up when you’re not experienced. Trust a professional if you want any type of custom or “designer” hair color – it’s the only way to ensure you’ll get beautiful results without the need for expensive color correction.
There may not be a single best hair color for short hair, but that’s okay – there are 18 gorgeous shades tied for first place that flatter and elevate short hair!
You might like lighter shades, like platinum or strawberry blonde, that complement or contrast with your skin and add sparkling brightness to your short hair.
Just make sure you’re looking at colors that share some of the same undertones as your skin – warm shades with warm undertones or cool shades with cool undertones. Maybe medium and dark shades are calling your name.
Who doesn’t love a rich red, bold brunette, or silky soft black shade? On short hair, these colors add sensuous depth and instantly attract the eye. Don’t forget to pick shades according to your skin’s undertone for the most flattering results.
Whether you’re thinking about getting rich, all-over color with built-in dimension and metallic undertones or are leaning more toward a trendy balayage or ombre look, short hair is a really versatile canvas for color.
You’ll find that the boldest shades that may seem “too much” for long hair actually look amazing on short strands. Don’t forget to have fun with it – try unexpected shades and color blends to really make your new color your own!
With the help of a skilled colorist, you can be a mad scientist with your short hair and end up with truly creative color that gets compliments everywhere you go. After all, a color you have a hand in creating is truly going to be the best hair color for short hair!