Want color that’ll make your curls look more amazing than ever? Check out the best hair color for curly hair – we found 20 shades that highlight and accentuate ringlets to take all curl types over the top!
What’s the Best Hair Color for Curly Hair?
- Consider dimensional or metallic colors to highlight curly texture
- Add highlights or hand-painted balayage to accentuate the bend
- Try demi-permanent color for less damage to your curl pattern
In our search for the best hair color for curly hair, we’ve come across some gorgeous shades and tones that seem to accentuate the swirls and bends of curly hair.
While there’s not really a single shade that we’d consider the best hair color for curly hair, there are definitely a few shades that take all curl types to the next level. The best colors for curly hair are typically high-dimension shades that don’t appear flat or dull to the eye.
You’re looking for colors that, when you examine them closely, feature a wide range of subtly different tones and appear somewhat “sparkly,” metallic, or seem to glow like they’re lit from within.
These dimensional colors can be light, like dazzling platinum or flaxen golden blonde. Medium dimensional shades like silvery ash brown, sultry burgundy, fiery copper, or toasty golden brown are also great options for curly hair.
If you like darker colors, you can still achieve that special dimensional look with rich shades like plum burgundy, dark chestnut brown, or enigmatic blue black.
When it comes to dying curly hair, color placement matters. You can use highlights and lighter colors to your advantage by applying them around the face or sporadically throughout your hair to literally highlight the bend and curves of your curls.
Placing lighter colors in the right zones will help define and add visual structure to your curls. Another way to play with color placement on curly hair is with a deeper shade at the roots.
A root melt, root smudge, or simply applying your highlights a couple inches off the roots will add even more depth and dimension to your pretty spirals. But beyond the actual shades you choose and where you place your new color, you’ve got to consider the type of color you pick for curly hair.
Curly hair is susceptible to damage from chemical processing, and if you use a harsh permanent color, your curl pattern can suffer. Demi-permanent color (lasts 20-24 shampoos) and more temporary semi-permanent color (lasts 8-12 shampoos) are the best options for curly hair.
These shorter-term dyes don’t contain ammonia and need only a gentle 10-volume developer to sufficiently color your strands. Permanent hair color does last a lot longer, but it’s not the best hair color for curly hair because it’s so much more damaging.
Using permanent color puts your curl pattern at risk. Since these dyes contain ammonia and require a higher developer volume, you can end up with random straight pieces, wonky curls, tons of frizz, and roughed-up strands that knot easily.
With these things in mind, let’s take a look at some of the prettiest hair colors for curly hair! You might find a few unique shades that inspire you to transform your curls and switch up your look.
20 Best Hair Color for Curly Hair Ideas
Need some fresh new “dye-deas” for your ringlets? We’ve got you covered with 20 of the best hair color options for curly hair! Check out the range of shades and tones to highlight and accentuate your beautiful curl pattern below.
1. Warm Chocolate Brown
Borrowing sweet tones from milk and dark chocolate, this warm shade of medium brown brings all the depth with some toasty golden undertones. It’s rich, sultry, and absolutely perfect for accentuating all curl types.
2. Subtle Dark Caramel Balayage
Lively type 3 curls with a deep base shade really benefit from a subtle, dark blonde balayage. The lighter color sporadically placed in the ends up through the midshaft focuses your attention on the curl pattern and helps define those spiral ringlets.
3. Medium Golden Brown
Glowing golden brown in a medium shade is ideal for curly hair with so much dimension and that gorgeous golden sheen. Where the light hits each curl group, you see the golden undertones showing up with all the rich depth of brown creating pretty shadows in the shade.
4. Fiery Light Copper
This color looks alive with so much dimension and those vibrant copper tones! Gold, red, and a slight hint of brown seem to define and shape your curls to really make them pop.
Go with a light copper shade like this if your skin is fair; for medium and deep skin tones, a richer medium or dark copper would be stunning.
5. Cool Ash Blonde
Her curls might be via a curling iron, but this cool-toned ash blonde shade is just amazing for naturally curly or permed hair. It has a gorgeous silver undertone and zero brassiness. That’s perfect for curly girls with a cool or neutral undertone, but will require a little more maintenance to keep it properly toned.
6. Light Brown and Honey Blonde Balayage
Balayage color on curls is our favorite! Hand-painted honey blonde color sweeping up from the ends into the midshaft zone attracts the eye with lots of brightness.
Anchoring this lighter shade with a light brown color through the roots means a lot less damage and a much more dimensional look than all-over blonde.
7. Glowing Medium Auburn
Rich in saturation with undertones of copper, gold, and brown, a glowing auburn color with a little more depth looks incredible on curls. This shade is light enough to show off your curl pattern but dark enough to create a beautiful interplay between shadow and light.
8. Light Golden Blonde to Strawberry Blonde Ombre
We love pairing unique shades together in ombre colors on curly hair! A light golden blonde at the roots melts out and picks up reddish tones to culminate in a beautiful strawberry blonde at the ends. This is a warm-toned look that’s great for anyone with warm golden or peachy undertones.
9. Platinum Blonde With Root Smudge
Bright, almost white platinum blonde appears metallic and pairs so nicely with swirly curls. It can lack dimension when the color is lifted so high, so try a darker root smudge to bring some color back and create some depth in the look.
10. Subtle Chestnut Ombre
Multiple shades of chocolate and chestnut brown create a beautiful ombre effect that gets lighter toward the ends. This color has a reddish undertone that keeps the color warm and makes it perfect for curly textures.
11. Cool Mocha With Ash Brown Highlights
A darker shade of cool mocha brown is ideal on curly hair when you’ve got a cool or neutral undertone in your skin. Top it off with dimension-boosting ash brown highlights around the face! It’ll help your curl pattern stand out against the darker base shade.
12. Dusty Rose Gold
Metallic rose gold is a unique color that shimmers like no other. In a muted dusty tone, it’s even suitable for cooler skin undertones. With the bends and curves of curls, the color gets the effect of natural highlights.
13. Dark Flaxen Blonde
Deeper shades of blonde are totally gorgeous on curly hair. Any golden blonde shade will have that metallic dimensional look that helps curls stand out and gives them a smooth, silky look. We love how this shade looks with a few blended medium golden blonde highlights around the face.
14. Dark Auburn Sombre
This subtle ombre (sombre) begins with a dark auburn shade at the roots and slowly transitions into a copper-auburn shade at the ends. If you want dimensional color for your curls that feels energetic without creating too much contrast, this one’s ideal.
15. Multi-Toned Vibrant Copper
A mix of light and dark vibrant copper color is one of the most flattering and fun colors to wear with dark skin tones. It’s bright, it pops, and it’s a rich, immersive color that gives your hair tons of dimension and interest.
16. Golden Blonde With Chocolate Root Melt
Shimmering golden blonde lifts curls and makes them look like spun gold. Going light to medium blonde all over can be really high maintenance, so try a darker chocolate brown root melt to make root touch-ups less frequent while adding more dimension to the color.
17. Warm Chestnut Brown
Ultra-dimensional and very warm, this cozy color is great for curly hair and will never appear flat or dull. It seems to sparkle with undertones of gold and red competing with the overlying brunette tone.
18. Shiny Soft Black
Who doesn’t love a rich ebony shade for curly hair? This soft, silvery version of black will define and visually separate your curl pattern for a texture-boosting look. Since this shade is softened up with a silvery undertone, it’s not as harsh as jet black and suits a variety of skin tones.
19. Dark Violet Brown With Chestnut Highlights
This is one of those creative colors that sounds odd on paper, but looks absolutely amazing when you see it. Dark violet anchors the layers underneath as a base color while shimmering chestnut brown highlights weave throughout to break up the shade.
20. Golden Blonde Auburn Layered Ombre
This gorgeous color has that signature ombre effect with seamless color graduation, but instead of transitioning from the roots to the ends, it’s done with a layered effect. The top layers are light golden blonde with copper underneath and darker auburn in the bottommost layer.
Things to Consider
Getting a great new color on curly strands is a lot easier when you know a few tips and tricks. Your hair will be less damaged, more vibrant, flattering for your complexion, and easy to care for when you keep these things in mind!
- Skip permanent color if possible. Permanent does a great job covering grays, but it’s the most damaging color type to use on curly hair. Go with a demi-permanent color, which is ammonia-free and lasts up to 24 washes before you’ll need a refresher. This will leave your curl pattern intact and healthy without the damaging ammonia in the formula!
- Start using gentle color-safe shampoo. Nothing strips a new color faster than harsh shampoo with sulfates! You can preserve your new curl-boosting color with a gentle sulfate-free shampoo that’s safe for colored hair. Washing your curls less often overall – around 3-4 times a week – will also keep your color protected and help it last longer.
- Take extra good care of your hair afterward. Curly hair can be really frizzy and dry after chemical processing. You can minimize the damage and keep your curls healthy and moisturized by giving a little extra TLC after dying. Weekly hair masks, leave-in conditioners, hot oil treatments, and being gentle when you comb or style it will help a lot.
- Pay attention to your undertones. Your skin’s undertone warmth or coolness can help point you in the right direction for hair color. Warm undertones (golden, peachy) look best in golden and strawberry blonde, golden, chestnut, and chocolate brown, any shade of red, and soft or true black. Cool undertones (blue, pink) look best in platinum and ash blonde, ash and mocha brown, cooler reds like raspberry and true red, and soft or blue black.
- Don’t wash before you color it. Shampooing your hair before dyeing it is a bad idea with curly hair. If your shampoo contains any silicones or a lot of moisturizing ingredients, your strands may be too slippery to let demi-permanent dye penetrate and color them. Go into the salon with day two hair – you don’t want it dirty or oily, just not freshly washed.
There may not be a single best hair color for curly hair, but there’s something better – a big list of 20 beautiful shades that perfectly accentuate curls! The steps you take after dyeing your curls are just as important as picking a great color, so be sure to show your mane a little extra TLC afterward.
Take inspiration from the examples here and narrow it down to shades that will suit your undertones. You’ll get flattering results that not only make your curls pop, but also highlight your best features!