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What shade of auburn is right for me?

What shade of auburn is right for me?

Choosing the right shade of auburn hair color can be tricky. Auburn hair ranges from light reddish brown to deeper burgundy shades. The key is finding the right undertone and depth of color that complements your complexion and eye color. This guide will walk you through the factors to consider when choosing an auburn hair color along with recommendations for shades that suit different complexions and styles.

What is auburn hair?

Auburn hair is a reddish brown hair color with undertones ranging from red to burgundy. It sits between brown hair and red hair on the color spectrum. True auburn hair has a very red base with brown highlights mixed throughout. This gives it a warm, reddish-brown appearance that sets it apart from other brunette shades.

Auburn hair colors can vary quite a bit in tone and depth:

  • Light auburn has a pale, soft reddish tone.
  • Medium auburn is more of a balanced mix of red and brown.
  • Dark auburn features a deeper reddish-brown base.

When you see auburn hair in the sunlight, you’ll notice red hues and sometimes a slight burgundy tint. Auburn works well for anyone looking to go redder than a traditional brunette but not a bold, bright red. It adds warmth and dimension to brown hair.

Which skin tones suit auburn hair?

The best auburn hair colors will complement your skin’s undertones. Here’s an overview of which shades tend to look best with different complexions:

Skin Tone Best Auburn Shades
Fair, cool-toned Light ash auburn, chestnut
Fair, warm-toned Golden auburn, copper
Medium, cool-toned Chocolate cherry, dark burgundy auburn
Medium, warm-toned Medium auburn, mahogany
Olive skin Golden brown auburn, russet
Dark skin Mahogany auburn, gingerbread

Women with fair skin that burns easily tend to look best with lighter, ashier auburn shades like light chestnut or strawberry blonde. Those with medium to olive skin tones can wear deeper auburns with hints of burgundy and mahogany. Darker complexions look beautiful with rich auburn hues like gingerbread.

How do different eye colors impact your choice?

Along with your skin tone, your natural eye color should guide your shade selection. Here’s how to choose the most flattering auburn hair color for different eye colors:

  • Green eyes: Green eyes really pop against shades like golden chestnut or copper auburn. Redder tones make the green stand out.
  • Blue eyes: Cooler auburns like light ash brown or chocolate cherry complement blue eyes beautifully. Avoid shades that are too warm or golden.
  • Brown eyes: Medium brownish auburns like cinnamon and mahogany bring out the richness of brown eyes. Soft golden undertones look pretty too.
  • Hazel eyes: Look for versatile shades like classic medium auburn or amber russet which complement the shifts between green, brown and gold in hazel eyes.

Should I go for natural-looking or bold auburn?

How dramatic you want to go with your auburn look depends on your personal style. Here are some tips:

  • For a subtle, natural auburn, choose light to medium coppery browns like burnt umber or amber chestnut. These give just a touch of red warmth.
  • Go for vibrant true auburns like cinnamon red or cherrywood to make a bold statement. These shades scream red-brown.
  • Fashion-forward burgundy auburns like oxblood red or deep maroon work well for gals who want an exciting, daring hair color.

Lighter auburns enhance your color naturally while still giving a boost of radiance. Bold reds make more of a splash for special occasions or a big hair color change. It just depends on the look you’re going for.

Should I get full head color or highlights/lowlights?

You can wear auburn hair as an all-over color or add it through highlights, lowlights and ombré:

  • Full head color gives the most uniform results. It’s great if you want an all-auburn look.
  • Auburn highlights mix well with brown hair, adding pops of red warmth throughout the hair.
  • Auburn lowlights look beautiful paired with blond highlights, giving dimension through the underside of hair.
  • Ombré starts darker at the roots and graduates lighter towards the ends, melting different auburn shades together.

Partial highlighting creates a more natural, sun-kissed auburn look. While full color blocks out your natural pigment for maximum color impact. Either can look amazing!

How do I maintain my auburn color?

Auburn hair tends to fade faster than darker brown shades. Here are some tips to keep the color vibrant:

  • Use sulfate-free shampoo and cool water when washing, as heat and sulfates strip color.
  • Use a color-protecting or red-enhancing shampoo and conditioner.
  • Limit washing to every 2-3 days if possible.
  • Rinse with a vinegar solution after swimming to keep chlorine and minerals from fading color.
  • Get a gloss or glaze treatment done 4-6 weeks after coloring for refreshed shine and tone.
  • Avoid hot tools like curling irons and straighteners as the heat damages color.
  • Wear a sun hat when outdoors and use protection spray to prevent fading.

Following a good at-home hair care regimen makes a big difference in extending the life of your auburn shade. See your colorist regularly to cover regrowth and renew your fabulous color!


Choosing that perfect shade of auburn boil down to your complexion, eye color and personal style. Lighter coppery browns create subtle warmth while true reds make a vibrant fashion statement. Tailor your shade to your skin tone and enhance your eye color. Maintain your new color with red-enhancing products to keep your auburn hair fabulous. With so many beautiful shades of auburn to try, you can find a look that flatters you perfectly.