True Colors: Hot Hair for Fall

What you need to know about flannel hair, shag-inspired cuts, and scalp care for fall.

Nothing pokes your arm and whispers, “Psst, dye your hair.” like watching the leaves change during a gorgeous Indiana fall. Maybe it’s the vibrant tones overhead, or perhaps the inviting heat of the hood dryer—but we are definitely entering hair color season. Indy Maven caught up with two of the city’s most in-demand stylists about the next big thing in color.

We’ve got two words for you: flannel hair.

No, we’re not talking about the pattern on a shirt from the grunge era that’s back in style thanks to a ‘90s revival—though it would look good with this trend. When talking beauty, the term refers to the colors of a traditional red flannel: brilliant coppers and crimsons, overlaid with darker shades or golden yellows.

“I feel like in fall, reds always have a moment. Deep reds, brunettes with cherry undertones [and] vibrant coppers,” MDG Salon stylist Megan Gill (@thehairmegician) says. She’s been serving up bright hair colors in the Indianapolis area for years—most famously as the vibrantly dyed Dora the Destroyer, flinging her fellow quad skaters off the roller derby track for the Naptown Roller Derby.

“People like to feel like their hair is mimicking the changes that happen outside,” she said. “Blondes usually tone down a bit in the fall, perhaps switching to a more golden or beige tone instead of ash.”

Feeling a little more fiery and frisky? Go for a classic red or copper, says CZ & Co stylist Kyndel Austin, a.k.a. @hairwitchin. “Those are timeless and will probably never fade away,” she says of the autumnal red trend.

As for the red color? That’s a totally different story. But the season is on your side in terms of battling color fade. Since you’ll likely be spending a lot less time in the sun (or by the pool), vibrant shades have a better chance of sticking around a little longer without requiring a touch-up. Make sure you use a non-stripping shampoo and wash your hair a bit less frequently—if you can stand it, says Austin. If possible, she advises concentrating the shampoo sparingly on the scalp and letting it rinse through the length of the hair.

The flipside of red tones is that they tend to stick around when you want to lighten or darken again. So if you’re feeling non-committal? Ask for a semi- or demi-permanent red or copper.

No need to worry if you’re not ready to take on a blazing cherry red or electric copper quite yet. There are plenty of more subtle shades.

“Rose gold is hot right now,” Austin says. And it’s an easy transition from many shades of blonde. Think of it as the perfect halfway point between bold fashion-y colors and something that could still fly in a more traditional workplace.

Then there are the trending colors for the risk-takers among us.

“More people seem to be gravitating towards wanting yellow,” says Gill. It’s an intensive process to get there, with a lot of lifting to get the tone right. But once you do, the head-turning color will definitely nab you all the “Who is she?” moments at the company holiday party.

But fall hair isn’t just about color—it can be accomplished with the right cut, too. Gill suggests going with heavier bangs and the “cozy” feel of hair that can air dry with your natural body.

“Shag-inspired haircuts or adding curtain bangs to a look is in,” Kendall says of the ‘70s bangs revival. But this isn’t a Carol Brady vibe—the modern shag is an low-maintenance cut that allows you to skip super-intensive styling and product, perfect for this super busy time of year.

Though they may require a wee bit of morning finagling, the result is a dramatic face-framing look that sets off other seasonal beauty trends like bold cranberry lips. Bonus: You’ll look super polished even when the rest is pulled back into a bun.

Once you and your stylist have perfected your fall color and style, it’s important to take care of your hair as the seasons shift.

“Everyone always thinks they should ‘go dark’ for fall. False. Do whatever the f*ck you want.”

When the furnaces kick on and the air starts drying out, your scalp will too. Austin’s solution likely lives in your kitchen cabinet. “I would recommend either coconut oil mask or olive oil, mixed with some essential oils like lavender and tea tree,” she says. Tea tree oil is also a powerful anti-fungal if you, like many of us, suffer from dandruff during colder months.

“Sometimes I’ll do warm olive oil with some fresh-squeezed lemon” Austin says. The acidic juice helps exfoliate dead skin and strip product build-up, while the oil moisturizes the scalp.

But if after all these tips, you still just want to go platinum—you’ve got to do you. Austin agrees that bucking trends is always an option.

“Everyone always thinks they should ‘go dark’ for fall. False. Do whatever the f*ck you want.”


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