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A Woman with an Orange Hair-Colored Bob Hairstyle with Blonde Highlights | Source: Shutterstock
Source: A Woman with an Orange Hair-Colored Bob Hairstyle with Blonde Highlights | Source: Shutterstock

Orange Hair: How to Choose a Shade & Keep It Vibrant

Akhona Zungu
Dec 13, 2022
10:15 P.M.
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Switching from natural hair color to orange is a bold and worthy style switch-up, but some might be afraid to take the plunge. Achieving a suitable aesthetic with orange hair requires knowledge of skin undertones and proper maintenance.

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Orange-colored hair has been trending for some time, and with hair-dyeing techniques evolving, hair stylists and colorists have been creative with the orange color spectrum. They have found innovative ways to mimic nature – sunsets, fire, and pumpkins – with orange hair dyes using special styling techniques.

Like determining the right make-up palette, however, knowing and understanding one's skin undertones is helpful when choosing the right shade of orange dye, such as yellow-orange, burnt orange, copper, or ginger spice. These hues can also be matched – or contrasted – elegantly with outfit colors.

A profile portrait of redheaded woman dressed in a man's shirt | Source: Getty Images

A profile portrait of redheaded woman dressed in a man's shirt | Source: Getty Images

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Fashion stylists have a few recommendations and some cons when it comes to curating an outfit that works well with orange-shaded hair. Therefore, once the right hue has been chosen and applied, one can also try fun color-coordinated outfits.

As exciting as this bold hair color change can be, maintaining its health and vibrance is imperative if one wants to keep it for an extended period. Experts have advised on what to look for when choosing shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products specifically made for maintaining this fast-fading hair color.

A portrait of woman eating a donut | Source: Getty Images

A portrait of woman eating a donut | Source: Getty Images

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There Are Many Shades of Orange Hair

Experimenting with shades of orange doesn't have to start with hair dye. If one is reluctant, one can begin with orange shaded wigs or orange highlights that remain close to their natural hair color to test it out. A gorgeous starter example would be the red-orange ombre.

With this color-stain technique, one can place the orange tint at the end of one's hair length, following the dominant hair color. As the hair grows longer, the orange tips can be chopped if the chosen tint is unsuitable.

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Ginger spice is another gorgeous orange hue to try. It pairs well with any hairstyle – like the Boticelli bob – texture or curl pattern and can be customized on one's natural hair or a wig. The same goes for the yellow-orange shade, enhanced with red highlights.

However, going with yellow-orange may require bleaching for a successful color-stain process. Hence, consulting a stylist for one's preferred look is advisable to achieve the desired aesthetic. Interestingly, one can also pair light purple with an orange hue to add a "feminine accent" to the bold color.

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Another showstopping look can be achieved by asking a stylist to create a bright red and yellow balayage on one's hair, strategically mixing the colors to mimic the natural element of fire. A pumpkin pie color melt combines orange shades with a buttery blonde for a darker-tone color mix.

Cascading shades of orange, yellow, and red also work beautifully to create the effect of a sunset. However, before taking the plunge with any orange hair dye combinations, it'd be wise to determine whether they work well with one's skin tone.

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Is Orange Hair Good for You?

Beauty experts have noted the significance of skin undertones when choosing things like make-up palettes; the same goes for non-natural hair colors. Undertones generally range between cool, warm, and neutral and can be determined by looking at the color of one's veins.

If the veins appear purple or blue underneath the surface skin, that may denote a cool undertone. But if they appear greener than the aforementioned colors, that may denote a warm undertone.

A portrait of a woman with light orange curly hair | Source: Getty Images

A portrait of a woman with light orange curly hair | Source: Getty Images

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If the color of one's veins matches their surface skin tone, they are likely neutral-undertoned. Professional hair colorist Rita Hazan also recommended watching for how one's surface skin reacts to the sun to help determine the undertone, as she explained:

"Those who burn easily in the sun usually have cool undertones, and those who tan easily usually have warm undertones."

Alternatively, Hazan advised that looking for people with similar skin tones donning orange-dyed hairstyles may be a helpful guide to choosing the right shade. Bright oranges such as tangerine, coral, or cantaloupe pair and contrast exquisitely with cool-undertoned skin.

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For warm-undertoned individuals, darker hues such as amber, bronze, or clay orange are likely to best compliment their skin. Excitingly, neutral undertones allow for versatility; between the spectrum of light and dark orange hues, any shade of the Fall color can compliment a neutral-undertoned individual's skin.

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Proper Care Will Keep Orange Hair Vibrant

Orange hair dye may have become more trendy over the years, but it comes with the daunting task of maintenance; it is notorious for being the fastest-fading hair color. In general, fresh hair dye takes approximately 24 hours to set in, and it's best to leave it within that time before embarking on a wash day.

Still, experts recommend waiting for 48 hours before washing and only doing so thrice a week at most. They also advise washing with lukewarm to cool water to avoid an untimely color fade and using color-safe shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for red or orange hair.

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Moreover, being particularly gentle with colored hair while wet contributes to keeping the strands lively and healthy. Another way to protect one's orange tints from fading is using a UV-blocking conditioner to seal the hair color and protect it from the sun's UV rays, the same way SPF creams and lotions protect the skin.

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Between wash days, one can also use dry shampoo and a glaze to enhance the hair's color and dimension. To revive the orange hues after some time, one can opt for an orange or red-color depositing shampoo formulated with red pigments.

What Clothing Colors Does Orange Hair Go With?

Earthy tones, such as shades of brown, beige, green, and camel, pair best with orange-colored hair. However, since orange is a warm color, it also contrasts beautifully with cool shades of blue and purple. Fashion stylists warn against pastel colors and most – not all – yellows, oranges, and burgundy reds.

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