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What is Cowboy Copper? The trending hair colour that’s hot right now

Riley Keough. Image: @GregoryRussellHair
Riley Keough. Image: @GregoryRussellHair
Yee-haw, Cowboy Copper is taking over. But what is the trending hair colour and how can you keep it looking glowing and gorgeous on your hair?

It may not be autumn here, but there’s plenty of hype for pumpkin spice latte in the air. That’s whether you’re a coffee fan or whether you’re just into the beauty trends it seems to inspire. It’s just one of the elements playing into the next wave of red and copper hair colours kicking off again.

The other is the western influence picking up in pop culture – think the hype around country music right now – and you wont be surprised to hear the name of the newest hair colour shade making waves.

If you feel like you’ve been hearing about trending red hair for a while now, you’d be right. This new iteration is just a twist on last year’s copper craze. It leans into the brunette side of things, with a particular warm, glossy, red-brown hue known as cowboy copper.

What is Cowboy Copper?

Cowboy copper—sometimes known as cowgirl copper and vice versa — is a blend of hues including caramel, brunette, red that has lots of warmth and depth. Some say its name comes from the rich, red-brown hues associated with western leather, others a shiny or burnished copper penny.

It’s statement-making, but also a non-committal option, as it works beautifully as a temporary update if you’re already rocking a mid or deep brunette hue or exaggerating an auburn shade.

If it seems familiar, that’s because it’s not really anything dramatically new, except for the name. It’s a variation on a look celebrities like Julia Roberts, Susan Sarandon, Riley Keough, Gigi Hadid and plenty more besides have stuck to, or experimented with. It’s just another confirmation although the trending tones change, red in general is a desirable colour year-in, year-out.

How do I get Cowboy Copper hair?

If you want an on-trend, beautifully nuanced cowboy copper shade created to suit your specific skin-tone, your best bet is to search out a bunch of images you like and visit a professional and have them create it.

The look is easiest to create on mid-to-deep brown hair or hair that already hints at the hue, though lighter colours can get there too, with careful consideration from an expert. If your hair is very dark and you’re aiming for a lighter copper shade, your hair may need to be pre-lightened. This process involves removing some of your natural pigment to create a lighter base for the copper colour to show.

For a temporary option, seek out a glossing colour, like Redken Shades EQ. This is a demi-permanent colour that glazes, refreshes and enhances your current color without over-processing or drying out your strands. It leaves hair looking healthy and gives incredible dimensional shine and condition, key to a great result for this trending shade.

The benefit of a glossing colour is that it will gradually fade within four to six weeks — which means no harsh lines or visible roots as your hair grows out.

Another option that wont last forever, is to update balayage highlights with a soft copper toner. The toner will slowly fade out, leaving the sun-kissed balayage behind. You can simply update the toner again or try another variation.

If you do have a mid-brown shade to start with, DIYing with a wash-out temporary toning product at home is possible. However, you likely wont reach the richness of colour you would with the technical formulations used in-salon.


How do I keep Cowboy copper fresh?

Now the bad news. Red and copper hues are the fastest hair colours to fade, particularly on blonde, so expect to need regular salon visits if you want to keep your tone perfectly on-trend.

There are a number of key steps you can take to maintain your red or copper, however. These include sticking to a shampoo and conditioner for red hair, washing or heat styling less often and using a colour-depositing mask or treatment occasionally. You should also be careful to protect your strands from sun exposure as this can play a part in fading.


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