“Seven minutes in the sun” brunette and bold red are also happening.
Carey Mulligan

Barbie hasn’t lessened her grasp on our hair color quite yet. Blonde is still the reigning queen of summer hair color trends, a title she’s held since, well, forever. Sure, it’s a little on the nose to say that blonde is the go-to summer color, but there’s something about those long, sunny days that makes you crave beachy, sunlit brightness for your color too. Celebrities like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Zendaya have all gotten the blonde bug in a big way this year, though the 2024 blonde leans more golden honey than Barbie platinum.

Changing your hair color with the season can freshen up your entire vibe—even the smallest tweaks. “The sun’s out and we bring on the light by starting at the top: our hair,” shares celebrity colorist and Redken ambassador Tracey Cunningham. “You can then change up your makeup, nails, and attire. Our hair color literally dictates our entire look.”

If you already know you’re going blonde (or blonder), you’ll want to make a weekly date with a nourishing hair masque. Celebrity hairstylist Davontaé Washington’s pick is HH Science’s Honey Hair Mask ($24), which helps reduce breakage while softening and hydrating hair. “It will also moisturize the scalp which is something to consider when you are opting for any type of hair color service,” he explains.

Summer itself can be tough on hair color, no matter the shade—especially if you spend a lot of time at the pool or in the sun. Celebrity colorist Matt Rez “highly suggests” using a bond-building treatment as a leave-in while you’re soaking up the sun; his favorite is Epres Bond Repair Treatment ($75), an easy spray formula that works in just 10 minutes to strengthen hair. Cunningham is a fan of Redken’s Acidic Color Gloss Activated Gloss Treatment ($38), an at-home treatment to keep your color looking extra shiny between salon stops.

Below, pros fill us in on the biggest summer hair color trends of 2024.

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Classic Blonde Highlights

Carey Mulligan

Classic blonde highlights always have a place in a colorist’s repertoire for a reason. “I’ve been giving beautiful blondes to my clients for over two decades now, and every summer I hear, ‘Tracey, I’m thinking of highlights … and a lot of them,” says Cunningham. “We just can’t escape great summer blondes worldwide.” This season, Cunningham recommends weaving in a dreamy, creamy blonde tone like Carey Mulligan’s. For a bolder blonde, just add ice.

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Golden Brown

Victoria Monet with golden brown hair

This warm, golden twist on brunette “mixes the smooth and rich tones of caramel with the sunkissed allure of bronze,” says Washington, who created a similar color for Grammy winner Victoria Monét. “It can mimic the ‘just out of the sun’ look that many people naturally achieve during the warmer months,” Washington shares. “The radiant, golden tones in the hair compliment a sunkissed complexion and give a bright, youthful appearance.” At the salon, Washington recommends asking for “warm brown, caramel, honey, and golden blonde highlights or balayage blended with your natural base color.”

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Warm Honey Blonde

Zendaya with honey blonde hair

Honey blonde has taken the crown as the It shade for summer 2024, replacing the brighter, lighter blondes of summer 2023. “It’s a fun and playful yet toned down version of last year’s Barbie blonde you saw on everyone, but still allows you to have a bright color for summer,” explains celebrity colorist Rita Hazan. “This summer is all about warm honey golden hues—forget the cool tones.” Hazan cites stars like Beyoncé and Thalía as inspo. At the salon, ask for all-over highlights, a base and highlights, or a single process high-lift color, depending on your base shade.

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Frozen Butter Blonde

Model with "frozen butter blonde" hair

Pair your butter yellow nails with a hair color to match. Much like its name would suggest, frozen butter blonde is a pale, baby blonde that works beautifully as a highlight shade for “tonal dimension,” says Rez. “A neutral base color is preserved through the lengths to pop the buttery highlights, and the connecting mid-light color is golden to give the overall look its warmth and more movement without overpowering the lightest bits,” he explains. This color works well with a shadow root and “bright, face-framing highlights.” It’s low-maintenance, which is great for a low-key summer look you won’t have to worry about touching up every few weeks.

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Pretty Pastels

Karol G with pastel pink hair

Looking for something more fanciful than blonde and brunette? Go pastel, says celebrity hairstylist Cynthia Alvarez. ​​”It’s really no surprise that pastel hues are back in a major way,” she says, citing stars like Ciara, Karol G, and Kylie Jenner as pastel trendsetters. Because pastel hair also means a full bleach process, Alvarez recommends bond-building products like Biolage’s Bond Therapy collection to repair damage. “It helps seal the cuticle to reduce split ends and breakage resulting in an overall stunning color.”

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“Seven Minutes in the Sun” Brunette

Diana Agron

If you’re not ready to go all the way blonde, give your dark hair a golden glow with what celebrity colorist Jenna Perry calls “seven minutes in the sun brunette.” Strategically placed blonde highlights or balayage will give you that beachy brightness without a full foil or bleach and tone. Ask your colorist to place color where the sun would naturally hit, like your top layers and in front of your face.

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Cool Chocolate

Camila Marrone

Hot chocolate is for the winter, and cool chocolate is for summer! Britt Dion, artistic director of styling for Aveda North America, recommends infusing your brunette base with cooler tones come summer. In the chair, ask your colorist for “soft, dimensional cool brown tones.” Perry agrees; her favorite summer brunette is a “sultry dark chocolate” like Camila Morrone’s signature shade.

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Manuka Honey Bronde

Model with "manuka honey bronde" hair

Bronde really is a genius color; it’s ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to blonde upkeep, but still feels light and bright. Rez calls his rich, dimensional take on bronde “manuka honey,” inspired by the golden honey color. “The manuka element sets the depth, while the golden blonde element brings the pop and brightness to the look,” says Rez. He recommends asking your colorist for “a warm bronde that showcases ribbons of honey blonde highlights, pronounced by a rich warm brown base.”

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Au Natural

Jennie Kim selfie

When was the last time you revisited your natural hair color? It may be time, says celebrity hairstylist Sunnie Brook. “There is nothing more timeless and chic than having a statement haircut and a hair color that takes you back to your roots,” she explains. If you want to go back to basics, start the grow-out process or show your stylist a photo of you as a kid, then transition back to that shade or something close to it. To extend the richness of your color, Brook recommends Biolage’s Bond Therapy Shampoo ($28) and Conditioner ($28) to “rebuild hair from the inside out” and “give you that luxurious richness and shine of natural hair.”

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Punchy Red

Dua Lipa with dark red hair

Turn up the volume on your color with vibrant red tones from cherry cola to bright siren crimson. “It’s not so subtle but still very sexy,” shares Perry. Think Dua Lipa in her now-signature deep, ‘90s-inspired red. Dion agrees, saying a “deep, dark brown with a violet undertone” feels as fresh as a cold glass of Cherry Coke on a hot day. This dramatic red isn’t a color for wallflowers, so if you want to be the center of attention this summer, we’re giving you the red light—and in this case, red means “GO!”