Skip to Content
This is main content
Hair Color Techniques

Auburn Transformations for Autumn
By Amanda Lenz, Product Club Educator (@hairstorybyamanda)

“Whoever said blondes have more fun, never had red hair.” -me, 2023

Auburn is a hair color many people dream to have, but few dare to do it. In actuality, many people can wear auburn hair color. However, the tone and depth of the chosen shade is what can make or break the look. By definition, auburn is described as “reddish-brown.” As hair colorists, we know that red can be interpreted differently based on who is describing it. Red can be a reflection or a chosen shade, it can be warm, cool, or a true red shade.

August and September are great times to transition clients into the auburn family. Blonde and brunette clients can both be candidates for auburn hair color but the approach is different for each. In this blog, we will discuss the variations for achieving the perfect auburn hair color for your clients.

To establish what shade of auburn a client can wear, you should analyze the client’s specific skin and eye color. Warmer skin tones and eye colors tend to look best with warmer auburns; think red, copper, and orange undertones. Cooler skin tones and eye colors are more complimentary to true reds and cool reds; think purple or even blue undertones. This is a similar color theory that you may even apply to picking the “right” red shade of lipstick or nail polish

Real Life Auburn Application for Blondes and Brunettes


A client with blonde hair, highlighted to a level 9, wants to be auburn. The first thing that needs to happen is to fill the hair with the missing shades of warmth. With a target level 6, that would mean adding yellow and orange back in to support the final formula. After applying a fill with a demi-permanent color (with a yellow/orange background), the client may be rinsed or the final formula may be applied directly over the fill depending on the manufacturer’s directions. The final formula will contain either a warm or cool red with a brown background shade, creating an auburn finish. For example, this may be a copper brown shade or a red brown shade. If a red brown shade is used and needs to be cooler-toned, then adding a little blue or violet to the final formula will create that finish.


To transform a brunette client into the auburn family, the rules of color will be applied a bit differently. This situation would typically require the hair to be lifted with developer and color, or developer and lightener. If you are lifting with color, the contributing pigments of the client’s existing level need to be considered during formulation. Will the client lift red or orange? The formula will need to enhance or control that, depending on the desired final finish. If the client has a darker existing pigment (let’s say a level 4) - a lightener would need to be used to bring the level to around a 6, and again the final glaze formula would need to enhance or control those tones. Just remember to find a final formula that includes that brown background when you are creating auburn.

Whatever shade of auburn you are aiming for, autumn is a great time to add some depth and spice to any type of hair.

Amanda Lenz, Product Club Educator

Follow Amanda (@hairstorybyamanda) and Product Club (@productclub) for more expert tips on social media, salon ownership, and hair color education!

Back to Top
Rewards balance: Sign In or Create an Account to become a Rewards Member and earn points on this purchase!