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Smoky Hair Color: How To Make The Sexy Trend Work For You In 2019

photo of woman with smoky hair color

Hair color trends are ever-changing and although we’ve been obsessed with mushroom brown, half-and-half hair color, and neon hues this year, we’re always looking out for the next best thing. Luckily, we have our team of professional colorists to thank for keeping us in the loop on the biggest upcoming trends. 

We caught up with Chrystofer Benson, Matrix artistic director, who dished on which color trends he’s loving in 2019. While he says vivid hair colors are definitely maintaining their popularity, he mentions another variation of the trend we should keep an eye out for: smoky hair colors. 

What exactly is a smoky hair color? Whether you have dark brown hair or ash blonde strands, keep scrolling for everything you need to know, including how to care for a smoky hair color and the best way to ask for one. 

What is a smoky hair color? 

Even though vivid hair colors are trendy and stunning to look at, a vibrant hue is definitely not for everyone. That’s where smoky hair color comes in—it is a toned-down take on the vibrant hair trend. A smoky look is perfect for anyone who is looking to make a statement with their hair color, but isn’t fully ready to commit to a full-on fantasy shade. 

“A smoky color is not in its full saturation as a vivid...There are definitely the muted tones, but there is still a vividness to them,” Benson explains. 

To achieve a smoky effect, Benson says your colorist will use different colors depending on what you want your final look to be. 

“A smoky color is usually mixed with grays or a saturated blue but brought down so it has a smokier vibe to it,” Benson says. 

How should you ask for smoky hair color? 

As the old saying goes: A picture is worth a thousand words. Before you head to the salon, we suggest gathering a few inspo photos to ensure your stylist knows the exact look you’re trying to achieve. If you’re stumped about whether or not a smoky hair color is right for you, a salon professional can help you decide. 

“I think the best thing is to go in and have a consultation with your hairdresser and let them decide what will work best for you,” Benson says. 

How should you care for a smoky hair color? 

While smoky hair colors are absolutely stunning, fantasy shades aren’t the easiest to maintain. It’s essential to stock up on salon-quality products to keep your smoky hue looking great between salon appointments. We recommend swapping out your regular shampoo and conditioner with a system formulated for high-maintenance hair colors like the Matrix Total Results Keep Me Vivid. 

Inspired to try a smoky hair color for yourself? Keep scrolling for seven of our favorite ways to wear the look. 

The Best Smoky Hair Color Ideas To Try

photo of woman with blush smoky hair color


If your skin is on the fair side, a smoky blush hue will be just enough color to brighten your complexion without washing you out. 

photo of woman with berry smoky hair color


Give this punchy, fruit-inspired shade a smoky twist for a look that’s equal parts wearable and eye-catching. 

photo of woman with green smoky hair color

Smoky Green Balayage

Celebrities and influencers are obsessed with green hair. If committing to a vibrant green hue is a little much for you, however, a smokier take on the trend is completely wearable for everyday life. Ask your colorist to apply your new hue with the balayage technique if you want just a taste of what smoky green hair can be like. 

photo of woman with gray blue smoky hair color

Blue Gray

Of all the smoky hair color trends to emerge over the past few years, blue gray is our top pick for every skin tone. Fair skin tones can go a bit brighter with their blue gray hue while tan or dark complexions can opt for a darker take on the shade. 

photo of woman with charcoal smoky hair color

Smoky Lilac

There’s no shade of purple hair we don’t love, but smoky lilac takes our admiration to the next level. Paired with a chin-length bob, this on-trend color is a true showstopper! 

photo of woman with rainbow smoky hair color

Smoky Pastel Blend

Looking for a statement-making color that you can still wear to the office? This muted pastel creation is the perfect way to wear rainbow hair without going over-the-top. 

Interested in trying smoky hair color for yourself? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

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