Auburn vs Copper Hair Colour: Here’s The Difference

3 March 2023 | Tincture and Colour

Colouring your hair one of the many different shades of red that are out there has always been an eye-catching way to stand out from the crowd – and if you know anything about us, you’ll know that at Tierney Salons, we’re all for that! But with so many different reddish hues, it can be hard to know which to choose, so let’s narrow it down and take a closer look at auburn vs copper hair.

Both auburn and copper hair colours are popular with those looking to embrace warm tones and add some vibrancy to their ‘do. But what’s the difference between auburn and copper?

First we’re going to preface this by saying that the difference between copper and auburn is pretty subjective. It really does depend on who you’re talking to. 

Therefore, we strongly suggest that if you have a colour that you want to achieve, show your hairdresser a photo so you can be sure you’re both on the same page. (In fact, we suggest you do this with any colour if you have something specific in mind…)

Auburn vs Copper Hair: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between auburn and copper hair is that auburn tends to have brown and deep red undertones while copper is a less intense shade of orange that has subtle golden undertones. 

Auburn is generally classified as falling under the medium to dark brunette category while copper hair is brighter and ‘pops’ more.  

Auburn hair

However, keep in mind that there are a myriad of options when it comes to choosing between copper and auburn hair and this isn’t a strictly ‘one or the other’ type scenario.

For example, your colourist will be able to show you a whole range of variations on the copper-auburn theme. Think brown auburn, sun-kissed copper, plum auburn, golden copper, red auburn, orange copper and, yes, auburn copper.

Copper hair

Confused yet? Don’t be – your friendly local hair salon will be able to help! (Hint, hint…)

When you’re trying to decide between auburn versus copper there is one other thing to take into consideration – how you want to achieve auburn hair. Or copper hair. Or auburn copper hair! Let’s take a look.

Different Ways to Get Auburn or Copper Hair

The wonderful thing about auburn and copper hair is that they’re glossy, spirited head-turning colours – whichever shade you choose and however you plan on achieving your red ambitions!

  • Auburn or Copper Balayage

What is balayage? You’ve heard the word, you know balayage hair looks great – but what actually is it? Balayage means ‘to sweep’ in French. And yes, we agree, the technique does indeed sound a lot more chic en français!

As the name suggests, when you book in for balayage, the colour – in your case copper or auburn or one of their many variations – is hand-painted onto your hair by your colourist who will use sweeping motions to apply the dye. 

Balayage and highlights are different and which you choose will depend on the finished look you’re going for. Top tip: balayage results in a more subtle effect than traditional highlights as it is less structured and defined. 

  • Auburn or Copper Highlights

If you’re still debating the auburn vs copper dilemma and you’re not sure if you want to go for a full head of colour, highlights could be the answer

Highlights, or foilyage, lift the colour of your natural hair and they can come in soft, sun-kissed hues or bold, stripy tones. Your hair, your highlights!

When it comes to the difference between auburn and copper highlights, the results will depend on your original colour. Unlike balayage, which is ‘swept’ on by hand, your highlights will be applied in a more strategic pattern, resulting in more precise lines. 

  • Full Head of Colour

You probably don’t need us to tell you that a full head of colour is a…full head of colour. Your colourist will apply your auburn or copper dye to your entire head of hair, giving you an all-over makeover that will dramatically change your look.

However, we know that, for some, changing your hair colour completely can be a big step, which is why semi-permanent, or temporary, hair colour can be a great way of dipping your toes into the auburn (or copper) pool.

So what’s the difference between permanent and semi-permanent hair colour

Permanent hair dye penetrates the hair’s cuticle which changes the structure of the hair shaft. This allows the colour to be permanently sealed in. Semi-permanent colour, however, doesn’t penetrate the hair as it remains on the outside of the shaft, giving it a shorter life span.

How to Look After Auburn or Copper Hair

Regardless of the copper vs auburn debate, the one thing both colours – and all their variations – have in common is their need for nurturing. 

Going (and staying) red requires a certain level of commitment, so if you’re somewhat of a commitment-phobe, we suggest opting for highlights or a semi-permanent colour rather than jumping in head first (pun most definitely intended) and going for a full head of permanent colour.

But balayage, highlights, full head – whatever you opt for, to keep your hair looking amazing, you’ll need to use products that have been specially formulated to look after it. 

We love Davines’ Alchemic Shampoo Red which intensifies and illuminates both natural and coloured cool red shades as well as their Alchemic Shampoo Copper which has been created for red and copper hair with warm tones. 

Not sure whether you’re warm or cool? Don’t worry – your colourist will be able to tell you!

And this might sound a little biased, but trust us when we say that box dyes aren’t going to give you those truly gorgeous glossy auburn locks that you see in inspo photos. We really do recommend you visit a salon to achieve your copper hair goals!

Copper and Auburn Hair at Tierney Salons Hertford

Auburn vs copper? What have you decided? Well, whatever your dreams of becoming a stunning redhead are, we’d love to be part of your journey. 

Whether you’d like some advice on the difference between auburn and copper and are wondering which would suit you the best or you’re ready and raring to make the change, visit the best hairdressers in Hertford (psst…that’s us!) 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. Or feel free to jump straight in by booking an appointment today.