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Getting a caramel hair color is doable for most hair colors and types. You can choose from an all-over color, highlights, or lowlights. Depending on the shade of your hair, a visit to the salon may be necessary to achieve the desired results. If you have naturally red hair, turning it to a caramel color may require some extra work.
All-over caramel color often works best for short to medium hair; those with long locks may find this very gold brown color to be too overpowering. Those with very dark long hair may opt for caramel highlights, thin to medium in width, to add dimension and interest to their hair. Lighter hair often does well with caramel lowlights placed underneath the topmost layer of the hair.
If you plan to dye your hair at home, choose a high quality hair dye labeled as either caramel, light gold brown, or dark blonde; some manufacturers may call the color toffee or butterscotch. Apply the dye according to package directions and rinse. A majority of at-home hair dyes tend to turn out slightly darker than the box indicates; with most caramel hair colors, it is best to choose a dye a shade lighter than the color you are actually looking for. If your natural color is very light or very dark, it can be helpful to do a strand test before dying to determine the proper processing time. This will help to make sure that the color does not turn too brassy or too dark.
Those with very dark brown or black hair may need to visit a salon in order to get a caramel hair color. Depending on the shade of caramel desired, you may need to lift some of your natural color before the dye is applied. As this requires the use of bleach, it is usually better to have a professional stylist do the color. If your hair is already dyed, no matter what color, a visit to a salon may be best. In general, hair that is already dyed will not turn out the color indicated by an at-home hair coloring kit.
Natural red hair is typically the most difficult to turn into a caramel color. As both colors are very warm versions of two different shades, adding more warmth to red hair can turn it into an undesirable shade. In this instance, it is also usually best to visit a professional. In many cases, the application of a neutral or even slightly ashy brown or dark blond color will be the best way to achieve a caramel hue; the warmth of the natural color will neutralize the cool shades in the dye and often result in the desired color.
It all depends on how natural you want your color to look. Some people do have caramel-like highlights naturally, but it just looks very fake on many people, in my opinion. Highlights should be applied carefully, unless one is just going for the fake color look.