Life Style

40 Ways to Wear the Mahogany Hair Color Trend—the Subtle Way to Go Red

mahogany hair color

If you can’t decide between red and brown hair, mahogany is certainly the way to go.

Mahogany, in its essence, falls somewhere on the color spectrum between the two shades. And while some people still associate the hue with its wooden, furniture-related namesake (or the smell of Ron Burgundy’s home, for any Anchorman fans out there), it’s criminally underrated in the hair-color department.

While any hair-color journey will entail a certain amount of maintenance, you might be surprised by how easy the upkeep is for such a luxe-looking shade. Depending on your natural hair color, red-mahogany will require slightly more maintenance, while brown-mahogany might require almost none at all. (We have all the hair-color upkeep tips, in case you need ’em.)

Matrix brand ambassador George Papanikolas tells Byrdie the amount of upkeep involved depends on your natural shade.

“Darker hair has the advantage of naturally having underlying red pigment which helps preserve the color,” Papanikolas says. “Lighter blondes and highlighted hair tend to quickly fade and require more upkeep to preserve the tones.”

Carlina Ortega, a celebrity colorist at the Rita Hazan Salon, says mahogany is lower maintenance than other shades depending on how much red is added.

“Going red all over will definitely have you in the salon every 4-6 weeks,” Ortega says. “If you’re not ready to commit to this color but want to test it out I recommend getting a gloss/toner. It’s a semipermanent color so it will fade and eventually wash away. Adding pops of mahogany highlights to your brown hair is also a great low maintenance option.”

And to keep your mahogany looking vibrant? Ortega says to try to wash your hair less often and keep heat styling to a minimum.

And, no, it doesn’t have to be autumn for you to want to inject some cinnamon spice into your look. From a bold red ombré to muted brown lowlights, find 40 warm mahogany-hued hair ideas that look incredible on every skin tone, all year long.



HOW TO PRONOUNCE: Muh-hah-gun-ee

CHOOSING A SHADE: Keep in mind that the redder you go, the faster your color will fade.

MAINTENANCE LEVEL: If your hair is naturally brown, this color will fade out quite softly. Expect to head back to the salon for touch-up color once every two to three months if you want to keep your mahogany color looking vibrant.

GOES GREAT WITH: Red lips, Urban Decay Naked Cherry eyeshadows

SIMILAR SHADES: Black cherry

PRICE: Depending on where you get this done, you can expect to pay $100-$200 for this all-over color.

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Head-Turning Highlights

While the orange eyeliner is major, we’re here to talk about that gorgeous hair color. If you have short, curly hair, play around by adding some color to your ringlets (while also letting your natural hue shine through at the roots).

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Bold Brown

Don’t be afraid to go for the bold. For an ultra-rich, warm color, opt for a chocolate-brown base with mahogany highlights mixed in. (It’s a foolproof combination, if you ask us.)

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Mahogany Twists

Mahogany Hair Color Twists

If you’re going for a protective style—like these jumbo Senegalese twists—don’t be afraid to play with color, because it always pays off. And of course, the matching mahogany brows are the cherry on top.

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Warm Balayage

Natural brunettes, listen up: Consider injecting some life into your hair with a complex balayage. From brown, natural roots to mahogany to blonde ends—this tonal look has it all, and we’re obsessed.

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Long Box Braids

Mahogany Hair Color Box Braids

Make a statement by opting for box braids in a hue you may not normally wear. The reddish color here is ultra-stunning. (And you can find our favorite braid inspo here.)

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Soft & Light

A soft mahogany hue pairs perfectly with soft beach waves to match. (Find our best beach wave tips here.)

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Subtle Tint

Just a touch of purplish mahogany highlights will do wonders for your curly hair’s dimension.

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Tousled Tendrils

Mahogany Hair Color Tousled

Take your usual tousled tendrils up a notch with a little mahogany, while keeping your natural roots for easy grow-out.

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Don’t be intimidated by an extra-bold hue. An ultra-saturated mahogany tone is easier to pull off than you think. (Especially when you have a hair texture and layered cut this incredible.)

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Warm Long Bob

Mahogany Hair Color Long Bob

Accentuate a long bob with both red and brown highlights. The final result will be a mahogany masterpiece.

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A reddish balayage combined with a little sunlight is the perfect shade for brunettes who want just a bit of subtle color.

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Plum Ombré

We love the look of an ombré with natural roots. If your natural hair color is black (or close to it), freshen up your locks with a pop of deep plum. (How amazing is this face-framing cut, too?)

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Touchable Layers

Mahogany Hair Color Layered

Dress up a soft bob with an equally soft hair color. We love the light mahogany hint and gorgeous layers happening here. (And find our best hairsprays for touchable hair, here.)

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Subtle Tint

With curls this perfect, you can pretty much pull off anything. But we’re obsessed with the slight mahogany tint here—bold enough to add major dimension, but subtle enough to blend right in with your natural hair color.

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Tousled Perfection

If you’re already relatively low-maintenance with your hair—AKA, you towel-dry and run out the door—an easy-to-care-for mahogany color will add some excitement while fitting into your routine (or lack thereof).

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Berry Balayage

Mahogany Hair Color Balayage

Take some inspiration from nature with a berry-hued balayage that’s totally practical, pretty, and wearable.

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Chocolate Mix

Who said brunettes can’t have fun? If your brown hair is feeling flat (it happens to the best of us), add major dimension with a chocolate-and-mahogany balayage.

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Short & Sweet

Take your super-short hair up a notch with a mahogany tint. This chin-length style is made even sweeter with a dimensional, reddish hue.

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Brighten Things Up

Mahogany Hair Color Bright

Mahogany hair can certainly be subtle, but sometimes, there’s nothing we love more than a bright and bold iteration. We love the fall-inspired balayage happening here.

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Add Some Bangs

Anyone who has bangs can attest to the fact that they’re a huge part of your face and overall look, so it’s always a good idea to make sure the hair color you have works for you. This mahogany shade is certainly a confidence-booster. (We’d be confident too if we looked like this.)

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Pop of Color

If you don’t want an allover-mahogany braided style, there’s nothing like a few lighter braids mixed in to brighten up the whole look in a way that’s subtle and wearable.

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Sleek Wet Curls

If you love rocking the wet-curl look, add another layer to the style with mahogany ends.

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Punchy & Pigmented

Mahogany Hair Color Highly Pigmented

We’re taking a brief break from admiring the next-level volume to appreciate this incredible color. Make a major statement too with a deep, pigmented allover mahogany hue (which clearly pairs well with black lipstick).

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Face-Framing Highlights

Nothing puts the focus on your moneymaker better than face-framing highlights. Combined with a side part and loose waves, the mahogany hue here feels ultra-warm.

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Blunt Bob

Mahogany Hair Color Blunt Bob

How chic is this blunt bob? The rich, allover mahogany hue adds major dimension and extra drama. Yes, please.

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Chic Sisterlocs

Take your sisterlocs to the next level with a mahogany hue paired with natural roots. (Find our comprehensive sisterlocs cheat sheet here.)

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Lighten Up

Brighten up naturally dark hair with a rich, slightly lighter color all over. We love this warm, subtle hue.

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Layered Blend

Mahogany Hair Color Layered Blend

Add some extra dimension to gorgeous layers by playing with color. The darker base hue here combined with lighter, mahogany ends is giving us major hair envy.

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Hint of Cranberry

It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving for you to pair your piecey ‘do with cranberry hued-highlights. A tousled mahogany balayage is always a good idea.

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Natural Roots

Mahogany Hair Color Natural Roots

Scared of constant touch-ups? Keep your gorgeous mahogany hair on the low-maintenance side with natural roots for fewer touch-ups and way more hair compliments.

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Warm Waves

Lighten things up with allover mahogany highlights. If your natural color is nearly black, this is the perfect way to warm up your ‘do.

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Rich & Pigmented

Mahogany Hair Color Rich Pigment

We can’t say enough good things about this saturated mahogany hue combined with bouncy, voluminous curls and natural roots. (Anyone else experiencing major curl envy right now?)

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Extra Brightness

Leave ’em on red. If you have naturally dark hair, don’t be afraid to brighten things up with ultra-pigmented highlights.

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Beach Waves

Mahogany Hair Color Beach Waves

Show off a multifaceted mahogany hue with tousled beach waves and fresh, touchable layers.

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Bouncy Curls

Mahogany Hair Color Bouncy Curls

A deep mahogany hair color is the best way to highlight your bouncy, voluminous curls.

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Subtle Highlights

If your natural color’s feeling stale, freshen things up with sleek and subtle mahogany highlights to warm up your entire look.

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A Rich, Deep Hue

Make a statement with an allover saturated mahogany hue combined with soft waves.

If you want to try a pop of red without committing, you can use an at-home color-depositing product like Overtone’s coloring conditioners.


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Ombré Bob

Mahogany Hair Color Ombre Bob

Take a short, dark hairstyle up a notch with an ombré style featuring fresh, bright mahogany.

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Wearable Brown

Mahogany Hair Color Wearable Brown

Like we said, mahogany falls somewhere between red and brown on the color spectrum. If you want something lower maintenance (and close to your natural color), a chocolate-mahogany balayage is the way to go.

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Red All Over

Go big or go home. A deep red, allover mahogany tone looks incredible any way you style it, but we’re particularly fond of this amazing braid situation.

  • What’s the difference between mahogany and burgundy hair?

    Mahogany is a reddish-brown shade, while burgundy hair has reddish-purplish hues and less brown overall. Burgundy can range from intense pink-red to a deeper wine shade. Mahogany ranges from rich copper mahogany to a deep brunette base with pink-red tones.

  • What skin tone suits mahogany hair?

    Mahogany hair suits all skin tones and comes in different undertones. For help finding a shade, Papanikolas says golden and olive complexions could try a cooler mahogany red, while fair skin looks great with a warmer, coppery shade of mahogany.

  • Is mahogany brown or red?

    Mahogany is a mix of brown and red. The degree of red or brown tones added affects the end result and also the maintenance level. According to Ortega, mahogany contains a mix of both warm and cool tones, making it suitable for all complexions.


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