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Mahogany vs Burgundy Hair Color: Which One Is Better For You?

Mahogany vs Burgundy Hair Color

Contemplating between burgundy and mahogany for your next hair color? You might be thinking, both colors are eye-catching and suggest a strong personality. But, while they may look the same, these two colors are entirely different. So, let’s talk about the differences between mahogany and burgundy, and which hair color suits you best.

In essence, burgundy is named after a wine, while mahogany is named after timber. There are many differences between the two, but the biggest one is that burgundy is more reddish/ purplish, while mahogany is more brownish.

What is burgundy?

Burgundy is a pinkish or reddish shade of brown. The term itself comes from the Burgundy wine in France’s Burgundy region. When referring to the pigment, it’s essentially a mix of purple and red, which results in two variations – old burgundy, which is darker, and vivid burgundy, which is brighter, and is usually what we see in hair color products.

That said, burgundy is a popular color not only in hair coloring, but in fashion and cosmetics in general, such as lipsticks. Perhaps that is because the color conveys ambition, power, and dignified action, but with less of the energy and seriousness of true red. Simply put, burgundy feels rich and fancy.

What is mahogany?

Meanwhile, mahogany is a reddish brown color that comes in many different shades and tints. The name comes from the topical Mahogany tree with reddish brown wood. Like burgundy, mahogany is an extremely popular choice as a hair color especially for those looking for a reddish color, partially because of its availability in various shades.

Key differences between mahogany and burgundy

Again, there are many differences between these two hair colors, from where the names are derived from, to the tint and lightness of the colors, and several other points. So, let’s break them down:

Color base: what does each color look like?

Despite the similarity in appearance, burgundy has a reddish base, while mahogany presents as predominantly brownish. To elaborate, burgundy, as a wine color, ranges from dark red to dark purple – aka the color of wine. Whereas, mahogany is an amalgamation of different shades of violet, red, and brown, with the brown base making it a warm-toned color.

burgundy has a reddish base

In general, burgundy is also darker, and has a purplish or pinkish tint to it.


Now, if you’re wondering what these colors evoke, burgundy is a more elegant and sensual yet sober color that refers to passion, love, irreverence, and ambiguity. Meanwhile, mahogany connotes simplicity, reliability, and firmness.

Versatility: which is easier to work with?

Given that mahogany is a more consistent color thanks to its persistent brownish base, it’s also easier to work with and easier to maintain. This means that you can do a lot of different hair coloring techniques with mahogany hair colors. These include highlights, balayage, and babylights, in both cool and warm shades.

Example: mahogany copper balayage

mahogany copper balayage

Meanwhile, burgundy is much more difficult to work with, and due to the red and purple undertones, you can only realistically do violet and copper highlights – which, to be fair, looks absolutely amazing nonetheless.

Example: strawberry burgundy balayage

strawberry burgundy balayage

Longevity: how long does the color last?

The general rule for hair coloring is to wash your hair with cold water to close your hair cuticles and make the color trapped in for longer. That said, mahogany has a considerably longer staying power as compared to burgundy.

Regardless, there are a few things you can do to try and make the color stay on and minimize fading. That includes washing your hair only a couple times a week, using the right shampoo, conditioner, and hair care products for colored hair (specifically for red hair), and consistently moisturizing your strands.

Suitability: which color matches your skin tone?

Again, mahogany is a much more versatile hair color, especially if you’re working with undertones, since this color can work well with both cool and warm shades, whereas the reddish base of burgundy makes it so that it’s only suitable with warm undertones.

Example: ash mahogany for a cool undertone

ash mahogany for a cool undertone

Example: copper mahogany for a warm undertone

copper mahogany for a warm undertone

Example: copper burgundy for a warm undertone

copper burgundy for a warm undertone

Given this, it’s only natural that mahogany works for all skin tones, and it even has the capability to either intensify or soften your skin tone depending on the darkness of the mahogany color. For instance, dark mahogany will emphasize your features if you’ve got light eyes, and sweeten your appeal if you’ve got dark eyes.

Interestingly enough, however, burgundy is better suited for pale skin and light eyes, especially if you have blue or green eyes. It just creates this popping look that feels almost ethereal. Now, there is the concern that this color can make you appear even paler, so you have to be careful with regards to how you do your makeup.

Example: burgundy hair on pale skin and blue eyes

burgundy hair on pale skin and blue eyes

Fading out: what does it look like over time?

When it comes to hair coloring, what’s interesting here is that mahogany fades out to a duller shade – but still very much mahogany – whereas burgundy fades out into some version of mahogany.

Before and after: burgundy fading into chocolate brown

burgundy fading into chocolate brown

In other words, mahogany is a long lasting, consistent color, whereas burgundy fades faster and turns into a different color so it’s like you’re getting two colors for the price of one hair coloring session. The question is, which one do you prefer – a consistent color, or a color that changes into something else over time?

Gray coverage: which color works better in hiding gray hair?

Mahogany once more takes the lead here because of the way it transforms gray strands to a beautiful deep golden shade, so instead of showing a sprouting of stubborn grays, you’ll end up looking like you’ve got lovely highlights on top of your mahogany brown hair

That’s a stark contrast to the purplish pink hue that burgundy hair color creates when applied to gray hair. That may sound cute, but it clashes with the burgundy in a bad way.

If you do want to try it out, the HJL Hair Color promises 100% gray coverage and comes in a beautiful burgundy color, as well as copper, purple, and various shades of brown. You can also try the henna hair color route with the Kangana Burgundy Henna Powder, which is surprisingly long lasting and also promises 100% gray coverage.

Final thoughts

Mahogany and burgundy may look similar, but each of these hair colors come with a lot of significant differences that will influence what your hair color looks initially and over time, how good that color looks on you, and what features they accentuate or soften.

Each of these colors also come with different suitable coloring techniques, as well as maintenance and hair care requirements.

So, at the end of the day, while both of these colors look amazing, if you want the best results, make sure to choose the right color for you based on your skin tone, maintenance routine, and preferred hairstyle. Or, you can also experiment and see how it looks before committing by using temporary hair dyes like the Jerome Russell Temporary Hair Color Spray.


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