From expensive brunette to chocolate brown, the trend of rich, healthylooking hair is going strong. While many consider blonding services to be their moneymaker, now is not the time to overlook the potential with your brunette clients.
“For people who think that brown is boring, I don’t think they—especially clients—realize that you can have dimensional brunettes,” says Matthew Michel, a Calgary-based hairstylist and education advisor for Joico. “Expensive brunettes are still trending, with more people being open to warmer shades, like caramels and chocolates, that are nice and neutral, with a little bit of warmth, but are still reflective and bright. More people are realizing that you don’t have to lift hair to a level nine or 10 to add dimension to hair.”
“We’ve noticed a big wave of celebrities who’ve gone darker,” adds Sabrina Vallieres, a hairstylist at Nova Beauté in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., and Moroccanoil elite color pro, “like Hailey Bieber and Sydney Sweeney. We’re seeing it a lot on social media. These colours are also trending in fashion and interior design.”
PRO TIP BE MINDFUL OF THE COLOUR PLACEMENT, ESPECIALLY AROUND THE HAIRLINE AND ROOT COLOUR, SUCH AS IN A MONEY PIECE OR SHADOW ROOT. SINCE IT’S SO CLOSE TO THEIR SKIN, YOU’LL WANT TO KEEP IT COMPLEMENTARY TO THEIR SKIN TONE AND EYE COLOUR. HOWEVER, YOU CAN BE MORE PLAYFUL WITH COLOUR ON THE ENDS TO CREATE A MORE CONTRASTING EFFECT.
Going to the Dark Side
While some hairstylists and colourists may still feel like it’s a let-down whenever their blonde clients want to go darker, it doesn’t have to be. Adding darker dimension to your blondes or creating lightness in your brunettes can not only help you create more customized results but also maximize business in the salon.
“In this era of babylights, teasylights, foilayage and balayage, it becomes really hard to pick out our old placements to touch up the exact same highlight during a refresh appointment,” says Michel. “Inevitably, in the long term, we’re doing a fresh set over and over, and clients are getting overblonded. I think every few appointments, it’s important to add those lowlights back in.”
“What I like to do is go in and do my highlights, like I normally would, but add a lowlight between every foil or every other foil,” he adds. “Depending on how much dimension or blonde you have in there, I would add in a lowlight only through the mid-shaft so you’re not bringing that lowlight all the way down.”
Lowlights can also be a great way of adding more dimension to your clients who are continuing to rock babylights. “The thinner the sections, the lighter the hair will be with less dimension,” says Vallieres. “The technique and placement are really important [to avoid overlightening hair]. Keep depth to make highlights pop, and if the client already has highlights, add lowlights. But my favourite way to achieve dimensional brunettes is with a freehand zigzag technique.”
“WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER. REMEMBER, WHEN YOU HIGHLIGHT EVERYTHING, YOU HIGHLIGHT NOTHING. THE DARK UNDER YOUR BLONDE IS GOING TO MAKE THOSE HIGHLIGHTS POP AND APPEAR BRIGHTER, SO YOU DON’T WANT TO LOSE THAT DEPTH.” — MATTHEW MICHEL, HAIRSTYLIST AND EDUCATION ADVISOR FOR JOICO, CALGARY
More Conscious, Less Cautious
As warmer tones continue to hold strong, they tend to be a lot more flattering than the cool, ashy tones of the past. However, it’s still important to find your client’s perfect shade by personalizing the consultation to every individual.
“I look at their eye colour to see their tone reflects,” says Michel. “I pick colours that are contrasting to that to help enhance their skin tone and eye colour. Holding up swatches to their face and seeing what’s complementary for them is also really helpful.”
Whether you’re lowlighting or highlighting to add dimension to the hair, Michel warns against overdoing it. “I don’t like to adjust my client’s natural colour as a shadow root too much because a lot of them want lived-in colour and to extend the time between appointments,” he says. “So why change what they already have when you can incorporate it into your finished look?”
“People are so afraid of doing slices these days because we want soft, lived-in colour,” he adds. “When you’re doing babylights, throw in a random slice with your lightener and leave a bigger space between your foils to add some dimension, even with just one slice.”
“For brunettes, I like to work differently and get creative with my techniques, depending on what the client desires,” says Vallieres. “Freehand techniques with balayage and a face frame is usually my go-to.”
Another trend that’s been rampant on social media is cowboy copper, a combination of copper and auburn tones that has a more muted, natural-looking result. “When coppers were trending in the past, they tended to be a very bright copper, not a natural-looking colour,” says Michel. “[Cowboy copper] is very natural and doesn’t look like it’s been done in a salon.”
To work more efficiently when trying out this trend, Michel adds that it’s important to use your client’s underlying pigments. “If you’re lifting too light, the result is going to be way too copper,” he says. “Lift to a level six or seven with a red-orange or orange underlying pigment since that’s going to give you a nice fade out and a great base to put that colour on to stay reflective.”
“I like to combine shades to create cowboy copper,” adds Vallieres. “Don’t put too much red or copper in your formula. Add some natural shades for a more natural-looking result. We know that clients tend to want to go darker around this time of year, so for blondes going to a dark, rich brown, these are my go-tos.”
Michel warns against getting caught up in the wave of micro-trends on social media that perpetuate the idea of having “right” and “wrong” ways of achieving a look.
“When it comes to customization, everybody is posting these formulas, but I don’t think a lot of people realize that you have different starting points,” he says. “You really need to factor in where you’re starting and where you end up.”
PHOTO: HAIR: CANDICE MCKAY, SOUTH AFRICA, MAKEUP: MADDIE AUSTIN, PHOTO: JACK EAMES, INSTAGRAM