The term ‘expensive brunette’ has been trending, with even the classic celebrity blondes such as Hailey Bieber and Gigi Hadid recently opting for richer tones.
While the demand for darker hair usually increases during the colder seasons, many colourists have seen a particular shift this winter.
And with Gen Z denoting blonde hair ‘cheugy’ (read more on the phenomenon on page 31), there has been a turn to hair colour that is lower maintenance and doesn’t compromise on hair health. “Over bleaching, a trend from the last few seasons to get the ice white look, seems to be dwindling away and being replaced by warmer more natural colour,” notes ASP brand ambassador, Tracey Devine Smith.
So how does expensive brunette compare to standard brunette colour? “The heartbeat of the demand for expensive looking hair is colour that is super healthy with a luxurious shine,” says Gavin McIntyre, director, G&E McIntyres for Alfaparf Milano. “We have all progressed with balayage in the past few years and this has opened up more doors for our guests’ colour choices, which means there is creativity to make a more bespoke colour.” Preparing the foundation of the hair is key to achieving the gloss associated with the expensive brunettes trend. “Making sure the hair is in great condition before you start the colour service is a must,” says Balmain Paris Hair Couture ambassador, Simon Tuckwell.
“Colour looks better on healthy hair, so for our expensive brunettes at Tuckwell & Co, we do a Balmain enriching treatment and repair serum before we start the colour service. This ensures the we get the best foundation to create the very best colour.”
Creating a bespoke brunette is all about crafting the perfect shade for your client. “In terms of tone, it’s completely dependent on skin tone, eye colour and individual style,” says Vas Mikellides, Fowler35 for L’Oréal Professionnel Paris. “For those with cool colouring (think green or blue eyes) cooler tone brunettes like iridescent mauve ash is particularly complementary. Those with dark eyes should opt for a luxurious mocha or warm based brunette,” adds Vas. Offering a tailor-made colour for your instant,” he says.
However, brunette hair doesn’t have to be boring, explains Matrix Artist ambassador, Michelle Summers Davies. “Adding a quick T-section balayage or a placement of a contrasting colour using natural tones of caramels, golds or something more fun with a vivid or pastel shade like copper, peach or pink blush, will create a soft dimension of excitement to any brunette shade,” she says.
ADDING A QUICK T-SECTION BALAYAGE OR A PLACEMENT OF A CONTRASTING COLOUR USING NATURAL TONES OF CARAMELS, GOLDS OR SOMETHING MORE FUN WITH A VIVID OR PASTEL SHADES LIKE COPPER, PEACH OR PINK BLUSH, WILL CREATE A SOFT DIMENSION OF EXCITEMENT TO ANY BRUNETTE SHADE
Clients are also becoming more willing to experiment with warmer tones, say the Directions ambassadors at client will enhance the expensive feel of the hair, as well as creating a luxurious experience in-salon. “Block colour that is extremely dark can be too harsh and unlikely to look classy, especially on mature skin tones,” advises Robert Eaton, Wella Professionals UK and Ireland technical director and British Hairdresser of the Year. “For mature clients, using multi-tonal colour with some lighter pieces of caramel and coffee shades around the face will help blend grey for longer, and create a much softer look that will take off a few years in an Inn The Closet, Southampton: “We also love to add a touch of flame or neon red ebony to give a warm, rich chocolate.”
For clients that like to switch up their hair colour, it can be useful to have a record of your colour formula saved. “Using Vish technology at the colour bar to record client’s tailored recipes means each stylist has access to every colour service application performed on our guests,” says Rebecca Adams, colour educator at The Chapel.
The business of brunette
Brunette is big business, says Conor Doyle, Redken advocate. “Our industry has finally tapped into the secret goldmine that is our brunette client base." he says. “Most brunette clients aren't aware of the possibilities within their colour palette. When you show them otherwise, you can guarantee they will be loyal for life.” To help your client dabble with new tones, Mark Leeson, Revlon Professional global artistic ambassador shares his tips. “Upgrade the colour with warm lift balayage and beautiful melting mocha tones. Try ribbons of caramel finely weaved to add subtle dimension to hair,” he says.
The key to keeping the brunette shades expensive looking is enhancing the gloss and avoiding brassy tones.
Schwarzkopf Professional ambassador, Tim Scott-Wright says: "Stylists should be recommending suitable maintenance products, such as Schwarzkopf Good Bye Orange Neutralising Bonding Shampoo. This is the equivalent of a silver shampoo but for brunette hair and clients can use this between appointments to minimise any brassy tones as oxidation occurs." And as for next year, chestnut tones will be popular predicts Elgon ambassador, Ben Russell. “My prediction for 2022 brunette trends is healthy hair with high shine, allowing natural warmer chestnut tones to come through,” he says.
There are profitable retailing opportunities for brunette home care. “Celeb Luxury’s Gemlites Colorwash and Colorditioners can take your client to rich and luscious depths, with one quick application," says Lucy Trevorrow, Celeb Luxury ambassador, making it convienient to maintain colour.
"THE KEY TO KEEPING THE BRUNETTE SHADES EXPENSIVE LOOKING IS ENHANCING THE GLOSS AND AVOIDING BRASSY TONES."
However, you should advise them not to over-shampoo their hair. “Over washing can cause discoloration, so I recommend to wash the hair little and often,” advises Chloe Passmore, INNOluxe Superstar ambassador. Tracy Hayes, Fudge Professional global colour ambassador recommends retailing a blue shampoo to counter brass. “Advise them to alternate the blue-toning products with formulas that also cater to additional concerns,” she recommends.
Book your clients back in for regular top ups and insalon treatments to keep their brunette expensive-looking. “I recommend my brunettes come in every 6-8 weeks for a top up, and we always tone their mid lengths and ends to keep brassy tones at bay,” says Amber Letham, Crazy Color Color Squad ambassador. In-salon treatments will also enhance the luxurious experience and add lustre to their colour. “Treat the hair to regular in salon moisture treatments and recommend clients use regular masks and treatments once per week at home too,” says Dan Spiller, Joico colour ambsassador for UK, Europe and Ireland. “This is all particularly important in winter as hair is impacted by the harsh elements outside and the use of central heating inside.”
And to make your brunette shades really shine, finish the look with styling products that reduce frizz for that expensive-looking gloss. “Keep the hair sleek and frizz-free for the expensive style with an illuminator, I like the OSMO Blinding Shine Illuminating Finisher,” says Jake Nugent of HeadKandy Hair. Let the brunettes shine on!