Expensive Brunette is The Trending Shade of The Season

Published 13th Dec 2023 by Sian Jones

From glossy chestnut hues to rich chocolate tones, expensive brunettes are claiming the spotlight for their luxurious and high-end appeal. Here, we delve deeper into this growing, effortless trend…

Don’t be fooled by the term ‘expensive brunette’, classifying a colour as expensive doesn’t mean your clients are going to have to break the bank to achieve it. “It’s all about the condition,” says Mark Leeson, Revlon Professional Global Ambassador. “Expensive hair looks healthier, glossier, rich, and classy. It’s the kind of hair that looks a million dollars.”

In fact, Dan Spiller, JOICO EMEA Creative Colour Team Member, tells us expensive brunette is anything but expensive: “This is a classic, low maintenance look that is very versatile as there are a range of shades your clients can opt for to suit them.” This trend is low on contrast, low on maintenance, but high on unstoppable radiance, explains Suzanna Alphonse, Wella Education and Community Manager: “You’ll know you’re looking at an expensive brunette if the hair reminds you of the Hollywood elite. Each creation should be understated yet eye-catching, but condition is key to this look too. Locks should appear shiny and frizz-free, so focus as much on hydration as you do on colour.”

Going to Great Depths

Put simply, Kimberly Michelle, Jack Winn Pro Creative Director explains: “Although it’s called expensive brunette, it requires less upkeep and is more budget friendly. It gives the client a look of luxury and expensive taste – hence the name.” Louis Driver, Uberliss Educator tells us that an expensive brunette can technically be described as a brown base that has depth, highlights, lowlights, or a combination of the two: “It’s well put together and never just one flat colour from root to tip. I rarely use a single tube of colour, so there may be a few tones used and specific placement which are all informed by what we’re starting with, the client’s vision and what’s possible.”

They key is creating a rich, cool mahogany that doesn’t have an orange undertone, says Paul Dennison, ELEVEN Australia Brand Artist: “I find that expensive looking brunettes are on the cooler side. I also tend to add a backwash balayage for a multi-tonal effect.” Vas Mikellides, from Fowler35 for L’Oréal Professionnel, also opts for different techniques when creating an expensive brunette: “Freehand techniques and creating texture with balayage are essential, and they add value to the outdated ideology that a brunette is simply an all-over tint. For me, L’Oréal Professionnel iNOA is a great product choice for a translucent, soft result.”

When it comes to tones, Lisa Whiteman, ALFAPARF Milano Professional Colour Brand Ambassador uses a mix of warm, deep, and rich shades, adding: “These are usually multi-tonal and can include gold lowlights for added dimension.” Coia Dahill, ALFAPARF Milano Professional Brand Ambassador agrees: “It’s a multi-tonal brunette that is created for each individual client. They can get a five on their roots anywhere, but an expensive brunette takes their colour to the next level.”

‘Tis The Season

Wella Professionals

“At this time of year, we do tend to see more people wanted to embrace natural tones, but if you’re thinking of venturing a little bit further down the scale into those rich deep brunettes, remember pre-pig the hair to gain longevity of colour and recommend good home care,” advises Paul. “I still advise my brunette clients to use Keep My Blonde Shampoo every now and then just to help keep that coolness.” Kasey Perks, Elgon Educator (Wales), tells us: “During the winter months clients tend to want to tone down their colour to be closer to their natural colour, and a lot of my consultations for clients with virgin hair will often be to enhance their natural colour with a few tweaks.”

Maria Nevska, Philip Martin’s Brand Manager, has seen an upswing in the demand for enhancing natural hair colour: “In today’s world, women are increasingly taking charge of their lives and expressing their aspirations and style through their hair. This has led to a surge in clients looking to elevate their natural brunette shades, creating a sense of empowerment and self-expression.”

And who can forget the power of celebrity? “With the likes of Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid enhancing their natural colour; creating an effortless, super glossy result that has evolved into the expensive brunette trend, we are seeing an increase in clients requesting brunette services,” says Fowler35’s Vas. Moroccanoil have even expanded their Color Rhapsody and Color Calypso portfolios to include an array of seven rich, chocolate hues and shades. Matt Rez, Moroccanoil Global Celebrity Colourist, tells us these multi-dimensional chocolate tones redefine brunette beauty: “Moroccanoil’s new chocolate collection is perfect for brunettes, brondes, and even blondes, where everyone can find their desired solid or combination of chocolatey colours for dimensional results.”

After lockdown, many people were left with no choice but to embrace their natural colour, but clients have once again started investing in regular colour services and are also aware of treatments that will enhance their colour. “Longevity and shine are what our clients want when they invest in colour services. We always recommend colour protection products, particularly for rich red or brunette tones, which are prone to fading,” says Mark who opts for the Revlon Professional Re/Start range: “It is developed with advanced skincare ingredients, and its Color Protective Micellar Shampoo reduces hair porosity, to boost shine and enhance the colour for a radiant finish and long-lasting vibrancy.”

Siobhan Jones for L’Oréal Professionnel agrees, telling us that colour has come a long way and with great products you can achieve great results: “You can make the hair appear healthier with colour, and the want to enhance your natural colour stems from that. Products such as L’Oréal Professionnel Richesse give a multi-tonal and natural glossy finish for global colour, paired with Dia Light on the light pieces for a great even coverage. You can fix common hair issues like lack of volume or shine with a hair colouring application and frame the face with low-commitment placement.”

“We are seeing glossing as a huge trend to enhance natural tone and shine,” says Tracey Ann Smith, ASP Global Ambassador, and Louis goes on to explain that although ‘natural’ is a popular buzzword now, clients are indeed leaning towards enhancing what they’ve already got: “It’s about suitability, longevity, and the overall health and condition of the hair. If you can embrace your natural, darker hue it yields results, and the hair speaks for itself,” he concludes.

Speaking of brunettes, have you seen the 'Kitty Brunette' trend?

Image credit: Quif Art Team

Sian Jones

Sian Jones

Published 13th Dec 2023

Sian is Editor Modern Barber and Deputy Editor Hairdressers Journal International. She has over ten years’ experience writing for print publications covering Youth & Children, TV & Entertainment and Lifestyle. Sian graduated with a degree in journalism, and whilst studying was nominated for the Guardian Digital Journalist of the Year award in 2011.

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