While they may not share the shine that darker hair hues boast, there’s one thing that blondes certainly do not lack: options. Those with lighter locks have long been offered a smorgasbord of shades, with endless choices that allow them to tailor their colour to their personal preference.
Highlights, lowlights and intermixed tones are all fair game for the fair-haired, and yet brunette tends to be billed as one-size-fits-all, with sole flat colours often favoured regardless of suitability.
Well, we happen to think it’s about time that brunette became a little more bespoke, and it seems the stars (and their colourists) agree. ‘Expensive brunette’ is the new colour trend sweeping salons across the globe, its name coined for the luxurious look that comes from the aesthetic’s focus on dimension, depth and shine.
Regardless of its title, however, the shade doesn’t legitimately need to be expensive in a practical sense. In fact, the idea is that it’s designed to look expensive while actually remaining quite low-maintenance. How? Put simply, the more dimension within your salon-fresh colour, the less obvious it is if a new or natural shade begins to peek through.
‘Expensive brunette’ can indeed be created with your natural shade as a base, if you so desire. It’s all about creating nuances within a deeper hue (whether natural or not), mixing numerous different colours and topping them with glossy toners that tie everything together and add even more of the beautiful shine that brunette is traditionally beloved for.
Wondering how to achieve the aesthetic in salon? You and your colourist should first agree on your shade parameters, AKA the lightest and darkest colours you want to play with within your mix. Once those are set, the colourist should be confident placing the different tones where they will suit best within your colour and cut.
Tone is important, too; if you want a warm blend (say a chestnut base with hints of caramel and cinnamon) then make that clear, and vice versa if you’d prefer a cool cocoa colour with notes of espresso and ash brown. Of course, your colourist can also advise on if you should stick to a sole tone family, or whether a blend of the two would work with your complexion, as you want to ensure you find the most flattering fit possible.
After some inspiration to kickstart your colour plan? Here are the celebrity-approved ‘expensive brunette’ blends we’re gravitating toward right now…
Chopra's rich brunette blend sees traces of cinnamon scattered throughout.
Ammar opts for honey pieces through her ends and a deeper root shadow.
Lopez livens up her hazelnut hue with interwoven hits of honeycomb.
We'd describe Longoria's look as (ironically) espresso with a splash of cream.
Crawford's colour is a deliciously warm hybrid of varying toffee tones.
Gomez plays with a tantalising chocolate and chestnut combination.
Goulart takes advantage of honey highlights without veering 'bronde'.
Ribeiro proves the power of espresso brunette enhanced by touches of taupe.
Morrone's face-framing toffee tones make her hazelnut hue appear 'sun-kissed'.
Jasmine Cephas Jones
Cephas Jones' dark chocolate shade is softly laced with lighter, warmer tones.
Aldridge's 'expensive brunette' plays with the traditional balayage technique.
Padukone's deep shade regains dimension through subtle slices of bronze.