10 Not-So-Boring Brunette Shades to Show Your Clients Today

by charlottegw / last updated February 15, 2019

brunette shades

It’s time to tempt your brunette clients with a new look – after all, brown hair shouldn’t equal boring hair. In fact, these new brunette shades are some of the most exciting hues we’ve seen this year. With shades such as ‘dirty brunette’ and ‘root beer’ blowing up on Instagram, here the experts share which brunette shades and techniques are brightening up their clients lives and locks.

Warren Boodaghian, TIGI European technical academy director, explains “With the rise of more ‘out there’ colourful hair, it’s important your brunette clients still feel their colour is creative,” he explains. “It’s all about using a descriptive language in the consultation to describe brunette shades that will excite and engage them.” Well said, Warren! Without further ado, here are the brown-hair trends that will tempt your clients out of their comfort zone.

Dirty brunette
A switch up from the golden hues of tiger’s eye hair, so-called ‘dirty brunette’ has a more neutral edge to it.

brunette hair dirty brunette
Technique: To achieve the dirty brunette shade Paul Chandler, Advance Pro Salon stylist recommends the following steps. “Apply Advance Pro Salon ColourCode 4/0with 6% to the roots. This gives the colour that trademark shadow,” he says. “Take two-inch triangle sections and apply alternate ColourCode colours 5/0, 5/73 and 6/0, 6/73 with the desired peroxide. This application of colour creates a reflective, multi tonal effect.”
Watch out: Clients with lighter hair would require a pre-pigment treatment using a demi tone with either gold, copper or red.
Image credit: Kevin Murphy

Biscuit bronde
Darker at the roots with a cocktail of rich and softer browns and a hint of warmth at the ends.

brunette hair biscuit bronde
“For this look I aim to add warmth to create rich toffee and caramel tones through the mid lengths and ends, while keeping the shade chocolatey at the roots,” explains Paul Watts, Joico European colour design team member. “I use Joico LumiShine Dimensional Deposit             Crèmes and Demi Permanent Liquid Color. The products allow you to make lightened hair dark without pre-filling the hair first.”
Bonus: The process has a 20-minute development time. This allows for quick transformations that are perfect for a time-poor client.
Image credit: Jeseca McMahon, OSMO

Mushroom brown
Think of a Portobello mushroom and you are on the right track. Mushroom brown is a semi-ashy hair colour that still features warm tones.

mushroom brunette
“This colour easily takes clients from a winter colour to something more spring-appropriate. I like to add a few ash blonde bits through the hair to make it multi-dimensional,” adds Jeseca McMahon, OSMO brand ambassador. “I use OSMO Ikon in 8.1 to create this look.”
Watch out: This colour can look flat, so add lighter or darker tones to create more interest.
Image credit: Altin Ismaili

Dark chocolate
This cool-toned brown is rich and indulgent, just like its namesake.

dark chocolate brunette

Technique: “You might not realise it, but dark chocolate has a lot of violet tones in it. Next time you have dark chocolate, look closely and you will see a violet tone to the dark brown colour,” says Andrew Smith, milk_shake ambassador. “As the tone is so cool you don’t need to use warm tones to pre-pigment the hair first.”
Bonus: Avoid intricate techniques like baby-lights, instead keep application simple and let the rich colour make a statement.
Image credit: Tracey Devine Smith

Root beer
Subtle auburn highlights add dimension and warmth to dark brown locks.

root beer brunette trend

Technique: There has been a shift in brunette clients getting more experimental with their colour, says Simon Tuckwell, Balmain, hair artisan. “I add pieces of dark caramel and rich amber tones to create warmth. I keep the base darker and keep the richer pieces quite close to the base colour for a seamless blend,” he adds.
Bonus: Simon says he is yet to find a skin tone or hair length that root beer doesn’t suit
Image credit: Heffy Wheeler, OSMO

A very dark brown infused with red and pink tones that makes brunettes look radiant.

blackberry rush brunette hair

Technique: “I like to use a halo technique with this colour to bring light to the face. This works so well with this shade and blackberry looks amazing when it catches the light,” says Chris Williams, RUSH international colour director.
Watch out: Maintenance is essential, clients will need to use a sulphate-free shampoo and use hair masks regularly to maintain the vibrancy of the red tones.
Image credit: RUSH

An expert mix of grey and beige. When this shade is executed well it offers a multi-dimensional neutral shade that is surprisingly wearable.

greige brunette colour

Technique: “Adding greige to brunette shades will gradually disguise but still embrace grey hairs. If hair is naturally dark, this look is easier to achieve,” says Neil Barton, Goldwell UK guest artist.
Watch out: The correct at-home routine is crucial to keep the shade on tone. KMS ColorVitality Shampoo and Conditioner will help fight colour fade.
Image credit: Claxton and Cordey

Smoky brown
Give dark brown tresses an edgy twist with some ash grey highlights.

smokey brown brunette shade

Technique: “Apply colour using a balayage technique and tone the hair after the highlighting service to give a smoky edge,” explains Mark Leeson, Revlon Professional global artistic ambassador. “I use Revlon Revlonissimo Colorsmetique“SN” Super NaturalShadesas a lowlight, alternating this with a pre-lightener and any of the .23 iridescent shades. Use Nutri Color Cremeas a toner, this allows clients to try this trend without the commitment of a permanent shade, as it provides temporary colour as well as care and shine to the hair.”
Bonus: It’s relatively simple to change your brunette client’s look without a drastic colour change.
Image credit: Paul Falltrick

Rose brown
Muted warmth and intermixed violet and golden tones means this is one of the more creative brunette shades out there.

rose brown brunette shade

Technique: “I like to take a zig-zag parting around the hairline and colour this section a couple of shades lighter than the rest of the hair,” explainsTracy Hayes, Fudge Professional, global head of technical training. “This gives a softness to the face and avoids any appearance of block colour.”
Bonus: Using the technique above means the colour can be used to suit the individual’s haircut and face shape.
Image credit: Kieron Justin Fowles

Rich mink
This shade is similar to mushroom brown, but instead of featuring ashy tones rich mink has earthier tones running through it.

rich mink brunette shade
“This brunette shade is perfect for clients who have a lighter brown base. It enhances their tone without having to go too dark,” explains Tracey Devine Smith, Affinage global brand ambassador. “I use A.S.P Kitoko Permanent Hair Colour Crème in 4.24 Rich Mink to achieve this look.”
Watch out: If your client has dark brunette shades in their hair, Tracey suggests bleaching hair first so you can work on a clean and cool canvas. Achieving a pure ash backdrop is key to creating rich mink.
Image credit: Ross Charles


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