There are a ton of hair hacks out there catered to the blondes of the world, with the implicit understanding that brown hair care is somehow lower-maintenance and more self-explanatory. However, there are actually a few things every brunette should know about their hair that seriously help like crazy when it comes to personal style. I've personally had almost every hair color known to man — from my natural light brown to blonde to red to really red to black to everything in between and back again — and I can tell you firsthand that there are just as many tips and tricks I utilize for brown hair as when I have the more showy reds and beachy blondes.
I've found that my makeup and hair choices are prone to change depending on the specific shade of brown I choose, and that there are just as many things I need to consider when choosing a particular look when my hair is brown versus when it's a more traditionally "high maintenance" color. If you're thinking of switching over to brown hair from another color, or already are a brunette and just want to amp up your look, here are nine tips you should know.
1. Consider Your Makeup
The thing about hair and makeup is that it's basically a visual art — and in a lot of ways, it all comes down to complementary colors. You probably wouldn't repaint your bedroom without considering whether the color matches the accent pieces you already have and if you'll need to buy new ones, right? The same holds true for your hair and makeup. In a piece for In Style, celebrity colorist Mai Quynh recommended sticking "to pinky-nudes, reds, and berry shades on the lips," and if you're a darker brunette, "use a light bronzer to warm up the skin." And in the same piece, makeup artist Amy Nadine suggested that you accentuate your eyes. This will make sure your features won't get overpowered by your darker hair.
2. Focus On Your Skin
In a piece on the best makeup for your hair in Shape, makeup artist Marissa Nemes notes that “youthful, healthy skin is gorgeous on brunettes,” since it often creates a contrast with the skin and draws more attention to your face. She specifically recommended using a tinted moisturizer and following it up with a gentle bronzer for that "glowing" look.
3. Know That Blush Is Your Friend
Nemes also noted the importance of using blush, especially if you're a fair-skinned brunette, as otherwise you can easily look washed out. She suggested rosy tones, as they generally look super natural with brown hair.
4. Protect Yourself
It's not just blondes who need to protect their hair from damage and fading. Brunettes — especially color-treated brunettes — also benefit from specialized products for their color. Over at the About.com Style section, beauty expert Julyne Derrick recommends a weekly conditioning treatment, letting your hair air dry as much as possible to protect it from heat, and using products that protect against color fading.
5. Create Contrast With Your Clothes
Senior Editor Kat Collings of What to Wear notes that color contrast with your clothes looks great on dark-haired people, as it makes both your hair and your outfit pop. She suggests going for bold colors, like hot pinks and canary yellows, and investing in some solid white and cream pieces.
6. Remember That Skin Tone Is Important
According to Marcy Cona, Creative Director of Color and Style at Clairol, skin tone is a super important factor when deciding on what specific shade you should choose, no matter what your color. "Your skin tone is the framework to your hair, so you want to make sure your skin tone and hair color complement one another. The right combination of skin tone and hair color shade can define your look." This means that if your skin tone is cool, you'll want to choose a shade of brown that compliments that specific tone, and the same goes for the opposite. Above is a super helpful video from TheMakeupChair YouTube channel for finding your skin tone.
7. Be Careful With Extremes
In a piece for Allure, celebrity colorist Marie Robinson says that the most flattering shades of brown are usually the natural ones kicked up a notch — within just a shade or two of your natural color. "It's about enhancing, not extremes," Robinson said. I personally love more intense contrasts when it comes to hair and skin shades and think it can look totally amazing. So if the natural look isn't your thing, I say more power to you!
8. Remember The Importance Of Cut
Just when you're considering things like makeup and skin tone, Robinson says that you should also think about cut when working with your specific shade of brown. For example, if you have a shorter, choppier hair style, you'll likely want to go with a softer shade of brown so that the cut and color don't overpower your face, and if you have a longer style you could consider going darker.
9. Know That Yes, You Can Get Highlights Too
Again, highlights are not just for blondes! Derrick noted that a few face-framing highlights on dark hair work to brighten and soften the face, and a few around your whole head will prevent the color from seeming too monotone. Check out the above video gallery of different highlighted brunette looks for inspiration.
While brunette hair can definitely be low-maintenance as compared to certain other colors, that definitely doesn't mean it's no-maintenance. And knowing a few of these brown-hair basics will just ensure that you love your color all the more.