In Michaud's experience, many brunettes frequently request lighter hair. However, depending on what type of brunette they are, simply going lighter can present problems if not done properly. "Brunette hair that has been highlighted can end up becoming too brassy, and when the colorist attempts to lift too much color with highlights, the hair can become quite damaged," he explains. To avoid this sad, brassy fate, he suggests lightening hair in stages rather than in one appointment, which will maintain the hair's health and strength.
But, even if you're lightening your hair in stages, it's important not to switch to a color that's too far off from your natural one. As Michaud says, "A good colorist will take your hair texture, facial features, your skin tone, and your lifestyle into consideration when coloring your hair. This holistic approach gives you a look that is customized just for you."
As far as what kind of customizations to request, Michaud recommends sun-kissed highlights for light brown hair and a natural ombré look for medium brown hair. For girls with dark brown hair, he suggests achieving dimension by having the stylist apply highlights on wet hair — the technique gives the highlights a softer, more natural look. In fact, according to Michaud, "The most flattering thing a brunette can do for her color is to get sunkissed or ombré highlights with semi-permanent color for shine."
As for the least flattering thing a brunette can do? Too much contrast between your highlights and your natural color will give you a striped look, and while we love stripes, we're not super-excited about them in our hair. Michaud also cautions that brunettes who do a single-process color treatment should avoid over-pigmenting their color, which could make it look too matte.
Once you've colored your hair, it needs upkeep, which can be achieved by using a color-protecting shampoo and conditioner — we like Bumble and bumble's Color Minded range. To keep your brunette hair from sun-induced brassiness, try using Frédéric Fekkai Salon Technician Highlight Care Illuminating Cream, which will help protect it from the sun. And, for an easy way to add life back into your locks at home, try a deep conditioning hair mask, like Aussie 3 Minute Miracle. As Michaud says, healthy hair always looks lively.
So, get out into the sunshine and flaunt that brunette mane — after all, the best thing you can do for your hair is feel good about it.
Photographed by Sarah Balch