Dark-haired girls are going warmer for spring, adding hints of caramel, cocoa, and golden undertones to their manes. "My clients are loving the illumination technique of darker roots with lighter ends," says Cunningham. "It's like ombré, but it's more light-handed — not everyone wants so much contrast. This effect creates the illusion of hair that has been naturally lightened by the sun, and opens up the face."
Our real girl model, Chelsea, had dark brown hair that she said she was getting a bit bored with. "I was definitely ready for a change, but I didn't want anything drastic that would require a lot of upkeep," she says. According to Cunningham, this is a great technique for brunettes who want to try something new but don't want to go for such a major change. Cutler Salon colorist Gaby Bowen used Redken's new Chromatics Prismatic Permanent hair color — a zero-ammonia permanent hair color that's infused with proteins to help your hair feel stronger and look more vibrant — to warm up Chelsea's all-one-color mane.
"Most brunettes who come and sit in my chair say, 'I don’t want to see any red or warmth in my hair.' They don't want any brassiness," says Cunningham. But warm browns don't need to be brassy or red — they can look gorgeously warm and buttery, if your stylist knows what she's doing. In order to get a hue like Chelsea's, your stylist needs to make your hair lighter by adding highlights first, then applying a glaze in your desired shade. You don't want to lift all of your color at once because then you're stuck with that shade for the long haul. By adding very fine highlights in a hue that is a few shades lighter than where you want your color to be, Cunningham says you get the brightness you need in order to lighten up without the commitment. She warns that your hair is going to look stripe-y at first, but once the colorist adds in the glaze, that should create the rich, dimensional color you are trying to achieve.
Chelsea's verdict on her new hue? "I love how the warmer color really illuminates my complexion — it's perfect to get ready for spring," she says. She was also a fan of Chromatics: "My hair feels really soft, still, like it did before we colored it. My hair dries out very easily and I was worried coloring it would cause damage, but my hair is still very soft and also looks really silky," she said.
Photographed by Guang Xu