"Cold Brew" Hair Is Trending — & Here's Exactly What To Ask Your Colorist

Photo: Courtesy of Kimberly Bonondona.
The clinking of ice cubes in your cold brew is one of the lesser-appreciated sounds of summer. When it's a million degrees out and you feel like a slug, that sip of ice-cold coffee helps jolt you back to life in a way that, sorry, pumpkin spice will never be able to. And because our cold caffeine cravings are seemingly chronic this time of year, it's no shock that the most recent hair-color craze sweeping New York and L.A. is mimicking our go-to summer (and early fall) beverage of choice. They're calling it "cold brew" brunette.
NYC-based colorist Stephanie Brown (who says she's the inventor of the cold brew color) tells us that the key to achieving the shiny brown color is to ask your stylist to ribbon rich highlights and lowlights through your hair for dimension. "It’s all about swirling neutral and golden tones down the hair," Brown explains. "Just like when you pour a little bit of milk into your coffee."
Because we were so charmed by the idea of matching our hair to our cup o' joe, we asked three pro-colorists to break down everything to know about asking for, treating, and maintaining cold brew hair. We found out that the most important step is to keep the hair glossymuch like the wet condensation dripping down your cup.
Find your expert how-to guide and the dreamiest coffee-color hair inspiration to bring to your next appointment, ahead.
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Brown says that the key to achieving the cold brew shade on naturally dark blonde hair is to play up the highlights. "Golden tones are really on-trend in hair color right now," says Brown (Beyoncé's colorist agrees). "Just ask your colorist to weave a few ombréd pieces of pale and golden highlights through the hair. Also, I like to put a lowlight in as well, so there isn’t too much lightness and it helps see the lighter strands better."
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The creamy highlights look gorgeous swirled through curls and waves, as seen here. To keep the hair shiny, handle it with care; Brown recommends stocking color-safe shampoo and conditioner, and avoiding super-hot water (which shouldn't be too difficult when it's 100 degrees out).
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Ask your colorist to focus your neutral highlight around the mid-sections and ends of your hair, not at the roots, for a purposeful, grown-out look. We've been crushing on Elaine Welteroth's dreamy color for months.
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Dueling tones — a dark brown with the sandy golden highlight — gives the hair subtle dimension, while keeping it looking super natural. Brown tells us that most brunettes look best with a neutral-toned highlight (read: not ombré), that won't turn brassy red or orange.
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Courtesy of Kimberly Bonondona
Colorist Kimberly Bonondona tells us that she achieved this cool, slightly-rusty, cold brew color on jet-black hair by weaving a reddish-brown glaze through the shafts of the hair. For maintenance and to keep the color looking polished, Bonondona recommends a refresh glaze every 6 to 7 weeks.
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Joan Smalls' dark-brown waves look naturally sun-kissed, with a few golden-auburn ribbons woven throughout. We can only imagine the "cold brew"-esque brunette color would look just as gorgeous pulled back in a slick and shiny ponytail.
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Courtesy of Kimberly Bonondona
Bonondona tells us that the frosted balayage highlight is really easy to maintain with simple at-home color care. "After lightening, it's very important to use a good shampoo and conditioner to keep the hair healthy and prevent there color from fading," Bonondona explains. She always recommends Olaplex (both number 4 and number 5), or the Moroccanoil set.
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This highlights trend is all about using a light touch. Think of it as dripping the teensiest drop of cream in your coffee.
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Courtesy of Tauni Dawson
LA-based colorist Tauni Dawson tells us that transitioning to a cold brew shade is the perfect way to polish dull, grown-out highlights. For a quick fix, you can ask for a rich gloss all over (as opposed to a dye) that will help tone down super-bright babylights for a more uniform color.
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Courtesy of Tauni Dawson
To maintain the deep warm tones, Dawson recommends the Evo Fabuloso Colour Intensifying Conditioner in the shade Chestnut or Caramel.

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