This Brunette Hair Trend Is Going To Be Everywhere In 2019

Photo: courtesy of Riawna Capri.
Riawna Capri called it. A year ago, the celebrity stylist and co-founder of L.A.'s Nine Zero One salon predicted rich and buttery hair colors would replace icy and ashy hues on the heads of cool girls everywhere — and she was right. Now that we're rounding the corner on another year, we checked in with the mane oracle to find out what she sees for 2019. Her answer? "It’s a switch up from the traditional golden beachy hues," she notes. But instead of simply swinging right back to platinum shades, Capri sees a tendency toward more neutral territory, or what she's calling "dirty brunette." In fact, Capri is so confident in her choice, she's asked colorist Lauren Burke to create the look on her own hair.
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"A dirty brunette has a more neutral, smoky vibe rather than super icy or super warm shades," she explains. "Instead, it's a perfect balance of both." To strike the right chord, Burke highlights hair, then applies toner to mellow lifted strands to the lightest of brown shades or darkest of blondes. The result is a slight shift in color that complements different skin tones and features the way a full-stop blonding often won't. But don't just take Capri's word for it, see how dirty brunette is about to become the freshest thing to hit 2019, ahead.
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"Going into a new season doesn’t mean you have to completely change your color," notes Capri. "What I usually like to do with my clients is tone down balayage or ombré with a toner. It’s a super simple shift that doesn't require a full color change."

Taking her own advice, Capri transitioned into a more neutral shade this fall with the help of a neutral beige toner, rather than opting for something super warm or cool. "I was traveling in the summer and my ends got light and blonde. Moving into fall, I toned it down about three levels or so and made myself a dirty brunette. Everybody has a dirty blonde friend, and now I’m the dirty brunette friend," she says.
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"For brunettes, you want to make sure you’re not completely covering up all the highlights when glossing or toning," she says. "The point is to richen up and deepen all the highlights that may have been created in the salon or by the sun. Here, we kept a couple pieces of the light flickers through the hair, but enrich it with a nice, deep gloss."
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When curls are given the dirty blonde treatment, neutral highlights help create the illusion of additional volume, particularly on shorter hair.
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As Burke puts it, dirty brunette is a seamless shade that shouldn't register as too blonde and or appear stripe-y. "It’s a very melted and seamless look that shouldn't feel like a big departure from natural shades," she says. Here, Nine Zero One colorist Molly Haugh balances darker roots and lighter ends with neutral brunette tone for a dirty brunette that looks right at home with her client's complexion.
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Never lightened your naturally brunette hair before? This gentle shade shift might be the thing that changes everything. As Burke points out, going dirty brunette is perfect transition for color virgins because "you're staying in the realm of being brunette" while still getting a new look.
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Because we know fewer and fewer people with time to roll into a salon every four-to-six weeks, dirty brunette also gets points for being extremely low maintenance. "Once your hair is highlighted and toned, the neutral shade can last for about a year," Burke says. "You only have to come in every 3-4 months to have a fresh toner applied."
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Dirty brunette may look simple enough to tackle at home, but it takes a master colorist to achieve the right balance of beige and sandy tones. In addition to nailing highlight placement, Burke says it takes a certain level of skill to lift dark shades to the point where the orange-y tints won't peak through.
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