How To Totally Rock Being A Brunette

Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX USA.
"Brown is a very grounding color," says colorist extraordinaire Roxie Darling, the brains behind many a killer dye job. "It's a sensible, intelligent choice — it doesn't necessarily claim the attention that blondes or reds do, but sometimes that's exactly what you need or desire."

That's unless, of course, you know how to wear brunette to your advantage — like the striking Salma Hayek or the iconically beautiful Audrey Hepburn. Sometimes, the dark side is the best side. Ahead, one of our other favorite color experts (and fellow brunette) Aura Friedman and Roxie show us their favorite examples of the shade, plus serve up a few tips for maintaining and enhancing your own take on it at home.
1 of 18
Photo: Terry O'Neill/Getty Images.
The Darkest Dark
"The dark-black hair has suited Liza Minnelli's bold personality for decades," Roxie says. "It's played a crucial role in her career, distinguishing her from all other performers."
2 of 18
Photo: Erik Pendzich/REX USA.
Warm Black
There's a pretty, rich quality to Freida Pinto's hair that doesn't take away from her gorgeous complexion.
3 of 18
Photo: GAB Archive/Getty Images.
Sunny Brown
"Jane Birkin remained natural in an era of peroxide. It was bohemian, perfectly sun-kissed, and cool without trying," Roxie says.
4 of 18
Photo: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images.
Dual Brunette
"Salma Hayek has that medium, olive skin tone, which is why the cool-toned dark-brown looks best at the root, and she can experiment with warmth on the ends and mid-lengths," Aura explains.
5 of 18
Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX USA.
Sabrina Brown
"As glamorous as Audrey Hepburn was, she always seemed very down-to-earth," Roxie says. "Her shade of brunette was elegant, subtle, no-fuss. With her gamine features, she didn't need to call attention to herself with a bold hair shade."
6 of 18
Photo: Crollalanza/REX USA.
Desert Sun
"You can't talk to a young brunette today without hearing Lou Doillon's name again and again," Roxie says. "She's experimented with hair-painting for years now, and has a great range of blonde desert tones accentuating her natural brunette."
7 of 18
Photo: REX USA.
Ombré Brunette
"Penelope Cruz is the perfect example of a brunette with golden skin who can wear both warm and cool-toned browns...even at the same time," Aura says.
8 of 18
Almost Auburn
Winona's iconic short-hair moments would have been nothing if not for that quintessentially '90s color.
9 of 18
Photo: MediaPunch Inc/REX USA.
Cool Espresso
A single-process color — like this dark-brown on Katie Holmes — can be refreshingly chic, especially when it's paired with light eyes (it'll make 'em pop).
10 of 18
Photo: Franck Leguet/REX USA.
Dark and Cool
Jennifer Connelly is living proof that dark, bold brows look best with a mane to match.
11 of 18
Photo: Greg Allen/REX USA.
Tonal Chestnut
"Eva Mendes has golden skin, while her eyes are dark and cool," Aura says. "The warmth on the ends warms and brightens her eyes, but the cool at the root helps keep her color looking natural and frames her bone structure."
12 of 18
Photo: MediaPunch Inc/REX USA.
The Raven
Lucy Liu's black hair is just about as timeless as her beauty — here, it's gorgeously accentuated with her well-defined lashes and brows.
13 of 18
Photo: David Fisher/REX USA.
True Chestnut
"These warm tones on Alexa Chung enhance her blue eyes and give her skin a rosy, flushed look," Aura says. "The warmth enhances the pink in her skin just enough so she looks healthy."
14 of 18
Photo: Willi Schneider/REX USA.
Versatile Color
"Angelina is a great example of a fair-skinned brunette who can rock both warm and cool tones," Aura says.
15 of 18
Aura recommends legendary colorist Christophe Robin's customized masks to care for dyed-brunette hair, or give your strands a boost if they're looking lackluster. "Brunette can sometimes go a little mousey, or end up losing its richness," she says. "So, you can treat that with a quick glaze in the salon, and by regular upkeep in the shower." This one is for darker, cooler brunettes.
16 of 18
And, this one handles shades on the warmer end of the spectrum.
17 of 18
If you're rocking true-black hair, this little potion will give your mane a subtle boost. But, cautions Roxie, let the at-home color experiments end there: "I have to warn against dyeing it yourself if you have black hair — if you layer, it becomes the worst kind of shoe-polish color."
18 of 18
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!

More from Hair


R29 Original Series