How to Get the Perfect Brunette Hair Color For You

(Photo by Caitlin Miller/StyleBistro)

Internet, meet Sasha.

She's a natural brunette, Account Excutive for Livingly Media, and our final guinea pig for StyleBistro's Hair Color Theme Week! Sasha has nine — count them, nine — weddings to attend this summer and hasn't colored her "fine, dry, light brown hair" (her words, not mine!) since college.

Here's her before shot, below.

(Photo by Caitlin Miller/StyleBistro)

So, like Caitlin (the blonde) and myself (the redhead), we set Sasha up for her first-ever professional (read: fancy!) hair consultation with Joel Warren, celebrity colorist and co-owner of Warren-Tricomi Salons.

Unlike other colorists who start by analyzing skintone, Warren doesn't buy that method. "I think it's a fear created by some book that was written in the '80s," he told us. "I've colored hair for 20 years, and I've never come up that a problem. If the color comes up as something you don't like yourself in, it doesn't mean it doesn't work with your skin tone, it simply means you don't like it."

Instead, then, he began by asking Sasha what color it was that she wanted. "Something darker, but not too dark."

So, off to work he went on highlights — yes, highlights.

(Photo by Caitlin Miller/StyleBistro)

Are you all, like, lol wut? Yeah, so were we, until he explained the process to us.

"Sometimes when you do hair a darker brown, it gets very monochromatic, a little boring, and looks like, well, you just colored your hair," he said. "If you weave in highlights properly, you tone them in together, it gives the hair more dimension and makes it look much more natural."

So Warren continued to foil the eensiest, teeniest highlights around Sasha's face and toward the back of her head, not lightening her hair per se, but prepping it for the color to come. (Hm... We're starting to see a pattern here.)

After letting the highlights sit for 20 minutes — never under a dryer! — Sasha was whisked off to the sink to rinse, remove the foils, and add an allover color.

Warren then asked Sasha what her summer schedule was like (insane — nine weddings, helloooo!), and her dedication to upkeep (lol), so they decided to stick with a semi-permanent color that naturally fades over time. That way, she won't have roots, and won't feel pressured to make it back into the salon six weeks later.

As for the color?

"What I've been doing a lot of lately is a golden brown," Warren said. [Side note: You can read all about "Going Golden" here!] "Her hair is sort of that flavor, so we're just going to give a nice, rich golden brown color. I'm going to use something with no peroxide, no ammonia, a product by L’Oréal Professionnel called DIA Light, which is made specifically to give her nice, beautiful, shiny hair."

(Photo by Caitlin Miller/StyleBistro)

Our next lesson in fancy: Maintenance.

"In order to make your hair look great and shiny, you've got to learn how to blow it out properly, and with the right products as well," Warren said. "So, you need the correct blow dry serum, the correct blow dryer, and the right brush. I like something with boar's hair in it. You need something with tension to dry the hair in that state, so it reflects the light well. That's the key to shiny, healthy hair."

That, and color-treated shampoo. (More on that here!)

(Photo by Caitlin Miller/StyleBistro)

Just like at my visit to the Patrick Melville Pipino Salon, Sasha's hair was cut dry — by none other than celebrity hairstylist Edward Tricomi! He observed her locks for two minutes, and went to work, adding soft layers around her face and trimming off ends that had been fried by her weekly blowouts.

Tricomi's assistant finished up with a few curls, and...

(Photo by Caitlin Miller/StyleBistro)

Ta-da! Gorgeous, darker, more brilliant brunette hair.

I told you they were the teeniest tiniest highlights — can you even see them?

(Photo by Caitlin Miller/StyleBistro)

As for Sasha's take? "I really love my hair! It's so fun to have a new summer look with a shorter cut. It's easier to manage over all and looks much more professional."

That's a wrap for our Hair Color Theme Week! Check out our Hair Ideas page for more tips on maintenance, finding your perfect hair color, celebrity inspiration, and more!