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How to Achieve the Perfect Dark and Light Brown Hair Colour

If you’re already a brunette (anywhere from light brown hair to darkest espresso) but want to change up or enrich your shade, then this is the guide for you.

Technically speaking, brunettes have the most common hair colour, but brown hair is anything but basic. It runs the gamut from light brown (soft ash, pale amber or light golden brown hair) to medium brown (caramel, mahogany, bronze and walnut) to deepest brunette (espresso, dark chocolate and umber). With all that variety, it can be hard to choose the shade of brown that best suits your complexion and hair colour goals. Do you like a more natural look or something dramatic? Do you want your hair to highlight your eye colour and skin tone? Are you hoping to enhance your base hue or stray more than a couple of shades away? This straightforward guide will teach you how to choose hair colour that you love and how to maintain it once you do.

Can I achieve light brown hair?

It depends on your base shade. It’s easiest (and most natural looking) to stick to two shades lighter or darker than your natural colour. So if you have really dark chocolate brown hair, it will be hard to lift it to a light brown hair tone without professional help. If you already have light-coloured locks or medium brown hair, on the other hand, it will be much easier to achieve light brown hair colour. Also, the lighter your skin, the more natural a light hue will look.

What about dark brown hair?

Yes, pretty much anyone can go dark brown—although it will look most natural on people with medium to dark skin tones (or on those who already have deep brown as opposed to light brown hair). However, if you have a flair for the dramatic, take your hair to the dark side no matter your base hair or skin colour.

Should I choose warm or cool shades of brown?

Whether you go light, medium or dark is one thing, but you also need to choose the undertones for your new shade—and it all depends on your skin’s undertones. Warm skin is golden, yellow or peach, while cool skin is pink or reddish. Neutral undertones are a mix of both. Whether you have light, medium or dark skin has no impact on your undertone, and your undertone will stay the same throughout each season, even if your skin tends to deepen in colour in the summer months.

There are two ways to discover your undertones:

1. Look at the veins on your wrist in soft daylight:

 If they look green, you have warm undertones. If they look blue or purple, you have cool undertones. If they’re a mix of green and blue, or you can’t really tell, then you likely have neutral undertones.

2. Try on silver and gold jewellery:

This one’s not so much about what type of jewellery you wear the most or whether silver or gold is most on trend; it’s about which shade seems to look best next to your skin. If gold looks more flattering, you have warm undertones. If silver looks more flattering, you have cool undertones. If both look equally good, you probably have neutral undertones.

You want to choose a brown hair colour with undertones that are the opposite of your skin’s undertones. So if you have warm skin, you want a cool hair colour (look for words like cool or ash brown hair on the label). If you have cool skin, you’ll want a warm hair shade (look for words like amber, warm or golden brown hair). If your skin is neutral, it’s likely that any colour will look good on you, including neutral shades that have no gold, ash, warm or cool descriptors (for example, light brown, medium brown or dark brown hair).

Which line of hair colour should I use?

L’Oréal Paris has a few different hair colour ranges that can meet your dark to light brown hair colour needs. If you’re looking for a quality at-home hair colouring kit with fade-defying powers, L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference is the gold standard. If you need to cover stubborn grey hairs in particular, choose L’Oréal Paris Excellence Crème Permanent Hair Colour. L’Oréal Paris Féria is ideal for dramatic transformations with tons of shine. And if you prefer a demi-permanent dye as opposed to permanent, L’Oréal Paris Casting Crème Gloss Ammonia-free Hair Colour is your best bet.

How do I take care of my hair colour?

Limit the number of times that you get your hair wet each week, shampoo and condition with products formulated for colour-treated hair and wear a hat in the sun to prevent fading caused by UV exposure. Don’t redo your colour more frequently than every four weeks if you can help it, and use L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up to touch up your roots when your colour starts to grow out.

Now it’s time to have some fun! Change up your hair colour a little or a lot, and enjoy the thrill of transformation.

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