Hot Chocolate - for the love of brunettes

This season, it’s all about brunettes. Adriana Ermter gets the scoop on the benefits of going brown

Hot chocolate
This season, it’s all about brunettes. Adriana Ermter gets the scoop on the benefits of going brown


Why brunette is better

Matthew Waldron, a colourist and hairstylist at Mood by Pure in Montreal, says brunette is the perfect match for gals who can’t deal with high-maintenance locks. “Brown hair only needs to be touched up every 2–3 months, so it’s cheaper, too.” And the reasons to go brown don’t stop there. Waldron adds:

• Brown hair makes skin look energized and eyes and teeth appear whiter.
• If you’re a thin- or fine-haired gal, brown beats bad-hair days by providing extra body and shine, thanks to hair-enriching pigments.
• Dark hair best hides split ends and damage caused by blow-dryers and flatirons.
• Add mocha to mousy and watch your hair get added oomph and vibrancy.
• Brunette hair reflects more light than blond or red hair, so you’re guaranteed to shine.
• Almost anyone can be a brunette (consult your colourist for his pro opinion), but note that no skin tone is better suited to chocolaty strands than olive.

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On the runway

Fashion’s fixation on everything dark and romantic needs the right topper (and we’re not just talking about waistcoats). From light golden brown to the deepest mocha, shades of brunette exploded on top model tresses to match the runways’ moody turn. It’s no surprise that the runways’ current “it” girl is Canada’s own Irina Lazareanu. She’s got gorgeous dark-brown hair, giving her a mysterious edge that the fashion elite are lusting for. And she’s not alone. Canada’s catwalk best—Daria Werbowy, Heather Marks, Coco Rocha Agnieszka Wichniewicz and Lisa Cant—all embraced the darker side, making brown hair (be it faux or au naturel) the hottest colour of the season.

“Brunettes have a lot of character. They look stronger and all the designers are using them,” explains Jean-François Leroux, Lazareanu’s agent and director of Giovanni Model Management in Montreal.

From her position as a much sought-after designer muse who has walked the runways for nearly every major designer, natural brunette Cant agrees. “I recently shot the D&G campaign, and they used all dark-haired girls. They wanted the mood to be more mysterious, less obviously sexy.”

Yet, these leggy ladies aren’t coveted just because rich locks frame their pretty faces. “Brunettes are associated with intelligence,” says Cant. “And fashion is looking for a ‘smarter’ girl right now.” (Hallelujah!) Givenchy opened its runway show with a parade of dark-haired beauties with bookish black-rimmed glasses and Tuleh paid due homage
to the ’30s–’40s Vassar girl (think dark, smart and stylish à la famous former student Jackie O).

Matti Gidilevich, the Elite Model Management Toronto agent representing Rocha (whose CV includes Chanel, Balenciaga and Dolce & Gabbana), says that brunettes are intoxicating and intriguing. “Everybody wants to be them and everybody wants to book them.” He even goes so far as to insist that “all the top models are brunettes right now.”

“Dyeing” to indulge your inner model? Simply toss the bleach and make your mark in rich shades of coffee, walnut and cappuccino.

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5 steps to becoming brunette

1. Be you blond, light brown or red-headed, start with healthy hair. Get a trim or a cut just before or just after you change your colour. Freshly coiffed hair makes colour appear richer, softer and shinier.

2. Calgary’s Mode Models hottie Heather Marks may be able to brave the seesaw of blond to brunette to recently blond again, but off the runway, regular gals should make a commitment to going brown—’cause it ain’t easy going back. Returning to your original shade of blond or red is tricky; it requires stripping or bleaching the hair of pigment and it often takes multiple hair-colouring sessions at the salon.

3. Alter your colour slowly: start with lowlights and intensify the colour over time. DIYers like Daria Werbowy, who took her locks into her own hands to give them their current deep and glossy hue, should select a reputable drugstore brand of hair colour one shade darker than their own, while salon-goers may first consult with their stylist. “Every time you do your hair, you can go one step darker. That will make a softer, easier transition,” says Waldron. Boost your new look by asking your hairstylist to colour the under layers of your hair a slightly deeper shade than the top layers. “The richer, darker colour adds dimension.”

4. Maintain your new colour at home by using colour-specific and/or colour-enhancing shampoos and conditioners and leave-in and weekly conditioning treatments. These products protect your new colour, keeping it vibrant and minimizing fading and dullness.

5. Be mentally prepared to look different. Redheads will look less fiery and blondes more earthy and natural.

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