“Beach bum is a low-maintenance color trend where you can get up and go and have your hair look effortless,” says California-based hairstylist Rebecca Murphy. “This gilded shade of brunette grows out easily without any harsh lines and looks amazing on a wide range of skin tones.”
If embracing a more laid-back style is at the top of your autumn to-do list, beach bum brunette may be exactly what your color routine needs. Here, Murphy shows us how she transforms her clients’ manes into this luxurious brunette color and breaks down everything you need to know to score the look yourself.
What is beach bum brunette hair color?
Beach bum brunette hair color mimics the new warm, golden pigments that appear in brown hair after a day lounging in the sun. However, it’s not just about the lustrous shade. The hallmark of this look is how the coloring technique used creates a softer transition between your root, base, and ends for an effortless grow-out.
“Beach bum brunette hair color is a gorgeously lived-in dimensional color, perfect for a sunkissed natural look,” says Murphy. “Many [trendy] brunettes of the past are more muted, close to the natural tone. Or, they’ve been much brighter and blonder. Beach bum is right in the middle, pulling from both. You can expect to find [hints of] honey blonde, bronde, caramel, and darker brown for ultimate dimension.”
How do you achieve beach bum brunette hair color?
Before you get started, it’s wise to show your stylist a few inspirational photos of final looks you’d be okay with. Depending on how dark your brunette base is, your strands may pull more cool or warm-toned when lightened, impacting your desired result. Have your stylist do a strand test, and then work together to create a beach bum brunette shade that meshes with your unique hair texture and color.
Every beachy brunette may look a bit different, but Murphy has a few suggestions to help point your stylist in the right direction:
- Have your colorist add beachy caramel or toffee highlights on top of a brunette base, then use lowlights to break up any solidness throughout the ends. Teasylights are also a great way to add subtle pops of color to your beach bum brunette hue. The method involves teasing hair in small sections before applying color, allowing for a more diffused application.
- A shadow root using a smudging technique should be applied midway down your hair for a seamless grow-out. Root smudging is when the shade painted onto your roots closely matches your natural hue, preventing a harsh line of demarcation as hair grows out. To get the look, your stylist should go over your newly applied highlights (about one inch from the root) with a darker demi- or semi-permanent hair gloss color similar to your incoming growth. This extends your time between touch-up appointments, lending your beach bum ‘do its low-maintenance, laid-back vibe.
- Add an optional money piece around your face for a skin-illuminating effect.
Regarding formulas, Murphy loves toning beach bum brunettes with Redken Shades EQ Hair Gloss. These demi-permanent dyes deposit sheer pigments over strands for a gorgeous shine and luminous color that lasts up to six weeks. We always encourage leaving your color transformations to the pros, especially since they have access to these conditioning, salon-only dyes.
How do you care for beach bum brunette hair color?
When you lighten up your hair, especially if you start with an extra dark base, there’s a risk it’ll turn brassy over time as your salon toners oxidize. As such, you’ll want to equip yourself with at-home toning products, like blue or purple shampoos, to care for your beach bum brunette.
If you are unfamiliar with the theory of toning, take a look at the color wheel, and you’ll notice that hues sitting across from each other cancel out. You'll want to opt for purple formulas if you see yellow tones in your hair, and if your strands appear more orange, be sure to pick up blue. If you have more questions, here’s everything you need to know about using purple shampoo on brown hair.
Another way to extend the life of your beachy brunette is to invest in a shampoo and conditioner system that preserves the vibrancy of your salon color, no matter how often you wash your hair.
“I recommend a color-safe shampoo like Matrix Food For Soft,” Murphy says. “It’s very hydrating without weighing the hair down.” With ingredients like avocado oil and hyaluronic acid, it’ll leave hair feeling soft and full of moisture—plus, its tropical scent will add to the summer nostalgia.
Now, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get your beach bum glow on.