Illuminated Brunette Hair Is Taking South America By Storm

Latest Color Techniques Used By Your Stylist

This Brazilian Hair Color Technique Will Be 2019's Biggest Trend

27 November 2018
photo of woman with illuminated brunette hair color
Jelani Addams Rosa

Jelani Addams Rosa

Associate Editor,

As an employee of L'Oréal, Jelani brings her knowledge and passion for hair care to Before joining the team, she spent time at Celebuzz, Seventeen, and Cosmo for Latinas.

If you keep up with beauty news, it can often feel like there’s a new hair color taking the hair industry by storm every day. Though there seem to be more color options than strands of hair on our head, dark brown hair is still one of our absolute favorite hues. Dark brown hair looks good on just about everyone and is also easy to maintain. Unfortunately, dark brown hair has gained a bit of a reputation for being, well, boring.

If you’re looking to refresh your dark brown strands, we have just the hue for you: illuminated brunette. The hair color trend originated in Brazil and amplifies all the things you love about dark brown hair with strategically placed golden accents.

What is illuminated brunette hair color?

Illuminated brunette hair is a hair coloring technique in which a colorist lightens or “illuminates” dark brown strands without getting rid of the base color’s depth. To achieve this look, your stylist will begin by coloring your hair a rich brown hue.

Once you’ve achieved the perfect dark brown shade, your colorist will go back in and strategically lighten strands throughout your hair to give your mane glowy appearance. If you are a natural brunette, your colorist will work to illuminate your natural shade.

While the technique may seem similar to balayage, illuminated brunette hair requires a few lighter strands to highlight the dark brown hue. Your dark brown strands are still the main focus here, whereas lightened strands typically take center stage when opting for a balayage service.

How do you care for illuminated brunette hair color?

Caring for brunette strands is fairly easy, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to make a few changes to your hair care routine. First, we suggest swapping out your regular shampoo and conditioner for a system formulated to help support color-treated hair. We recommend L’Oréal Professionnel’s Serie Expert Vitamino Color Shampoo and Conditioner. Enriched with an antioxidant complex and UV filters, the shampoo and conditioner system helps to prolong color radiance.

If your natural hair color is brunette or very close to it, you should be able to stretch the time between touch up appointments to several weeks or even months. Plan to head to the salon for touch-ups every six to eight weeks if your natural hair color is nowhere near brunette or if you just want to make sure your color looks its best at all times. If you’re not sure which timeline is appropriate for you and your hair, your stylist will be able to suggest the best schedule for a follow-up appointment.

Even though dark brown hair is the focus of illuminated brunette, chances are good your stylist will have to use a bit of bleach to achieve your lightened strands. While there is no way to prevent the damage caused by bleach, you can work with a colorist to help minimize the look and feel of it. We suggest trying to incorporate a deep conditioning treatment like L’Oréal Professionnel’s Serie Expert Vitamino-Color Gel-Mask into your routine. The nourishing Vitamino-Color Gel-Mask targets weakened and damaged areas of colored hair and wraps it into a lightweight film to protect against everyday wear and tear.


How does illuminated brunette hair color look best?

Like most dark brown shades, illuminated brunette hair will look good on absolutely anyone—no matter their hair length or texture. However, if you’re looking to pair your trendy color with an on-trend cut, we suggest a shag cut. Rumor has it shag cuts are going to be one of the hottest haircuts of 2019. 

Whatever you decide, we want to see your illuminated hue. Use the hashtag #hairdotcom to tag us in your posts.

Interested in illuminated brunette strands? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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