Articles > Hair Color > BRUNETTES—Let The Light Play
October 11, 2015

BRUNETTES—Let The Light Play

Light Play


Modern brown shades are never one-dimensional, declares four-time Stylist Choice Awards Favorite Educator, Beth Minardi. Instead, work to achieve an interplay of light and reflection. “To create the perfect brown-on-brown shade,” advises Beth, “follow these three steps. Lighten select sections with lightener or a high-lift permanent color. Lowlight with an alkaline demi-permanent crème. Glaze with an acidic, demipermanent liquid. The acidic formula will tone the highlights without disturbing the base color. When lifting, stay within one to two levels of the natural base color. Once you start lifting beyond this point, you will lose control over the underlying warm pigment. Some of my favorite Beth Minardi Signature shades for creating beautiful brunette shades are the BBs and the N shades. I also love my 7NGC/Peach Bellini and my 8BG/Cream Soda. These shades are balanced and soft. Always place the warmest, lightest shades around the face and wrap on an angle. Throughout the rest of the head, alternate weaves and slices of various widths. Roots can be deeper than the ends but should never be lighter!”


For TIGI® Global Technical Creative Director, Christel Lundqvist, brunette shades can be customized with a technique she calls “contouring.” She explains, “It’s similar to the contouring we see in makeup; using light and dark to sculpt and create light around the face.” Christel enhances movement in the hair with shades of deep and light suede, placed on prelightened sections and glossed with a neutral camel color.

TIGI® Formulas

Prelighten: 40g copyright©olour true light + 90g copyright©olour activator 8.5-volume/2.55%

Light Suede: copyright©olour gloss 40g 6/30 + 60g copyright©olour activator 8.5-volume/2.55%

Rich Suede: copyright©olour gloss 30g 4/30 + 30g 6/30 + 90g copyright©olour activator 8.5-volume/2.55%

Gloss: copyright©olour gloss 30g 7/32 + 45g copyright©olour activator

Kenra Professional

Kenra Professional Senior Artistic Director, Robb Dubré, creates seamless diffusion accents by alternating solid slices of his foundation formula at the scalp with skip slices of the foundation formula that feather down two-to-three inches into the accent formula, which saturates midlengths and ends. After processing, the entire head is glazed.

Kenra Professional Formulas

Foundation: Kenra Color 5B

Accent: Kenra No Ammonia Lightener + 20-volume developer

Glaze: Kenra Color 7NB


Aloxxi Artistic Advisor Marilyn Cole loves this sun-kissed brunette hue called Sea Siren. Two highlight formulas are alternated in vertical sections on each side, and the entire head is glazed with a cool/neutral light blonde.

Aloxxi Formulas

Natural Level: 5

Formula A/Highlights: DIMENSIONS .31 + 40-volume developer

Formula B/Highlights: White LIGHTENER + 20-volume developer

Formula C/Glaze: TONES 9NA + 8NA + 7-volume activator

Farouk Systems


This brunette shade by Farouk Systems Global Artistic Director, Patrick Kalle, is inspired by “Ruska” which is the term for the time when the leaves turn color in Scandinavia. It’s punctuated with integrated shades of copper, golden blonde and rich brown.

Ulta Beauty

Photo by Sasha Gulish/sashagulish.com

“I like to utilize multiple tones of brown and even dark blonde within my brunette color designs,” says Ulta’s Haley Kimble. “Tones like the tortoiseshell hues here can be added with soft hand-painting.” Photo by Sasha Gulish/sashagulish.com

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