Brunette ambition: Start the new year with a new hue

Brunette ambition: Start the new year with a new hue

Cast your dye

Text: Renée Batchelor

If you want a hair colour that is sophisticated but low maintenance, here's why a brunette shade will work for you

Crazy colours may catch the eye, but they're difficult to maintain. Just ask anyone who has tried attaining brilliant, but elusive shades like pink or blue. If you want a colour that's low-maintenance but still a notch above your natural hue, brown is the shade you should seriously consider. Some of our favourite brunettes include model Lily Aldridge (above) as well as Spanish actress Penelopé Cruz. Brown doesn't have to mean boring either, contrary to clichés about girls with the mousy hair. It can run the gamut from rich girl hair — think Kate Middleton or the elegance of Bella Hadid's deep, mocha tresse — to breezy, beachy tones ala Gigi Hadid's bronde shade (below) at the Victoria's Secret show in 2016. Gentlemen may prefer blondes, but some of the chicest ladies in history from Audrey Hepburn to Françoise Hardy have been brown-haired girls. The important thing about the shade, is making sure that it never veers into orange or brassy territory, or it will immediately cheapen this expensive hue.
Bella and Gigi Hadid
That's where maintenance products come in. If you're going to invest in good hair colour, you need the right shampoo, conditioner and treatments to prolong your dye job. I learnt this first hand when I went for a colouring session at Evolve Salon, under the masterful guidance of John Frieda House of Experts' Ken Hong. After a year of lighter shades that sadly turned brassy and orange-toned after a month or so, I was eager for a shade that lasted longer and looked more sophisticated. After my dye job of a rich, medium brown, I was sent home with my three John Frieda products from the new Brilliant Brunette Visibly Brighter range. The idea behind Visibly Lighter is that it allows you to tweak and maintain your shade and give it a natural, golden colour: Think a butterscotch or caramel tint. With that in mind, I was okay with going darker than normal with my dye, to allow these products to work their magic. Besides a Subtle Lightening Shampoo and Conditioner which I used as a duo on alternate days, there's also a colour refresher which I used at the start of the new year, a month after my initial colouring at Evolve. The Shampoo was a tad drying on my hair, which is understandable as it deposits yellow dyes on the hair, cumulatively giving your tresses a golden tone. Used in tandem with the Conditioner however, my tresses felt sufficiently restored. The In-Shower Lightening Treatment, meanwhile is an affordable and easy-to-use booster that lightens hair by up to one shade in just five minutes. In a unique, two-chamber dispenser, this releases a low level peroxide developer and a surfactant activator. You will smell that peroxide scent, so do leave your bathroom windows open when carrying out the treatment.

John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Visibly Brighter Subtle Lightening Shampoo, Conditioner and In-Shower Lightening Treatments, $15.90-$19.90According to John Frieda, "When combined, they react with and break down the melanin found in hair, resulting in lightened hair. The dual-tube applicator is designed to negate messy mixing or the use of gloves, offering an ease of use not usually associated with colouring treatments." I found that this was true, as it meant I could literally apply it mid-shower, wash it out and go. The result on me is very subtle, but I like that I can use it as a colour boost and in-between appointments. Do note that this whole collection works only on dyed hair, so you can't use it on virgin hair and expect results. In fact, this purpose is exactly what John Frieda had in mind. "Colour tweaking is something that a lot of my clients need and can't do at home. This launch is really about products that bridge the hair appointment gap so you can wait just a little bit longer before going into the salon. We're talking about a range that lightens your hair just one level. It's subtle and soft," says Harry Josh, International Creative Consultant, John Frieda. We say anything that makes our lives a little easier, and our subtle colour that much more effortless, is definitely welcome in 2017.

From $15.90- $19.90. At Watsons and Guardian stores