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There’s no rule saying hair colors have to be seasonal. But sun-bleached strands seem a bit out of place at the time of year when the sun sets in the afternoon. ‘Tis the season for blondes to consider going a few hues darker (or add finesse to your grown-out roots). We talked to colorists who turn to dark blonde as a post-summer transitional shade, who recommend it for brunette clients asking for a multi-dimensional color, and who, well, just think the color is dope. Best of all, there are as many ways to play with dark blonde as there are combinations of unicorn hair. It’s not as colorful, but you’re going to want to zoom in on these painted shades — one of which even took four sessions in the stylist’s chair to achieve.
To guide your search, we’ve got a few of our favorite shades of dark blonde, perfect whether you’re a blonde looking to go deeper or a brunette who needs a touch of lightness. And — shoutout to my gourmands — some of them are even inspired by food.
Mushroom Blonde Hair
The food-inspired hair trend continues with, of all things, a shade named after a fungus. Yokasta Perez (aka Yokii Techi on Instagram), a Rockville, Maryland-based stylist, turned a client’s color correction into this ash-beige shade. It works especially well on brunettes who want to try out the lighter side.
Blonde Roast Hair
This metallic ash look is inspired by the warmth of a cup of coffee. It marries the best brunette and blonde shades for an overall effect that falls squarely within the “bronde” spectrum. Ask your stylist to paint the hair to create a multidimensional look that moves, so you can stunt on ’em when you get caught in a seasonal gust of wind.
Fall Cooldown Hair
A client came to Whiteroom Brooklyn’s co-founder and stylist Elisabeth Lovell with a light, warm blonde that had turned brassy and overly bright in the summer sun. They decided to cool down the overall look by first blending her roots with an ashy light brown color. To neutralize the warm tones, she added a “very light pearl” shade around her hairline. “[It’s] quick and easy, and gives your old highlights a whole new look,” she tells Allure.
Bailey’s Irish Cream Hair
This lovely, textured combination of warm and cool highlights did not come easy, admits Massachusetts-based colorist Amy McManus, aka Instagram’s @camouflageandbalayage. McManus tells Allure that it took four sessions of layering on lightener and toner to achieve this look. “Some hair was painted each session, while [the rest] was only painted a few times or skipped altogether to create a multi-level, multi-tonal finish,” she says. But the sweat and copious amounts of product were worth it: “It’s one of my all-time favorite paints I’ve done,” she says. McManus recommends Bailey’s Irish Cream for clients with light to medium skin, especially for natural brunettes with medium brown hair.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Hair
This painted shade lightens from the rich brown of a cookie fresh from the oven to cool, golden tones. It’s a combination of warm brunette hues and strategically-placed lighter sections. Unlike a chocolate chip cookie, this look gets better with age — McManus tells Allure that “as her roots keep coming in, the color gets more beautiful with depth up top and a dramatic dark-to-light feel.” She suggests this hue for medium to fair-skinned clients who are looking for a low maintenance look.
More hair-color inspiration: