Dan & Corina Lecca
Get the Perfect Shade for You
There are a few tricks to nailing the color you want. First, stay within two shades of your natural base color, says Knights.
If you're doing your hair color at home, make sure that you look at the back of the box, not just the picture on the front. "There should be photos of how your hair color will turn out based on your starting color," says Cona. Also, know what the names of the colors mean. Words like "golden," "honey," or "butter" will give you warm results. Words like "chocolate," "ash," and "mocha" will give you a cooler, neutral look.
Create a Rich All-Over Effect
If you want a deep, monotone color from roots to ends, start in the back and at the top of your head; save the strands around your face and ends for last, says Cona. The front pieces of your hair tend to be more porous (due to daily wear and tear), so they'll absorb more color than the back and underside. And here's a tip you won't find on the back of the hair-color box: Start your timer as soon as you begin applying the formula and don't leave anything on for more than 30 minutes or you'll overprocess your hair.
Work with Your Summer Highlights
A great way to transition to a darker color without making a drastic change is by concentrating the color only on the top layer of your hair, says Knights. "It'll create a softer effect that lets your natural highlights peek out at your ends." (Think Jennifer Garner or Mila Kunis.) Here's how to do it at home: Pick a color one shade darker than what you have now. Pin up the top layer of your hair (in between your temples) and pull back the rest into a tight bun. Release the pinned-up section, put on gloves, and squeeze the dye through the top portion of your hair. Leave on according to the box instructions and rinse out.
Maintain Your Shine
Shine is key for brown hair. According to our experts, the best way to keep your new hue looking vibrant and glossy is to condition like crazy. Most at-home color kits come with potent deep conditioners that you should use weekly, says Cona. If your hue starts to fade, try a color-depositing shampoo and conditioner or an at-home gloss.
Know Your Limits
Depending on what color you want, you might be safer going to a professional instead of doing it yourself for example, if you're a blonde or you want to deepen your brown to anything beyond dark brown. Be sure to bring photos of not just what hue you want but also what you don't like. "This helps set boundaries and gives us more guidance," says Knights.
Tweak Your Makeup
A darker hair color requires a few key makeup changes, says Kim Soane, Director of Artistry at Bobbi Brown. Here are the tips she recommends:
1. Darken your brows by using either a shadow or a brow pencil that matches your new hair color.
2. Choose darker eyeliner colors, like espresso or black, to keep your features from looking washed out.
3. Use black mascara, not brown. You need more intensity now that you've gone darker.
4. Try richer lip colors like berries, plums, and reds.
5. Go for dark brown and gray eye shadows. Both look beautiful, not stark, with brunette hair.