Bin the blonde and go chocolate brunette this winter
Hannah Betts Better… Not Younger: Bin the blonde and go chocolate brunette this winter
- UK beauty expert says brunette shades can be more flattering than bottle blond
- READ MORE: Now’s the time to switch up your style… just like Kate
Autumn’s burnished browns are taking over from beachy blondes as the hair colour du jour, with the focus on lustrous shine; known in the trade as ‘liquid brunettes’ à la Princess of Wales.
Yes, most of us are beyond thoughtlessly adopting the ‘it’ shade after 40, but instead ask: will it look good on me?
The answer this season, in many cases, is not only an emphatic ‘Yes’ but that it will prove considerably more flattering than bottle blonde, a recourse many mid-lifers still perceive as obligatory once the silver sets in.
It’s time, then, to consider becoming a ‘jet brunette’ — a plush, noir brown, sootier at the roots, lighter from the mid-lengths, with a gleaming gloss on top.
Or there’s ‘espresso brunette’, a dark base plus low-lights. For those who don’t suit cool tones, we have creamy lattes and warm caramels, and their rustier cousin, ‘cowboy copper’.
Brunette shades will prove considerably more flattering than bottle blonde, a recourse many mid-lifers still perceive as obligatory once the silver sets in
Even golden girls are opting for ‘Bambi blonde’, a toffee-coloured fawn rather than the full Farrah Fawcett.
These aren’t dense, blocky hues, but multi-faceted, ‘hand-painted’ concoctions, giving hair a winningly super-natural guise.
John Frieda creative director Zoe Irwin loves these darker, subtler looks: ‘Going blonde is where a lot of older women get it wrong, because taking hair lighter doesn’t always suit their skin tone.
‘We adapt our brunettes to work with specific complexions. You can be a softer brown, or a darker tone. You only need look at the French because they do this really well.’
Nuance is key in contriving such couture creations. ‘I am a big fan of micro-lights on the parting sections in a herringbone technique, the foils at an angle,’ Zoe explains.
‘I will do an all-over brunette, then, within those micro-lights, the colour will be half a shade lighter, warmer, or cooler — or maybe a mix. That way, you get a multi-dimensional result. The glosses on top are acidic, so they shut down the cuticle giving a lustrous topcoat.’
This technique is as much an art as it is a science, deploying a cocktail of permanent colour, semi-permanent shades and glazes.
‘Someone who has grey hair will often find it occurring mostly through the front,’ she observes, ‘meaning we might illuminate this area, keeping depth everywhere else. Depth at the back of the head also slims the neck. Then — when the jawline softens — the neck changes again so adding dimension and strength become key.
Hannah Betts (pictured) suggests becoming a ‘jet brunette’ — a plush, noir brown, sootier at the roots, lighter from the mid-lengths, with a gleaming gloss on top
‘The answer isn’t to go much lighter, but to subtly change the colour so it works with the grey coming through. You don’t want to be tied to visiting a salon every three weeks.
‘I often work on taking one of these glosses and leaving it on long enough to get a semi-permanent coverage, so it grows out softly rather than as a harsh line. We have women of 75 coming in for brunette hair and it looks fabulous. It’s about finding how to make it work.’
Maintenance-wise, Zoe recommends a twice weekly mask such as Pureology Hydrate Superfood Treatment (now £26.85, sephora.com), that is free of dulling silicones.
She is a fan of overnight treatments, noting: ‘Kerastase 8H Magic Night Serum (£45.80, kerastase.co.uk) stops hair falling out so it becomes thicker, bringing a richness to the texture as we grey. My other love is spreading Kerastase Elixir Ultime L’Original Oil (from £26.15) through wet hair with the ghd detangling comb (£8.95, sephora.co.uk).’
Then, a spritz of ColorWow Extra Mist-ical Shine Spray (£26, cultbeauty.co.uk) for extra gloss.
Living colour legend Josh Wood cautions me not to be too categorical about steering midlifers away from their beloved blonde. ‘It’s true darker/warmer colours will reflect more light than blonde or paler shades, giving the effect of a rich, deep gloss.
‘But I really don’t think there’s an age marker that dictates what colour someone’s hair should be. Colour isn’t defined by age: I turned Kristen McMenamy platinum later in life.
‘There’s no one-size fits — or doesn’t fit — all. As I get older, and my clients with me, keeping a contemporary edge to their colour is super important.
‘They don’t want to look younger, they want to look the best version of themselves.’
RACE YOU TO IT!
Byoma Moisturizing Gel Cream (now £10.19, from £12, Boots.com) combines the oil-free, fast-absorbing texture of a gel, with the lasting hydration of a cream.
Packed with ceramides and antioxidants to support the skin barrier, one of these redness reducers is being snapped up every 30 seconds at Boots.
MY ICON OF THE WEEK
Nicole Scherzinger, 45, loves exfoliates her skin and then moisturises it with coconut oil
The singer, 45, loves ‘skincare wand’ the Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar (£161.90, jilliandempsey.com). Nicole is an exfoliation fiend, moisturising with coconut oil.
She takes Vitabiotics Perfectil Original Triple Active (£6.30, Boots.com) supplements, and enjoys using Olaplex products on her hair.
(now £5.44, nailpolishdirect.co.uk)
Sophisticated graphite silver, speckled with black, part of a six-shade glitter range.
Rich, not too cool, nor too warm coffee brown that is impeccably elegant.
This cult, sheer raspberry-toned ‘no-nicure’, is back by popular demand.
A long-lasting, bewitching emerald complete with a textured twinkle.
(now £10.73, lookfantastic.com)
A glinting, jammy red-black with an autumnal glam-goth touch.
Growing up in Birmingham, I loved Diwali (also known as Deepawali) the five-day festival marked by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists, that started yesterday.
To celebrate, New York South Asian-owned brand D. S. & Durga has released its annual Diwali candle: the Rama Won’t You Please Come Home Candle (£60, libertylondon.com). North Indian forest tree flowers and tendu leaf give way to tuberose and gardenia, set on a teak and sandalwood base.
A tribute to chivalry and virtue, it makes a perfect Diwali gift, or means of saluting Rama and Sita yourself.
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