Taking your hair darker for winter won’t break the wheel, but it can look truly phenomenal. When asked about her top colour forecasts for winter, ‘Noir brunette’ is the trend that pro hair colourist and John Frieda creative director, Zoe Irwin singles out as the one to watch.
“This season, show after show, brunette became much, much darker,” Zoe explains over zoom. “We saw it on the models at Versace, Stella McCartney and a lot of other show,” she nods. It’s rich, it’s striking, but it’s very wearable for winter and our autumn-winter wardrobes.
But if you’re imaging one-dimensional black hair, this has a lot more to it.
What is ‘Noir brunette’?
The trend sees hair that looks at first glance to be almost black, but on closer inspection, reveals a deep brunette with ultra subtle dimension. “Noir brunette it’s dark, but not black,” explains Zoe. The trick to wearing that amount of depth in hair without it looking heavy, she says, is “starting with a super dark base that blends into a shade – or a half-shade – lighter” by the ends.
Celebrity hair colourist and Virtue Labs ambassador, Nicola Clarke, agrees, noting special attention needs to be paid to getting the base exactly right. “The root needs to be dark, it needs to be neutral [no warmth from golds or bronzes], because you don’t want a glowy root,” she says. “Then from an inch onwards you can add warmth,” Nicola adds.
Why choose ‘Noir brunette’?
Alongside feeling a little vampy and moody to match the season we’re in, noir brunette can offer a fresh update to post-summer strands. “This is a really good transformation going into winter for brunettes that have had a lot of sun so they’ve naturally got lightened ends,” explains Zoe. “What we do is flatten the ends so they’re not so orange-red. We calm the tone down.” Although, she notes, this doesn’t have to mean eradicating those tones entirely. “Having a bit of warmth in tone is really flattering,” she says.
It offers up another benefit, too. The darker you go, the more reflective your hair becomes, which means you can really show off shine, particularly if you pair it with gloss-enhancing haircare. “I think it’s really important to up the shine. This looks great against a wool coat, so you’re changing the texture of everything around you,” says Zoe.
How to get ‘Noir brunette’?
Your best bet is to go to the professionals who can mix up the perfect tone for you. “Different types of colour will give you either a heavier pigment or a sheerer colour and mixing all of these can be super flattering,” says Zoe. For instance, you’ll want a solid, neutral base colour on your roots, “then you take that colour just lightly to add the tone through the mid-lengths and ends, and mix in a tiny bit of gold and a tiny bit of red to give that deep chocolate colour,” says Nicola.
But, if you’re confident colouring your hair yourself, “this is probably quite a good example of an easy one to do at home,” says Nicola. You start by touching up your roots “and in the last five minutes, run it through the ends just so you get that shine and glaze on it but you’re leaving the intensity at the roots,” she explains. Don’t make the mistake of putting it all over all at once, “that will make your ends darker,” she says.
How to style ‘Noir brunette’?
One easy way to next-level your colour is to add shine. “Adding more gloss into things is almost like adding a top coat,” says Zoe. “There should be an emphasis on shine,” she adds. She recommends adding oil into hair much as you’re blowdrying it. “We use Mason Pearson brushes and the technique is to sprinkle the product onto the hair or the brush and blowdrying it in,” Zoe says. “I do this after I’ve done a holding product.”
Not sure which oils to use? Zoe loves Virtue’s Healing Oil. “I feel like we have a second generation of oils. Ten years ago, when you were using oil in your hair it was really purely for hydration. Now, with this new generation, you’ve got this mix – the healing oil has alpha keratin in, which is a super strengthening product,” she says. “Plus it’s super light so it melts in.”
And to avoid making things too greasy, go little by little to see how much your hair needs, and focus on the mid-lengths and ends before gently smoothing the small amount left at the end through the top and front sections. “If your hair is coarse and thick, I would start with healing oil because the alpha keratin will strengthen, but then I’d layer another oil that’s heavier and weightier,” says Zoe.
As for hair styles, “sleeking your hair back into buns looks beautiful, especially with this reflective colour,” Zoe says.
How to wear ‘Noir brunette’?
Model, Barbara Valente, took to the Stella McCartney runway with a noir brunette bob, featuring dark roots than morph ever so slightly warmer toward the ends.
Digital creator, Tsutsumi Hoang, traded in previously balayaged strands for a noir, chocolatey brunette.
It’s a bold move, but taking that striking colour across brows with a blunt fringe adds extra luxurious layers that – bonus – frame eyes.
Level-up luxe noir brunette hair with hair accessories to match, such as a silky noir black bow.
Model Tina Kunakey has been known to take her hair lighter seasonally, but her glossy noir brunette strands look liquid, luminous and delicious.
We love the contrast of striking noir brunette against Dixie D’Amelio’s dainty pixie crop.
For more from GLAMOUR’s Beauty Editor, Elle Turner, follow her on Instagram @elleturneruk
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