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Over the past few months, we’ve seen everyone from celebrities to influencers change their hair color in favor of a reddish hue. Whether it’s Gigi Hadid’s switch from blonde to dark auburn or Kendall Jenner’s new copper hue, it’s safe to say that red is the It color of the season.
If you’re a brunette who’s been interested in trying the trend but unsure how it would look on top of a darker hair color, fall’s latest obsession called “strawberry brown” might be perfect for you. Similar to the look of a chocolate covered strawberry, the trend mixes a shade of red over a brunette base. Below, we’ve asked Jason Lee, colorist and founder of Mela & Kera, to break down everything there is to know about the trending shade, from choosing the right shade to how to care for it at home.
“The same way we understand strawberry blonde to be when we add reddish-gold tones to blonde hair, strawberry brown is the latest trend to add reddish tones to brunettes,” Lee tells POPSUGAR. “While the term ‘strawberry brunette’ conveys the sense of a ‘rosy’ shade on brown hair, it is now more inclusive of a range of red tones from burgundy to copper.”
While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to which shade works best for your specific skin tone, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind. “One thought process is that deep reds like burgundy or mahogany are good on darker skin tones,” says Lee. “Neutral skin tones that aren’t too warm can wear red hair colors that are both warm and cool.” He adds that warmer skin tones typically work well with warmer red tones, like true reds and coppers, while fair skin tones often do better with cool, blue-toned reds.
But at the end of the day, your shade of choice comes down to personal preference, and if you’re having trouble deciding which color best suits your skin tone, you can always ask your stylist for recommendations based on your current hair color. Lee adds that you may need to lighten your brunette tone depending on how vibrant you want your strawberry tones to appear. “The more vibrant the tone, the more you should lighten your hair,” he says.
This article originally appeared on popsugar.com
#1. How to ask for strawberry brown hair color at the salon
Since the idea behind strawberry brown hair color is to blend your natural brunette base with red hues, you should ask your colorist to incorporate balayage, hair dye, or highlighting techniques. Lee also suggests working with your stylist on the placement of the color because you have a few options, like going for a root shade or lowlights.
Make sure you are also aware of the ratio of brunette to red to ensure you are not surprised by the end results. As always, when changing hair color, you should arrive at the appointment with inspiration photos in hand to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to what you want.
#2. How to care for strawberry brown hair color at home
When caring for your new hair color, Lee says it’s important to make sure you use a sulfate-free shampoo to avoid fading. He suggests Mela & Kera Balayage Exceptional Shampoo ($36), and we also love R+Co Television Perfect Hair Shampoo ($32). If you use hot tools or do heat styling, use a heat-protecting product like Mela & Kera Balayage Exceptional Exquisite Blowout Creme ($36) or Living Proof Restore Perfecting Spray ($32), which will protect your hair from thermal damage and in turn increase durability of your color.
You can also try a “red” shampoo or mousse product. “There are different products that have red tones that can deposit color in your hair between salon visits,” says Lee. (We like MyIdentity Refresh Color Depositing Conditioner ($24), but there are plenty on the market to choose from. You’ll want to be sure to match the tone of the product to the tone of your hair, though, so check with your stylist before buying to be sure.
#3. What you need to know before trying the strawberry brown hair color
Cost and maintenance are two things to keep in mind when considering strawberry brown hair color. Because the shade is essentially a balayage technique that uses a red tone, Lee says you can expect to spend anywhere from $300 to $500 depending on the stylist, salon and where you live.
As for maintenance, be prepared to put in a few hours in a professional chair. “Red definitely tends to fade faster than most colors, and strawberry brown is no different,” says Lee. If you want to keep your hair color as fresh as possible, Lee suggests going to the salon for toners, which typically last about four weeks before starting to fade.
So it’s worth noting that the process back to your natural brunette base can be a bit tiring. “As much as red tones tend to fade between salon visits, ironically, neutralizing red tones back to brunette can be difficult.” Lee says that often, even after you’ve covered the hair with brown, the strawberry shade continues to show through, so you might want to go a shade or two darker to fully hide it.
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