The first day the weather hits above 70 degrees we immediately want to put our heavy winter layers into storage and swap our hot coffee order for iced. The onset of a new season also brings about the urge to make a major hair change, too. While going lighter with your hair color is the status quo for summer, when you have dark brown hair, achieving a sun-kissed look is easier said than done.
The good news: You don’t have to resort to bleach and its potentially damaging effects just to go a few shades lighter for a couple of months. Instead, take a cue from deep brunette celebs like Shay Mitchell and Naomie Harris and work some subtle bronze highlights into your color.
The technique mimics the way hair shimmers in the sunlight, and according to celebrity colorist Nikki Lee for Garnier, is the most natural way for dark brown hair to look like you’ve been spending all of your free time at the beach. “Typically people lift highlights and balayage ends four levels or lighter, but this is just lifting it two levels lighter which keeps the hair soft and natural looking,” explains Lee.
"This is similar to an ombre effect," adds Miguel Angarita, master colorist at Mizu New York Salon. "It's very safe and non-damaging because bleach is not used. Tint is what we use to do this, and we choose no more than two of levels lighter than your natural base."
To get the look, ask your colorist to use tint and a traditional ombre technique when placing the color. The highlights should last three to six months but may get lighter as you spend more time in the sun. "The sun can influence its longevity," says Angarita. "The longer your hair is in the sun, the lighter the tint bronze caramel highlights will get."
If you want to DIY the highlights, Lee suggests grabbing a box from one of Garnier's new nude colors, and play around by just painting the ends of your hair. "Choose a color that's two shades lighter than your natural base and this will give you a sun-kissed look."
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The best part? Along with being a low-maintenance dye job, there's also no right or wrong when it comes to the placement of the color. "As long as the tone is right on your skin, you can play around with how many highlights you want," says Lee. "Some prefer to do a face-frame, while others want just the very tips."