"Expensive Brunette" Is One Hair Color That Won't Make You Go Broke

The low-maintenance shade is trending for winter.

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Blondes apparently have more fun, but going platinum or getting honey blonde highlights is a full-time commitment. So after months of grown-out roots and healthier, softer hair, many pre-pandemic blondes weren't rushing to get an appointment with their colorists.

Fast forward more than a year later, and the darker, lived-in look is still going strong, but now it has an official name: Expensive Brunette.

'Expensive Brunette' Is This Season's Biggest Brown Hair Trend

"It's shiny, it's warm, it sparkles in the light, and it's natural," says Sarah Klein, stylist at Nine Zero One in L.A. "What makes it look expensive is the richness of the tones and the shine."

Think Hailey Bieber's chestnut brown base with peekaboo honey blonde ends. The model is one example of a former blonde who has been growing out their natural color since the beginning of the pandemic.

"When COVID hit, clients had to put getting their hair color done on hold. Clients were able to see their natural hair color and it started to grow on them," says Cassondra Kaeding, Redken brand ambassador and celebrity colorist who counts Bieber as a client. "They also started to notice how healthy their hair had become. This is also why Hailey Beiber decided to start going all natural. We would do the bare minimum with some baby face framing pieces and a gold shiny gloss, and here she is now with almost all of her old color grown out!"

While Expensive Brunette hair sounds fancy, it's ironically easy to maintain, and reflects the shift to low maintenance haircuts and colors during a year when nothing was predictable — including salons staying open.

"I do think that following the pandemic, the beauty industry changed quite a bit with more and more people going back to their roots with more of a low maintenance, natural appearance — thinking 'less is more'," Klein adds.

Kaeding recommends getting a gloss to add depth to your color, which will enhance your eye color and skin tone. The colorist is a fan of using Redken's Shades EQ Gloss in the salon.

"This trend can be a multi-tonal brunette that is rich in depth and glossy, but this does not mean you can't be one dimensional," Kaeding adds. "If you are person that loves one color this is definitely a trend for you as well."

Ahead, a few celebrity takes on the Expensive Brunette hair trend to inspire your own hair color.

Hailey Bieber

At first glance, it probably doesn't seem like Bieber's hair is that much darker. But in reality, the model has gradually been going brunette during the pandemic, blending her regrowth with warm blonde highlights starting at her mid-lengths.

Dakota Johnson

Expensive Brunette Hair
Samir Hussein/WireImage

While Johnson has been a brunette for years, her rich chocolate brown base with gold lowlights is the definition of Expensive Brunette.

Sofia Richie

Richie is another celebrity who recently went back to their roots.


Expensive Brunette Hair
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Throughout the pandemic, Ciara has played with variations of Expensive Brunette hair. Here, the singer's buttery brown ends add even more warmth to her brunette base.

Zoey Deutch

After temporarily going blonde, then red, Zoey Deutch is back to being a brunette. While her shade is on the darker spectrum of Expensive Brunette, the copper undertones add dimension and depth to her color.

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