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Brunettes, listen up: Looking to switch up your hair color without doing anything too drastic? Unlike highlights, which are lighter than your natural hair color, lowlights are generally at least two tones darker than your natural color. Whatever your base shade of brunette, adding in lowlights is a great way to amp up texture and add dimension to your overall look. Sound like a hair color idea that’s right up your alley? Good news then, lowlights for brunettes are trending! Here, you’ll learn how to get this look in just a few simple steps, as well as which hair care products will help maintain it.
From balayage to ombré to sombré, and everything in-between, it can be hard to keep up with all of the latest hair color trends. Thankfully, just like highlights, quality lowlights are one look that will never go out of style—even if they’ve seen a surge in popularity lately. That’s because it’s a gentle way to add some dimension to your locks without the damage that typically goes along with permanent hair coloring. Lowlights involve partial hair coloring, in which just a few specific strands are colored (rather than your entire head of hair).
The other amazing thing about lowlights is that they’re totally customizable, both in which sections of hair are colored, and also which shade of brown you choose for your lowlights—you can even choose more than one! The right shades of lowlights will also look great regardless of whether you have short hair or long hair. Lowlights for brunettes are typically two to three shades darker than your base color, although depending on your skin tone, you can choose warmer or cooler shades of brown, from lighter chestnut shades to rich caramels to dark chocolate browns. The method of applying lowlights also varies—a stylist can use tin foils or go freehand, using the same method as they would for balayage highlights.
Is this the look for you? Here’s how to get brown hair with lowlights:
Every hair colorist wants to create an end result that their client is happy with, of course, and this will be much easier if you bring along an inspiration or reference photo to the salon. Not only will it help give them a better idea of what look you’re hoping to achieve, it will also make it way easier for you—instead of trying to verbally explain what kind of lowlights you want, it’s much easier and more effective to come prepared with a photo for reference.
When researching what kind of lowlight look you want (we love Pinterest!), keep your skin tone in mind. Like we said, lowlights can come in many shades and hues, from caramels to deep chocolate tones. Your stylist should also be able to help with this, but when looking for inspiration photos, try to pick one where the model (or celeb) has a similar skin tone and even eye color to your own.
Highlights and lowlights alike require a certain skill to apply and get just right, so it’s probably your best bet to visit a pro if this is something you’re interested in trying out yourself. A colorist will be able to expertly place lowlights throughout your hair for the most multidimensional look, and they’ll also be able to recommend and tweak which shades of lowlights you end up with.
While lowlights don’t cover each and every strand of your hair with permanent color, your mane will still require a bit more TLC than virgin, uncolored strands. You’ll want to be sure to take the best care of your hair possible in order to help maintain your new color and keep it from fading for as long as you can. Lucky for you, there are a few easy switches you can make in your hair care routine to do so.
OK, so you might love your current shampoo and conditioner, but when it comes to caring for color-treated hair, it’s a good idea to consider sulfate-free products and switch to a system that’s safe for colored hair. Even though you only have lowlights, rather than an entire color change all over, you’ll want to make sure to swap out your regular shampoo and conditioner system for products that are better suited to your updated strands. Try the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Repair & Defend Shampoo and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Repair & Defend Conditioner, which are sulfate-free and safe for color-treated hair.
Once or twice a week, swap out your new conditioner for a hydrating hair mask, like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Deep Moisture Hair Sheet Mask or the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Intense Repair Hair Sheet Mask. This extra step in your routine only takes a few minutes, and we promise your strands will thank you for it! To use, apply the sheet mask onto damp hair right after you’ve shampooed. Twist and wrap your entire head of hair into the cap, then seal with the sticker. Gently massage the cap to ensure that your whole head of hair is coated, then leave it on for five minutes before removing and rinsing. It’s that easy!
Even if you’re using all the best hair care products for color-treated hair, if you’re washing your strands in hot water, you could be doing your hair a disservice. That’s because hot water can strip your strands (and your skin!) of essential oils that keep it hydrated, leaving your hair feeling dry and your color looking dull. The best remedy is to turn down the dial slightly and wash your locks using lukewarm water. We know, it doesn’t feel nearly as wonderful as steaming, hot water! But trust us, not only will it help make your color last longer, it will help keep your strands healthier in the long run.
We get it—you love heat styling, and we do too. The only issue is, all that heat can do a number on your hair. So, instead of creating beachy waves with a curling iron, try using the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle AIR DRY IT Wave Swept Spray or L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Boost It Air-Blown Texture Mist. Whichever option you choose, just spritz a bit into clean, damp hair post-showering, then scrunch up the ends of your strands a few times and simply let it air dry! If your hair is naturally straight, try braiding your hair right after you apply the product. Let your hair air dry while it’s in a braid, then remove the braid to reveal your soft, beachy waves.
More of a sleek and shiny gal? Cut the high-heat straightener and reach for a bottle of the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Precious Oil Satin Hairspray. Not only can it help create the appearance of major shine, but its strong hold finish can help tame flyaways.
Editor’s tip: Since we know there will still be days where you crave a heat-made hairstyle, just be sure to protect your strands before applying heat. To do so, spray some of the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray onto damp strands before blow-drying, and then again before using a flat iron or curling iron.
If you’re really prone to dry strands or rapidly dulling color, consider adding a pre-shampoo treatment to your regular hair care routine. This extra step will add another layer of conditioning to your strands before you shampoo, which can help seal in moisture and keep your color looking its best. Reach for a pre-shampoo treatment that’s formulated with antioxidants and deeply repairs and restores hair, like the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Repair Remedy Balm. To use, wet your hair slightly then apply onto your lengths and ends. Leave it on for up to five minutes, then proceed to rinse out and shampoo as usual.
Even if you take amazing care of your hair, as good as any expert could, eventually you’ll need to re-up your lowlights. Unfortunately, super grown out lowlights haven’t caught on as a hair color trend just yet. That means you’ll want to keep regular appointments with your colorist on your calendar. Go ahead and book your next appointment while you’re still at the salon so you won’t forget!
If you’re thinking you may want to revamp your hair with lightened strands as opposed to darkened lowlights, check out our article, Best Highlights for Brown Hair to Add Movement and Shine. Want to try out a hair color that’s even bolder? Give one of the many trending colors a try! We’ve got plenty of ideas. Read our articles Why Vanilla Chai Hair Will Be Your New Obsession and Everything You Need to Know about Getting Purple Balayage Hair for a nudge in the right direction.