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How to Go From Blonde to Brunette

Put Down the Box! Going Brunette Is Not a One-Step Process

It's officially Fall, which means many of you are eyeing those rich mahogany browns and creamy sepia shades of brunette. If you already have light-brown hair, congrats! You have it a bit easier than the blondes of the bunch.

Elle Fanning, who recently went from inside-of-a-banana-peel blond to a milk chocolate shade, schools some of the most advanced hair color chameleons on how to make a drastic change with grace. Celebrity hair colorist and stylist Jenda cut Elle's hair and took her into the dark for her role in Trumbo (the Dalton Trumbo biopic starring Bryan Cranston) to match the real-life inspiration for her character. The hair pro also gave Elle a "tiger red" shade when she was 13 years old for the movie Ginger and Rosa.

Here are Jenda's nonnegotiable guidelines to becoming your best brunette. Plus, check out more tips for going from blond to brown.

  1. Flatter Your Skin Tone
  2. "Elle's skin is so fair and beautiful, so I had to cater to it," says Jenda. "I looked at her eyebrow color and her skin tone in order to make the shade flattering." She recommends having a conversation with your colorist about whether you should go for cooler or warmer shades of brunette, so booking a consultation is essential. "You want to see eye to eye. Clients might think they want a warmer shade, or think they're seeing a warmer shade in a photo, when actually it's more of a neutral or cooler tone."

    To pick the ideal shade for your skin tone, Jenda says the best way to color match is to use swatches. "Hold those swatches up to your face. I tried a few different hairpieces on Elle. You can look at a photo and love the color, but then the result can be shocking."

  3. Keep the Hairline Lighter
  4. Going dark doesn't mean getting rid of all lightness to the hair — especially around the hairline. Jenda says keeping that area lighter makes the color appear natural. "Whether you're a dark blond or brunette, everyone naturally has a lighter hairline. It's a bit safer to keep the perimeter around the face lighter. Plus, it's easier to make the (drastic) change by keeping some lightness around the face."

  5. Don't Go For Just One Solid Color!
  6. "The biggest mistake someone can make is putting one color all over — getting a single-process brown. For Elle's color, I layered many different shades all over her hair with foils, like a golden blond to a darker brown. People on camera can't have a solid blanket of color. They need dimension!"

    To get a multitonal brunette, don't book your appointment as a single-process, allover-color appointment. Instead, get several shades of lowlights in different tones, and add a glaze to help enhance the dimension. "It's more than a three-step process. I kept a lot of dimension to the brunette — there are [many] shades layered in, so it's not one solid color."

Image Sources: Getty, Instagram and Getty
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