I Tried Summer's Big Hair-Color Trend: "Translucent Brown"

expensive brunette to translucent brunette hair color
POPSUGAR Photography | Renee Rodriguez
POPSUGAR Photography | Renee Rodriguez
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I've been a brunette all of my life, except for a few weeks in high school where I had an unfortunate encounter with a bottle of bleach and an inexperienced hair-colorist (aka my best friend). Ever since that experience, I've shied away from dyeing my hair lighter except for the very occasional and very minimal highlight. For the past few months, I've been toying with the idea of adding more variety to my look, but I was scared to commit to anything too drastic. So, when I heard about a new hair-color trend, "translucent brown," which promised dimension and subtle color without going overboard, my interest was immediately piqued.

Unlike the "expensive brunette" hair-color trend, which is more of a rich, deeper brunette with dimension in different shades of brown, translucent brunette is a dimensional brown with subtle pops of lighter pieces throughout. "With translucent brown, there's a soft kiss of color that gives the option to go lighter in the summer and darker in the winter — without committing to that 'expensive brunette,'" Sunnie Brook, Biolage global ambassador and celebrity stylist, tells POPSUGAR.

What Is the Translucent-Brown Hair-Color Trend?

"Imagine you have curtains in your house, thick chocolate velvet curtains - that's expensive brunette," says Brooks. "The brown linen curtains, with light passing through, is softer, with not as much pigment saturation. It can read high and low in light versus having really stark color like you would with the expensive brunette."

For the last three years, I've been giving my hair a break from any color, and I've been getting frequent trims. My hair is honestly healthier than it's been in a while, and it's entirely back to my natural color because any old highlights have fully grown out and been cut off.

What appealed to me most about the translucent brown trend was that it was a subtle refresh, rather than anything too over the top. Although I've been really into my natural color lately, with the warmer months ahead, I was looking for a way to add some lighter pieces without undergoing any seriously dramatic hair changes. In order to add some dimension to my hair while still maintaining a natural look, I visited Tylor Johnson, colorist and founder of Nous Haircare, to help me achieve my translucent-brown goals.

translucent brunette
POPSUGAR Photography | Renee Rodriguez

How to Get Translucent-Brown Hair

To achieve the look, Johnson started by hand painting focal highlights around my face and throughout the bottom to give my hair a sun-kissed look that is normally only achieved after a relaxing vacation in the sun (or hours at the hair salon). Johnson also shadowed out my root to be about half a shade lighter than my natural color, but she made sure my hair maintained rich golden tones and she avoided anything too brassy or red. Then, to finish off my look, Johnson used Nous Haircare's That's Rich ($49), a gloss that is formulated to refresh brunette-colored hair and restore richness in color.

Since I'm not the type of person who likes spending hours at the hair salon, I was curious about the upkeep of the color, but Johnson assured me that it was very low maintenance. "You could probably go up to six months without getting your highlights done. . . it's supposed to be pretty minimal. If you have an event you could always come in for a face frame, but I would say gloss it whenever you feel like it's starting to get brighter."

POPSUGAR Photography | Renee Rodriguez

I left the salon with a perfectly sun-kissed look and hair that had "translucent brown" written all over it. The color was subtle and definitely not too overdone. It added dimension to my hair that I didn't have before, and it gave my look a little extra something. If you're looking for a way to add dimension to your hair with subtle light pieces, ask your hairstylist about the hottest summer hair-color trend, translucent brown.