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Rich Chocolate Brunettes
By Tamar Slaughter, Product Club Educator (@Tayslaughterhair)

Blondes may have more fun, but brunettes will always reign supreme with their dark, captivating allure. However, if your haircolor formulation and application are not properly balanced, you can miss the mark and fall into murky waters quickly. In this blog we will discuss some key strategies to avoid that from happening.

Glazing: This is an easy way to enhance the beauty of a natural brunette’s hair color. To add a glass like-shine to natural brunettes who are within levels 2-3, simply add a clear glaze to your service. This alone can add a perfect, chocolatey finish to those natural brunette hues.

Tool Spotlight:

  • Applicator Bottles: The long nozzles on Product Club’s applicator bottles allow for quick application of glazes, even with dense hair.
  • Color Blending Brush and Color Comb: Use these Product Club tools to glide color from roots to ends with ease. They also work great with color melting techniques.

Single Process: To add subtle, yet rich depth to natural brunette hair color between levels 3 and 6, follow this simple demi permanent single process formulation: 

  • 2-parts N + 1 part GV or RV with 10 volume developer
  • Follow up with a clear glaze after single processing is complete

Let’s Break It Down:

2-Parts Natural Series (N) – This tonal series serves as the foundation or base of your formula. It is used to enhance or add depth to your client’s natural hair color. This base level is determined by the depth desired, however it should never exceed your client’s starting level or drop lower than two levels below it.

Remember: Never use a level 1N to create a brunette hair color. The translucency you want from the chocolaty brunette haircolor will be lost in the dominance of this black pigment. As a result, it will be nearly impossible to safely lighten the hair in the future. 

1-Part Gold Violet (GV) or Red Violet (RV) – These tones are used to illuminate a chocolatey richness that will make a brunette hair color pop. The secret to determining which of these tonal combinations to choose is within your client’s eye color and skin undertones. The level depends on the hair’s porosity. If the hair’s porosity is balanced, select the level that matches the base level you are working with. For over-porous hair, consider going two levels lighter than the base level. This will prevent the violet undertones in your formula from overpowering the desired result.  

Selecting the Perfect Tone Using Eye Color and Skin Undertones:

  1. Gold Violet (GV): Blue, green, or grey eyes with cool skin undertones
  2. Red Violet (RV): Brown eyes with red, orange, or yellow skin undertones 

If a client has a combination of warm and cool tones in their skin and eyes, work with the tones that are most dominant.

Tool Spotlight: 

  • Universal Brush Duo: Even saturation of your single process application is key for a successful outcome. The texture and firmness of the bristles on these brushes make it easy to push the product through each section of hair, regardless of texture.

Creating Dimension:
Whether you are performing a tint-back for blondes who want to cross over to the dark side, or transforming a redhead into a brunette, creating dimension in your formulations can be a sure way of creating rich, chocolatey brunette tones. This can be accomplished with as little as 12 to 15 foils and/or hand painting sections that frame the face and nape, strategically placed between the low crown and occipital bone. 

The Tint-Back:
After processing your filler, the following formula combination can be used to create highlights that provide subtle dimension in the rich, dark chocolate brunette hair color you are striving to achieve.  

  • Base Formula:  2-parts Natural Series (N) + 1-part Gold Violet (GV)
  • Highlighting Formula: 1-part Natural Series (N) + 2-parts Ash (A)  

Pure ash tones can sometimes appear murky and dull. To create a cool hair color that is perfectly balanced, combine 1-part of a natural series with 2-parts ash of the same desired level. The natural series will balance out the ash formula by preventing the undertones of the violet base from overpowering the formula or adding any unwanted warmth.  

To create subtle yet rich dimension, your highlight formulation should not be more than 2-3 levels lighter than your base color.

From Ginger Spice to Brunette God/Goddess: 
The key to transitioning a natural redhead to a brunette is to use your client’s natural red tones to your advantage, while eliminating excess warmth. The following formula combination can create dimension that radiates in your natural red haired clients. 

  • Base Formula: 2-parts Natural Series (N) + 1-part Red Violet (RV) 
  • Highlighting Formula: 2-parts Red Violet (RV) + 1-part Natural Series (N)

When you are incorporating tones with a violet base in your formulation, always go at least 1-2 levels above the natural series (N) used to ensure that you achieve the desired illumination.

Tool Spotlight:

  • Digital Scale: Precise formulation is the only way to guarantee you achieve your intended outcome. Other than that, you are simply playing a guessing game, and who wants to chance that? Product Club’s digital scale will accurately measure your formulation in grams or ounces. It can be plugged into an electrical outlet or used with batteries for easy use in the salon or on the road.
  • Clear Thermal Film: In addition to isolating and sealing your highlighting section, this clear film allows you to monitor the processing of your color and works well on all hair textures.

Additional Notes for Great Outcomes:

Low Maintenance:
One of the great things about the glazing and single process formulations we discussed in this blog is that the maintenance is minimal. The graceful grow-out of these applications will only require a simple retouch as needed to rejuvenate the chocolate richness.

Year Round Glam: 
Clients typically want to lighten their hair in the spring and summer and darken it in the fall and winter months. Stylists know that this can be a daunting process. However, because of the tonal value in the dimensional formulations I shared, enhancing the brightness or richness of your rich chocolate brunette can be achieved in a breeze. 

  • Spring/Summer: To add brightness during these seasons, simply add more of a contrast in your dimensions by increasing the range of levels between the base and highlighting formulations. If a lightener is necessary, that can also be performed with ease, due to the underlying pigment that will be exposed from your previous color application. After your lightener is processed, formulate your glaze to the adjusted level of your preferred dimensional formula and voilà!
  • Fall/Winter: When revitalizing the richness of your dimensions, simply retouch your highlights, or add a few more using your preferred dimensional formulation. It’s as easy as that!

With the correct formulation, proper application, and a finishing glaze, a rich, chocolate brunette haircolor that will wow your clients – can be easy to achieve!

Tamar Slaughter, Product Club Educator

Follow Tamar (@tayslaughterhair) and Product Club (@productclub) for more expert tips on social media, salon ownership, and hair color education!

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