You have just been perusing your favorite magazine and came across some photos of dark brown hair with chunky highlights. You fell in love, and now you want to get that exact look for yourself. Before you rush right out and grab a box of dye, there are some things you need to know first.
Dark brown hair can be a bit difficult to color, so you need to make sure you are purchasing a color that will actually work with your natural one. Choosing the wrong chunking kit can lead to an interesting mix of brassy oranges and muddy browns, which simply does not look good on anyone.
Magazine photos are often enhanced using Photoshop or other programs, which makes it impossible to match the exact shade. This is often especially true with ultralight or white chunky highlights. Obtaining these shades on dark brown hair usually requires some serious bleaching, which can leave your hair very dry and brittle.
You also need to choose a shade of chunky highlights that matches your skin tone. If you have a golden or yellowish tinge to your skin, you have what is considered a warm skin tone. The best chunky highlights for your dark brown hair would be beige or golden highlights.
If your skin has a pink tinge, you have a cool skin tone, and copper and auburn work best. If you determine that your skin tone has pink and yellow tones, you have a skin tone that works with any color you choose.
Another important thing to think about when choosing chunky highlights is your clothing and lifestyle. There are some great brightly colored chunky highlights available in a wide range of blues, purples, pinks, and reds, but you should choose a color that will match your clothing choices more often than not.
Chunky highlights will also require upkeep, so you need to be prepared to do touchups every four to six weeks to keep your hair looking its best.
It is possible to get highlights for dark brown hair at home, but if you do not do them right, you might end up with misplaced chunky highlights or an odd shade of color. One thing to remember when doing chunky highlights in any shade that is lighter than your own hair color is that you must bleach your hair in order to get highlights.
Bleaching and highlighting kits all have their own sets of instructions, and it is important that you follow them in order to get the color you are hoping for. Many shades have photos on the box that can give you an indication of what your hair may look like after applying the dye. However, there is no guarantee that your hair will turn out that exact color. If your hair has been dyed before, or it is dry or damaged, it can cause the color to turn out differently.
One hot new trend in chunky highlights is using bright, bold colors for an edgier look. This can be difficult to achieve on dark brown at home and usually requires a two-step process. In order to achieve the brightest, boldest colors, you will need to lighten the chunks you want with bleach first.
After you have bleached these pieces of hair to a light blonde, then you can add bright colors. You can skip this step if you do not want to do extra damage to your hair, but the colors will not show up as dramatically.
Once you have decided what color you want to use for your chunky highlights, you have to decide what look you want to achieve. You can opt for all-over chunking to create an eye-catching color combination, or if you want something more subtle, you can add chunky highlights to only one or two areas.
You can choose to do a few chunks on either side of your face to create a framing effect, or you can do a single section to add a pop of color. Another popular look is to add chunky highlights only to the tips of the hair. You can also go for a complete two-tone look and add chunky highlights only to the top layers of your hair.
If you are looking for a complete, eye-catching look, you can choose to do more than one color of chunky highlights in your dark brown hair. You can do your bangs one color and then choose a complementary color to use on another section of hair.
If you choose to do the most common method of chunky highlights, you will want to do small chunks of hair all over your head. You will want to have chunks of varying thickness so that the colors blend well without looking like you had a hair dye mishap. This method will create a bold chunky highlighting look that is sure to have all eyes on you.
If you decide to do chunky highlights on your dark brown hair at home, you should first take a critical look at your hair. If you dye it often, or it has a dry, brittle feel to it, you may want to consider getting the damaged parts cut off before trying to do chunky highlights.
If a haircut is not on your list, and you know your hair is damaged, you should only do small sections while chunking. The bleaching process will damage your hair even more, which can lead to breakage. If this happens, you may find that the sections of hair that are chunked may end up much shorter than the rest of your hair.
Dark brown hair can be difficult to do on your own, but if you have the patience to follow all of the steps needed to achieve the look you want, you can give yourself a complete hair makeover. If you are nervous about doing such a drastic step at home, your local salon is a great alternative.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.