We love a lit-from-within glow when it comes to our skin (hello, highlighter), but what about our hair? The shade candlelit brunette is trending now, and it’s the perfect approach to adding highlights to brown hair. Hairstylist Jennifer Korab describes the color as “a high gloss, warm, dimensional brunette. It shines with warm tones and reflects in the light, giving the candlelit effect. It intensifies the natural color while maintaining a soft natural look.” Celebrity colorist and L’Oréal Professionnel global ambassador Min Kim says candlelit brunette is all about subtle highlights, high shine and dimensional movement.
Many stars are currently sporting this shade, including Ashley Park, Cara Delevingne and Kaia Gerber. We talked to celebrity colorists about how to achieve the candlelit brunette color and their take on why it’s trending.
How to get the candlelit brunette color in the salon
In simple terms, celebrity colorist Rita Hazan says you should ask for a “dark base with warm highlights that are lighter on the ends.” However, to ensure the shade is just right, it’s always good to bring a bit more background. Kim describes the end goal as a “rich, natural brunette hair color with subtle and natural highlights (babylights) to create shine and movement in the hair.”
Melissa Dwyer, colorist at FEKKAI, suggests mentioning you want your balayage pieces to have more of a lived-in color. She adds that this will allow your color to grow out more naturally. Celebrity colorist Jacob Schwartz notes that you should have a photo on hand of what you’re looking for.
Wait, why is it trending?
“In 2023, we have seen a shift in wanting to go back to more natural-esque colors and shades of those colors. This falls perfectly in that category,” says celebrity hairstylist Glenn Ellis. Kim agrees that this year’s buzzwords are “muted, natural, low-maintenance, healthy, shiny, and hydrated hair.” She feels candlelit brunette “is the perfect window shade to compliment this overall aesthetic and is also a great starting point for someone new to color.”
Dwyer says it’s also popular in part due to the minimal upkeep. Ellis notes that many people are looking to spice up their color without a big change, making this the perfect subtle, dimensional look. Seasonality also has something to do with it. As we head into spring, warmer hair colors begin to creep in. “This trend is an easy transition from the darker tones we were seeing this winter,” says Korab.
Skip the damage and preserve the color
Ahead of coloring your hair Kim says you should ask your stylist for the L’Oréal Professionnel Metal Detox Treatment. “The pre-treatment spray is applied prior to your color to prep your hair for the very best result,” she explains. Post-highlights Schwartz advises tacking on a good treatment—he recommends epres Bond Repair Treatment ($48)—at the end of the coloring session to help restore any damage from the dye. To maintain your color and keep your hair healthy, Kim recommends L’Oréal Professionnel Metal Detox Shampoo and Mask and L’Oréal Professionnel Metal Detox Oil ($35).