First it was ombré, then it was gray granny hair and now bronde is the color everybody’s talking about. A cross between brunette and blonde (get it?), bronde is the suddenly hot shade that is popular with celebrities from Cara Delevingne to Chrissy Teigen. Blake Lively practically broke the internet when she posted a bronde photo to her Instagram earlier this month, while Jennifer Lopez provoked similar interest with her own Instagram snap, going bronde for her new TV show Shades of Blue.
Jennifer Lopez’s iconic highlights. (Photo: Instagram)
The natural-looking style challenges the idea that blondes automatically have more fun, working with your real shade instead of highlighting it into oblivion. “The highlights give brightness and dimension to brunettes, making it a modern look, while it adds warmth and richness for blondes, making the skin tone fresh and not washed out,” says Adrian Wallace, the colorist at Rita Hazan Salon responsible for Jennifer Lopez’s recent bronde.
Less upkeep is one of the major selling points. “Many of my clients will come every 6 months for this,” says West Hollywood salon owner Paul Jean. “It’s so low-maintenance.” While blonde highlights might require repeated trips to the salon every 6-8 weeks, bronde — like ombré before it — works with darker roots growing in, blending the shades of blonde and brown together to create a rich, multidimensional look. “Bronde is a great way to add dimension into dark hair and the grow out can be very natural-looking,” says Jason Backe, CEO and Master Colorist for Ted Gibson. He sums up the appeal, saying, “Hair color is like life: the more drama, the more maintenance.”
Blake Lively’s famous bronde locks. (Photo: Instagram)
Another bronde plus: it looks great on almost everybody. “It works on most skin tones because of the richness of the roots and the softness of the highlights,” says Wallace. Backe, however, prefers doing the look on brunettes who want to go lighter, explaining, “If you try to put darker shades into blond hair it can look too heavy or stripy.”
The key to achieving this look is communication. “It’s best to go into the salon not simply saying, ‘this is what I want’ — because you might say ‘bronde’ but what you really mean is blonde, or ombre, or something else,” says Paul Jean. “Instead, bring a picture — and even better if it’s a picture of you as a child, to show the stylist your natural tones.” This will help avoid any confusion: after all, your ‘light brown’ is somebody else’s ‘way too blonde’.
Although bronde hair looks wonderfully natural, it can be tricky to pull off at home. “The first step in attempting bronde at home is to call your colorist,” Backe jokes.
But if the salon isn’t in your budget, there are a variety of new kits on the market designed to help recreate the subtle technique. Try L’Oreal Paris Superior Preference Glam Lights in GL70 ($12) if you’re already blonde going darker, or L’Oreal Paris Super Preference Glam Lights GL50 ($13) if you’re a brunette going lighter.
And regardless of your natural shade, your color will look better if your hair is in the best shape possible so deep condition at least once a week with an intensive treatment. Try Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask ($7) or LiQWd Silk Professional Deep Conditioning Treatment ($24).