How to Try Out a Deeper Shade

This summer, instead of going for a predictable strawberry blonde or a straight-up platinum shade, try a chestnut brown or a deep burgundy. Ready to take the plunge into darker territory? Here's what you need to know.

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The arrival of the long-awaited summer weather often moves people to add cool-toned colors to their hair, like ashy blonde and platinum. But why not match warm tones with warm weather, and color your hair a brilliant chocolate brown or a glossy black? It's the contrarian trend of the summer, and there's a right way to do it.   

Actress Emma Stone, pictured here at the 2016 Met Gala, recently changed her hair from a bright red to a rich brown—and you can, too! Photograph courtesy of George Pimentel/Getty Images
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When you do decide to dye your hair, please remember to account for the level of upkeep to come. We talked to Rachelle Hawkins, a celebrity stylist, coloring expert, and artist of the hair-care brand Mizani, about the best way to go dark for the summer.

Here, the Connecticut-based stylist shares a couple of things you should consider before you head to the salon. Take notes!

Pay Attention to Your Hair's Current Condition

First off, you should start with a clean, healthy slate before any chemicals hit your hair. "Before going darker, you need to take into consideration the condition of your hair," Hawkins says. "If it's lightened and very dry, the hair will most likely suck the color in and look darker at first and then fade faster," she adds. Be prepared to make a couple of visits to the salon in order to get an even tone. 

Dark-haired models backstage at the Wagner Kallieno spring/summer 2016 show. Photograph courtesy of Victor Virgile/Getty Images
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If you've already dyed your hair a lighter shade, but now want to transition to a deeper color, be advised: your hair will dry out. Be sure to talk with your colorist to make sure your hair is ready to travel to the other side of the color wheel.

Yes, You Need to Go to a Professional

Hawkins is pretty adamant about this one. "No box dye!" she says. If you don't have a cosmetology license, you will probably administer store-bought dye the wrong way—so spend money on a good dye job instead of wasting it on repairing damaged hair. 

Dark hair looks great on different textures, as shown backstage at the Gig Couture spring/summer 2016 show. Photograph courtesy of Victor Virgile/Getty Images

Going to a salon is especially important if you're transitioning from an ultra-light tone. "If your hair is blonde, you can't take a dark brown and color over it," Hawkins says. "Number one, it will fade, and number two, all of those underlying tones that were taken out when lightening need to be deposited back in order for your color to look good and really last."

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Go Dark With Some Other Colors in Mind 

Transform the flat look of a deep shade with some cool accents. "I love the darker, rich chocolate browns with baby lights [Ed note: this term describes highlights that are specifically concentrated in the front strands, which frame your face] peeking through around the face," Hawkins says. "The chocolate is deep enough to show off that awesome dark tone and the baby lights highlight it just enough to give it that perfect dimension." 

Miranda Kerr always seems to have the perfect blend of light and dark. Photograph courtesy of Jun Sato/Getty Images

If you're not ready for a full dark transformation just yet, throw some pastels into the mix. "Deepen your base color to more of a neutral, cool brown, and color over those old, overgrown light pieces with your favorite fashion hue," Hawkins suggests. "Gray and rose gold are super-trendy right now and look awesome for this."

Use Products Based on Your Hair Type

Hawkins recommends argan, marula, coconut oil products. "Miracle Milk by Mizani is a perfect leave-in to maintain your color and keep your hair soft and shiny," she suggests. 

25 Miracle Milk Multi-Benefit Leave-In Spray by Mizani, $21,
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"Textured and curly hair will always dry out faster because the oil from our scalp does not get all the way down in the hair shaft on curly hair as it does with straighter hair," Hawkins says. Focus on integrating products that specifically tend to curls, such as sulfate-free conditioning cleansers and hydrating hair masks.

Alchemic Conditioner Chocolate, $29,
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Fine and thick hair also get dry, and Hawkins recommends using a weekly treatment called True Textures Moisture Replenish, which can be used on all hair types.

True Textures Moisture Replenish Treatment by Mizani, $18,

And for all textures, listen up: "If your hair is brittle due to the darkening process, you'll need to do conditioning treatments with moisture and protein," she says. "The protein is what gets depleted in the hair when it's been colored."

Restore Mask Treatment by Living Proof, $42,
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