How to pick the right brunette colour when you are going grey

Don’t let ageing get in the way of your brunette locks

I’ve been dyeing my naturally ash-brown hair varying shades of brunette for decades, but these days my regrowth is revealing a lot more than just a sprinkle of “platinum”, and I’ve been wondering if I should consider other options.

Should I be lightening up a shade or two now I’m in my mid-40s? Do I need to look at additional colouring techniques like balayage, highlights or lowlights? Am I just going too grey to maintain a brunette regime?

These are all questions I’ve been pondering.

Recent studies reveal that 75 per cent of women 65 years and older tend to stop colouring their hair due to the colouring process being too laborious and grey roots showing too quickly.

Fortunately, that’s led companies like L’Oréal to create products specifically for those of us who aren’t quite ready to give up on colour.

Stunning brunette Elizabeth Hurley (51) balances her cool skin tone by adding warm caramel highlights to her long locks.

Diana Wilson, Senior Brand Manager for L’Oréal Paris Hair, says there’s no such thing as being too grey to be a brunette, especially with a colour like Excellence Age Perfect Brunettes. It’s purposely formulated to work on grey and mature hair.

“For women with 70 per cent or more grey hair, this product is just for you,” says Diana.

But how dark is too dark?

“For the most flattering colour result, we recommend tones that are one or two shades lighter than your natural colour,” advises Diana.

Identifying your skin tone is another way to help you determine your most flattering brunette hue.

“Cool-toned skin has blue undertones, while warm-toned skin has yellow and gold,” says Diana. “Many stylists recommend that you pick a tone that is the opposite of your skin undertones.”

That means that if you have a lot of redness in your skin for example, a cool shade of brunette will help to neutralise it.

Duchess Catherine’s glossy brunette locks are the envy of the commonwealth.

Bottle brunettes do need to be aware of dodging the dreaded “block” or “helmet” look where hair is one solid, heavy colour. Diana says you can avoid this by choosing a dye that uses technology that can adapt to different grey pigments for a natural look.

“Our layered-tone technology provides colour full of highs and lows,” tells Diana. “At the roots, regrowth is beautifully blended with the rest of your hair.”

Do you have a celebrity whose style you admire? Diana suggests matching yourself to a star for inspiration.

“Picking someone who has a similar skin tone and eye colour as you can help guide you as to what could look best on you.”

Brunette tool kit

1 For dark-haired ladies, traditional dry shampoos can leave tell-tale residue. Try a tinted formula such as Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo for Brunettes, $44.50.

2 Experts recommend colour-care shampoo and conditioners to help prolong the life of your colour and keep it looking shiny. Try a lower sulphate variety like Dove Shampoo Hair Therapy Colour Radiance, $7.49.

3 When those sneaky greys start to peak through and you haven’t got time to colour, a temporary concealer such as L’Oréal Paris Magic Retouch, $19.99, is the perfect solution.

4 Arm yourself with a colour designed to give grey hair a slightly translucent coverage. This will help you to achieve a natural look. We like L’Oréal Paris Excellence Age Perfect Brunettes, $25.59.

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