Fashionista: Why Melted-Caramel Highlights Feel So Right For Fall

Oct 2, 2020 | style/mode

PHOTO: JEREMY MOELLER/GETTY IMAGES

Fashionista: If you have naturally dark hair and are feeling an itch to try something brighter, you may think that blonde is the only option. While a buttery balayage can give that sun-kissed effect in the summer, come mid-September, it’s a warmer, more subtle melted-caramel color that everyone’s asking for.

According to colorist Chad Kenyon, a caramel tone — think pale brown with flecks of gold or cinnamon — is the prettiest middle ground between blonde balayage and chocolate brown. “Caramel tones look amazing on girls with darker hair that want to go lighter without going blonde,” explains Kenyon. “The end result is so fun for fall because it’s multi-dimensional, and often reads as glossier than a bleach blonde.”

Ahead, find your visual guide to melted-caramel highlights, plus up pro tips on how to ask for it at your next appointment.

If you have a deep base color and want to add a lighter tone without committing to single-process, take a cue from Kenyon and try a subtle caramel-maple face-frame highlight.

If you’re trying to wean yourself off blonde highlights, ask your colorist for a light brown or dirty brunette. Colorist Lauren Burke recommends a golden caramel. “You can go super pale with tones of brown, and still get that brightness and dimension that reads more natural on dark hair,” she says.

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All things pumpkin-y and spicy 🍂

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Colorist Tom Smith, out of London’s Billi Currie Salon, calls a light brown with red undertones “gingerbread caramel,” which is what you’re seeing with the piece-y babylights here.
For the most low-maintenance introduction to caramel color, keep the palest golden-brown tones focused around the face or at the ends of the hair, like this blended tone on London-based actress Jade Ewen. “You’re looking for a combination of warm brunette shades with pops of light pieces,” explains colorist Chelsea Bulte.
Here’s another example of that warm gingerbread caramel color on curls on NYC-based model Eden Amare. If you look closely, you can see the subtle tones of rust on the ends.

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Selam…:) 🍜 🦋

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The cool part about caramel highlights is that a soft brown next to a dark brunette base makes your natural color appear shinier. Burke recommends a balayage blending technique for the most seamless shade transition. For visual, use this stunning closeup of model Lorenza Izzo, colored by Aviva Perea.

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