In the world of hair dye, there is a color wheel that assigns numbers to (natural) hair colors, starting with one — black — and ending with platinum 10. To tint their strands with rainbow shades, brunettes need to lift their natural color to a minimum of a level six on the hair color wheel (which is the darkest shade of blond you can be without being a light brunette). The rainbow hue you select will also indicate how much you should lighten your hair. “Blues and violets should have a level eight or nine base,” said Edelman. (These are pale blonds.) “For reds, oranges, and yellows, and greens, hair needs to be lifted to a level seven or eight,” but she acknowledged that red will be visible (albeit less powerful) on a level six blond.
Those who feel passionate about achieving pastel hair should know that you must bleach your hair all the way to a “level 10 with minimal warmth” (white blond). Now that you’re likely feeling more intrigued about pursuing colorful hair, we have good news. Edelman has divulged her favorite Fall/Winter rainbow styles that cater best to brunettes. Should you be convinced that you won’t be able to pull off your top pick with your complexion, don’t be: your skin tone should not be the ultimate deciding factor.
Description: “This is a practical way to wear Fall’s more muted tones without playing into clichés like pumpkin spice,” noted Edelman, who described the shade as a harmonious blend of mauve, deep chocolate, pink, and warm, light brown.
Who it works for: Because it melds cool and warm hues, this is a flattering color on all complexions. It’s also an excellent option for someone who wants a more subtle rainbow hair look.
Technique: After creating a shadow root using chocolate brown, Edelman painted irregular, diagonal sections of the hair with multiple tones, alternating as she went. Ask your colorist to concentrate the darker shades on the lower layers, while focusing the lighter shades on the top. “Even though the color is unnatural, following the light/dark placement that occurs naturally is always a good idea,” she shared. “I think that’s what makes this toe the line of natural and unnatural.”
Description: “This is a fresh take on oil slick hair,” stated Edelman, who used varied shades of violet, indigo, lavender, navy, and cobalt to achieve this look.
Who it works for: “The hair has to be about a level nine, ideally a 10, to achieve the paler shades,” she cautioned. Overall, however, this color trend will be especially flattering on medium to light brunettes.
Technique: Edelman suggests looking for a colorist who specializes in using Vivids. “Ask them to concentrate depth on the underlayer of the hair and place light colors on your top layer and around your face,” she said. This will add extra dimension to your look.
Description: “This hair painting is a softer, lower maintenance take on silver,” said Edelman. The deep roots beautifully contrast the silver ends, which are all brought together by ash-brown midsections. It even fades in a gorgeous way! “The ash brown and silver will behave as a toner for a cool, balanced blond,” she added.
Who it works for: “I consider gray to be a neutral, so it can work for anyone.”
Technique: To achieve this look, you’ll need some patience as well as willingness to go platinum at the ends of your strands. (Underneath that icy silver is a level 10 blond.) For your toner, Edelman advises that you “ask for a double ash brown on the midsection that melts to a silver tone.“
Description: Instead of the typical moody Fall hues, this incorporates superbright tones of violet, magenta, orange, and pink. “This is a rad way to play with Summer’s double-processed blond hair,” Edelman remarked.
Who it works for: “When I do far-out colors, I’m looking at their personality more than their physical features,” she stated. “Sometimes hair color needs to fit an attitude, not a complexion.”
Technique: You will need to lift your hair to at least a level eight blond to proceed with neon hibiscus. Ask your colorist to melt sections of your hair with alternating colors to create a “natural” effect. “On the underlayer, violet was generally my beginning tone,” Edelman noted. “As I went higher up the head, I used magenta as my base.”
Description: This is a brunette hue that’s been livened up with hand-painted caramel dimension and pops of rose.
Who it works for: Women in search of workplace-friendly color that is very low commitment. Edelman pointed out, “This hair painting is three months old and looks brand new.” She added, “there are no rules for the accent color.” It would look stunning with the substitution of any vibrant hue!
Technique: Use this style to freshen up an existing balayage. “Ask for very thick slices (about half an inch) of your preferred fun color foiled in between the toner,” she said. To add extra drama, you can rock that accent tone at the front of your hairline.