Skip to main content

It’s our prerogative to want what we don’t have: bangs, long nails, a different hair color. For brunettes, their hair color is a shade worn like a badge of honor. But even the most devout brunettes might be tempted to take a walk on the blond side. Most of the time, however, you don’t want to waltz into a salon with a chocolate head of hair and resurface with pale, ice-blond hair – unless you’re Kim Kardashian.

Granted, Kardashian had dabbled in the blond bombshell look before, so while going platinum, it wasn’t completely out of line. Not to mention, she loves to play with the length of her hair too – changing up her hair is part of her image. But this isn’t about what Kardashian does or doesn’t do to her hair. It’s about you, dear brunettes, and how you can wade into the blond pond gently and maintain the declaration that you are, still, a proud brunette.

Ahead, celebrity colorist Jason Backe, L’Oréal Professionnel brand ambassador and co-owner of Ted Gibson Salon in New York City, tells us how “bronde” hair color does just that.

– Additional reporting by Renee Rodriguez

What Is Bronde Hair?

When we think of bronde, the first celebrity who comes to mind is Taylor Swift: her color is not a brilliant blond; it’s not a dull brown, either. For Backe, “bronde” is as much of a technique as it is a hair color.

“[It’s] when a brunette wants to have an element of blond, but doesn’t want to be described by her girlfriends as being ‘blond,'” Backe tells POPSUGAR. Bronde usually starts with a darker base, Backe says, but it can also be a blonde that adds lowlights to create dimension.

Backe suggested that celebrities like Jessica Alba, Khloé Kardashian, and his client Ashley Greene are prime examples of the bronde trend. But what makes this different than sombré highlights or ombré? While it incorporates lighter tones into darker hair, a lot has to do with the tones of blond.

How to Get Bronde Hair

“It’s basically the opposite version of blonds with a tint of violet to them – it’s the cooler version, both literally and figuratively,” Backe says. “It’s brunette with lighter pieces of khaki. It’s so ash, it almost has a little bit of green to make it cooler.”

And using the balayage technique of painting on the highlights, it’s not so much focusing on the roots or the hairline, but more about coming through the interior of the hair.

“It’s effortless and chic. You don’t see any bold stripes. No chunky pieces,” Backe says. This technique gives the look longevity, similar to ombré. So, considering going bronde? Discuss these two items with your colorist: 1) How often do you want to be in the salon and 2) How do you treat your hair.

From here, Backe says he would take a look at his client’s eye color and skin tone.

“Green eyes can get away with gold tones [in the hair], especially with a tan.” And if you’re on the fair side? “Gold can exaggerate pink tones, so stick to sandy or neutral shades of blond for this look,” Backe says.

Brown eyes can lean more gold with their color since it will warm them up; blue eyes should stick to cooler shades. Darker-complected clients should steer away from gold tones since they can look harsh. When in doubt, stick to cooler shades of blond. “Cool tones are everything – cool brunettes, cool blonds,” Backe adds.

Bronde Hair Inspiration

If you’re ready to take the plunge, keep scrolling for some inspiration you can bring with you to your next salon appointment.