Wedding Hair Color Tips for Brunettes From Superstar Colorist Kyle White

Updated 03/05/14

Laura Murray Photography

On your wedding day, all eyes will be on you—and your hair! To make sure your wedding-day hair color has a little extra warmth, sparkle, and shine to go with your wedding gown, we asked celebrity colorist Kyle White, whose foils have graced the heads of world-famous brunettes like Mariah Carey and Maria Menounos, for the best ways to pump up brunette hair for your wedding day.

__Brides: If a naturally brunette bride wants highlights, what are some general guidelines to give her colorist? __

Kyle White: If you want to go lighter, there's much more to keep in mind than the shade you want. Don't forget to factor in the width and placement of each highlight and the total amount of highlights on your head. Stick to the two golden rules of highlights:

Map out each highlight: The thickest and lightest pieces should be around the frame of the face. They should then regress in size and lightness to the crown. The tighter you weave the highlights and the closer together you place them, the lighter (and less streaky) the overall look.

Know your tones: If your base is warm (dark golden blonde) then the highlights should be warm (buttery blonde). If your base is a cooler brunette, then the highlights should be in the cool family as well, like a light beige.

Brides: Brunettes come in a huge range of natural skin tones. What are some tips for finding the most flattering hue?

__KW:__Here's a test: when you wear a red shirt, does it make your face look flushed? If so, you've got pink undertones, which means you should go for cooler tones, like chocolate and coffee brown.

If you have an olive skin tone, you want to opt for golden or chestnut browns, which will light up your face.

__Brides: If brides aren't getting highlights, what are other ways to amp up brunette hair for their wedding day? __

KW: I love glossing treatments to amp up your color and shine. If your strands are damaged, they're literally shot through with holes. Glosses fill in these holes with moisturizing agents and light-reflecting color polymers, making it way easier for hair to catch the light. They're at their most potent when freshly done, but I recommend gloss newbies try the treatment out beforehand. If you love it, get a refresher a few days before your wedding.

In-salon gloss treatments are the gold standard, but you can get the same effect with an at-home gloss. I love Oscar Blandi's At Home Salon Glaze Shine Rinse.

__Brides: What if a bride wants to go darker for her wedding? Any tips? __

__KW:__The good news: going darker is WAY easier on your hair. Opt for a vegetable dye or semi-permanent hair color with lots of emollients and proteins. These dyes leave hair feeling great, have tons of shine and are much more easily changeable than permanent dyes with heavy chemicals.

Just like I tell clients not to go all-out platinum at once, I don't recommend going inky dark in one appointment. Start by darkening your hair by two shades and go from there. If your color feels too dark, strip away some of the hue with a clarifying shampoo and follow up with a deep-conditioning mask.

Keep your brunette from fading by using a color enhancing shampoo. (We love John Frieda Brilliant Brunette.) Or, if you're feeling adventurous, try blue Kool-Aid: it neutralizes any brassy tones.

__Brides: For DIY-ers, are there any box colors you'd recommend? __

__KW:__I love Garnier Olia home hair color. It's the first no-ammonia permanent hair color available for at home use. It uses an oil delivery system that propels color molecules deeper into the hair shaft than traditional at home dyes do, which produces superior results and leaves the hair feeling healthier then before coloring.

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