Spring and summer trends can be pretty predictable – like florals, pastels, and taking our hair color a little lighter. But one rebel trend is changing all that. Off-black hair is intercepting normal proceedings with a renegade shade that offers up a grungier, richer alternative for the season. 

Of course, deep brown is a beautiful natural hair colour in its own right, but almost-black – well, that requires hair dye. Hair tends to be multi-tonal across all shades and textures, even if those shade nuances are super subtle, so though naturally dark hair “may look black from first impression, what we’re actually seeing is the darkest brunette, with a very, very cool tone,” explains colorist Tom Smith

Natural dark brunettes such as Olivia Rodrigo and Megan Fox are sporting “off-black hair,” explains Smith, but recently we’ve seen natural blondes and mousey brunettes looking to get in on the action by switching to ultra-deep brunette shades. 

Lily James is the latest celeb to swap to the dark side, trading in her cappuccino blonde strands for a darker gradient after surprising us all with platinum blonde strands for her stint as Pamela Anderson in Hulu’s Pam & Tommy. Likewise, actress Zoey Deutch traded in her trademark auburn red hair for a rich brunette at the 2021 Met Gala in September, and she’s been inching closer to black ever since. Natural blonde Katy Perry has made raven strands her signature, and Dove Cameron has made the same switch recently. Plus, after bleaching her hair white blonde for this year’s Grammy Awards, Dua Lipa dyed her hair back to (almost) black straight after.

While it’s not the default direction most of us tend to head in for spring/summer, an ultra-deep brunette hair color is edgy, unexpected, but still super pretty. It has grit and depth you can’t get from blonde. 

Fancy it for yourself? “Cool-toned colors always appear darker than warmer colors,” says Smith. So to achieve the depth that dark-haired babes enjoy, ask your hair colorist for “extremely ashy and cool tones with no red tones or warmth in there. It almost has a bluish tone in certain lights,” he adds.

As for the rest of your beauty look, a dramatic new hair color usually requires tweaking your makeup routine. Darker hair colors can make you look a little washed out — ideal if you’re feeling the grungy aesthetic that’s popping off on TikTok. But if not, introducing warmer tones and going a little heavier with your bronzer can balance things out. And since our skin tone naturally warms up going into summer, it’s actually a perfect time to go dark.

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