Thoughts By Natalie

Embracing Brunette

I’m a brunette and I’m finally owning it. The blonde was fun, but month after month I found myself feeling disappointed that my hair felt so dry and dead…and then kept adding bleach to it! The cut definitely helped my hair feel healthier but I knew I needed to take it one step further and just embrace more of my natural color. I am so happy with the outcome I asked my stylist Kristin to share everything she did to ease the transition from highlighted blonde to natural brunette for the rest of you who may be thinking about doing the same. 

In talking with Natalie, she wanted to start going darker and closer to her natural color but didn’t necessarily want the shock of doing it all at once. If you’re a blonde even just adding a few lowlights can be a HUGE change! We decided on doing it in stages which is great because she can embrace the different levels of blonde before fully committing to being a brunette. Its fun to play around with different colors in the meantime as well! Here is a step by step guide of how we started taking Natalie’s hair darker. I think both of us are in love with the outcome!


Our number one goal was to blend Natalie’s natural root color with her highlights. We also wanted to break up the bright blonde and darken the overall look a bit. Think natural highlights instead of bleached out blonde.


1. I did a partial lowlight using a combination of neutral and gold colors in foils- these are the darker pieces that break up the blonde. I also made sure not to lowlight right around Natalie’s face, leaving the brighter highlights out. I used Redken Shades EQ 06N, 06WG and a splash of 05N with Olaplex (conditioning treatment).

2. Once the foils were in, using a demi permanent color, I painted on top of her root and feathered it down to around her ear. Feathering helps break up the hard root line. I used Redken Shades EQ 05N and 06Nb with Olaplex and let this process for 20 min.

3. After rinsing Natalie’s hair and towel drying it, I toned her at the shampoo bowl using two different formulas. One was from her roots to mid way down the hair shaft, the other was on her ends. I also used warm neutral and gold colors for her glaze darkening and blending her overall blonde. I used Redken Shades EQ Roots: 07Nb and 08Gi Ends: 09Gi

4. We did step 2 of the Olaplaex treatment, let that process for 5 min, shampooed and conditioned as normal.

The Look:

Sun kissed honey “Bronde” hair- not fully bright blonde, but not quite brunette.

Note: I used all demi permanent hair color for this first stage because it fills the blonde, prepping it to go darker and is very conditioning to the hair. This process is great for anyone who wants to go darker but still wants to be a blonde.

Thanks, Kristin, for making my hair look beautiful—as always! Stay tuned for updates as I continue to let the blonde grow out and embrace my natural color :)

P.S. The earrings I’m wearing in the photos above are from my shop! You can shop them here.

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  • jess
    February 10, 2017 at 7:45 am

    looks fantastic!!! you’re like, really pretty.

    would love to see updates- mainly (manely, har har): did your make-up choices change to complement the darker hair? and have you experienced any fading? any low-lights I’ve done have faded to a more rusty / orange hue. would love to hear what you’ve done to battle the brassiness.

    • Natalie Borton
      February 12, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      My makeup didn’t really change at all. I haven’t experienced fading yet, but my stylist did tell me that it will fade over time since it’s demi-permanent. Also, I haven’t had issues with brassiness thus far (my hair looks better with a golden hue rather than an ashy hue), so sadly I don’t have any tips for that either!

  • Allison C
    February 10, 2017 at 9:25 am

    It looks awesome!!! I have naturally light brown hair (was blonde until college), and a couple years ago after a bad highlight situation I tried to go natural. I really liked it, except that at 41 I also noticed that I was going grey. I couldn’t quite swallow going darker *and* grey, so I switched up to more subtle balayage. I wish I had tried it when I was your age because I really liked it and my hair was way healthier. You look gorgeous!

    • Natalie Borton
      February 12, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      Thank you! I feel like it’s definitely the right call :)

  • Amy
    February 18, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    Saw you rave about new hair products on stories a few days back, and can’t remember them for the life of me. Would love a post on the new routine!