A Major Hair Color Trend Has Emerged For This Summer — And It's Surprisingly Subtle

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Brunette hair is the surprisingly subtle hair color trend of summer

Brown isn't exactly the boldest, trendiest, or most unique shade you could possibly turn to when you're craving a major hair transformation, but the timeless elegance and versatility of a glossy Kate Middleton mane simply cannot be overstated. The duchess has long served as a bottomless reserve of brunette hair color ideas but lately, more trend-forward influencers (ahem, Dua Lipa) have warmed up to the subtle hue, too.

Brown hair has historically gotten a bad rap for being too dull, too safe, too utterly ordinary, considering it's the second most common natural hair color in the world. But whoever accused it of being a complete bore clearly hadn't seen the many creative iterations of brunette circa-2020, including but not limited to: milk tea, ash brown, ombré, and bronde.

Lipa's latest return to chocolate tresses ("by popular demand," she said on Instagram) went ahead and solidified it as this summer's most unexpected breakout hair trend. Bigger even than quarantine pinks and bold lavenders, if you could believe it. So, in order to get the inspo flowing, here are some of the most covetable brunette hair color ideas to copy right now, from Chrissy Teigen's signature teetering-on-blonde shade to Kacey Musgraves' freshly highlighted milk tea wash.

Chocolate Brown

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After practically trademarking the two-toned trend with her dark roots and platinum tendrils, Dua Lipa went back to brunette in July and it was almost as surprising as if she had dyed it neon. Her smooth, classic-brown look is arguably the least wacky hair color the singer has sported in years, which somehow makes it all the more desirable.


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Bronde — the very niche and noncommittal shade between brunette and blonde — has very recently acquired a cult following (thanks in part to the Kardashians), but Chrissy Teigen has been subtly rocking the newly cool in-between color all along.


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The deepest, richest tint on the brunette spectrum, just a notch before true black, is the espresso hue that Meghan Markle is now so known for. Sometimes you get a glimpse of the former duchess' warm undertones; other times, you'd swear her hair was the color of coal.

Milk Tea

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Inspired by Great Britain's beverage of choice, the hair color Kacey Musgraves debuted in July is now (unsurprisingly) becoming one of 2020's standout shades. Unlike her proprietary jet-black style, this lightened-up look is an ashier version of bronde. A soft brunette with cool, milky undertones.


Then there's the shade of brunette that perhaps works best for natural — well, and wannabe — redheads: chestnut. This reddish shade of brown is beloved by the likes of Emma Roberts, Emma Watson, Rihanna, and Elizabeth Olsen.


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For a subtle, low-maintenance introduction to the brunette scene, ombré and balayage styles provide the best of both blonde- and brown-haired worlds. It's effortlessly carefree-looking (in other words, summery) and refreshingly fuss-free.