Summer’s Dark Horse: Dark Chocolate Hair

We give props to the Great American Brunette.

You’re probably aware by now of my love affair with all things blonde. What first started as your typical grass-is-greener situation blossomed into a full-blown foray into the wonders of going lighter—how it opened up a whole new world of makeup, fashion and hair care. Yeah, not gonna lie, I also enjoyed the proverbial confidence boost and Alleged Level of Fun to be had (Spoiler: It delivered!). But truth be told, there’s also always something about brunettes that’s constantly a part of my inner monologue. And one of today’s latest (non) trends, dark chocolate hair color, seems to confirm what I’ve known all along: It’s never going anywhere, nor should it.

True, the concept of brown hair’s wide-reaching popularity is not new, regardless of how in tune you are to the shifting tides in hair trends. It is, after all, one of the most common hair colors in the world, second only to black. Nature trumps all!

uniformly dark chocolate hair
Nothing is as soothing (or as sultry) as a deep, dark brown. Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

The fact that dark brown has also been rhapsodized in film and pop culture as the shade most conducive to marriage* is also not lost on me, as ludicrous as the idea might be. But before I get myself into a rabbit hole of existentialism and how the patriarchy has ruined my aesthetic choices, let’s first examine its appeal:

Dark Chocolate Hair: A rich, luscious and consistent winner

Case #1: Shade uniformity.

Let’s face it: Blonde is high maintenance. Unless you’re born with it (in which case, you’re still not completely out of the woods), the upkeep can drive the average reasonable person sort of mad. Between brassing and highlights/lowlights/babylights/all the lights, then glosses, treatments and breakage, it truly takes a village—and a prayer, and some bomb-diggity purple shampoo. Yeah, blonde has little chill. Dark chocolate hair, from what I’ve seen, has always had that sweet, mellow uniformity that a lot of blonde dye jobs lack. It may not be for the color-daring, sure, but I definitely can’t fault it for consistency and ease of wear.

Case #2: My carbon footprint.

Might be a reach, but seeing as it cost me thrice as much in upkeep being a blonde than when I was a brunette, this could mean something. Between constant salon appointments for touchups to a separate set of shampoos and hair care systems, I definitely considered having dark hair more sustainable, as a natural brunette myself. Cost-wise? Pfft. We all know the answer to that.

dark chocolate hair balayage
True story: A great balayage can work wonders!

Case #3: Brown balayage is S-E-X-Y.

Blonde hair is show-stopping, head-turning, attention-grabbing. It easily stands out in a crowd, and has little trouble with mass appeal. Brown hair though has always had that quiet confidence, regardless of an audience. Like that impeccably curated Instagram feed that’s still set to private, it has, for me, a purist integrity. And when it does decide to step it up a notch, just to break things up? People shut up and take notice. When ombrés and sombrés became a thing, the hair world almost came to a halt. Also, the breadth of possibility with dark chocolate hair, color-wise, is wider than a blonde’s—unless someone invents a whiter platinum (or you step into alternative hair color territories), a blonde’s impact level is capped. I still remember how getting my first balayage as a brunette made me feel like a rock star, even more so ’cause people couldn’t exactly put a finger on what had changed. Mysterious depth and attractiveness, perhaps hidden underneath a conservative, mousy exterior? Check! (Verdict’s still out, btw.)

Case #4: It’s a silent rebellion.

Against the obvious, the overt, the too-much, the over-trendy, the seasonal dictates. If you remain unfazed by the commitment (as I am), and consider the shade as a true extension of your personality and not just for following others’ standards, then more power to you, blondie. Otherwise, I invite you to explore the many benefits of being a brunette as well. I have been both and personally still go back to my roots every November, only because I love how soothing the dark shade looks against my chapped, pale skin. Sometimes I go red too, but that’s another story, and I always just liked experimenting with whatever made me, a tropical gal, look alive during the winters.

long dark chocolate hair
Who are you calling mousy? Photo credit: indigitalimages.com

TL;DR: I can speak to both sides as if they were my own children—I’ll love both blonde and brown hair differently but equally, each with their own gifts and charms and annoyances. Hopefully I’m not alone in the fact that we live in a place where we can wear whichever shade we damn well please. Dark chocolate hair trends or otherwise, not having to choose just one side, to have a judgement-free space with at least this one thing in today’s world especially, is the best part of all.

Anyone else have any color dilemmas? Tweet me at @eunichiban and tag @AllThingsHairUS — let’s hash this out!