'Candlelit brunette' is the new way to illuminate dark hair

Did someone say depth?!

Editor / February 03 2023

If you had to choose between being lit by harsh, cold fluorescents and dreamy, deliciously warm candlelight, what would you choose? Okay, duh. The magic of cosy, golden mood lighting is simply unbeatable.

For example, it may only happen once a year, but the birthday photos friends or family snap of you while you're blowing out your birthday candles is often the best you'll ever look, and it all comes back to candelight.

But here's a harsh yet exciting truth for the block-coloured brunettes out there: you could be looking like that every damn day. We just didn't know it 'til now. Yep, 'candlelit brunette' is the latest colour trend on the scene, and it's setting our depth-loving hearts (fittingly) on fire...

What is 'candlelit brunette'?

The term 'candlelit brunette' refers to a deeper, darker hair hue illuminated by a halo of delicate honey-toned highlights. The goal is to add warmth, depth and dimension to the hair, giving it that coveted 'candlelit' appearance.

Brunette is often associated with 'block colour', but that doesn't have to be the case. The secret to success? Keeping your lightened sections ultra-fine. Babylights (AKA finer highlighted sections that look more 'lit' than 'lightened') are the best way to achieve the desired aesthetic, as you want the depth to be noticeable, but the blend to be seamless. Basically, you want to avoid any thick or 'stripy' sections at all cost; subtle is the vibe we're striving for.

Another win when it comes to candlelit brunette? The shine factor. While brunette as a whole does hold shine better than blonde hair, adding a few golden-based babylights throughout will help hair to give off a 'glistening' effect at all times.


How to ask your colourist for 'candlelit brunette'

If you've decided candlelit brunette is the colour for you, here's how to get it. Ask your colourist for babylights (only one or two shades lighter than your overall colour) scattered throughout. Basing the babylight hue off your specific hair colour (rather than just asking for generic highlights) will ensure you're tailoring the look to the particular depth of your brunette, allowing the colour to come out effortlessly 'illuminated'.

The word 'warm' can often be a red flag in the hair colour department (as 'ashy' shades are often favoured to avoid brassiness), but as these pieces will be delicate, a little warmth is definitely your friend. Think hues of gold, toffee, and bronze, depending on how dark your original colour is. Candles burn with rich, golden light, after all.


Once you've got your babylights in place, you're all set. This type of colour is impressively low-maintenance for such a high-end aesthetic. Get ready for your hair to enter it's glossiest era yet; it's basically bathed in mood lighting that nobody can blow out.

Main image credit: @ashleyparklady

Want more hair inspo? Here are 2023's biggest hair trends...

Delaney began her career in the Australian beauty media industry in 2015, landing amidst the glossy world of women’s lifestyle magazines (or more literally, in their beauty cupboards). Since then, she has gone on to write across a multitude of beloved Australian media brands, including OK!, NW, InStyle, and Harper’s BAZAAR. She’s covered every side of beauty content, from directing beauty editorial shoots to rounding up the best glossy serums for golden hour skin. Having spent nearly a decade immersed in the beauty realm, Delaney’s knowledge of beauty is as extensive as her collection of tinted lip oils (read: extremely extensive). Delaney is currently the Digital Managing Editor of BEAUTYcrew, and her beauty wisdom also appears across beautyheaven, ELLE and Marie Claire. She enjoys channelling her personal hobby (testing beauty products) into her professional work (talking about testing beauty products), and considers perfecting the art of a cat eye in a moving car her life’s greatest accomplishment.