Hot Chocolate Brunettes Are a Winter Trend

While blondes are embracing golden honey shades for winter, brunette lovers are doing the opposite, opting for deeper, darker, and even more vibrant sepia shades in the New Year.
More specifically, beauty experts are predicting a surge in a color they’re calling “hot chocolate brunette,” a dark brown hue characterized by warm undertones. (Hot chocolate brunettes are dark, rich brunettes with warm tones and dimension,” says Nikki Lee, co-owner and stylist at celebrity beauty center Nine Zero One Salon in West Hollywood.
If you’re more of a visual learner, Lee points to her client Sarah-Helen’s hair as a poster child for the color. Beauty icons Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Laura Harrier, Anne Hathaway and Camila Cabello are also known for their signature dark brown Famous (although yes, we just technically flipped Hadid over to the blonde side).
Lee isn’t the only beauty expert predicting hot chocolate brunettes in 2023. According to Matrix art director Nick Stenson, rich brunette shades, like those of the hot chocolate variety, will be the most popular color stories this winter. “This brunette will have a healthy shine and lean towards the warmer side without being shaggy,” he says.


The secret to hot chocolate brunette, as opposed to more ashy and/or ashy browns, is its dynamic tone. “Hot chocolate brunettes are a warm brown with a hint of maroon or reddish,” Lorena M. Valdes, hair colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, tells Glamor. So don’t walk into a salon and ask for any old-fashioned dark brown; be sure to ask for a rich dark brown with subtle dimension and warm tones, says Lee. We also strongly encourage you to bring photos – so yes, go ahead and screenshot this story.
If you like to keep your brunettes on the slightly lighter side, Valdes points out, you can always add highlights to brighten up the hot chocolate look. In this case, however, you might want to consider brown batter brunettes—a high-shine version, like Mindy Kaling. Either way, you can customize each hair color to your ideal aesthetic.
As for hot chocolate brunette maintenance? While its glamorous and glossy look might seem intimidating, caring for this color really isn’t that bad. “Hot chocolate brunettes are low-maintenance because there are no highlights at the roots, so the hair that grows out is super soft and has no harsh strands,” Lee explains. That said, if you have naturally light hair and/or you’re committed to keeping the shine at optimal levels—Valdes recommends doing root touches every six to eight weeks, along with hairspray, to keep its shine Luster and volume.
On the other hand, if you’re naturally blonde and have dyed your hair a dark brown for hot chocolate, Valdes recommends refreshing your roots and color every four weeks.


Like all chemically-treated hair, hot chocolate brunettes require at-home color-protecting shampoos, conditioners, and weekly masks and treatments. “A color-safe and color-locking shampoo is always best to prevent fading,” says Valdes. For care, Lee recommends using Garnier’s Color Reviver once a week. “I recommend warm browns,” she says. “Keeping hot chocolate brunettes nice at home.”
Finally, be sure to follow the golden rules of heat styling. After washing your hair, but before blow-drying and styling, Valdes says, be sure to apply heat protectant—it’s critical to maintaining shine. You may also want to wash your hair less often than usual, as washing your hair every day may strip the color prematurely, says Lee.
Feeling affected? Grab a sip of hot chocolate (brunettes), and shop the must-haves below.

AG Care Colour Care Colour Savour Colour Protection Shampoo
Matrix Total Results Dark Envy Hydrating Conditioner
Garnier Nutrisse Color Reviver 5 Minute Nourishing Color Mask (Warm Brown)

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