‘Illuminated Brunette’ Is the Brazilian-Born Hair Color Trend Taking Over Instagram

It’s tough being a brunette. 

As a naturally dark-haired lady, I constantly find myself torn between the desire to brighten things up with some fresh, fun highlights and the need to protect and preserve what I was happily born with. The struggle is real. But a brand-new hair trend hailing from sunny São Paulo is here to make a point: You can add depth and dimension without losing your natural color.

“Illuminated brunette”—or “morenas iluminadas” as it’s known in Portuguese—is the newly coined term responsible for the glowy, sun-kissed hair sported by Brazilian bombshells like Gisele Bündchen and Alessandra Ambrosio.

The lit-from-within look starts with a dark base and involves painting on warm, subtle highlights that are no more than three shades lighter than your natural color. It’s finished off by smudging the roots with a shade-matched toner that’s blended into a smooth and seamless flow. The final result is a truly illuminated and cohesive look that’s unique to each person depending upon their original base.

Brazilian hairstylist, João Bosco, has mastered the creation of this hot new trend. In an interview with Refinery29, he revealed that “illuminated brunette” is the most highly requested hair color at his São Paulo salon, Salão 1838, after the traditional blonde. Take a peek at his work on Instagram and you’ll see why.

The best part? This gorgeous look is so easy to maintain. According to Bosco, the color typically lasts upward of six months without any touchups or salon appointments. “I’ve even had clients who come just once a year,” he explained. Swoon.

São Paulo, I’m in love.