bronde hair trend
Photography by Keystone Press

Bronde Is the New Black: Are We Over the Multicolour Hair Trend?

It’s true: when we used Manic Panic back in 2001, we were unknowingly at the forefront of a major beauty trend. But last year, after eons of lying dormant (or as part of Avril Lavigne’s 2009-20122 aesthetic), multicolour hair returned — only this time, it came via the locks of celebrities, whose pastel hues trumped our DIY bleach-and-colour jobs of the turn of the century.

From Kylie Jenner to Rihanna to Nicole Richie (to characters in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood), multicolour and/or mermaid hair began establishing itself as the trend du jour sometime last year, with stars still continuing to abandon their natural hues for the sake of standing out, more than they already do.

But, to get controversial while quoting Portlandia, multicolour hair is over. (“It’s over!”) And its replacement couldn’t be anymore opposite: bronde.

Yes, bronde. Blonde and brown a.k.a. the very hair colour many of us were born with, cursed to excess, and vowed never to let see the light of day without highlights. Last year, Blake Lively made headlines when she abandoned her golden hues for a darker shade and then Jennifer Lopez cut all her hair off and dyed it a similar tone, arguably establishing bronde as the normcore of hair trends. Even Gigi Hadid swapped her Cali girl golden locks for the darker shade this week.

Which makes sense. Like fashion, the hair and beauty worlds also need a palette cleanse sometimes. When normcore surfaced in 2013, it was a much-needed alternative to the onslaught of bright tones, embellishments (fringe then, now, and forever), and seventies vibes we’d been seeing consistently on the runway for the last few seasons. Shows like Mad Men also upped the vintage-influence ante, so ultra-feminine cuts and styles populated storefronts and style guides. Even nineties resurgence was more Clueless than Jill Taylor in Home Improvement.

So normcore was a reprieve. Mom jeans, sweatshirts, running shoes, and mini-backpacks evoked the comfort of the nineties, and offered an excuse to parade around in one’s sweatpants on a lazy day. Also: it was still on-point. So even if you lived and died by What’s Hip This Year™ you could still take a day off. Behold: bronde is the beauty world’s day off.

There’s not many places to go after you’ve dyed your hair purple. Black takes eons to grow out (which I can tell you from experience, despite still not being emotionally recovered from), and bleached hair takes upkeep. So bronde allows for time to breathe; to plan next steps. It’s the equivalent of putting on a crew neck sweatshirt, winking and saying, “normcore” while knowing you’re only wearing that top because it’s comfortable. Bronde is just hair. It’s beauty’s answer to “Can I live?”

So of course we’re seeing multicolour hair move out and a (seemingly) natural alternative move in. I mean, we couldn’t keep up with the Manic Panic back in 2001 — so how are these professional famous women supposed to adapt when we all know mermaid hair fades to swamp colours in a matter of weeks?

They can’t. So they must start anew. Especially since one of the most stressful aspects of mer-hair is realizing that none of your clothing matches. Bronde, though, is the new black.