I haven't opened the New Yorker yet this week and was pointed toward the article by Jezebel, which has posted a few adorable vintage ads for Max Factor makeup. In one, lipstick colors are named for the haircolors they are meant to flatter: Blonde, Brunette, Brownette, and Redhead. The Jezebel writer, Dodai, is not familiar with the term, but I am. In the days of yore, the term Brunette was reserved for ladies with only the very darkest shades of brown or black hair. Brownette came after because there wasn't really a special term set aside for the medium-hued category. I hear people referred to as blond(e)s or redheads often, but brunette isn't used as much anymore. Personally I vacillate between shades of brownette and blonde, and definitely prefer my blonde with the 'e.'
Update: even as I wrote, The Beauty Brains were throwing the term Brunette around with abandon. And in a piece on DIY beauty versus mass-produced, no less.