Brown hair is the most common hair color—but that doesn’t mean it’s boring! Brown hair is versatile, multi-dimensional, and flattering on just about everybody. And it comes in so many different shades, it’s easy to find one that complements your style perfectly.
Brown hair is also a very forgiving and easy-to-maintain hair color option—especially if you add some depth to your brunette locks with an ombre or balayage style. Here’s everything you need to know about the different shades of brown hair and how to choose the best shade for you.
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How to Find the Right Shade of Brown Hair Color
The best shade of brown hair color for you depends on your natural undertones, eye color, and even what you wear.
If you have:
1. Warm Undertones and Eyes
Take a peek at the veins in your wrist. Do they appear greenish? If so, you probably have warm undertones and warm hazel, green or brown eyes.
Cool shades like medium chestnut brown, ashy brown, and dark chocolate can help brighten up your complexion and bring out the warmth in your eyes. On the other hand, golden, and reddish shades like auburn, caramel, mahogany, cherry red, and honey bring out the sunniness in your complexion.
Stock your wardrobe with earth tones like olive green, deep red, coral and warm, creamy neutrals to soften your complexion and complement your natural undertones.
2. Cool Undertones and Eyes
If you have light, cool eyes in shades of blue, green, grey, or brown with veins that appear blue or purple, your undertones are cool.
Warm shades of brown like amber, caramel, honey, or golden highlights can really pop on cool-toned ladies. On the other hand, neutral shades like chocolate brown and beige can help neutralize and redness in your complexion, balancing out your overall tone.
Bright jewel tones look fantastic on cool skin tones. Try bright blues, emerald greens, icy purples or neutral navy.
3. Neutral Skin
Can’t tell one way or another what your skin tone is? You most likely have neutral skin. Lucky for you, almost any shade will look fabulous on you. Rock a light natural brown color, or go dark with a cool espresso shade. You can also bring some extra warmth to your look by adding soft golden, caramel, or honey highlights.
In addition to rocking any shade of brunette (whether it be from a brown shade of a 4n, 5n hair color, or even as dark as 2n), you’ll look good in just about any color shirt or dress. Red, green, blue, white—you can wear them all! But stick to the more muted shades of each color. Over-saturated shades like magenta or electric blue can overwhelm your neutral skin tone.
5 Brunette Hair Color Techniques to Try
- Ombre is a trendy, light-to-dark faded look that’s gorgeous on brunettes. The ombre look can be dramatic, with dark roots and bleached ends, or more of a gradual, subtle fade, called a sombre.
- Balayage is a beautiful, subtle hair color technique that gives brunettes a dimensional, sunkissed look. Less dramatic than ombre or even highlights, balayage gives your locks a natural, sweeping glow.
- Highlights in soft caramel, honey, and golden shades can add more depth to your brunette locks, giving them a polished, healthy-looking shine.
- Lowlights, the opposite of highlights, also give brunette hair dimension. Weaving darker shades into your base color, lowlights add a richness to shades of brown hair.
- Colored ends can give deep dark brown-haired beauties a cool, edgy look. Pink, blue, purple, red—the options are endless, and the results are stunning. But beware, rainbow hair often requires heavy-duty bleaching to remove the dark pigments from your brown hair and allow the bright colors to show through.
How to Care for Dyed Brown Hair
Red, orange, and yellow undertones naturally combine to make up the different shades of brown hair. And if you dye hair a shade of brown, those naturally warm, sometimes brassy tones can sometimes show through your color. Brassiness gives hair a dull, matte look. So to keep your color looking shiny, healthy and vibrant, follow these tips.
Neutralize Brassiness With Blue Shampoo and Conditioner.
Because blue is across from orange on the color wheel, blue pigments in blue shampoo and conditioner help cancel out brassy orange and red tones in shades of brown hair. Try adding blue shampoo and conditioner to your color maintenance routine, or multi-tone brunette shampoo to keep your brunette locks fresh and luminous.
Use Products Specially Formulated for Brunettes.
When caring for your ideal brown shade, stock up on products formulated for brunettes. Remember for dyed hair, you’ll need to touch-up your roots, from chestnut to light blonde, know what your hair shade ranges from. From brown shampoos to brown hair gloss, there are many products for brunettes that can easily refresh hair color. The right products can subtly brighten and deepen different tones in your brown hair as you wash for a shinier, more dimensional brunette.
Protect Your Locks From the Sun.
The sun’s rays have a natural bleaching effect on colored hair, causing your color to fade and brassiness to show through. Where a wide-brimmed hat or experiment with a UV-protecting hairspray.
Cut Back on Heat Styling.
Blow-drying, curling, and flat-ironing dries out your hair, and dryness can lead to brassiness. Give your hair a break and opt to air dry your hair instead. When you do use hot tools, always use a heat-protecting spray.
Deep Condition Frequently.
Use a color-safe hair mask once a week to keep your brunette hair healthy, shiny, and deeply hydrated. To boost your hair’s shine, you can also use a hair glaze or darkening conditioner to give you more depth. Both of these products can help you prolong your color and keep it looking salon fresh.