The biggest mistake many dark brunettes make is to avoid highlights. Often, deep, dark brown hair doesn’t naturally contain much dimension, making beautiful color fall a little flat. Adding highlights, however, can give your hair lustrous shine and interest that you’ve never had before.
Choosing your best look is all about your skin tone and how much contrast you desire. Highlights for dark brown hair can range from sunny and warm to icy and cool. They can be auburn, blonde, caramel, gray- even pink! So long as you work with your skin’s undertones and book a great stylist, your brunette locks will never look better.
The Best Highlights for Dark Brown Hair
Don’t take our word for it, let the following 20 irresistible styles show you some seriously delicious inspiration.
#1. Dark Chocolate Melt
The beautiful thing about a root melt is that it looks ultra-rich on dark brown hair. Typically, a melt is when your root color blends with balayage highlights to look seamless and natural, like your dark brunette base color is melting into the chocolate portion of your hair.
This milk chocolate hue has warm tones of the chestnut variety, which is great for tan, cool skin tones.
#2. Icy Cool Tones
Cool, ashy tones are very on trend right now, and not just for blondes! Try lighter, icier highlights if your skin is olive with yellow undertones.
For envious dimension, your stylist will actually weave white blonde babylights into your hair so it has that overall frosted dimension.
#3. Brown Sugar Balayage
Add touches of warmth to your dark brown locks without a total overhaul. Balayage is probably the best way to achieve this to make the light, brown sugar-hued highlights feel natural and well-integrated.
The best part of this look? It works on hair both short and long and can be adjusted according to how much light brown color you’re craving.
#4. Cool and Warm Blend
Most of the time, hair takes on either a warm or cool tone. This stunning blend will bring out the dimension of your dark brown hair without sacrificing any richness.
To create a soft and subtle blend of cool and warm tones, focus light ash blonde hair around the face to brighten your appearance. A root melt with balayage will do the trick perfectly.
#5. All About the Ash
A cool palette can be much desired if you have skin with warm undertones, like hints of yellow. Ask your stylist for ashy highlights that gradually grow cooler as you reach the tips of the hair.
Fine highlights like babylights keep this hair far from chunky and is better on a seamless look, especially if your hair is straight.
#6. Café Au Lait Balayage
Dip your deep brunette locks into a chic cup of blonde cream and try this rich style! It’s great if you have fair skin with rosy undertones.
The best part about this balayage is the ease in which it grows out. To maintain that bright hue, invest in a good purple toning shampoo and use it once a week, focusing on the ends of hair.
#7. Golden Babylights
If a root melt or balayage aren’t your thing, go for an overall touch of gol with fine blonde babylights. This will pick up the delicious warmth in skin with golden or red undertones.
As for styling, gorgeous sweeping side bangs and a beautiful blow out suit this look so well. Try a strand or two in solid gold for a pop of creativity.
#8. Blended Auburn
Chocolate and blonde tones are expected, but burgundy auburn hues show off a little more personality. Try a touch of red if your skin has cool undertones.
This look involves both balayage and root melt for a subtle blend. Color should be added on the lower portion of the hair and on one portion of hair that frames the face.
#9. Surface Dimension
Instead of adding color on the lower portion of the hair, focus it on the outermost locks of hair. This method is considered a partial highlight and will keep much of your base color intact as a warmer, lighter brown hue is focused on the outside of the hair.
We recommend choosing a light color like this rich hazelnut to create gorgeous dimension on fudgy brown locks.
#10. Caramel Ombre Curls
Ombre highlights are great for low maintenance babes who don’t want to find themselves in the salon every six or eight weeks. Focusing dimensional color on the lower portion of hair is not only stylish but it fades beautifully as time goes by and your natural hair grows in.
We especially love this look for curly babes whose natural ringlets contain plenty of depth on their own. Go for a light and sunny caramel color to really brighten things up.
#11. Pop Of Pink
It can be so fun to play with color on shorter hair. If your hair is done in a pixie style, consider a fun color like this pink, red, or even orange. It’s great on golden skin tones with cool undertones.
If your hair is curly, add fine highlights to specific curls on the top of the head. We happen to love this look with longer side bangs.
#12. Liquid Smoke
Why not consider a style that will stand out from the rest and try a light dusting of this silver, smoky color?
It works best on deep, dark brunette color with cool, rich undertones. The silvery hues should be focused on the outer portions of hair that surround the face.
#13. Chunky Peanut Butter
Focus warm chocolate on the outer ribbons of hair. Instead of well blended babylights, these ribbons are chunkier and compliment the richness of this darkened look.
We love this style because the light highlights create the illusion of shine and make hair appear healthy and full.
#14. Subtle and Seamless
It doesn’t get more beautifully blended than this look. Instead of going for chunky or even well-blended highlights, this smooth and subtle look appears incredibly natural while giving off its intended effect.
This blend is also super low maintenance as the subtle contrast between colors won’t require a lot of upkeep.
#15. Milk Chocolate Blonde
Lightening things up can be a great option if you’re looking to brighten the appearance of your face. Light is also great for summertime and sunnier, warmer months.
With this milk chocolate blonde look, a balayage effect is best so that your darker root color blends beautifully with the lighter locks found below.
#16. Light-Reflecting Highlights
This particularly rich blend uses techniques to mimic the light that comes naturally from the sun to brighten and enhance your look.
Thicker pieces of warm, light brown highlights are brushed in the natural balayage style onto the outermost portions of the hair to brighten your ultra-dark brown locks.
#17. Touch of Caramel
You definitely don’t need all-over highlights to give your hair the transformation you’ve been craving. A dusting, especially on short styles like this sassy, layered bob, is perfect.
If your skin contains a lot of warmth, then try a sweeping of caramel highlights on the lower portion of the hair, focusing color around the face where it’s most visible.
#18. Light Mocha
If you desire a more subtle look, try fine babylights to give off a ‘barely there’ vibe. To achieve this effect, highlights should blend with the rest of your hair, so it’s best to choose a lighter or darker hue that’s just one or two shades off from your regular color.
This look is also versatile. While it’s gorgeous on long locks, it’s super cute on short hair as well.
#19. Face-Framing Lowlights
Don’t feel like you have to do a lot to create a soft and pretty change on your brown hair. If you’re sporting a chic and trendy lob, use highlights to add interest and a touch of dimension.
These highlights are very close to her natural shade and come in just a touch lighter to open up her face and enhance a lovely jawline.
#20. Blended Bronde
This beautifully blended bronde ‘do looks like a rich cappuccino that’s good enough to sip! This look is all about excellent highlighting skills that can take a deep chocolate color to a warm blonde at the bottom and make it feel totally natural.
Seek out a professional for this one, so you can be sure the color is well blended and that each tone compliments your skin.
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