Single-tone locks don’t surprise anyone today. While highlights, ombre and color blocks are another story. They refresh and update your hair color, add depth and texture to your hairstyle, endowing your overall look with a sexy, glamorous flair. Playing with hair hues is fun if you trust the job to a professional. Once you have made a decision to add some color, when you come to a beauty salon, a stylist is going to ask what you’d actually like.
How to Highlight Your Dark Brown Hair?
First of all, you need to decide which effect you’d like to achieve. Some ladies opt for subtle ombre or highlights which add radiant glints to the basic hair color, looking very natural. Others prefer more distinct transitions of color or separate color sections, making any haircut edgier and more prominent.
Dark hair can benefit from color accents of contrasting hues, such as platinum blond, deep red, copper, purple or lighter nuances, like caramel, walnut, bronze, toffee, etc. It’s also very important to choose the hues that will be in harmony with your skin tone. Bronze, copper and rich reds will make darker skin tones bloom and glow. Medium-toned skin will benefit from intense browns, coppers and toffee. Fair-skinned beauties can use blondes, platinum, ash tones and lighter caramel hues.
View the photos below. We have tried to collect very versatile looks, featuring various 2018 dye trends.
#1: Shimmering Light Brown Highlights
To give your hairstyle an easy update, try a color that’s relatively close to your own, so you create a shimmery, natural glow effect. Place the highlights around the crown of your head and extend them fully to make them appear as natural as possible.
#2: Sun-Kissed Brown Hair
Alright, we admit – you don’t usually think of chestnut hair as being “sun-kissed,” but the “bronde” combination makes this gorgeous hairstyle completely natural. These small, subtle highlights are low maintenance and don’t require a lot of upkeep, making this solution perfect for a girl on the go.
#3: Barely There Brown Highlights
Some highlights are so delicate that when you see them, you think they’re natural. If you want to try highlights but are worried about how they will come out, make them subtle and place one or two lighter streaks towards the tips of your hair. The look is really simple, but it seems effortless and optimal for a natural fashionista.
#4: Steel Grey Highlights
It’s not just for your grandparents anymore! Dying your hair gray has become a popular trend – especially among younger demographics – but to test the waters, soft gray or light blue highlights are a great way to try a new hair color without truly committing to a different shade. Great dye job by Jes Barnwell (@jesbeautyobsessed).
#5: Natural Striped Highlights
Though this initially looks like simple blonde highlights, a closer look shows that they are actually expertly blended with the light chocolate ribbons. This ombre effect is a boho chic look that will make you stand out from the crowd. Who doesn’t love having glimmering dark brown hair with blonde highlights?
#6: Dark Hair, Bright Highlights
Highlights for dark hair work really well when you keep the color away from your roots. Concentrate the color towards the ends of your hair for added volume. Whether you prefer copper or strawberry blonde, the dark versus light hues will catch everyone’s eye.
#7: Copper-Toned Waves on Brown Hair
This two-toned look is perfect for traveling from a beach day to a formal event at night! The lighter highlights create softness that draws attention to the silhouette of your hairstyle as if your hair has a natural halo of light.
#8: Purple and Black Hair
It might not be a natural hair color, but purple highlights are a great way to add a subtle edge to your look! Not all highlights for dark brown hair need to provide a huge contrast – we love the deep purple shade placed intermittently throughout this fashionista’s hair! The color fade looks natural and adds new textures.
#9: Ravishing Red Highlights
Adding bright highlights makes your hairdo look much lighter (color and weight-wise) than it actually is. Curl your hair using a large-barreled curling iron for a maximal bouncing effect. And don’t worry about needing a trim – frayed edges add an unexpected edge to this look!
#10: Caramel Highlights on Chocolate Locks
This look with caramel highlights makes us want to go out and get an ice cream sundae! If you want your hairstyle to match your sweet personality, choose this highlight style for dark hair.
#11: Windswept Highlights
For easy-going fashionistas, lightening darker hair is a perfect way to make any ensemble look more fashion-forward. Dark hair with highlights is always in style, and the overall coloring looks completely natural. If you prefer to wear your hair down, highlights of this shade add texture you wouldn’t have otherwise.
#12: Brown Highlights for Curly Hair
These highlights are expertly placed to naturally swirl with the curls in the model’s hair. When mimicking this look, consider all of the different ways you want to style your dark brown hair with highlights and focus on what placement compliments your hair texture best.
#13: Brown Hair with Red All Over
Change the color of your hair completely with this bright, eye-catching shade. Yes, such highlights will be a radical departure from your natural hair color, but if you’re a brunette looking to spruce up your style – this is a perfect way to refresh your look quickly. Bonus points for adding extra shine to your hair so it sparkles in the sunlight!
#14: Multicolored Highlights
Highlights for brown hair look great on short hair too! Pair a sharp, edgy cut with bold blonde and red highlights for maximum impact. You’re sure to turn heads as soon as you walk into any room, so if you’re a social butterfly with an active lifestyle these highlights are perfect for you. Let your inner artist shine!
#15: Highlights in the Front, Black Hair in the Back
A reverse on the “business in the front, party in the back” mantra of the mullet, these burgundy highlights are meant to frame the sides of your face and draw attention to your eyes. Putting color strategically often makes a more interesting and customized color pattern than “even” color distribution.
#16: Natural Highlights
These auburn highlights look completely natural! Perfect for any time of the year, auburn coloring makes you look as if you haven’t set foot into a salon. Because these highlights are so understated, you can take this dye job straight from the boardroom to the after-work happy hour. It’s a look that’s as versatile as you are!
#17: Silky and Smooth Dark Brown Hair
Minimalistic light brown highlights are a great way to frame your face. These are perfect if you have a round or heart-shaped face, and also if you’d prefer copper or honey-colored highlights. A contrasting color will overpower this style, so keep it simple for a chic look.
#18: Balayage for Long Brown Hair
Freshen up your monochromatic style with soft copper highlights at the ends of your hair as opposed to the dense natural hue at the roots. Yes, pulling the focus away from your face will mean you’ll have to get your hair trimmed frequently, but this gorgeous ombre balayage look is well worth it.
#19: Subtle and Soft Highlights
Not all highlights have to be bright! For a beginner’s experience, those with dark brown or black hair can go for a softer, less edgy look by picking a shade that is slightly lighter than their natural color. This is best if you’re looking to try highlights for the first time and are nervous about how they will turn out.
#20: Rainbow Highlights
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different colored highlights as opposed to picking just one! If you can’t choose between shades for your hair highlights, add blonde, brown, and other colors to your locks. For a non-traditional look, dominate your brown hair with red highlights or try a fade of color with highlights and lowlights.
#21: Golden Brown Balayage
If your hair is really dark, it’s best to lighten your strands over a course of several appointments. The reality is, even with bleach, it will take a while for the desired color to be achieved because deep hair tends to lift to an unflattering brassy shade. You will need to tone or cover it with an ash dye after.
#22: Stacked Metallic Bob
Short curls with heavy texture and volume will need definition. But, you don’t want to choose a color that is too light against black hair because it will start looking like zebra stripes. Try soft yet unconventional dark hair color ideas like silver metallic or pastel highlights on the dark base for a unique hairdo.
#23: Rosy Ringlets
Pink is not usually a color that you see paired with brunette hair, but it really depends on the shade that you choose. While blondes tend to gravitate towards pastels, ladies with dark hair can pull of deep rose or light red hues that won’t overpower the rest of the look.
#24: Chunky Blonde Highlights
Going blonde can be a huge commitment, especially for women who have worn dark hair their whole lives. Most stylists recommend a transition. Try out blonde highlights, and if you like the way that it looks, consider taking the full plunge.
#25: Textured Long Bob
You don’t have to highlight your dark brown hair all over just to brighten it. A few chunky pieces around the front will not only give your face radiance, but also make you look more youthful. This would work best with a middle part style.
#26: Pretty Purple Balayage
At this point, balayage is nothing new. It has reached the peak of its popularity because it looks harmonious and doesn’t require consistent maintenance. Many people choose to stick with blonde or caramel dyes on dark hair, so make yours stand out with a punchy purple hue.
#27: Sunset Strands
First it was ocean-inspired mermaid hair, and now women are requesting sunset shades. Think of the beautiful colors cast by the sun like pink, gold and red highlights. These soft hues contrast well with dark brown strands.
#28: Classic Long Layers
There is nothing more classic than dark brown hair with blonde highlights. It looks natural and bright, like sun kissed strands in the summertime. Nothing beats this tried and true color combination.
#29: Spicy Brown Lob
If the goal is to warm pale complexions, it’s best to stick with rich shades that have earthy tones. Cool or ash tones will only wash them out. Copper highlights are a great way to elevate brown hair because they add shimmer without looking too over the top.
#30: Subtle Shine
You can make highlights as heavy or light as you want. While most people use them to change the overall color, they can also work as subtle accents. A few slithers of color will define curly styles and really show through with movement.
#31: Medium Layered Cut
Brown is not the typical shade of choice as highlights for black hair, because it may not show up. It is not a bright color, but it will provide sun-kissed vibrancy and dimension in deeply saturated strands. This style is ideal for women who want a low-key hairdo that is stylish enough to transition into a variety of different settings.
#32: Virgin Brown Balayage
When it comes to color, virgin refers to strands that have not been colored or processed. If you are planning to dye your hair for the first time, make sure you choose a color that complements your complexion and your lifestyle. Balayage with medium brown and blonde highlights is a great place to start because it looks natural and does not require too much maintenance.
#33: Loose Curls with Bangs
Highlighting bangs is tricky. It depends on how heavy and long the fringe actually is. Because brown hair is so deep, a few lighter pieces throughout side bangs are necessary to make them less dense and blend them into the rest of the style.
#34: Long Sun-kissed Waves
Lightening black hair with highlights can be difficult, especially if it was dyed with box color. Some clients will have to come in for at least five sessions if they want to transition from black to blonde. Before you get a nice golden brown color shown here, you might have to sit with a reddish color for a few weeks after your first lightening session.
#35: Cool-Toned Curls
Ombre is an excellent way to incorporate bronde into your style. If your roots are dark and you want a more natural looking color, gradually fade to brown first before reaching the lighter ends.
#36: Sleek and Straight Brunette
It’s hard to believe that this picture is after three lightening sessions, but when you lift dark hair it has to be a process to maintain the health and integrity of the strand. Even though the style is still dark with brown highlights, you can see the increased dimension thanks to the lighter shades.
#37: Asymmetrical Golden Bob
Blunt cuts are great for building thickness in short styles like bobs, but they don’t allow for much movement. If you are just looking for dimension in your hairdo, stick to colors that are two shades lighter than your natural hue instead of bright options like red highlights on brown hair.
#38: Soft Brunette Balayage
Highlighted hair with dark roots is perfect for those suffering from thinning or lifeless locks because it gives the appearance of thickness. You can use any color to accent your dark hair, but should choose wisely based on your work environment. Bold colors are best suited for those who are in creative office settings.
#39: Wavy Side Part Hairstyle
Looking for a trendy yet low key style? Nothing beats lived in waves and soft color. It’s the definition of carefree and modern. Plus, it looks just as good at the office as it would at happy hour.
#40: Sexy Cinnamon Spirals
There are many different shades of red apart from the bright saturated hues that are popular. Ladies who want black hair with red highlights that is toned down and warm should opt for shades like cinnamon and auburn that have a hint of brown in them.
#41: Light Brown Ombre
If your natural hair color is black, mixing it with platinum blonde highlights would lead to a rather dramatic combination that is not very popular currently. Shay Mitchell offers a more elegant and sophisticated solution: the jet black fade into the light creamy chocolate. Random platinum tips are acceptable in this case.
#42: Copper Luxury
One of “Desperate Housewives”, Eva Longoria, has become a renowned style icon, so we can’t miss a chance to peek at her new hair ideas and solutions. Now Eva resorts to copper highlights for dark brown hair. The copper tone mingles miraculously with the dark chocolate base and tanned skin.
#43: Beach Waves with Blonde Highlights
Chrissy Teigen’s hairstyles are always associated with light medium-to-long waves and medium brown hair color. This time Chrissy opts to highlight her tresses with breezy caramel blonde streaks, sprinkled around her face and throughout the ends of her layered locks. Lovely!
#44: Brown Locks with a Reddish Tint
At the world premiere of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” Jennifer Garner appeared in front of her fans, presenting her new hair color and the cute girly ponytail with bangs. Jennifer’s golden auburn locks with very subtle highlights bring out the spontaneous and light mood of her look.
#45: Cherry Red Highlights
The type of appearance with dark hair and dark eyes like Vanessa Hudgens’ can benefit from two-tone coloristic solutions with noble burgundy hues. Since burgundy as a hair color may sometimes add a retro flair to your look, you can add bright cherry red highlights to your burgundy base and reverse this effect. We love Vanessa’s experiment, do you?
#46: Red Graze for Dark Brown Curls
Salma Hayek doesn’t mind to diversify her brunette hairstyles either. The actress also goes for dark hair with red highlights. The reddish brown touches graze Salma’s curls locally, around her face, refreshing her looks thanks to the correct placement of accents.
#47: Red Ombre Highlights
Abigail Spencer’s medium layered haircut for straight hair is upgraded with awesome ombre highlights in delicate tawny tones. We love the color fade gradient that looks exquisite on Abigail’s smooth thick tresses.
#48: Sun Radiance of Chocolate Locks
Violante Placido’s chocolate brown locks are flowing in the wind, letting us examine the delicate hues of her lovely rich brown hair color. The chestnut highlights are added to the base to reveal the dimension and texture of Violante’s gorgeous mane. What an elegant coloristic solution for brown hair!
#49: Blonde Ombre Highlights
Dark brown hair with blonde highlights is an excellent solution if you want to refresh your basic brunette tone. Whether this is going to be a sprinkling of subtle blonde highlights for a sun-kissed effect or a sophisticated sombre variation, like Gillian Jacobs’, the choice is yours.
#50: Highlights for Burning Brunettes
If you are a burning brunette like Nikki Reed, your black hair with highlights can look very good, really. Dyeing the ends of your locks in platinum blonde shades could be a great idea. Using this ingenious coloristic twist, Nikki accentuates her eyes and her delicate tan.
#51: Dark Brown Hair with Blonde Highlights
English TV presenter Louise Roe keeps up with her American colleagues, following fashion trends of the current season. Louise’s dark brown hair color is aptly diluted with creamy blonde highlights. The transition of color starts somewhere at the mid-shaft and progresses seamlessly towards the ends. Eventually Louise is getting an exquisite sombre effect. We love!
#52: Not a Brunette, Not yet a Blonde
Jennifer Lopez is another fan of light and dark highlights on the medium brown base. This time they are more contrasting with her basic color and quite distinct accordingly. This is how you can accentuate the texture of your hair and boost its volume.
#53: Bold Tangerine Accents for Brown Hair
Tangerine highlights work fantastic for dark burgundy brown hair and slightly tanned skin. Cheryl Burke offers us a bright look for brown hair with copper highlights that is going to attract extra attention to your personality, but that’s not a bad thing after all, eh?
#54: Subtle Bronde Ombre
Sarah Jessica Parker’s adorable sombre features very smooth fade of color from the dark solid browns into the soft caramel. To define the face-framing brownish locks, Sarah’s colorist has chosen the platinum hue that looks the brightest of the three and serves as a lovely accent of her look.
#55: Color Gradient
When we see Lyndsy Fonseca on the screen, she conquers our hearts with her talent. And when Lyndsy steps on the red carpet, we can’t look away from her stylish outfits and gorgeous locks. This time the actress chooses platinum highlights in rich brown hair, and we admire the chic gradient of color on her thick blunt cut locks.
#56: Dark and White Chocolate
If you do not shy away from bold solutions, a high degree of contrast in hair hues, like these dark brown highlights, can look very fresh and eye-catching.
#57: Brown Caramel
Here is a less contrasting combination of dark brown with delicious caramel brown. Certainly, it works fantastic for long hair with a weave.
#58: Aubergine with Walnut Brown and Platinum Blond
Sophisticated aubergine hair hue looks interesting even for the basic hair color. Dissolving it with walnut brown and very thin streaks of platinum blond, you will come up with an alluring combo like this.
#59: Classic Chocolate Highlights
Although it’s not highly contrasting, a classic combo of dark brown, almost black, with milk chocolate highlights is quiet jazzy and chic.
#60: The Sparkle
Your deep natural hair hue will sparkle with new life if it’s accentuated with highlights, 1-2 tones lighter than your natural hair color.
All celebrities are actively using highlights and ombre to present their breathtaking hairstyles on the red carpet and big events. Follow their best examples, borrowing the ideas you like and creating your own individual style.