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 (@liveslowhairandmakeup).
#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: Light Brown Balayage for Brunette Hair
A light brown balayage for dark hair gives off a beautiful gradient effect. Highlights are applied in such a way that makes your dark locks look authentically kissed by the sun. As well as being subtle and understated, the balayage is easy to maintain compared to other highlighting techniques.
#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: Dark Brown Mane with Caramel Balayage
Dark brown hair with highlights is undeniably striking in the form of caramel balayage. Here, the changeover is natural, but still appears seriously stylish. Dark pieces have also been left on the bottom for enhanced dimension.
#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: Glossy Bronze Highlights for Brunettes
The light bronze hue of these highlights on brunette hair has been applied to look effortless and seamless in transition. Curling your tresses with a curling iron showcases the balayage coloring the best, and you can finish off your hairdo with a spritz of shine spray for added gloss.
#14: Dimensional Golden Brown Highlights
One of the greatest ideas for revamping brown hair at any time of the year is embracing dimensional golden brown highlights. Lightening the ends of layers creates a fun and warm aesthetic that dazzles whether you wear your mane straight or wavy.
#15: Delicate Ash Blonde Balayage for Chocolate Hair
If you want to go even lighter, consider making over your dark brown hair with blonde highlights. It produces a stylish and brilliant contrast, no matter what your skin tone is. However, if you’re fair-skinned, you might want to ask your colorist to decrease the number of ash blonde sections around your face to avoid looking too washed out.
#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: High Contrast Caramel Blonde Balayage
The caramel blonde hue in this balayage example is a stark contrast to the model’s natural dark hair color. The gradual transition from the roots to the end is subtle enough that it doesn’t look too harsh or overpowering, but it still makes the maximum amount of impact.
#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: Chocolate Copper Balayage for Black Hair
Copper hair highlights on black hair always create a stunning visual due to the energy and richness of both hues. If you want the copper color to stand out and do the talking, request that your hairdresser takes the highlights up to your roots.
#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: Delicate Chestnut Balayage
If you’re new to highlighting your tresses and want to give it a try, consider refreshing your dark brown hair with light brown highlights. This chestnut balayage is ideal for beginners thanks to its soft-looking and delicate nature.
#24: Gorgeous Milk Chocolate and Copper Balayage
A coloring that suits every complexion, milk chocolate tresses with glimpses of copper and dark roots is an elegant and classy combination all year round. Simply curl your hair with a curling iron and run your fingers through it with a smoothing balm for a polished, glamorous appearance.
#25: Golden and Ash Blonde Highlights
Create distinction throughout your dark brown locks with golden and ash blonde highlights. Ask your colorist to focus on the ends if you want a more dramatic, ombre-like effect. However, if you prefer a gradual transition, your stylist can place a few foils strategically near the roots and around your face to accent movement in your tresses.
#26: Roasted Almond Highlights
The brown hair with highlights resembling the color of almonds creates a differentiated and appealing aesthetic. The other way around, almond hair with brown lowlights, is just as unique and alluring. Whichever combo you prefer, take the contrasting color right up to the roots to develop a cute balayage effect as your hair grows longer.
#27: Partial Matte Copper Balayage
If you want to add interest to your mane while keeping it low-key, you can opt for partial highlights. This is where highlights are only applied to specific sections of your hair. Here, streaks have been painted on around the face for a brightening effect, and also to frame it. The result is a matte, minimalistic look.
#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: Shiny Caramel Babylights
Babylights are developed using a very fine color technique to mimic hair that has been naturally lightened in the sun. It’s an effect similar to balayage, but the highlights are more intricate. Caramel babylights on dark hair tend to appear sleek and shiny, and stand out especially well on a textured cut.
#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: Soft Warm Brown Balayage for Black Hair
You can instantly add warmth and intrigue to dark hair with highlights. Dyeing your black hair is ideal whenever you fancy a change, but don’t want to commit long-term. The result is a soft, matte color that looks dreamy and distinctive.
#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: Babylights and Partial Highlights for Dark Hair
Dip into coloring your locks by trying out both partial highlights and babylights. If you incorporate them throughout your whole mane, they will easily brighten up your natural hair color, as well as accentuate your facial features.
#36: Delicious Chocolate Brown Highlights
Medium-length chocolate hair can be given an instant style update with light brown highlights. This color combination looks great at any length, but wear it wavy to obtain the full effect.
#37: Sparkling Golden and Copper Highlights
Brown hair with red highlights can appear as amplified or downplayed as you want, but try this sparkling golden and copper highlights combination for something rather different. Bring out the red tones by wearing red in your outfit or the golden tones by wearing yellow. Tres chic!
#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: Cinnamon Swirl for Black Hair
The “cinnamon swirl” effect is hair and dessert goals in one. It refers to tresses that have a non-blended mix of light and dark shades throughout the locks to create variance. With this version, the black base hue serves as the Danish pastry and the light brown highlights replicate the cinnamon filling. Delicious!
#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: Dark Brown Hair with Barely There Highlights
Dark brown hair with barely there highlights might be underemphasized, but it’s still bewitching, especially when the hair is worn down with beachy waves. Enhance the fullness of locks even more using a texture paste or gel and then wait for the complements to roll in.
#46: Radiant Caramel Brown Streaks
Streaks are different to highlights in the sense that the colored strands are larger and much more prominent. Even though there’s a natural finish, streaks can appear extremely intense when hair is worn straight. To create these beachy waves, scrunch your long tresses when wet and apply some volumizing mousse for a fun, mermaid look.
#47: Stretched Golden Brown Highlights for Straight Hair
Stretched highlights are the lazy girl’s version of hair coloring. It means that there’s no obvious or heavy regrowth line, even months later, as this example shows. When you wear your tresses straight, the color appears blended and natural.
#48: Subtle Dimensional Highlights for Brown Hair
If you’re searching for brunette highlights that are soft, but still create depth, then look no further. Dimensional highlights for brown hair are thin enough to stay subtle, but numerous and noticeable for all the right reasons.
#49: High-Contrast Balayage Hair
For a balayage full of character, add interest to your dark hair with blonde highlights. A caramel hue looks particularly breathtaking when teamed with deep brunette locks. Don’t be afraid to wear your mane wavy with thick, defined curls to see maximum results.
#50: Ash Brown Balayage Ombre
Ombre hair is just as popular as balayage, so why not incorporate a two-in-one style through balayage ombre highlights. In this example, there is the same gradient effect that you get with both techniques, but there are blocks of color going from dark to light and no dark pieces left underneath. Balayage ombre is best shown if you wear your tresses mussed up or with a natural tousle.
#51: Partial Bronde Balayage for Brunette Bob
The term “bronde” is used to describe hair that is brown and blonde at the same time. This brunette bob features partial bronde highlights around the entire head using the balayage technique for a more minimalistic, authentic aesthetic.
#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: Extra Long Hair with Toffee Highlights
A vibrant brown hair color with highlights, the dark brown and toffee combination, will undoubtedly look fabulous all year round. If your hair is extra long, you can request that your hairdresser implements an increased number of highlights to give off a bold, modern impression.
#54: Metallic Red Gold Balayage
To obtain red gold tresses that seem to sparkle whether the sun is out or not, opt for a balayage effect with red and blonde highlights. Avoid intense red as this will look too brash. The trick is to incorporate primarily blonde highlights and then add flashes of red for the perfect red gold metallic feel.
#55: Tawny Outline and Surface Highlights
Tawny is another hue that beautifully complements dark hair, varying from light brown to brownish orange. If you want to add extra depth and richness to your base hue, request surface highlights. This is where color is applied strategically through the surface of your hair for a pretty yet individualistic effect.
#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.