The Editors
Updated on April 22, 2021

Brown hair color doesn’t have to be drab or boring. These four shades of brown have dimension and will help to make your hair look like it has more body. Ash brown, honey brown, golden brown, and purple brown are the most popular brunette shades because they are the most universal. Below you will find out everything you need to know about these favorite female hair colors.

Ash Brown

One of the most popular shades of brunette is ash brown. In order to achieve the ash color tints, blue and green are added underneath the brown. This color looks best on medium and dark skin tones with pink or red undertones. This brunette color is on the darker side, so if you have dark brown hair, you will not have to bleach drastically.

The reason why this hair color is so popular is because it looks great all year round. Ash brown shines in the summer and looks warm against dark fall neutrals. It also makes a dimensional base color for lighter colored highlights, ombre, and balayage.

Ash brown hair has green, blue, and purple undertones. Cooler colors tend to keep their color better, so it won’t fade so quickly.

The two types of ash brown hair color are light ash brown hair color and dark ash brown hair color. In order to achieve the lighter version of ash brown hair, you may need to bleach your hair, depending on its natural color. Ash brown is usually referred to as a medium shade because it is not too light or too dark.

If you want to choose ash brown hair color, an important thing to consider is whether or not you have clear skin. Ash tones bring out the redness in your skin, so it can make acne look worse than it really is. Ash tones also make your skin look pale, so wearing a lipstick and blush will help bring life to your skin.

Golden Brown

For bright colors without going all the way blonde, you need golden brown. One of the many benefits of golden brown hair color is that you can achieve this color without bleaching. Even if you have very dark hair, you still won’t need bleach for this color unless you want a much lighter shade than your natural hair color.

black to chocolate ombre

Instagram/ @beautique119

There are two types of golden brown hair color – light and dark. Dark golden brown hair color looks best on golden and olive skin tones. Light golden brown hair color looks best on warmer skin tones too. It is not suitable for cool skin tones. If your desire is to brighten dull hair, both light golden brown and dark golden brown shades will make your locks look more vibrant.

Your golden tresses will shine in the sun and help to add life to your winter wardrobe. This shade of brown is also low maintenance, so if this is your first time getting hair color, this is a good place to start. Same as with other brown hair dye shades, golden browns feature light golden brown and dark golden brown. Both shades look best on those with warmer skin tones. These shades are considered medium shades also.

In the examples of golden brown hair here, you can see that the hair has a golden tone, but it isn’t brassy. If you have a cooler skin tone, you can still wear this color but consider an ombre or maybe just highlights.

Honey Brown

Honey brown is probably the most popular brown hair color. Honey brown hair is deeper than golden brown and often lighter than ash brown. This hair color is great for women who want light colored hair with less damage. Since honey brown is a lighter brown, it will look very bright in the sunlight.

black to golden brown ombre

Instagram/ @hairsouffle

light brown hair with blonde highlights

Instagram/ @hairsouffle

What makes honey brown hair dye unique is that it can be paired with blonde, brown, black, or red hair. Since honey brown pairs well with any hair color, it can be applied using any technique.

For example, in some of the pictures here the color has been strategically placed on both dark blonde and chocolate brown hair. Some of the other pictures show ombre and highlights mixed together in order to make the hair look fuller at the bottom.

Another benefit of honey brown hair color is that it looks good with both warm and cool skin tones. It is also a shade that works for all the seasons. This color will accentuate your tan in the summer and pop against the dark colors in your fall/winter wardrobe.

Some celebrities who have worn honey brown hair include Angelina Jolie, Jessica Biel, Eva Mendes, and Hilary Swank.

Purple Brown

Purple brown hair is more commonly known as burgundy hair color. This mix of purple and brown goes well with any skin tone. Since the purple has a cool tone and the brown has a warm tone, this shade will suit both warm and cool skin tones.

burgundy hair hue for black hair

Instagram/ @hairsouffle

long black hair with ash purple highlights

Instagram/ @hairsouffle

black to purple ombre

Instagram/ @hairsouffle

In addition to working well with any skin tone, this color looks well with any hair cut and style. Whether it’s a blunt bob or long luxurious layers, purple brown hair will make both styles pop. Since it is a dark shade, you will not need to bleach your hair to achieve this color. Of all the brown shades mentioned in this article, purple brown will require the least amount of damaging bleach.

There are two ways to make your hair purple brown. The first way is to use a permanent dye. The second way is to rinse your hair with a semi permanent hair color. If you have really dark hair, you may have to slightly bleach it to a natural dark brown in order to add the needed purple tones. Since you can use a semi permanent color to achieve this look, it will be easier to try this shade out without making a big commitment.

Demi Lovato, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez and Jessie J are just some of the celebrities who have sported purple brown hair.

The important thing to remember is that even if you already have brown hair, you can use one of these exciting hues in order to enhance your natural hair color.

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