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What color shows well on brown hair?

Choosing the right hair color for brown hair can be tricky. The wrong shade can clash or look dull against brown hair. However, the right color will brighten up brown hair and make it look vibrant and healthy. When selecting a hair color for brown hair, there are a few key factors to consider:

Level of Brown

The first thing to look at is the level of brown of your natural hair color. Brown hair ranges from light brown to dark brown. The level of brown determines which shades will look best.

Light browns with golden, ash or red tones will look great with blonde highlights, honey blonde, caramel, auburn and red shades. Medium to dark brown hair complements subtle highlights, rich chocolate browns, deep reds, and espresso.

Skin Tone

Skin tone must also be evaluated when choosing a hair color for brown hair. Warm skin tones with peach, yellow or golden undertones look best with warm hair colors. Cool skin tones with pink or red undertones are complemented by cool hair shades.

If you have a warm skin tone, go for golden browns, chestnut, honey blonde and copper colors. For cool skin tones, ash browns, dark chocolate browns and burgundy work well.

Eye Color

Your natural eye color provides another useful guide. You’ll want to select shades that make your eye color pop rather than compete with it.

Brown eyes stand out with caramel browns and reddish shades. For green and hazel eyes, golden browns and blondes like beige blonde and buttery blonde are perfect. Blue and gray eyes look striking with darker espresso browns and bright cherry colas.

Hair Condition

The condition of your brown hair also determines which dye colors will look best. Healthy, glossy hair holds color well and can handle more vibrant shades. Dry, damaged hair benefits from subtler highlights and lowlights for dimension.

Make sure brown hair is properly conditioned before applying color. Use a nourishing hair mask or deep conditioner. For highlighted hair, opt for demi-permanent dyes which deposit color without opening the cuticle.

Best Colors for Brown Hair

Here is an overview of the top hair color options for brown hair:

Hair Color Description
Caramel Warm, golden brown color that brightens light to medium brown hair.
Honey Blonde Brightens and adds dimension to light to medium brown hair.
Beige Blonde Subtle creamy blonde shade that flatters light to medium brown hair.
Butterscotch Golden brown with subtle blonde accentuates warm complexions.
Chestnut Brown Rich reddish brown color that looks great with olive skin tones.
Chocolate Brown Deep, dark brown with blue undertones for cool complexions.
Espresso Nearly black shade that intensifies deep brown hair.
Cherry Cola Vibrant red-brown color that brightens and adds depth.
Auburn Warm red-brown mix ideal for light to medium brown hair.
Burgundy Deep reddish brown that looks striking on darker brown hair.

When applying these colors to brown hair, work with an experienced colorist. Well-done highlights, lowlights, balayage and ombre techniques look beautiful on brown hair. Partial highlights around the face or subtle allover color melt provides flattering dimension.

Test Strands

Before applying any permanent hair color, it’s wise to test it. No matter how reputable the brand, everyone’s hair reacts differently. To test, apply color to a few inconspicuous strands of hair and leave on for the directed time.

After rinsing, allow the strands to dry fully to see if you are happy with the results. Test strands give you the chance to determine if your chosen shade complements your complexion and eye color before committing to an overall color.


Colored brown hair requires regular maintenance to keep it looking vibrant and healthy. Use a color safe shampoo and conditioner to keep dye sealed in and lock in moisture.

Additionally, switch to a shower filter to filter out minerals that can cause fading. Minimize use of hot styling tools which can dry out hair and fade color faster.

Schedule trims every 6-8 weeks to snip away dry ends while avoiding drastic length cuts. Lastly, opt for a gloss or glazing treatment at the salon every 4-6 weeks to refresh color and shine.


Enhancing brown hair with highlights, lowlights or overall color allows you to experiment with different shades. When choosing a hue, consider your skin tone, eye color and hair condition to select the most flattering option.

Caramel, honey, chestnut, chocolate and burgundy shades look beautiful on brown hair. A qualified colorist can weave in various tones using balayage, ombre, sombre and highlight techniques. With proper maintenance and care, your color treated brown hair will look healthy, glossy and vibrant.

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