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What hair color is best for brown skin women?

Choosing the right hair color can be tricky for women with brown skin tones. The wrong shade can wash you out or make your skin appear dull and ashy. However, the right hue can enhance your gorgeous glow and bring out the richness in your complexion. This comprehensive guide will explore the best hair color options for brown skin and provide tips on finding your perfect match.

How to Determine Your Skin Undertone

The first step to finding a flattering hair color is determining your skin undertone. This refers to the underlying shade that influences the surface tone of your skin. There are three main categories:

  • Warm – yellow, peach or golden undertones
  • Cool – pink, red or blue undertones
  • Neutral – a balance of warm and cool

Here are some ways to identify your skin undertone:

  • Look at the veins on your wrist – greenish indicates warm, bluish means cool
  • Try on silver and gold jewelry – which metal complements your skin more?
  • Think about how your skin reacts to the sun – do you tan easily or burn?

Once you determine your undertone, you can narrow down hair colors that will work best for your complexion. Warm skin tones look great with golden highlights, while cool undertones shine with ashier hues.

Best Hair Color for Warm Brown Skin

If your brown skin has yellow, peach or golden undertones, you likely fall into the warm category. Here are some of the best hair color options to complement this complexion:

Golden Brown

This rich, warm shade adds vibrancy to warm brown skin. The golden undertones in the hair will mirror the glow in your complexion for a harmonious look.

Honey Blonde

Honey blonde hair color flatters warm brown skin beautifully. It provides enough contrast without washing you out. Ask your colorist for buttery hues with amber and gold reflects.


The caramel notes in butterscotch hair color are ideal for playing up the warmth in brown skin. This dimensional blonde shade is a few tones lighter than your natural hair for a sun-kissed look.

Chestnut Brown

For brunettes, chestnut brown is a rich shade that works perfectly on warm brown complexions. It’s a few shades darker than natural hair and has a reddish-brown tone.

Golden Copper

Spice up your look with golden copper hair, which pops against warm brown skin. This vibrant red-orange hue looks natural yet eye-catching.

Best Hair Color for Cool Brown Skin

Do you have pink or red undertones in your brown skin? If so, you likely have a cool complexion. Here are ideal shades for you:

Ash Brown

Ash brown hair with smoky blue-gray tones is incredibly flattering on cool brown skin. It neutralizes ruddiness and brings out your complexion’s subtle coolness.

Mocha Brown

For a rich brunette hue, go for mocha brown. This dark chocolate shade has subtle cool undertones that sync with your skin’s natural palette.

Espresso Brown

Another gorgeous deep brown for cool complexions is espresso. This nearly black shade provides striking contrast against your skin.

Cherry Cola

Make a bold statement with cherry cola hair in a deep burgundy hue. The cool undertones in this color add dimension and complement your skin.


Rich plum hair color is a slightly softer take on cherry cola. The cool berry tone flatters and intensifies the beauty of cool brown skin.

Best Hair Color for Neutral Brown Skin

Do you see equal mixes of warm and cool in your brown skin? You likely have a neutral undertone. With greater flexibility in your color choices, consider:


Chestnut is a perfect in-between shade for neutral complexions. This dark reddish brown looks natural yet polished.


Maple hair color is a gorgeous balance of warm and cool tones. Notes of cinnamon, honey and ash come together for an optimal match.

Chocolate Brown

You can never go wrong with chocolate brown hair on neutral brown skin. This universally flattering neutral shade looks elegant.


Add sun-kissed warmth to your neutral complexion with caramel hair. This buttery shade provides beautiful contrast.

Strawberry Blonde

Make a fun statement by embracing your neutrality with strawberry blonde hair! The mix of warm and cool in this shade complements your skin perfectly.

Tips for Finding Your Match

When trying to find the most flattering hair color for your brown skin, keep these tips in mind:

  • Test colors first with removable options like clips, wigs or semi-permanent dye to see how your skin reacts.
  • Aim for shades 1-2 tones lighter or darker than your natural for best results.
  • Warm up ashy colors with gloss or glaze to avoid looking washed out.
  • Add dimension with highlights around your face for an illuminated glow.
  • Enhance your shade with haircare products like toning shampoos to reduce brassiness.

How Light Should You Go?

If you want to go lighter with blonde hair, how light can you safely go without washing out your complexion? Here are some guidelines:

Skin Tone Lightest Recommended Shade
Deep brown skin Dark golden blonde
Medium-deep brown skin Honey blonde
Medium brown skin Butterscotch blonde
Light brown skin Beige blonde

Go slowly when lightening in stages over several appointments. Add warm tones and lowlights to prevent an overly brassy or monotone look. Focus on creating lots of dimension.

What About Unnatural Colors?

Vibrant hair colors like pink, blue and purple can also look gorgeous on brown skin! However, cool pastel and ashy tones tend to look best to maintain balance with your complexion. If opting for a warm color like orange or red, aim for deeper, more neutral shades. Here are some examples of how to rock unnatural colors:

Skin Undertone Best Unnatural Colors
Warm Copper, magenta, violet
Cool Pastel pink, smoky blue, emerald green
Neutral Electric teal, jewel-toned purple, vibrant red

Consult a Professional Colorist

While we hope these tips help you identify shades that will work well for your skin tone, it’s always best to visit an experienced professional hair colorist. They can assess your complexion in-person, show you swatches, make custom mixes and expertly apply the right formula to reach your perfect hue.

A colorist will also take your hair health and texture into account. Damaged hair may grab onto color differently and require extra nourishment pre and post-treatment.

Consider Low Maintenance Options

Dyeing your hair can be high-maintenance, requiring regular touch-ups to keep roots and fading at bay. If you want a lower maintenance option, consider:

  • Gloss treatments – Enhance shine and refresh existing color between appointments.
  • Semi-permanent color – Deposits last 4-8 weeks with gradual fading.
  • Demi-permanent color – Longer lasting than semi with 6-12 week longevity.
  • Highlights/babylights – Lightens hair gradually as it grows out.
  • Balayage/ombré – Seamlessly blends new growth without a harsh line.

How to Transition Your Hair Color

Ready for a change but don’t want to shock your system? You can gradually transition your hair color in a few appointments:

Session 1: Add Highlights and Lowlights

Begin by adding dimension with light and dark pieces throughout your hair. This creates a more natural, blended look.

Session 2: Dye Regrowth in New Color

When regrowth starts to show, choose your desired shade and apply it just to the roots. This eases your hair into the new color a bit at a time.

Session 3: Full Color Application

At your next appointment, do a full application of the new color all over your hair to unify the shade from root to tip.

You can repeat this process until you reach your color goals gradually. Ask your stylist for Olaplex or a conditioning treatment to keep hair healthy.

Experiment and Have Fun!

Finding the perfect hair color for your brown skin should be an enjoyable process of self-expression and enhancement. Now that you know how to assess your undertone and the palettes that work best, don’t be afraid to get creative and try different looks.

Just be sure to consult a talented colorist and take good care of your hair. With the right hues and techniques, you can rock gorgeous, radiant locks that turn heads for all the right reasons.

What hair colors do you think look best on brown skin? Share your thoughts and experiences below!