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What is very light brown hair called?

When it comes to hair color, there are many subtle shades and hues that fall under the broad categories of blonde, brown, black, and red hair. Very light brown hair sits at the lighter end of the brunette hair spectrum, blending seamlessly into dark blonde tones. But what is the specific name for this ultra-light brown hair color? Let’s take a deeper look.

The Color Spectrum of Brown Hair

Brown hair ranges dramatically in shade from almost black to nearly blonde. Here are some of the most common shades of brown hair, from darkest to lightest:

  • Chocolate brown – Very dark brown that borders on black
  • Dark brown – Rich, deep brown tones
  • Medium brown – The stereotypical brunette shade
  • Light brown – Milk chocolate hues
  • Ash brown – Cool-toned light brown
  • Caramel brown – Warm, golden light brown
  • Butterscotch brown – Very light golden brown
  • Honey blonde – Dark blonde mingling with light brown

As you can see, there are many subtle variations of brown hair color. When hair strays into the lightest brown shades bordering on dark blonde, it becomes difficult to label the exact hue.

Defining Very Light Brown Hair

So what exactly constitutes “very light brown” hair? Here are some defining characteristics:

  • Visibly brown, but only slightly
  • Very warm, golden undertones
  • May have a mix of dark blonde pieces blended throughout
  • Lacks the ashy, cool quality of darker brunette shades
  • Difficult to distinguish from dark blonde in some lighting
  • Requires sunlight to see the subtle brown hue
  • Often graduates evenly into a darker brown root/regrowth area

Essentially, very light brown hair straddles the fence between brunette and blonde, exhibiting traits of both. It is not intensely or obviously brown, but still carries a soft, barely perceptible golden brown quality – especially in the sun.

Common Names for Very Light Brown Hair

Since very light brown hair color lies in a nebulous zone between blonde and brunette, stylists have come up with creative names to describe the shade. Here are some of the most common:

Butterscotch Brown

This name captures the warm, golden tones. It evokes the rich, mellow hue of butterscotch candy.


Taupe is a blend of gray, brown, and blonde that aptly describes the subtle mix of colors in very light brown hair.

Mousy Brown

Mousy refers to the soft, neutral brownish-gray color of a mouse’s fur. It’s meant to convey the delicate, pale quality of very light brown hair.

Dishwater Blonde

This unflattering name implies a dull, grayish blonde color verging on brown – like the residue left in dishwater. Still, it captures the muddy, nondescript shade of very light brown hair.


This blend of “brown” and “blonde” gets straight to the point. It summarizes the hybrid brown/blonde nature of the color.

Brown Sugar Blonde

The rich sweetness of brown sugar evokes the subtle golden brown warmth. “Blonde” acknowledges the lighter base interwoven with brown tones.

Celebrities with Very Light Brown Hair

Some celebrities flaunt beautiful examples of the ultra-light brown hair hue. Here are a few:

Celebrity Hair Color
Jennifer Aniston Butterscotch bronze
Jessica Alba Warm honey brown
Margot Robbie Buttery bronde
Khloe Kardashian Caramel brown

The Science Behind Very Light Brown Hair

From a technical perspective, here is what creates the subtle pigment in very light brown hair:

  • Predominantly dark blonde pigment (eumelanin)
  • Sparse amounts of brown eumelanin and pheomelanin
  • Low to medium levels of overall melanin
  • Warm undertones from pheomelanin
  • Minimal dark eumelanin provides a sheer brown overtone

Essentially, very light brown hair has a foundation of dark blonde pigmentation with hinted touches of brown and gold melanin. The sheer brown and gold tones overpower the minimal grey and cool blonde undertones, creating a warm, delicate brown effect.

Achieving Very Light Brown Hair Color

Here are some tips for reaching this ultra-light brown shade:

  • Start with a base of level 7-9 blonde hair
  • Add golden highlights if hair lacks warmth
  • Apply a sheer brown semipermanent gloss or glaze
  • Use a brown toner on pale or ashy hair
  • Go for partial highlights rather than full head for a blended look
  • Consider balayage or ombre for a natural gradation at the ends

With the right techniques, you can infuse just enough sheer brown into blonde hair to achieve that soft, delicate biscuit hue. Avoid over-depositing brown dye, as the hair should remain predominantly golden at the core.

Caring for Very Light Brown Hair

Here are some tips for keeping ultra-light brown hair looking fresh and shiny:

  • Use sulfate-free shampoo and cool water to preserve color
  • Opt for hydrating masks and leave-in conditioners to boost moisture
  • Apply a heat protectant before using hot tools
  • Use a clarifying shampoo once a week to prevent brassiness
  • Get a gloss or glaze treatment every 4-6 weeks for upkeep
  • Avoid chlorine and salt water that can degrade color
  • Use a sunscreen spray to maintain vibrancy outdoors


While it lacks a definitive single name, the warmest shade of light brown hair offers gorgeous dimension. With its melting pot of blonde, brown, and golden tones, this color provides depth and visual interest that sets it apart from one-dimensional blonde. With proper care, very light brown hair can look healthy, glossy, and multi-faceted.