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Will burgundy show on dark brown hair?

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Adding burgundy color to dark brown hair can create a striking look, but it does require some caution. Burgundy is a rich, red-toned shade that looks stunning against dark brown hair. However, as with any hair color service, preparation is key for the best results. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know before adding burgundy to dark brown hair.

Can Burgundy Show on Dark Brown Hair?

The short answer is yes, burgundy can show on dark brown hair, but the depth of color you’ll achieve depends on a few factors:

  • Your natural hair color – The darker your natural shade, the darker the burgundy tone will be. On lighter or medium brown hair, the burgundy pops more. On nearly black hair, it may just add subtle red tones.
  • Porosity – Porous hair absorbs color differently than hair with low porosity. Color molecules have an easier time penetrating and depositing on porous strands.
  • Hair condition – Healthy, conditioned hair takes to color more evenly for vibrant results. Damage or dryness can cause uneven color uptake.
  • Base shade – Burgundy can be layered on brown hair using permanent, demi-permanent or semi-permanent color. Permanent and demi-permanent formulas result in richer, longer-lasting color.

The level of brown and warmth of your natural shade also impacts results. Cooler brown bases take to burgundy nicely, while warm dark brown hair may need to be pre-toned first for the best color payoff.

How to Add Burgundy to Dark Brown Hair

When adding burgundy to dark locks, it’s best to have the color done professionally. An experienced colorist can assess your hair and customize the burgundy shade and application process for gorgeous results.

Here is an overview of the key steps:

  1. Consultation – Discuss the look you want to achieve with your colorist. Show example photos. Your colorist will take into account your skin tone, eye color and style preferences to recommend a complementary shade.
  2. Pre-lightening – Some pre-lightening is usually needed to prepare very dark brown hair for burgundy, especially for vivid results. Your colorist will do a strand test to determine the right level of lift needed.
  3. Toner – A toner may be applied first to neutralize unwanted warm tones revealed after pre-lightening. This allows the cool burgundy tone to take cleanly.
  4. Color application – The customized burgundy shade is applied and allowed to process. Two rounds of color may be needed to build up the intensity.
  5. Gloss – A burgundy gloss can help refresh the shade between full color services. It adds shine while keeping the color vibrant.

Proper application and maintenance keeps the burgundy color looking rich and shiny against dark brown strands. Avoid over-washing and use color-safe shampoo and conditioner.

What Level of Brown Hair Takes Burgundy Best?

When considering adding burgundy to brown hair, a darker level 4 to lighter level 5 brown base tends to take the color beautifully. Here’s a breakdown of how different brown hair levels take to burgundy:

Brown Hair Level How Burgundy Deposits
Level 1 Jet Black Subtle red/burgundy tones. Very dark overall result.
Level 2 Near Black Somewhat richer burgundy tones but still a very dark finish.
Level 3 Darkest Brown Noticeable red tones start to emerge and darken the burgundy.
Level 4 Dark Brown Rich burgundy tone develops but still moderately dark.
Level 5 Medium Brown Vibrant, visibly red burgundy color. Less dark than lower levels.
Level 6 Light Brown Bright, intense burgundy. May pull slightly reddish-purple.

As you can see, darker shades like level 4 and 5 brown allow the burgundy tone to shine through beautifully while retaining enough cool base pigment for a striking finish.

Best Application Methods by Brown Hair Level

The technique your colorist uses to deposit the burgundy will vary depending on your natural hair level:

Level 1-3 Brown Hair:

– Full permanent color for the most saturation

– Demi-permanent added to enhance color and shine

– Gloss before and after for extra richness

Level 4-5 Brown Hair:

– Permanent, demi-permanent or a mix of both

– Highlift color or double process to lighten hair first

– Lowlights or balayage for a blend of brown and burgundy

Level 6+ Light Brown Hair:

– Demi-permanent, semi-permanent or permanent color

– Full highlights/lowlights or ombre application

– Gloss treatments to maintain vibrancy between color services

Proper application achieves the ideal level of cool red-brown pigment deposition. A professional colorist considers your hair’s condition, level and tone to recommend the best method for you.

How to Maintain Burgundy Colored Dark Brown Hair

Burgundy hair color requires some special care and maintenance to keep it looking fresh and vibrant, especially against dark brown bases. Here are some tips:

  • – Use a sulfate-free, color-safe shampoo and conditioner. Avoid products with drying alcohols.
  • – Wash hair less frequently, about 2-3 times per week. Over-washing fades color.
  • – Rinse with cool water and avoid heat styling when possible.
  • – Use a weekly hydrating hair mask.
  • – Apply an ivory or violet-toned gloss between full color services.
  • – Get a root touch-up every 4-6 weeks.
  • – Use an anti-fade shampoo and conditioner weekly.
  • – Get regular trims to remove dry ends and keep hair healthy.

Being gentle and using products specifically formulated for color-treated hair keeps burgundy vibrant and shiny against rich, dark brown strands. Avoid chlorine, sun exposure and heat damage to prevent fading. See your colorist before the color fades to reinforce the tones.

How Does Burgundy Fade on Dark Brown Hair?

When burgundy fades from dark brown hair, it tends to fade into a subtle warm coppery tone. This is because the red and gold tones in the burgundy color wash out quicker than the brown base color.

Here’s a look at how burgundy fades out on dark brown hair over time:

1-2 weeks: Still fresh, rich burgundy brown. Minimal fading at this point.

3-4 weeks: Noticeable warmth creeping in as the red burgundy tones begin washing out. Hair appears a warmer auburn shade.

6-8 weeks: Significant fading to a red-copper brown. Only hints of burgundy remain around the roots and ends.

2+ months: Faded to a medium golden copper brown. Burgundy only slightly detectable in some light. Needs refresh.

To keep burgundy color vibrant, aim to refresh the color every 4-6 weeks by scheduling a gloss or full color service with your stylist. Proper home care also extends the life of the color.

Can You Go Burgundy Without Bleaching?

It is possible to deposit burgundy tone over dark brown hair without pre-lightening or bleaching in some cases. Here’s an overview:

  • – On light to medium cool brown bases (level 5-6), a demi-permanent burgundy can take nicely and show decently.
  • – On darker hair, permanent color or a highlift burgundy shade may still deposit some red tone without bleach.
  • – The darker the natural hair level, the more subtle and dark the burgundy tone will appear.
  • – Some pre-lifting of 1-2 levels is often needed for vivid, true burgundy coloring.
  • – Strand tests determine how light to take the hair for the desired burgundy shade.

Discuss your color goals with your stylist. They can assess your hair and advise you on whether pre-lightening is recommended or if you can achieve your ideal shade without bleaching. With the right formula and application method, non-bleached burgundy is possible in some cases.

Best Burgundy Shades for Dark Brown Hair

When adding burgundy to dark brown locks, you’ll want to use a shade that complements the cool undertone. Here are some top burgundy shade options:

  • Garnet – A rich red-brown that adds vibrancy without going too bold.
  • Oxblood – A deep reddish-brown burgundy great for a dramatic effect.
  • Merlot – A lush, dark wine-inspired burgundy brown.
  • Black Cherry – A very dark, near-black burgundy brown.
  • Plum – A burgundy with violet-mahogany tones.

The intensity of the shade can be customized from a subtle touch of burgundy to an eye-catching bold hue. Always do a consultation and strand test to find the most flattering option for your skin tone and personal style.

How Long Does Burgundy Last on Brown Hair Before Fading?

On average, burgundy lasts 4-6 weeks on dark brown hair before significant fading occurs. Here are some factors that affect fading:

  • – Natural hair color – Darker hair holds color longer than light brown hair.
  • – Porosity – Color lasts longer on hair with lower porosity.
  • – Shade choice – Red tones fade fastest. Dark wine shades last a bit longer.
  • – Formulation – Permanent color resists fading more than semi- or demi-permanent.
  • – Aftercare – Following proper maintenance routine extends color life.

With retouches every 4-6 weeks, the right home care regimen, and avoiding lightening chemical services, you can maximize the lifespan of burgundy color on brown hair. Use color-protecting products and style with low heat to prevent premature fading.

Does Burgundy Work on Olive Skin Tones?

Burgundy hair can beautifully complement olive and medium tan skin tones. The key is choosing the right shade of burgundy:

  • – Look for burgundy shades with a touch of warmth rather than cool, dark wines.
  • – Red-brown and violet-brown burgundies flatter olive skin nicely.
  • – Add dimension with highlights and lowlights rather than solid color.
  • – Avoid pastel burgundy shades, which can wash out an olive complexion.

Burgundy ombre or balayage is a great option for olive skin tones. The brown roots transitioning into coppery burgundy mid-lengths and ends creates a lively, dimensional look. Just keep the burgundy tones more caramel than ash.

Should You Tone Before Applying Burgundy?

It’s not always necessary, but toning hair first can optimize burgundy results in some cases. Here’s when you may want to tone the hair first:

  • – If pre-lightening reveals brassiness or unwanted warm pigment, use a cool toner to neutralize those tones so the burgundy takes true.
  • – Toning with a violet-ash shade will cancel yellow and ensure the burgundy appears rich rather than muddy.
  • – On darker hair, toner isn’t needed. But for medium to light brown, toning eliminates unwanted warmth.
  • – Gray coverage toner helps provide an even canvas for vivid color saturation.
  • – A blue-violet toner on very light brown hair enhances the burgundy’s red-violet effect.

Ask your colorist if a corrective toner is recommended before applying the burgundy shade. The right prep ensures you achieve the cool burgundy tone you want against the brown base.


Burgundy is a show-stopping color that can give dark brown hair extra dimension and vibrancy. While the red tones require care and maintenance, the dramatic yet wearable effect is worth the effort. Following the tips in this article will help you achieve beautiful, long-lasting burgundy color against rich brown hair. Consult a professional colorist to determine the ideal burgundy shade and application method tailored to your specific hair. With the right prep and care, your burgundy brown style is sure to turn heads!