If you’ve had plain brown hair for a while and you’re looking for an easy way to update your look, why not consider highlights? Highlights easily brighten up a brunette hairstyle, giving it a more spicy, edgy, or elegant look.
With the many colors available today to use in hair, the combinations of contrasting hues are almost endless. No need to worry about your hair texture; pick your favorite complementing shades and get ready to fall in love.
Tips for Brown Hair with Highlights
Before adding highlights to brown hair, keep the following in mind:
Type of Highlights
Take a look at hairstyles with highlights in varying thicknesses: thick and chunky, face-framing, babylights, and dimensional.
Complement your skin tone by choosing highlights that are opposite your skin’s undertone. If the veins on the inside of your wrist are green, you have warm undertones. Blue veins signal a cool undertone. If the color is in the middle, you probably have neutral undertones.
Highlights require proper upkeep (regular conditioning, a hair mask once or twice a month, less heat styling, and touch-ups every two to three months).
Cool – ash or light blonde, chestnut, dark red, purple
Warm – try golden blonde, auburn, caramel
In between – either of the above and bold hair colors like blue or yellow
Alluring Brown Hairstyles with Highlights
For the best and most beautiful ideas for brown hair with highlights, check out the 45 looks below.
1. Curly Dark Brown Hair with Highlights
You’ll have a whole new appreciation for your curly brown hair when you give it these golden blonde highlights. Scrunch in a little product to enhance your curly texture and straighten short bangs.
2. Mushroom Brown Hair with Highlights
For medium skin tones, opt for mushroom brown hair with sandy blonde streaks. This long hairstyle features soft waves and a simple middle part.
3. Plum Highlights on Brown Tresses
These plum highlights show how easy it is to create a cool, edgy look on very dark brown hair. Add a few thick highlights on voluminous wavy hair parted off-center to make a super dramatic look.
4. Light Green Face-framing Highlights
When you focus thin highlights at the front and alongside your face, the color is more visible. These long dark brown waves are instantly brightened with the help of several shades of green.
5. Brunette Wedding Updo with Highlights
Do you have a special day coming up and want your brown hair to look its most glamorous?
Opt for many thin golden blonde highlights throughout your mane to make it look thicker. Gather your hair in a low curly bun with braids for a timeless look.
6. Brown Bob with Pastel Pink Highlights
On medium- to light brown hair, pastel hair colors look fabulous. For example, this chin-length bob with straightened bangs flaunts peppy light pink in the bottom half of the hair.
7. Dark Brown Curls with Red Highlights
One surefire way to get your hairstyle noticed is with a fierce, bold color. On dark brown hair, the quickest way to do that is with an edgy red.
A curly A-line bob wears the highlights best in the lower front sections of the hair.
8. Medium Brown Hair with Caramel Highlights
If a sun-kissed glow is what you want for your medium-brown hair, add caramel highlights. This color combinations suits pretty much any skin tone and instantly livens up any hairstyle.
9. Blonde Front Streaks
If you’re looking for minimal highlighting, go for face-framing highlights. On short dark brown hair, a very light blonde or even platinum looks edgy and nicely flatters the face shape.
10. Dark Red Peekaboo
Do you have dark brown hair and want a punk-rock or gothic hairstyle? Dark red by itself or mixed with a few bright red highlights is the perfect addition. Concentrate them in your bangs and alongside your face.
11. Light Brown + Light Blonde Highlights
It isn’t just the neat low bun that makes this long hairstyle elegant and classy. It’s a light brown base color with beautiful, thin, light blonde tresses. Just a few evenly spaced highlights will look perfectly seamless.
12. Highlights for Older Women
Women over 50 with brown hair are often looking for a way to update their look. We recommend adding golden or light blonde.
You can make them thicker close to your face or in your bangs and thinner near the back.
13. Brown Bob + Yellow-Blonde Highlights
This short wavy bob is great for Asian women with a small round or oval face shape. To flatter your brown eyes and bring a little light to your face, have fun with thick yellow blonde streaks.
14. Braided Updo with Highlights
One gorgeous way to make long dark brown hair stun in an updo is by adding light brown highlights. A detailed hairstyle, such as one with thick braids, will beautifully display the contrasting colors.
15. Peach Pink Money Pieces
Looking for something a little unusual for brown hair? Try peach-pink highlights! It’s a totally unexpected pop of color in dark hair. Go for thin ones along the face or placed throughout your mane.
16. Light Brown Hair with Highlights
Anyone would be envious of this long layered wavy hairstyle for light brown hair. Don’t be afraid to load your hair up with light blonde highlights. With this color combination, there’s no such thing as too much highlighting!
17. Brown Perm with Highlights
Thick brown curly hair or permed hair deserves something special. Help give some life to your ringlets by adding light blonde highlights. The texture will shine from the glow.
18. Blue Shades on Brown
When adding highlights to light brown hair, why not add a couple different colors? Try dark blue, sea green, and medium purple as face-framing highlights to emphasize your haircut’s angles.
19. Ash Brown Hair with Bangs
Working with long straight hair? Give it an update with short straight bangs and ash blonde highlights that give your entire look dimension. Add the highlights evenly throughout your hair for balance.
20. Chunky Blonde Highlights
There’s nothing wrong with playing it safe when it comes to your hair. If you have light brown hair, go with classy light blonde highlights. Make them a bit chunkier to cover more ground.
21. Pixie with Highlights
Not only is this dark brown pixie a tapered cut, but the blonde highlights are tapered as well. The diagonal highlighting emphasize the haircut shape, which makes it even more unique.
22. Brown Hair with Rose Gold Highlights
For a more feminine addition of color, try a beautiful rose gold. In any shade of brown hair, rose gold is a great choice. It also looks especially gorgeous on women with a dark skin tone.
23. Wedding Pixie Cut
Getting married and have short hair? Shape it into a spritely pixie with a cute side bang, and add light blonde highlights. Focus them up front where you’ll have the most canvas to see the color.
24. Brown Hair with Yellow Highlights
Women with naturally dark brown hair and who appreciate eclectic hair colors can rock bold yellow. On one side, rock a highlight from the scalp to the ends; on the other side, rock the color about 3/4 of the way down.
25. Honey Highlights
Honey blonde highlights make us want to melt into the hair, and you will too, after seeing the color on your brown locks. Dress up your mane and bangs by loading them up with luscious curls.
26. Brown Hair with Burgundy Highlights
Whether you stick to burgundy highlights or throw a little pink in for face-framing, the color is a stunning addition to brown hair and certainly gives it the depth you want.
27. Highlighted Bangs
From the extra long bangs on a straightened medium-length bob to the light purple highlights over a dark brown base, this hairstyle is a winner for sure.
Opt for lots of thin highlights that completely cover the top (or outside) of your mane.
28. Brown Hair with Orange Highlights
Another eclectic color for highlights on brown hair is orange. If your personality is bright and wild, orange is your match, no matter your hair length and texture.
29. Brown Hair with Blue & Violet Streaks
Mix a bit of blue and violet together on brown hair for a mysterious look. As you can see from the medium-length haircut above, you don’t need a fancy hairstyle to rock the colors.
30. Brown Shag with Copper Highlights
Copper highlights are quite versatile on brown hair. Add them for fall to create a cozy vibe, or try them out in the warm summer months. This color brings lots of warmth to the hair and skin tone.
31. Sandy Medium Brown Hair
A beachy blend of medium brown hair with highlights is perfect for the summer. Give your hair that sun-kissed and naturally lightened look by focusing light and bright dirty blonde hues around your face.
32. Short Bob
Even if you’re not working with a lot of hair, short brown hair highlights will give you the dimensional look that you crave. Ask your stylist for a seamless blend to keep hair from looking too stripe-y.
33. Fall Blend
Create a gorgeous fall blend on your straight brown hair with highlights. Pick up darker tones on the inside half of your hair and add light chestnut or warm brunette tones to the outside and give straight hair something extra.
34. Rich Curls
Curly brown hair highlights show off varying tones so beautifully, thanks to luscious ringlets. Focus the lightest brunette tones at the top of your cheekbones to draw attention to your beautiful eyes.
35. Ash Brunette
Add ash brown hair highlights to your look for a totally modern element. Ash tones are very popular these days, plus they help to combat bright or brassy tones that might show up over time.
36. Light Brown Highlights
Adding light brown highlights to your dark brown hair will make your hair look like it’s naturally sun-kissed. Add light brown in sections on the outermost layer of hair.
37. Chestnut Highlights
Chestnut brown highlights are amazing because color can be brushed in without having to take over your entire look. Ask your stylist for balayage so that the rich chestnut color can blend with your dark locks in a natural-looking way.
38. Pop of Pink
Brown hair with pink highlights is playful and fun, especially on a chic bob. The balayage technique will focus the the hot pink hues to the front of your face on long bangs in a natural way.
39. Brown Hair With Vibrant Purple Highlights
Dark chocolate hair look so great with a pop of color. Try this brown hair with purple highlights for a playful look. We love it on mature women and especially on a short and sassy bob.
40. Subtle Gray Highlights
Brown hair grey highlights is a trendy way to incorporate grey and ash tones into your hair. A few subtle streaks are all you need to make the look feel natural. Dark grey is best for dark hair.
41. Subtle Auburn Highlights
Add a hint of orange to your brown hair with auburn highlights. These streaks are hardly noticeable, that is how well the highlights blend with the hair color. This look is perfect for peach skin tones.
42. Brown Hair With Blonde Tones
Lighten up your brown hair with blonde highlights. To make your hair blend well together, your base color should be a warm brunette. The look is best suited for olive skin tones to bring out that warmth.
43. Mint Green Highlights
Highlights in deep, yet vibrant colors will make your brunette hair truly stand out. The darker your hair, the darker the tone of your fun color, like mint green, should be. Show off the dimension with a braided chignon hairstyle.
44. Ash Blue Highlights
Ash tones are very modern, so incorporate them into brown hair with blue highlights. These are very strategic and focused on the front two pieces of hair to frame your face and balance pale skin.
45. Rich Chocolate Tones on Brown Hair
Rich chocolate brown hair highlights will brighten your look dramatically. It even works on black hair, too. Because there are only a few shades of difference between both colors, the highlights can be blended uniformly throughout your hair.
Combining highlights on brown base ensures that your hairstyle has equal brightness and dimension.
Add dynamic color or keep things simple with chocolate, auburn, or light brown highlights on brunette hair. Do you have a favorite look from our list?
On brown hair, colors like burgundy, golden or honey blonde, and any lighter shade of brown will be beautiful as highlights.
Yes. A light or golden brown is best for covering gray hairs on brown hair.
On brown hair, highlights will last about three to six months. They may last shorter or longer depending on how often you wash your hair and how healthy your hair is in general.
Yes, both highlights and lowlights are possible for dark brown hair.
Yes, the purple shampoo will help prevent brassiness, as well as add shine.
Yes, there are many DIY kits you can easily use at home to give your brown hair highlights.
Yes, as long as your hair isn’t black, you can add lowlights to it. Lowlights will be two to three shades darker than your natural base color.
Color of any kind will damage hair. The key is in minimizing the damage by using plenty of moisturizers both before and after you color it.
Yes, but if you want to lighten your hair dramatically, then it’ll require bleach. If you’re only looking to get highlights that are two to three shades lighter, there are a couple ways to do this without bleach:
– Temporary hair color
– Demi-permanent hair color, such as Color Touch Sunlights
– Permanent hair color, such as Koleston Perfect Permanent Color