33 BROWN HAIR COLORS, FROM BRONDE TO DARK BRUNETTE
Fact: brown hair isn't just one shade. You might not think it, but brown hair colors are beyond versatile, serving up everything from soft, sun-kissed brondes and caramel highlights to deeper, darker, chocolatey tones and coffee brown colors.
Whether brunette is your natural hair color, or you want to try out a brown mane for the first time, there are plenty of beautiful shades to consider for your next look.
And guess what? Wella has gathered the most covetable shades of brown hair and coloring techniques in one place, so you have all the hairspiration you need, whether you're trying a new hue or are an in-salon colorist.
Keep scrolling to discover every brown hair color on the brunette spectrum…
Light Brown Hair
Image Credit: @wellanordic and @laila.wella
One level darker than bronde, light brown hair is perfect for blondes who want to dip their toe into the brown hair pool, or brunettes who are looking for a way to lighten up their locks. Laila Pettersen created this color melt by freehand painting Blondor Freelights lightener with 12% developer through mid-lengths, then toning with permanent hair color Koleston Perfect 10/97 + 1.9% Welloxon Perfect. Clients working their hue can maintain it at home with a weekly dose of the Color Fresh Mask in Golden Gloss. In just 10 minutes, this ‘hint of a tint' treatment will refresh their salon color.
Medium Brown Hair
Image Credit: @xobeautybynicole
Halfway between light brown and dark brown, medium brown hair is the truest almost-chocolate hue. When you hear ‘brown hair,' this is likely to be the first shade you envision. If you're creating the color – or trying it out – try combining it with a balayage technique, which will ensure the shade always appears multi-dimensional and fresh. Nobody wants a flat, one-tone mane.
Dark Brown Hair
Image Credit: @salon64london
Also known as brunette, dark brown hair is as rich as warm brown locks can get. Just make sure that if you color hair this deep shade, you opt for a light-reflective formula. Our go-to is permanent color Illumina Color, which reveals the light reflections in each brown strand, creating a multi-tonal effect that's brimming with a glossy shine.
Chocolate Brown Hair
Image Credit: @cloeeenicole3
Is there anything more delicious than chocolate brown hair? Whether you opt for dark chocolate hair color or go for milk chocolate brown like Chloe Wilson, you’ll end up with a rich, brown hue that melts into lighter, brighter ends. Shine is a must, so achieve the look with Koleston Perfect; our permanent hair color that boasts Pure Balance Technology for an intense shade that’s oh-so glossy.
Image Credit: @thecolorconnoisseur
Brown meets blonde in the bronde hair trend. It’s a hybrid hue with a sun-kissed feel, giving brunettes the touch of lightness they crave when summer rolls around. Get a beachy effect by brightening random sections of hair with Blondor Freelights. The freehand lightener offers ultimate precision, so you can create the most flattering scattering of lights. Then, suggest clients keep those blonde highlights balanced with a purple shampoo at home. By lathering up with INVIGO Cool Blonde Color Refreshing Shampoo whenever locks start to look dull, they can counteract brassy tones instantly.
Red Brown Hair
Image Credit: @late_hair
Add a touch of red to brown locks for a hint of a mahogany hair hue. Lauri Koski perfected this blend with Koleston Perfect, combining deep burgundy shades with chocolate colors for a fall-ready look. The formula? 5/1 + 5/07 + 4% through the roots, followed by two alternating mixes for the mid-lengths and ends: 8/41 + 8/74 + 9, and 6/75 + 0/65 + 4%.
Ash Brown Hair
Image Credit: @jhair_stylist
Ash blonde-loving brunettes are bound to fall for ash brown hair; a shade so cool in tone, it almost appears to be a silvery-gray color. For this look, Wella Digital Ambassador James Earnshaw focused the smokey, ashy tones through the mid-lengths and ends, while the roots were shaded with a rich color of brunette to prevent the color from looking flat. This brown hair shade is perfect for those with cool undertones, as the ash hues complement the blue and red tones beneath the surface of their skin.
Image Credit: @paolosilveri
Real talk: many of these hair hues incorporate some level of brunette balayage, but this is one of our favorite examples of the freehand lightening technique. A high volume of highlights – toned to chocolatey perfection – breathes new life into dark brown locks, while loose waves allow each one of the brightened ribbons to shimmer under the light.
Image Credit: @rain_hair.artist
Get the dark-to-light graduation of dreams with deep, rich roots and subtle brightness through the ends. On this brown ombre, the lift is virtually imperceptible and comes with the added bonus of making hair look fuller. For extra volume, ruffle EIMI Dry Me dry shampoo through just-tonged strands, which will lend a little extra texture. The perfect look for finer hair.
Copper Brown Hair
Image Credit: @transcurlcarolyn
Just look at that metallic shine. For brown hair with a warmer twist, try cool, eye-catching brown copper tones, combined with gloss-enhancing stylers. Finer hair will enjoy a boost of radiance from the ultra-lightweight EIMI Glam Mist, while coarse hair types get luminosity and condition in one with EIMI Oil Spritz.
Brown Hair with Blonde Highlights
Image Credit: @dienisouza
Nothing gives brown hair a lift like blonde highlights. A root-to-tip, full head of sandy tones can be achieved using your favorite Blondor pre-lightener, such as BlondorPlex. Ensure lightened sections look luminous by opting for a Pure Glossing Service in between color appointments, as this speedy treatment keeps brassy tones at bay and brightens locks – all in the space of a lunch break.
Golden Brown Hair
Image Credit: @elsa_haar
You've heard of golden blonde, but what about golden brown hair? If gloss is your goal, gleaming pieces of gold will make sure that brunette mane shines, no matter the season. If you want to maintain this color, add a once-weekly dose of INVIGO Warm Brunette Color Refreshing Conditioner to your routine, as it deposits a small amount of pigment that conditions dry hair and helps gilded tones look positively radiant.
Chestnut Brown Hair
Image Credit: @cassandra_foehr
Chestnut brown hair is as much about shine as it is about shade, which is why it’s essential to maintain this hue with the glossiest post-color care routine. Whether you’re keeping your own chestnut mane in condition or recommending products to a freshly-dyed client, try a combo of INVIGO Color Brilliance Color Protection Shampoo with INVIGO Color Recharge Cool Brunette Conditioner.
Honey Brown Hair
Image Credit: @cassandra_foehr
Brown hair with honey highlights is as indulgent as it sounds. Just take a look at this creation by balayage queen Cassandra Foehr for all the proof you need. To make this warm shade really sparkle, kick off your styling routine with EIMI Perfect Me lotion, which smooths the hair cuticle to create an even, light-reflective surface.
Rose Brown Hair
Image Credit: @wellanordic and @_litvinova_julia
Think of rose brown hair as rose gold for brunettes. If you want to add a dose of pink to dark locks, this Turkish Delight-inspired hue is the dreamiest way to go. Look to our semi-permanent hair color, Color Fresh CREATE, to mix up a rosy ‘do, with inter-mixable shades like Nu-Dist Pink and High Magenta offering up endless ways to work the trend.
Mahogany Brown Hair
One part red and one part brown, mahogany hair is a high-gloss, high-pigment, high-intensity hue that looks especially dreamy in fall. Anyone working this reddish shade should make sure they add INVIGO Color Recharge Warm Red Conditioner to their weekly pamper, as the pigment-depositing treatment will keep the deep red-brown tones looking fresh.
Brown to Blonde Balayage
Image Credit: @hairbyangelaalberici
Looking to add some low-maintenance lightness to a brunette ‘do? Try a brown to blonde balayage, which lends a sun-kissed effect to darker locks, with zero regrowth lines. Here’s a flawless example from Wella Master Color Expert Angela Alberici, who’s packed in plenty of teasylights (soft, teased highlights) for a caramel glow. Then, to maintain this dreamy hue at home, use the color-depositing Color Fresh Mask in Caramel Glaze. In 10 minutes, it tops up the tone and veils strands in a thwack of hydrating oils.
Gray Brown Hair
Image Credit: @jeongchen
Silver locks are on the rise, as clients embrace their gray hair regrowth by adding pewter highlights to their blonde, brunette hair or black hair. One of the most effective ways of transitioning to gray hair color is by adding these cool-toned lights from root to tip. And just look how dreamy they are; no wonder gray brown hair is one of this season's top trends. Just make sure you don't let any overly-warm tones ruin this ‘do. If you're trying the hue yourself, add a purple shampoo to your care kit, like INVIGO Cool Blonde Color Refreshing Shampoo to stop brassy, orange tones from appearing.
Image Credit: @gabbythai
Meet twilighting: a highlighting technique that sees gold hues stroked through dark brunette hair, creating the effect of stars twinkling in the night sky. Each strand should be lifted three to four shades brighter than the base to create this kind of contrast. That's why we recommend lightening with BlondorPlex, which harnesses our bond-strengthening WellaPlex No1 Bond Maker. Just make sure, if you're creating this look for a client, you rinse developed highlights and then add WellaPlex No2 Bond Stabilizer to complete the conditioning treatment.
Ash Brown Balayage
Image Credit: @bibasouthyarra
Cool, crisp and clean; this ash brown balayage sees dark roots melt into lighter ends, thanks to strategically placed sweeps of Blondor Multi-Blonde Powder + 4%. Then, lifted ribbons were toned using demi-permanent Color Touch 7/97+ 8/81; a cendre combo that will never go out of style. This is one technique that transcends trends and makes every day an amazing hair day.
Frosted Chestnut Hair
Image Credit: @jhair_stylist
Chestnut hair colors are super versatile - you can choose from warm brown shades of chestnut to cool tones and reddish hues. If a metallic mane is your vibe, you'll love the frosted chestnut hair trend, which sees warm browns and bronzes take on an almost-icy sheen. Want this hue? Wella Digital Ambassador James Earnshaw toned chunky highlights with alternating ribbons of Illumina Color 7/35 + 6% and 7/81 + 10/81 + 9%.
Cherry Chocolate Hair
Image Credit: @melissasmith_styles
Blending cherry red hair with chocolate brown tones gives you the most delicious melt. Case in point: this delectable ‘do by Melissa Smith, featuring rich shades of Koleston Perfect. First, she touched up the natural root with 66/0 + 5/07 + 6%, then she applied 66/55 + 9/16 + 0/66 + 4%. A masterpiece. To enhance brunette locks – like this creation – complete the look with one or two drops of Oil Reflections Luminous Smoothing Oil, smoothed through the mid-lengths and ends. It keeps all brunettes glossy.
Image Credit: @kai_sohn
Silky caramel tones add an extra dimension to dark or light brown shades that are ultra-flattering. And this chocolate caramel balayage is a combo we're obsessed with. To achieve this look, Kai applied BlondorPlex + 9% to the mid-lengths and added a moneypiece using Blondor Freelights + 9%. An Illumina Color hair gloss was then applied using the formula: 7/7 + 9/59 + 1.9% to make these caramel tips shimmer.
Brown Sugar Hair
Image credit: @jhair_stylist
Who can resist hair that's as sweet as brown sugar? This stunning brown sugar hair color is utter perfection on curly locks, as pictured. To get the look, James Earnshaw lightened the hair with 20g BlondorPlex + 30g 4% Welloxon Perfect, before toning ends with Color Touch and Color Touch Emulsion (10g 9/73 + 10g 7/97 +40g 1.9%). These sweet, lighter strands are giving us those summer vibes.
Mocha Brown Hair
Image Credit: @topknotbalayage
Even if mocha isn't your coffee order of choice, we can guarantee you'll love the deep, dark, natural-looking tones attached to this mocha brown hair color. To create a true mocha look, you want to get that perfect mix of chocolatey hues with a dark coffee base and milky highlights - delicious! Here, highlights have been painted close to the hairline for a soft face frame that's equally striking. A glossing formula featuring Color Touch 7/97 + 7/73 was then applied to this dark chocolate mane for extra shine and radiance. Finish your look with some loose curls to enhance those glossy 'lights.
Espresso Brown Hair
Image Credit: @leothehairalchemist
A shot of espresso transforms into a deep, dark hair base with smoky highlights for this espresso brown shade. You can almost taste the richness! A little ice was added to create a cool expresso look, which has been perfected using two Color Touch formulas: 4/0 + 5/71 + 1.9% to deepen roots, and 6/0 + 5/97 + 1.9% to enhance the ends and tone. Together, these create an icy, shiny effect that's deeply mystifying.
Toffee Brown Hair
Image Credit: @loickdambrine_hair
Combine toffee hues with brown locks and you get a dreamy bronde shade that's beautifully sun-kissed and radiant. This warm hair color is the perfect choice for brunettes craving a lift during the summer months. To achieve this luscious look, apply Blondor Freelights in thick slices before toning lifted sections using Color Touch 8/0 + 9/97 + 8/3 for a gorgeous golden toffee brown that shimmers over soft waves.
Strawberry Brown Hair
Image Credit: @hairxjojo
Blondes aren't the only ones who can rock this berry tone. Introducing strawberry brown - a fun twist on the classic strawberry blonde shade that we adore. This look sees gorgeous rose highlights swept through a brown base. Beautiful! Try it yourself by using Blondor and foils first to pre-lighten chunky sections of hair. Then tone using Color Touch 9/96 + 10/6 + 44/65. Those with a pale complexion craving darker hair should definitely give this a try. Thanks to the accents of berry-licious 'lights, you don't need to worry about your fair skin looking washed out with this look.
Image Credit: @cassandra_foehr
You know you're looking at expensive brunette hair if you're reminded of the Hollywood elite. This look relies on soft highs and lows that are no more than a shade or two away from the base color to create subtle highlights that glisten. One way to achieve this look is by lifting ribbons of hair over a dark brown base and finishing with a Shinefinity glaze to create a mesmerizing glow.
Image Credit: @romeufelipe
Here we have a brighter take on mocha brown hair. Cappuccino brown sees strokes of golden brown or bronde against a rich dark brown base that suits both cool, warm and olive skin tones. This glossy mane features cappuccino highlights, crafted using BlondorPlex and Color Touch. Try it for yourself using BlondorPlex and Color Touch with the formula 8/35 + 9/75 + 7/43 + 1.9%.
Image Credit: @xcellent_kevin
Who doesn't love caramel hair? It's flattering on warm, medium, and neutral skin tones. It's also incredibly versatile. Take this caramel brown to honey blonde ombre look - where creamy honey blonde is paired with luxurious caramel brown roots for a head-turning ombre creation. Use 04/07 Bitter Chocolate as a root shadow, followed by a mix of 08/38 Honey Latte + 06/73 Caramel Chocolate through pre-lightened lengths to recreate the look and nail your ombre technique.
Dark Brown Hair with Highlights
Image Credit: @paintedhair
Adding highlights to brown hair is a great way to add a pop of vibrant color or a natural-looking lift to a dark brown base - which you can tailor to suit your client's skin tone. We're loving these red hot chili highlights on a chocolate brown base. For this look, BlondorPlex + 6% was used to lift ribbons of hair to a level 5, before Koleston Perfect 5/73 + 4/0 was applied to refine the base color. Color Fresh Mask in the shade Copper Glow was then left on the highlighted sections for 10 minutes to create that fiery finish.
Plum Brown Hair
Image credit: @ellensmanepage
Plum brown hair gives us serious fall vibes. It looks as delicious as warm plum pie on a crisp fall day - utter perfection! This multi-tonal mane incorporates a mix of red-purple hues against a brunette base. Try recreating this look with Koleston Perfect 6/45 + 55/46 + 0/66. Apply the formula as highlights over the top of a brown base to create a seamless blend of chocolate and plum hues.
Looking for more brunette-spo? Why not try enhancing your new brown hair look with a hair gloss? Plus, find endless hair trend inspiration and more brown hair color ideas on the @WellaHairUSA Instagram.