Who Says Brown Hair Is Blah? 23 Ideas For Dynamic Brunette Locks

Contrary to what you might have heard, blond folks don't have all the fun — at least as far as haircare is concerned. Of course, blond hair (and its fiery red cousin) is always going to be a go-to summer favorite. But that doesn't mean that people with blond and red hair have a monopoly on stunning locks. You might even be surprised by the health benefits of opting for dark hair in the summer. Extra sun protection for the win!

Still, as a color on its own, you might be tempted to think that brown is rather blah. After all, you don't see too many brown flowers out there. Fortunately, we have ample proof that brown hair is nothing if not drop-dead gorgeous thanks to such iconic brunette ladies like Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, and Jackie O. In a time when blond women largely dominated the fashion scene, these style icons proved just how impressive the dark side can be — and kept the ball rolling for famous modern brunette powerhouses like Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, and Penelope Cruz. From deep, autumnal mahoganies to fresh, sun-kissed bronds, we're here to prove once and for all that brown hair is anything but boring.

Translucent brown

Despite its name, this trend is not exactly see-through. Translucent brown comes on the heels of 2022's "expensive brunette" trend, which featured a blend of deeply saturated brown hues chosen to create dimension. Like its vibrant counterpart, translucent brown is all about dimension, using a variety of shades to create movement and versatility. The silky soft translucent trend is subtle and relatively low-maintenance, making it perfect for those who might be on the fence about switching up their beloved everyday look.

Chestnut brown

Chestnut brown is a vibrant shade of brunette that typically features warm and reddish undertones, though it stops short of going completely auburn. Color specialists often recommend chestnut hair for those whose skin features warm undertones, but a skilled professional colorist can easily customize the perfect chestnut shade for neutral and cool undertones as well. Though opting to completely alter your hair's color will undoubtedly call for regular maintenance (think every four to six weeks), asking for chestnut balayage can reduce the total number of touch-ups required to maintain this color.

Cinnamon brown

Just as enticing as its namesake spice, cinnamon hair is another trend that is capable of effortlessly walking the line between brunette and red hair. Though certain shades of the color can certainly skew warm, the hue is overall considered a classic neutral, meaning that it's diverse enough to work with every skin tone. And, as always, an expert colorist will be able to customize the tone according to your preferences, no matter whether you're looking to brighten your look for summer or get a jump start on those cozy autumn vibes.

Ash brown

Shades that compliment warm undertones are everywhere, but what about those who would prefer to own our neutral or cool undertones for the ultimate cool-girl look? Ash brown hair is a medium brunette shade that leans towards gray or silver, making it a perfect complement to cool skin tones. Even so, warm-tone complexions can still rock the color thanks to the universality of the brown tones mixed with it. Stylists typically recommend using a blue shampoo that protects the color, as ash tones are notorious for their ability to turn yellow and brassy if not properly cared for.

Mocha brown

Whether you're a fan of the chocolatey coffee drink or not, mocha hair is undoubtedly nothing short of drop-dead gorgeous. It's also incredibly versatile for anyone looking to change up their look with a relatively no-fuss color that isn't likely to fade as quickly as a red or blond shade. Mocha is a true neutral brown, able to compliment both warm and cool undertones, with a rich color saturation and great dimension. It can be rocked as a single shade or dressed up with an assortment of both highlights and lowlights.

Bronze hair

Whether you're looking to change your hair up drastically or subtly, bronze hair is a stunning and dynamic twist on baseline brunette hair. It's also especially flattering on darker skin tones and can make for an easy first step into the wonderful (but occasionally overwhelming) world of hair color for those whose natural hair color is already dark. Anyone can rock bronze hair, though it is excellent at accentuating warm tones. It's also surprisingly diverse; you can customize your favorite shade of bronze by asking for more of a golden or red hue.

Mushroom brown

One of the stranger names for a hair color trend, mushroom brown hair is a medium brown shade that resembles the color of a portobello mushroom cap. Though the right colorist can make it work for warm skin tones as well, mushroom brown especially flatters neutral and cool undertones. Depending on the hair color you're starting with, you can achieve a mushroom hue by applying a medium-brown base color paired with lowlights and ashy brown highlights.

Cherry brown

Also known as "chocolate cherry hair" or "cherry cola hair," this hair color trend incorporates a deep, vibrant red into a rich, chocolate-colored base. It's still very much a variant of brunette hair, falling just short of true burgundy hair, which makes it yet another great option for those who want a change but don't want to do anything too drastic. The amount of red pigment can vary based on your preferences, ranging from a light auburn with a wine-colored tinge to true cherry red.

Honey brown

This traditional summer color is truly the ultimate sun-kissed brond. The base color is a simple light brown, which is relatively easy to achieve, depending on the color you start with. The namesake honey tones come in the form of warm, golden highlights and lowlights, which can be subtle or bold depending on your taste. While the basic idea of the hue is to convey warmer tones and colors, your color specialist can easily customize the shade for cooler complexions.

Chocolate brown

Another universally-loved brunette shade, chocolate is a deep, rich brown with red and gold undertones, though to achieve a true chocolate hue, those undertones are typically kept to a minimum — just enough to add dimension. The color is a great way to add warmth to your look, though it can definitely be worn by and flatter any skin tone. It's among the easier colors to maintain and brings with it a natural shine that is truly worthy of your dreamiest hair goals.

Caramel brown

Yet another gorgeous variation of brond, caramel brown hair resembles its smooth, sweet namesake. It's a light to medium brunette shade featuring golden undertones and a warm (albeit optional) blend of darker browns. This particular shade is extremely flattering for warm skin tones (as well as brown eyes) but can make cooler skin tones appear washed out. You can choose to forgo highlights or lowlights, but opting to blend in a variety of other darker and lighter hues on the caramel color spectrum will add a level of dimension perfect for wavy hair. Did anyone say beach hair?

Medium brown hair

There's something to be said for classic colors like medium brown; after all, they're classics for a reason. Medium brown in particular is a universally flattering shade, able to accentuate any complexion. Furthermore, it can easily be customized to make certain features pop, such as a gorgeous pair of eyes. Plus, it's a great base if you think you might want to incorporate some more drastic changes later (like bold highlights or a striking auburn mane) but you're not quite ready to take the leap yet.

Brownish auburn

Auburn can be the best of both worlds for anyone who wants to get on the darker hair trend but might still be a little worried that brown by itself isn't bold enough. A brownish auburn can be light or dark brown, but the defining element is a warm, reddish hue that can be subtle or bold. Oftentimes, auburn hair incorporates gold or copper highlights, which can be great options to brighten up a new summer look. As with all red hues, you'll need to switch to a color-protecting shampoo in order to keep this color from fading.

Dark brown

Dark brown, which some might consider the "classic" brunette, will always be a super-stylish crowd-pleaser. The color is versatile (after all, there are more than a few shades of "dark"), easy on your hair and skin, and relatively easy to maintain. You can keep it classic, or experiment with different colors, highlights, and lowlights. It makes for some seriously sleek hairstyles and can last for ages if you use balayage to achieve an ombré effect with your natural hair color. Really, what's not to love about the "classic" shade of brunette?

Golden brown

To anyone looking to add a little summer to their hair without going completely blond, may we introduce you to your next hair obsession: classic golden brown tresses. Unlike honey brown hair, golden brown hair is all about walking the line between brunette and blond. You typically won't find very many red tinges throughout true golden brown hair. Instead, the look is created from a medium brown base using a variety of blond and caramel high- and lowlights. The idea is to give your appearance a bright, youthful, and refreshing look without committing to full-on blond.

Strawberry brunette

Strawberry brunette hair is a great stepping stone between brown and red locks. Though its name implies more of a pink hue, it can include any shade of brown with a subtle hint of red, auburn, copper, or other flavor of red. Think of it as a darker version of the classic strawberry blond. You can opt to incorporate your red tinge of choice all over or ease into it with reddish highlights. Remember to use color-protecting shampoo and give your hair a bit of regular TLC to protect it from fading and damage.

Ochre hair

The original ochre hair was created using natural clay pigments, most often red ochre, to achieve a brownish copper shade. The same color can be achieved through chemicals or dyes that are more readily available and more reliable in their results. And ochre hair is truly striking. It can range from mostly brown to mostly copper, but its signature is a bright, earthy hue worthy of the loftiest hair goals. Unfortunately, this shade can be prone to fade, so always ask your colorist how to make your hair happy and keep it looking its best.

Chunky highlights

In case you haven't noticed, the 2000s are back in a big way. Of course, this includes the era's famous hair trends. Chunky highlights, with their bold contrast of dark and light shades, are a great way to get nostalgic and have a little fun with your hair. If you've been quietly waiting for the trend to come back this entire time you can even forgo your natural hair color altogether and opt for alternating dark lowlights and bright highlights to reach maximum contrast.


A hair trend as pretty as it is subtle, babylights are delicate highlights applied throughout the hair to mimic the appearance of naturally sun-kissed hair. The shade used for babylights is usually a very light or white-blond, though other shades and colors can certainly be applied in the same way. As a plus, they're also extremely easy to care for, making them a great first step into hair coloring. Keep in mind that babylights are typically more time-consuming to apply, so don't be surprised if this subtle look costs slightly more than your average highlights.

Jewel tones

Sometimes, just one or two colors aren't enough, or maybe you're perfectly happy with one or two colors — you're just tired of basic blond highlights. Enter jewel tones, your new favorite hair trend. Okay, so jewel tones and jewel highlights (also dubbed peacock hair) aren't exactly new, but they're gaining big popularity. This style makes for an edgier look that incorporates hues that are deeply pigmented and reflect the color of gemstones like sapphire, amethyst, emerald, and ruby. Just remember that even with the highest level of care, these colors will eventually fade into lighter shades.

Traditional balayage

It's difficult to remember when balayage wasn't a household beauty word — or when it wasn't one of the most popular hair trends of all time. Balayage itself (an application technique in which dye is painted onto the hair, creating a natural, graduated color effect) can be done on any base hair color, though people with brunette hair especially love it for the stunning low-maintenance looks that come from it. It's more expensive than some other color-application techniques, but the Instagram-worthy results are definitely worth it.

Reverse balayage

Reverse balayage is similar to the traditional balayage color-application technique, just with a few key differences. Where traditional balayage is mostly concerned with painting in highlights, reverse balayage uses the same application to paint in lowlights, creating dimension and depth throughout the hair. Think of it as a subtler version of the balayage you're already familiar with. Its subtlety, combined with the appealingly low maintenance required, makes reverse balayage a perfect option for beginner color connoisseurs.

Peekaboo hair

Another trend inspired by 2000s nostalgia, peekaboo is a fun and unconventional way to switch up your look and incorporate some edginess without going for a full neon dye job. It's particularly flattering on brown hair, as the contrast between the natural color and the "peekaboo" color beneath is stunning. It isn't the most low-maintenance look, but it's one of the coolest. Whether you opt to dye the entire bottom half of your hair your favorite color or simply choose subtle peekaboo highlights, always remember to give colored hair the extra care it deserves.