Over the last few decades, brown and blonde hair have been duking it out for the title of favorite hair color. For years it seemed as though the saying “blondes have more fun” rang true, and blonde reigned supreme as the most coveted hair color in the land. Recently, however, brunette babes have been gaining traction on their blonde competitors.
If you love both colors, however, and can’t imagine choosing one over the other, we have just the solution for you: brown hair with blonde highlights. This delicious color combination creates more depth, movement, and contrast than you ever thought was possible. Searching for brown hair with blonde highlight ideas? We’ve got you covered with 54 looks we just can’t get enough of—plus a complete brunette with blonde highlights care guide.
What color highlights look good on brown hair?
So many shades of highlights look good on brown hair, including lighter shades of brown, caramel, and any warm-toned or cool-toned blonde hair colors. The highlight color you choose should depend on your desired final look, your skin tone, and the level of maintenance you’re willing to commit to.
How To Care For Blonde Highlights On Brown Hair
We love the way contrasting colors like brown and blonde look together, but brunette and platinum hues have different needs—how can you possibly care for both colors without neglecting the other? The good news is that there are products formulated specifically for maintaining brown hair with blonde highlights, such as Redken’s Color Extend Brownlights Shampoo and Conditioner. This shampoo and conditioner system contains blue pigments that tone and neutralize brassy undertones in highlighted, balayaged, or natural brown hair.
To create bright blonde highlights on brown hair, your colorist will need to use bleach. It’s important to note that bleach will always cause some damage, but a pro colorist can work to make sure your strands look and feel their best before you leave the salon. However, you’ll still want to care for bleached hair at home. We recommend using a hair mask like Redken Extreme Strengthening Mask once a week. The protein-infused formula nourishes damaged hair from root to tip.
If you’re committed to keeping your hue in the best shape possible, you can also head to the salon for a hair gloss every few weeks. Hair gloss formulas like Redken Shades EQ can help tone, condition, and add shine to your hair in just 20 minutes.
Best Brown Hair With Blonde Highlights Ideas
If you’re looking for a bold way to incorporate blonde highlights into your brunette strands, look no further than the money piece technique. The money piece adds a pop of color and vibrancy to your mane while accentuating your hair color and facial features.
Subtle Money Piece
If you’re new to highlights and want to test the waters with something a bit more understated, opt for a subtle money piece. By lightening a smaller section of face-framing hair, you get all of the benefits of a money piece without any of the commitment.
Medium Brown With Icy Blonde Money Piece
For those who want to take a more bold approach to the money piece trend, this icy blonde money piece on light brown hair is anything but understated.
High Contrast Face-Framing Highlights
High-contrast hair color is huge for 2021, and we’re obsessed with how the trend looks on brunettes with blonde face-framing highlights.
Dark Brown With Ash Blonde Balayage
Speaking of our obsession with high-contrast color, we can’t get enough of this dark brown base paired with ash blonde balayage throughout the mid-lengths and ends.
If rich, chocolatey browns aren’t your style (or suitable for your skin tone), opt for the breakout brown hair trend of 2021: smoky brunette. This brown hair with blonde highlights trend has a cool-toned finish that works best for those with cool undertones in their skin.
If you ever felt like your highlights could look a bit more natural, you need midlights in your life. The hair coloring technique, coined by Redken artist Matt Rez, helps to eliminate stripey highlights by connecting the highlight color with your base color with a hue in between.
Sand Reverse Balayage
Reverse balayage is very similar to the balayage you know and love. However, instead of painting your strands with blonde or ashy brown, stylists use dark colors near the roots and throughout your strands to bring depth to your look. By keeping your roots dark, your blonde highlights really have a chance to take center stage.
Chocolate Brown With Caramel Highlights
Bring out the warmth and golden undertones of your natural chocolate brown hue with caramel highlights.
Sandy Brown With Platinum Strandlights
If you have light, sandy brown hair, ask your colorist for a few strategically placed platinum blonde strandlights. The end result? Thin, natural-looking highlights that create a seamlessly blended glow and subtly transform your mane.
Onyx Brown With Golden Highlights
At first glance, these highlights may appear a bit more brown than blonde, but with a base color as deep as onyx brown, golden highlights provide the perfect contrast.
Sandy Brown With Ash Blonde Highlights
If you’re considering abandoning brunette altogether in favor of blonder hues, test the waters by pairing light, sandy brown base color with all-over ash blonde highlights. The end result will border on blonde without completely forgoing your brown-haired girl title just yet.
Dark Chocolate And Honey Foilayage
Name a more delicious combination than dark chocolate and honey—we’ll wait.
Milk Chocolate And Golden Ribbon Highlights
Chunky highlights are back and better than ever! Channel your inner ‘90s girl with these golden ribbon highlights.
Brown Hair With Chunky Face-Framing Highlights
Ask your colorist to focus your chunky highlights on the strands framing your face for an ultra ‘90s girl look.
Thick Highlights And Lowlights
If you want dimension, you’ll need a blend of highlights and lowlights. This look features thicker highlights and lowlights that take dimensional brown hair with blonde highlights to the next level.
When it comes to highlighting brown hair, you can never go wrong with bronde. Bronde, also known as “brown blonde,” is a blend of dark and light shades that result in a dimensional, low-maintenance hue.
Prefer ashy tones? Your colorist will use the same technique they use to create classic bronde—only with this variation, the result will be ashy and cool-toned.
Caramel bronde offers extra warmth and brightness, which is ideal for anyone with medium or dark skin tones.
Bronde With Pink Face Frame
Edge into fantasy hair by incorporating pink face-framing highlights into your bronde hair color.
White Blonde Highlights
White highlights on dark hair are one of 2021’s biggest trends. If you commit to white blonde highlights, you’ll need a purple shampoo and conditioner like Redken Color Extend Blondage Shampoo and Conditioner to prevent brassiness and keep your hue cool-toned.
Here’s another popular trend that deserves a spot on this list: mushroom brown. This portobello-inspired shade blends notes of ash brown, blonde, and gray to create a stunning color that can be either neutral or cool.
Clouded Highlights For Curls
Want to make brown hair with blonde highlights work for your curls? Click here to learn more about clouding, the highlighting technique specifically for those with natural ringlets.
Soft Beige Highlights
Prefer a highlighted look that blends seamlessly with your brunette base? Opt for soft beige highlights.
Here’s another take on beige blonde—one that’s even more subtle and low-maintenance. A balayage technique softly blends a light brown base with hand-painted beige highlights.
Similar to cream blonde, butterscotch is a soft, warm-toned blonde shade that blends gorgeously with any shade of brown.
Brunette With Subtle Highlights
These barely-there highlights offer subtle dimension (without making it obvious that you went to the salon).
We’re obsessed with the way this ash ombre shows off cascading ashy hues of brown and blonde.
There’s so much to celebrate about a color like champagne balayage. It’s shiny, dimensional, low-maintenance, and flatters all skin tones.
Dark Ash Brown With Silver Highlights
If you want a statement-making shade, choose a high-contrast color like dark ash brown with silver highlights.
Light Brown With Gray Balayage
The gray hair trend is dominating in 2021, which is why this light brown with gray blonde balayage is an ideal choice. Be sure to use a color-tonings shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for gray hair color like Redken Color Extend Graydient Shampoo and Conditioner. This system helps remove yellow tones while strengthening and nourishing gray and silver hair.
Medium Brown With Ashy Balayage
This pick is just as moody as gray balayage but slightly more low-maintenance.
Chocolate And Chestnut
If any of these ideas scream “fall hair,” it’s this chocolate and chestnut look. The warm-toned creation is also a perfect fit for any complexion.
Medium Brown With Heavy Blonde Balayage
This option focuses the blonde mostly on the ends of the hair while leaving the roots untouched, which allows natural brunettes to go longer between salon touch-ups. With this much lightening, however, be sure to give your strands extra TLC with a hair mask or treatment.
This multi-toned warm blend is a must-try for anyone with warm undertones in their skin. Pro tip: If you have curly hair, a look like this with multiple shades of blonde will give your mane the ultimate dimension.
If you have bangs, let them be the star of your brown hair with blonde highlights. Ask your colorist to place sunkissed highlights throughout your mane with a heavy focus on your fringe.
This sweet shade is just as delectable as a chocolate-covered almonds, featuring a base of dark brown with notes of caramel and gold throughout.
Dark Brown With Butter Blonde Highlights
Add warmth and dimension to your dark brown hair with rich butter blonde highlights.
Mocha With Caramel
As excited as we are for fall lattes, we’re even more excited for coffee-inspired hair colors like this mocha-caramel blend.
Chestnut Brown Hair With Honey Highlights
Chestnut brown, a deep brown with reddish hues, is one of the most popular brunette shades ever. Adding honey highlights to the mix only further enhances the hue’s natural brightness and dimension.
Obsessed with toffee? Use it as inspiration for your next color change.
Dark Brown With Caramel Blonde Highlights
Bring on the warmth and dimension! We love the contrast between dark brown hair and caramel highlights.
A deeply rooted look allows the blonde highlights around the face and towards the ends to really shine. Not to mention: You won’t have to go rushing back to the salon too soon after your first appointment.
Brunette With Blush Blonde Highlights
Neutrals aren’t for everyone. If you want to add a pop of color to your ‘do, choose blonde highlights with a hint of blush pink. While pink normally falls under high-maintenance hair territory, this soft, subtle blend makes upkeep surprisingly easy.
Dark Ash Brown With Platinum And Icy Blue Highlights
Here’s another way to add a bit of color to your look. For something a bit more cool-toned and winter-inspired, opt for a blend of platinum and icy blue highlights.
Brunette With Bronze Highlights
We all want hair that’s noticeably shiny, but if you want strands that really glow, ask your colorist for brown hair with bronze highlights. The warmth and dimension in this shade will really flatter olive skin tones.
Sandy Brown With Blonde Highlights
Sport beach hair any time of year with sandy brown hair and blonde highlights.
Caramel And Honey Blend
When it comes to warm-toned highlights, no two shades are more universally flattering than caramel and honey—which is why you shouldn’t be afraid to pair them together!
Light Brown With Blonde And Red Highlights
Blonde and red highlights together may seem strange, but the combination is stunning—particularly when paired with a light brown base.
Brown Hair With Copper Blonde Highlights
Ready to add a little ginger spice to your hue? Get inspired with this brown hair color with copper blonde highlights.
Reddish Brown With Golden Highlights
Upgrade any reddish-brown hair color with golden highlights. We promise, you won’t regret it!
Light Brown With Blended Babylights
For the subtlest way to try brown hair with blonde highlights, opt for ultra-thin babylights throughout a light brown hair color.
Interested in trying brown hair with blonde highlights? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.