You don’t need to have a sweet tooth to love chocolate brown hair. This deliciously rich hair color is one of the most popular brunette shades around—and it’s not hard to see why. The versatile shade suits a variety of complexions and can easily be customized to complement your look. So whether you prefer warmer-toned browns or cooler shades, light browns or dark, you can easily find your ideal match with a brunette hair color. Need some inspiration? Read on to discover 30 chocolate hair color ideas that work perfectly for any season.
What is chocolate brown hair?
Chocolate brown is a classic brunette shade that’s flattering on an array of skin tones. The medium brown hue traditionally has reddish or gold undertones, which give the shade warmth, depth, and richness. But, as we mentioned above, chocolate brown hair is super versatile and can be made lighter, darker, or cooler depending on your preference. Because of its versatility, it’s an easy shade to wear, which makes it a great option for any brunette looking for a low-maintenance yet luxurious-looking hair color (or anyone looking to experiment with brown hair).
Who should try chocolate brown hair?
Chocolate lovers rejoice: This shade is nearly universally flattering. When it comes to chocolate-inspired styles, it’s all about finding a shade that works with your hair texture, hair type, and skin tone. Generally, warm shades best complement warmer skin tones, while cooler, muted chocolatey hues serve those with cooler undertones well. If you have neutral undertones—meaning they’re neither obviously warm nor cool—you can pull off just about any chocolate brown hue.
If that sounds like a lot to keep in mind, don’t worry: Your stylist can help you find the perfect chocolate brown shade that plays best with your skin’s undertones depending on whether you have warm or cool-toned skin.
30 Chocolate Hair Color Ideas to Try Now
If your skin has peach or pink undertones, you likely have a warm skin tone. To flatter your undertones, consider opting for a similarly warm shade of brown (like chocolate caramel or honey balayage). Dimensional shades like these reflect light well, giving your locks the illusion of more fullness and shine.
Chocolate brown hair isn’t reserved only for people with warmer skin tones. If your skin has cooler undertones, try experimenting with shades slightly on the lighter side. One super-flattering option for this skin tone is a cool brown with subtle pops of purple, like plum, chocolate or violet.
Milk chocolate hair incorporates a deep, rich chocolate brown base with just the right amount of delicious, milky tones flowing through it. This combination creates a textured shade with tons of dimension. Whether you’re going brunette for the first time or simply want to refresh your naturally brown locks, milk chocolate is the perfect place to start.
It’s hard to go wrong with a classic dark chocolate brown hair color. This versatile, natural-looking shade has a richness that is perfect for fall or winter while still being flattering all year long. It’s also an excellent transition color for redheads looking to go darker.
If you love the look of dark chocolate brown hair but prefer a little more spice, this one’s for you. Copper-tinted chocolate hair is a great match for anyone looking for chocolate locks with an edge. To achieve this look, ask your stylist to use a copper glaze on top of your medium-brown base color.
Looking to brighten your mane a touch? Consider adding light-reflecting caramel highlights to your chocolate brown hair. Whether you choose a caramel ombre, balayage, or traditional highlights, you’ll be surprised how much it can transform your look.
Dip your toes into the world of colorful hair with a purple-tinged chocolate hair color. You can achieve this unique hue by asking your stylist to add subtle hints of violet, dark purple, or dusty mauve throughout your strands. Or, if you’re not ready to fully commit to a purple shade, layer a violet glaze over your brunette strands for a hint of purple without the lasting commitment.
Mocha chocolate brown is a great place to start when trying chocolate brown hair, as it’s warm, but not overly red or gold. Opt for a darker mocha shade for a striking look, or have your stylist create a slightly lighter variation of the color for a softer take on mocha chocolate hair. one of those shades every brunette should try at least once.
Ashy Chocolate Brown
Bring some cooler ashy tones to your brunette ‘do by way of highlights, ombre, or balayage. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even incorporate notes of dusty rose, mauve, and silver into your mid-lengths and ends. The result will be unique and feminine without overpowering your face.
Gold Chocolate Babylights
For a summery take on chocolate brown hair, warm golden highlights are a no-brainer. We love this look when it’s applied as babylights, a subtle technique that imitates the natural highlights from your childhood. Babylights are the perfect choice if you’re looking for subtle golden highlights that are flattering without being too obvious.
Picture an oversized mug of hot cocoa on a cold winter day—now, translate that into a hair color. That’s hot chocolate-inspired hair. To achieve this hue, you’ll start with a deep chocolate base that gives way to lighter cinnamon and bronze highlights, creating a warm melange of color. We especially love this chocolate shade on very long manes, so the hair’s movement can show off those rich, dimensional tones.
Consider cherry chocolate the moody sibling of hot chocolate hair. This shade, which features deep purple and red tones interwoven throughout a brown base, is bold without being overpowering. The rich, decadent shade can flatter anyone, but looks especially striking when contrasted against ultra-fair or dark skin.
Looking for the perfect shade of chocolate brown for fall? Try chocolate hazelnut. This dark nutty brown shade incorporates the chocolate elements we know and love while introducing a hint of copper to warm up the look.
If you’ve debated trying dark purple hair but haven’t committed yet, use plum as a transitional shade. This subtle, burgundy-like hue bridges the gap between brown and purple for a standout shade that’s still wearable. True, this shade barely counts as chocolate brown—but as far as we’re concerned, it’s far too beautiful to leave off our list.
For the bold risk taker looking to try something new, try weaving cool lilac highlights throughout your chocolate hair. The vibrant shade adds unmistakable brightness, depth, and just the right amount of playful color to your chocolate brown locks—without the need for a full hair overhaul.
This glossy, medium-dark shade is truly all chocolate. It tends to be especially flattering on anyone with warm skin that also has honey or caramel undertones. Wondering where the “truffle” comes in? This shade usually contains multiple chocolate-inspired tones for added dimension, giving it the appearance of a truffle topped with rich, delicious toppings.
Red Chocolate Peekaboo
There’s no rule that says you have to commit to an entire head of red hair. Instead, you can give the color a try with some red peekaboo highlights on chocolate brown hair. This way, your red streaks will make a statement rather than overwhelming your complexion (great for those who aren’t sure whether they can pull off a full head of red).
Chocolate Caramel Balayage
Go for the gold and update your mane with a warm caramel balayage. The syrupy golden hue will brighten up your chocolatey locks while adding dimension and depth for a multifaceted look that’s as sweet as it is sultry.
Lighten up your chocolate brown hair for the warmer months by adding face-framing honey-toned highlights to your mane. Think of it as going blonde without sacrificing your brunette identity.
Chocolate Caramel Peekaboo
If you’re not feeling ready for the dramatic impact of a caramel balayage, try a more subtle peekaboo approach. Your stylist can pick face-framing pieces to lighten that’ll brighten up your complexion without stealing the show.
Chocolate Cinnamon Balayage
It’s hard to deny it—cinnamon balayage on chocolate hair is a near-perfect color combination. This dark chocolate brown shade features hints of reflective red and gold, resulting in natural-looking dimension.
Fiery Red Chocolate Balayage
Embrace your dark side with a fiery red balayage. Perfect for pixies, long bobs, and angled cuts, this dramatic application of color will make you feel like you’re playing the (glam) villain in a movie.
Mahogany highlights on dark chocolate brown hair makes for a look that’s vampy in the best possible way. Keep in mind that reddish hues are prone to fade, so you’ll want to protect your sultry color with an anti-fade system, like Matrix Keep Me Vivid Shampoo and Conditioner.
Blonde Chocolate Balayage
The blonde balayage is one hair color trend that’s not likely to fade anytime soon. This style is created by free-painting golden, sun-kissed highlights on chocolate strands using a balayage technique. In addition to looking downright beautiful, balayage has the benefit of being relatively low-maintenance. Unlike traditional highlights, it’s applied from mid-lengths to ends, so there are no root touch-ups to contend with.
Rose Gold Chocolate
Rose gold was one of the biggest hair color trends last year, but it’s not too late to embrace this feminine hue. To achieve it, weave rose gold highlights throughout a rich chocolate brown base for a subtle touch of pink that’s playful, yet still wearable.
Don’t be afraid to combine dark brown hair with very bright blonde shades: the bold contrast of light on dark is undeniably striking. Keep in mind, however, that platinum hair requires more maintenance than a darker blonde shade (like a honey blonde or caramel highlight). If you’re prepared to put in the upkeep work, have your stylist paint white-blonde highlights on top of your deep, chocolate base, and grab a purple shampoo to help fend off brassiness.
Take inspiration from autumn’s changing leaves with a warm chocolate brown chestnut shade. We like this hue best when achieved via a color-melting technique. With this technique, your stylist will blend different shades of red and gold into your chocolate brown base to create a multifaceted, reflective color with tons of soft warmth.
Chocolate With Copper Highlights
Cowboy copper is one of this year’s biggest hair trends, but going straight to warm orange-red can feel like a major jump for those with natural brown hair. If you’re not ready to dive right in (understandable), experiment with the trendy hue by adding copper highlights to your natural chocolate brown base color.
If copper is too red for you, give auburn a try. This natural-looking deep reddish shade will add vibrancy to your chocolate brown ’do without being overly orange. It complements many different hair textures and looks especially stunning on curly or wavy hair.
Chocolate Chip Cookie
Not one for hair maintenance? Switch up your style fast by having your stylist add face-framing sandy blonde highlights to your chocolate locks. If you’re willing to sit in the chair a bit longer, some blonde babylights can take the look even further.
Header image credit: https://www.instagram.com/palauannative/
Ready to try your favorite chocolate brown hair color? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon with a pro near you, then discover how to keep your color looking healthy and vibrant at Hair.com,