The 14 Most Gorgeous Caramel Hair Color Ideas

Hair Color Ideas and Inspiration

The 14 Most Gorgeous Caramel Highlights For Every Hair Color

28 August 2017
Caramel colored highlights

Emily Arata

Senior Editor

Nothing in this world is better than coming home from a day by the water. Whether you’re on a tropical vacation or just strolling back from the neighborhood swimming pool, the experience is sublime. You’re sun-sleepy and bronzed, ready for a cool shower and an afternoon nap.

If there’s a single hair color capable of encapsulating that “back from the beach” feeling, it’s caramel. Caramel hair color works on every skin tone and hair color, turning every woman into a little bit of a summer goddess. Just like a tan can do wonders for your complexion, caramel brightens and highlights. Imperfections? We can’t see any.

If you’re not quite ready to dye your whole head, why not try highlights? Caramel is a no-fuss shade, one that’s guaranteed to flatter your complexion. Placing streaks of color around the face and at your mid-lengths will create a natural-looking, gorgeous hair palette.

No matter what base color you’re beginning with, caramel highlights are the easiest way to match your look to the season. We’ve rounded up our favorite shades of caramel for your perusal. By the time you’re finished with the list, we guarantee you’ll be on the phone with your colorist. Caramel just works like that.


Is matte hair color calling your name? Do you punch the “like” heart on Instagram the second you see it? We can’t help but wonder what it is you’re waiting for. Over the top of neutral shades like light blonde, ashy caramel highlights are a surefire win. We recommend trying them paired with a lob so that your hair will have the chance to display as much flash and depth as possible.


In the world of highlights, very few colors count as subtle. Hazel is one of few exceptions to the rule, blending nicely with dirty blonde and light brown base shades. If you’re interested in highlights but prefer “I woke up like this” vibes to full-on diva, ask your stylist about this shade. We’re sure you’re going to absolutely love it.

Deep Caramel

When in doubt, go dark. Deep caramel highlights are an extra-rich take on the color, one that’s undeniably glamorous. On extra-long hair or recently darkened shades, deep caramel is the way to go. We also like it when it’s placed within a spectrum of gold tones, creating a range of shades that play around the face.

Smoky Caramel

Makeup formulas have come a long way in the last two decades, moving from chalky, harsh pigment to blendable, natural-looking formulas. The same goes for hair color. Streaks and stripes just won’t cut it these days. Soft, blendable shades are what we want, and smoky caramel is an excellent hue built for achieving that goal. It’s moody and soft, enhancing your base tone instead of taking away from it.

Honey Caramel

Honey and caramel are two of our favorite hair colors, so it only makes sense to blend them. On medium and dark brown hair, this buttery blend adds light and shimmer. Bonus points if your wear your new highlights in beachy, opulent waves.

Burnt Caramel

If you’ve ever actually burnt caramel, don’t panic. This hair color doesn’t look (or smell) anything like that sticky, disastrous mess. Burnt caramel highlights combine rich red-brown notes with lighter caramel. The result is a rich, autumnal shade that’s perfect over top of espresso or mocha manes.

Chocolate Caramel

Ignore that noise—it’s just your stomach growling after reading all these positively decadent hair color names. Cravings aside, chocolate caramel is the subtlest of all the shades in this family. It barely qualifies as blonde at all, giving off just the slightest hint of light. If you’re aiming for subtle highlights on very dark hair, go with chocolate caramel.


As the name suggest, butterscotch highlights are a true gold shade that hints at notes of coppery red. On dark blonde hair, butterscotch adds brilliance and vibrancy. For extra wearability, ask your stylist to place the color in the places sun naturally hits your hair. Instead of looking like you’ve come from the salon, you’ll seem straight out of a luxury vacation.


The difference between toffee and butterscotch highlights is nuanced, but it’s certainly present to the trained eye. Where butterscotch errs on the sunny side of the hair spectrum, toffee has plenty of light brown notes mixed into its blonde base. On ashy brown or blonde hair, toffee is sure to be a hit.


At some point, you’ve come across a woman with natural strawberry blonde hair. The color is startling in its individuality. Now, imagine mixing that shade with blonde notes and splashing it across copper or hazel-toned hair. Gorgeous, right? We think so too.

Chestnut Caramel

Vixens and bombshells have relied on very dark hair for decades, but we like to see a little brightness added into the mix. If you’re attached to your vampy identity, rest assured chestnut caramel won’t lighten your mane too much. Think of it as creating high points in your hair, just the way any painter would in a work of art.

Raspberry and Caramel

There’s a soft spot in our heart for purple-red hair colors used well. The resulting shades are dramatic and a little goth, bringing a dose of much-needed drama to a world full of beachy blondes. For this look, your stylist will paint and blend pieces of bright caramel throughout your chestnut strands for an utterly gorgeous hair look.


Unlike the coffee and chocolate drink (which is mostly just brown), mocha highlights combine just a hint of caramel with deep brown and red. You’ll be surprised at how natural this shade looks over dark hair, adding light throughout the ends and around the face. When in doubt, mocha highlights are a decadent look that you’ll surely love.

Beige Caramel

In case you hadn’t heard, ashy shades are in style in a big way. Celebrity colorists often add muted beige caramel highlights over a dark or medium blonde base, recreating the natural highlights many of us had as children. This technique, called “babylights,” has proven itself to be endlessly popular among those looking for a more natural color.

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