The 50 Trendiest Dark Brown Hair Color Ideas For 2018

Hair Color Ideas and Inspiration

The 50 Trendiest Dark Brown Hair Color Ideas For 2018

20 August 2018
Woman with short dark brown hair

Emily Arata

Senior Editor,

As an employee of L’Oréal, Emily works with celebrity stylists to make finding the right cut, color, or style easier than ever before. She's previously written for Allure, Elite Daily, and First We Feast.

Confession: We have a serious craving for chocolate—not just the kind you eat, either, but hair colors inspired by the favorite dessert. No matter the season, dark brown hair is the right decision.

Whether you’re aiming for a medium shade with golden notes or full-on roasty espresso, there’s a shade for you. There’s a reason so many celebrities choose to go brunette: The shade is low-maintenance and lovely, especially when paired with bright or dark pops of color.

Instead of choosing to agonize over grey balayage or red hair, dye your hair chestnut, mahogany, dark honey, or cocoa. Don’t be afraid to indulge your sweet tooth and take your hair in a new direction. In ponytails, braids, or blow outs, dark brown hair is truly striking.

Golden Brown

Hair colors involving gold and silver are pure classics, so there’s practically no going wrong with them. We love this rich brown as a transitional shade for fall since it’s so warm.

Iced Latte

Add a touch of frost to your dark blonde hair with iced latte, a color combination that ruled social media all summer. If cool shades are most likely to flatter you coloring, this is the color to choose.


Gray doesn’t have to mean one-dimensional. This dark brown and gray mix takes the granny hair trend and flips it on its head, creating a youthful and multidimensional shade.


Love pastels, but not so sure about the maintenance routine they require? Minimize the time and effort involved with a pastel that blends into a dark brown base color. As an added bonus, it’s a more understated look.


When winter settles in, all we wish for is cashmere blanket to wrap ourselves in. Think of warm, dark brunette as its hair color equivalent—at least in coziness. Be sure to schedule a consultation appointment ahead of your color service to ensure your stylist has time to tailor your color to your skin tone.

Auburn Highlights

In the wide world of hair color, auburn really is one of the greats. This shade adds a touch of elegance to any dark brown ‘do—not to mention, a reflective glint of red every time your hair moves.


Feeling playful? Metallics are a great way to channel that emotion into your hair color. A splash of gemstone-like shine can liven up even the darkest brown hair color.


Fantasy colors aren’t worn out into the world as often as more classic blondes and browns, but we’re pro experimenting. Ensure you’re ready for the upkeep by consulting with a trusted hairstylist.


Stick to what you know, lady. A neutral shade of dark brown is the ultimate color chameleon.

Cocoa Brown

If you’re thinking about trying dark brown hair, cocoa brown was probably your first thought. The shade is a true brown with notes of red—beautiful, simple, and flattering. Cocoa brown hair is particularly beautiful on olive skin tones.

Cherry Brown

Is your stomach growling yet, especially considering this name? Cherry brown hair is one opulent shade away from chocolate brown hair, introducing notes of cool red to a deep brown base. We love this color for dark skin tones.

photo of mocha dark brown hair color


When you think mocha hair, imagine the perfect blend of espresso and hazel tones. Like its delicious, rich namesake, this shade is best when served warm—warm undertones, that is. This shade is incredibly versatile, suiting all skin tones equally.

photo of Burgundy hair color

Burgundy Brown

Erring slightly more on the ultra violet hair side than cherry brown, burgundy brown adds a violet sheen to any mane. The cool-toned color looks lovely on medium skin tones, with the red notes adding extra dimension.

Dark Honey Brown

Here’s another shade for ladies with warm-toned skin. Just the way caramel hair acts like a vacation in a bottle for blondes, dark honey brown hair makes brunettes’ skin glow. There’s a reason you see supermodels wear this color.


Chestnut is a particularly luminous shade of dark brown. If you’re worried about winter hair color that looks flat or lifeless, stress no more—the reddish notes within dark hair colors will keep you feeling and looking vibrant until spring comes again.

photo of mahogany hair color


Not enough red for you? Try mahogany, a color so deep it hovers somewhere between brown and red. It’s a vampy, dramatic take on brunette, and we love it on ladies with extra pale, cool skin.

photo of coffee hair color

Coffee Brown

If you’re hoping for a wear-anywhere shade of brown that’s not quite as dramatic as mocha or espresso, we recommend giving coffee brown a try. The color is incredibly neutral, suitable for all skin tones and seasons.

Dark Bronze

Dark bronze hair is just luscious—there’s no other way to say it. The shade comes with hints of caramel and deep, deep brown, mixed so beautifully it’s impossible to ignore.


Have you always wanted to dye your hair black, but can’t quite cheat on your brunette roots? Ask your stylist for espresso, a truly deep shade of brown that’s reflective and mesmerizing. We love the shade for winter, especially against very pale skin.

photo of milk chocolate hair color

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate doesn’t only make for a sweet treat—it’s pretty incredible as a hair color, too. This medium-dark shade comes with warm red notes, which makes it a great choice for olive skinned ladies. Milk chocolate hair is a favorite of ours for autumn.

Dark Brown with Rose Gold Balayage

If you’ve been dying to try out the rose gold hair trend but haven’t quite committed, we have the perfect inspiration for you. Instead of taking your whole head lighter, ask your stylist to apply rose gold balayage over your dark brown hair. The resulting look is multi-faceted and shimmery.

photo of copper highlights in dark brown hair color

Brown with Copper Highlights

Not a girl who’s looking for pink hair? Try copper highlights on your dark brown hair, adding extra warm notes into the mix. This look is fantastic for natural redheads looking to mix it up a little while still paying homage to their original color.

photo of cinnamon hair color

Cinnamon Brown

Unlike many other shades of dark brown, cinnamon is unique in its versatility. The red-brown shade can skew either warm or cool, making it a viable option for all skin tones.


Hair stylists disagree on the precise shade of cappuccino, but we say it’s a medium-dark brown with hints of gold through the mid-lengths and ends. It’s a beautiful transition shade for springtime, and will even last through the end of the summer.

Cola Brown

Curious about cola brown hair? Think of the way cola looks in the light—dark in the middle, with deep red where the light comes through. That’s exactly what inspires this soda-like shade, which looks incredible on cool-toned ladies.

Black to Copper Ombre

If you’re not quite convinced to dye your whole head dark brown, we love the look of an ombre that fades from black to copper. This hair color spectrum passes right through medium-dark brown, while still incorporating several other shades. It’s all the look and none of the commitment of being a brunette.


Bronde (brown blonde) may have started as a dark shade of blonde, but the past year has seen stylists adapting it many ways. We like this color best when the base is a very deep brunette.

photo of dark auburn hair color

Dark Auburn

Girls with cool skin tones, this one’s for you. Dark auburn just barely counts as brown hair, but the purple-red shade wouldn’t be nearly as lovely without undertones of espresso.

photo of amber brown hair color

Amber Brown

On the opposite end of the brown spectrum is amber brown, a color that’s remarkable in its versatility. The medium-dark shade includes plenty of blonde influence, creating a color that mimics naturally sun-lightened hair.

photo of dark brown sombre hair color

Beige and Brown Sombre

While amber brown hair contains visible bright sections, beige and brown sombre (subtle ombre) is a much more nuanced take on the transition. Come red carpet season, plenty of celebrities will be wearing this super versatile shade.

photo of caramel brown hair color


Caramel is basically the denim of hair color—it looks fabulous on everyone. No matter your skin color, the buttery shade will give you a glow.

photo of light brown hair color

Light Brown

Light brown has a reputation for mousiness, but the color can be beautifully multidimensional in the hands of the right colorist. When in doubt, ask your colorist about placing babylights throughout your mane.

photo of brown hair with chocolate brown highlights

Chocolate Highlight

Brunette hair can fall flat, which is why you’ll see so many colorists suggesting a secondary shade. On black hair, chocolate highlights add a reflective quality that will make even the darkest shade pop.

photo of highlighted brown ombre hair

Ombre Highlight

The ombre technique mimics the way the sun naturally bleaches hair, leaving you with an authentic looking brown-to-blonde blend. There’s a reason your favorite celebrity is already wearing this color.

photo of caramel highlights on brown hair

Caramel Highlight

Caramel highlights on brunette locks do more than just flatter your complexion. The bright pieces help create the illusion of thicker hair, just the way highlighter on the tops of your cheekbones makes them seem more defined.

photo of brown hair with caramel ombre

Caramel Ombre

Particular about the way your caramel is applied to your hair? Us, too. Ask your colorist about an ombre, which will help ensure the caramel grows out without any line of demarcation.

photo of brown hair with auburn highlights

Auburn Highlight

Auburn is one of those colors that just glows against almost any skin tone. Add it to your dark locks to help transition from winter to a brighter spring shade.

photo of ash brow hair color


Red tones aren’t your style? Go beige instead with an ashy brown shade. This matte look has officially taken over the red carpet in the past year, so you’ll be right on-trend.

photo of shoulder length brown hair

Shoulder Length

Modernize your brown hair with a lob that just brushes your shoulders. For an extra chic finish, visit your stylist for regular dustings to keep those edges blunt.

photo of short curly brown hair


Falling in love with a shorter length? Make the leap and ask your stylist for a stylish bob. You’ll look so good that you won’t even miss the extra inches.

photo of brown hair with light red tint

Red Undertone

Everyone thinks about adding blonde accents to their hair, but opting for a red undertone is a bit more unexpected. We love a cherry soda shade that incorporates hints of magenta and plum.

photo of brown hair with pink dip dye hair color

Dip Dye

Feeling creative? Talk to your colorist about a pastel dip dye over a brown base. This vibrant style makes the whimsical hair color trend feel exponentially more grown-up.

photo of rose gold balayage hair

Rose Gold

Here’s a tricky hair color that will surely pay off: rose gold on brunette hair. We’re seeing this satin-like shade take over social media. Try it as a balayage or dip dye.

photo of brown to platinum blonde balayage hair


Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it, too? If you’re an experienced blond, ask your stylist to add dark roots to the shade as a kind of reverse balayage.

photo of brown hair with babylights


During the summer, babylights are the simplest way to lighten up your dark strands. This technique replicates the natural highlights many children have, which means won’t feel overdone.

photo of burgundy ombre

Burgundy Ombre

Don’t be afraid of color! Burgundy ombre is a punk rock way to add color to your brunette ‘do.

photo of brown hair with burgundy highlights

Burgundy Highlight

For a more subtle choice, ask your colorist to add burgundy pieces around your face.

photo of honey highlights on brown hair

Honey Highlight

If you have medium or dark skin, the honey highlight is your greatest ally. This warm shade will breathe new life into your base color.

photo of brown hair with lavender ends


For a funky touch, add a hint of lavender to the ends of your hair. This technique can also help freshen up blonde ombre that you’re growing tired of.

photo of brown hair with violet balayage


If lavender isn’t enough, try violet. This vibrant hue will dial up the drama on any color brown hair.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Got a sweet tooth? So do we!

For customized advice about dark brown hair, use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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