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75 Stunning Dark Brown Hair Color Ideas

Dark brown hair comes in a wide range of shades, making it flattering on nearly anyone. If brown hair color dye is your next move, read on for inspiration.
75 Stunning Dark Brown Hair Color Ideas

There’s a reason dark brown hair is so popular among celebs, influencers, and duchesses: It’s a classic color no matter how you style it, and there are countless variations to experiment with. But with so many gorgeous options comes a paradox of choice: How can you possibly pick just one?

Ahead, we’ll teach you how to nail down the best dark brown hair color for you, complete with 70+ inspirational looks to influence your next dye job. You’ll also find expert-approved maintenance tips to prolong the vibrancy of your color-treated mane. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your natural base shade or take a walk on the wild side with a fantasy accent, here’s all the inspo you need to slay your next dark brown hair color.

Good hair day by @coloredbyphuong

How to Choose the Right Dark Brown Hair Color for You

Considering your skin’s undertones is one the easiest ways to narrow down your most flattering dark brown hair color. Generally, hair colors with the same undertone as your skin (warm, cool, or neutral) offer the most natural-looking results. Here’s how to check where your skin falls on this spectrum:

  • Warm skin tones: Look at the underside of your wrist. If your veins appear greenish, you likely have a warm skin tone. Those with warmer skin typically look best with golden or reddish, dark brown hair colors, such as caramel or mahogany.
  • Cool skin tones: If you have bluish veins and a more pinkish complexion, you probably have cool skin. Cool-toned dark brown hair colors, like mushroom brown, tend to look better on you, as they won’t pull out the red in your complexion. Look for browns that reflect blue, green, or purple, as well as black-browns
  • Neutral skin tones: You presumably have bluish-green veins, which means your skin is neither rosy nor olive. You’re in luck—almost every shade of dark brown hair dye should flatter you, including beige, sandy tones.

Skin and hair both come in a lovely spectrum of colors, so you may find that you fit into more than one of the above categories. Also, keep in mind that everyone sees colors slightly differently, which is why it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation with your stylist and bring photos before committing to a color.

That said, don’t feel pressured to stick to any of these “rules” at all. “The cool thing about hair is anyone can pull anything off, as long as it works with your personal style,” says Brittany VanDyke, a hairstylist from Fayetteville, Arkansas. When in doubt, talk with your stylist about ways your cut and color choice can best highlight your favorite features.

Good hair day by @curlsbybebonia

How to Care for Dark Brown Hair

No matter what shade you choose, dark brown hair can look drab and dull if you forego proper maintenance. A good at-home haircare routine is essential to keep your strands looking their best well after your salon appointment.

Use a color-care system.

First, you’ll want to equip yourself with wash day systems designed to protect and extend your hue’s lifespan, like Biolage Professional’s Color Last Shampoo and Conditioner. This duo cleanses and conditions while helping preserve color vibrancy.

Remove brassy undertones.

Depending on your chosen shade, you may need to swap color-correcting products into your lineup to eliminate brass. Extremely dark brown to black hair will benefit from green-pigmented products, like Matrix’s Dark Envy Green Toning Shampoo and Dark Envy Hydrating Conditioner. This color-depositing green shampoo neutralizes red brassy undertones to keep your brunette looking its best.

Dark brown hair with lighter accents should opt for blue formulas to counteract unwanted orange tones. Matrix’s Brass Off Shampoo and Brass Off Conditioner contain blue-violet pigments to refresh the cool tones in lightened brown hair.

Protect your hair from heat.

Heat styling is a major contributor to lackluster color, but prepping your hair with heat protectant can help keep your dark brown hair in good standing. We love a multi-tasking spritz like Pureology’s Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray. The formula safeguards against heat damage and color fade while moisturizing, strengthening, and repairing all hair types.

Get a hair gloss.

VanDyke recommends scheduling appointments for a hair gloss every six to eight weeks, which will help refresh your existing color and keep it vibrant.

If frequent salon trips aren’t in the cards (or in your budget), an at-home hair gloss like Redken’s Acidic Color Gloss Activated Glass Gloss Treatment works just as well. This standalone treatment helps condition hair, extend color, and add shine between appointments. Best of all, the pH-balanced formula can give all hair colors a dazzling sheen that lasts up to three washes. Learn more about the benefits of acidic haircare in our explainer, What Is Acidic Haircare? We Asked the Pros.

As promised, we compiled 75 of our favorite dark hair color ideas to bring to your next salon consultation. From deep browns with trendy pastel accents to traditional balayages, you’ll find tons of imaginative looks ahead.

The Best Natural-Looking Color Ideas for Dark Brown Hair

Good hair day by @krazy4hair

Blonde Money Piece

A blonde money piece (a chunky, face-framing highlight) brightens your features and gives the impression of lighter-looking hair without actually abandoning your dark brown base.

Good hair day by @hairbysarmad

Cappuccino Brown Hair

On the lighter side of dark brown, cappuccino hair color features various muted brown tones blended together. Instead of the harsher yellow-gold shades you’ll note in other lighter browns, cappuccino has a golden-violet reflection that looks lovely on cooler to slightly warm skin tones.

Good hair day by @ashlemaster

Medium Golden Brown

This medium golden brown hair color is a multi-dimensional shade that’s suitable for any time of year.

Good hair day by @slayejae

Caramel Brown Ombré

Blend chocolate brown and caramel hair colors using a modern ombré technique—when darker roots gradually fade into a lighter brown or blonde tone at the ends. This allows hair to grow out naturally between touch-ups without a harsh line of demarcation.

Good hair day by @colorkult

Extra Contrasted Ombré

Some prefer a seamless, natural-looking ombré, while others are all about the contrast. If you fall on the latter end of the spectrum, have your stylist replicate this gorgeous gradient. Chunky panels of hair color distinctly mark the transition between black roots, a caramel body, and bright, buttery blonde ends.

Good hair day by @colorbymarina and @jamiedoesgoodhair

Chocolate Brown Hair With Cappuccino Highlights

This nearly espresso brown features a deep, cool-toned brown base and sandy ombre ribbons woven throughout the lengths.

Good hair day by @elixirhairstudio

Mushroom Brown

A chic medium shade, mushroom brown hair has been on top of colorists’ most beloved lists for several years because it’s so versatile. With a range between dark blonde to deep brown, this very cool shade has subtle sandy undertones.

This uber-trendy shade is an ideal pick for blondes transitioning to brown because of its lack of warm tones, VanDyke says, although it also flatters olive skin. Make the most of the hue by pairing it with long, wavy hairstyles that show off its natural dimension.

Good hair day by @jessie_hair_vbbeauty

Ash Brown With Mushroom Highlights

You don’t need to fully commit to mushroom brown to enjoy its benefits. Try adding subtle cool highlights to a classic ash brown shade for a versatile and flattering medium-brown hue.

Good hair day by @ckaedingcolor

Iced Latte Brown

If cool shades flatter your complexion, blend a cool blonde into a deep mushroom color for an original take on iced caramel hair color.

Good hair day by @kellymccormickhair

Gray Brown

Pair dark mushroom-brown with silvery blonde to flip gray hair color on its (trendy) head. The result is a youthful and multidimensional shade with a bit of edge. Gray can be tricky to get just right, so be sure to consult a colorist who is well-versed in the hue. Peruse their social media pages to see if they have experience with gray hair transformations so you can get a sense of their artistic flair.

Good hair day by @thegoodhairwitch


Maple technically still lives in the dark brown family but has a strong red tone. It generally tends to skew warm, towards copper, but can sometimes be a cooler violet-red.

“It’s great if you want to have fun with red but not commit full-on,” says VanDyke. Red-brown hair is ideal if you have dark or olive-toned skin, and it’s especially flattering for those with brown eyes.

Good hair day by @dremalczewska


Bronde hair is the lovechild of brown and blonde. We love this take on the hue, which features a deep brunette base and warmer dark blonde highlights woven throughout.

Good hair day by @beeblondor

Dark Honey Brown

There’s a reason you see supermodels wear honey brown: The beachy hue is like a tropical vacation in a bottle (without the sun damage, of course).

Good hair day by @lauraelenahairartist

Light Brown

Light brown hair can be beautifully multidimensional in the hands of the right colorist. Dip your toes into the lighter hue by asking your stylist to place babylights throughout your dark brown mane.

Good hair day by @queenvenalove

Chestnut Brown

Chestnut brown hair color is a luminous reddish-brown shade that gives flat or lifeless dark hair a hint of warmth and dimension.

Natural Brown Hair

Natural brown is like your favorite cashmere sweater: cozy and classic. Straddling warm and cool, this middle-brown shade sometimes has a touch of gold but generally doesn’t pull too much of any undertone.

“It’s universally flattering on anyone, whether your skin tone is light or dark,” says VanDyke. “Everyone looks good in a neutral tone.”

Good hair day by @denisesuzanne_

Fondue Brown

Just like its namesake, fondue hair is warm, inviting, and indulgent. Get the look by asking your stylist about Redken Shades EQ Hair Gloss in Natural Chocolates. Here, Redken artist Denish Welsh used 07NCh Fondue, which features:

• a brown to tan background to balance hair with natural-looking color

• ash-blue tones to neutralize any brassy undertones

• delicate red-violet tones to add richness without being too warm

• Bonder Inside to help repair weakened hair bonds

Good hair day

Beach Bum Brunette

Keep the summer spirit alive with beach bum brunette, a look that mimics the warm, golden pigments that appear in brown hair after a day in the sun. Beach bum strikes the perfect balance between warm and cool, and features a softer transition between your root, base, and ends for a more seamless grow-out.

Good hair day by @avhair_

Chocolate Brown With Caramel Highlights

If you want an effortlessly chic shade, consider upgrading your dark brown hair with gilded dark caramel highlights.

Good hair day by @hairbybritny

Natural Brown With Red Highlights

Golds, coppers, and red tones add warmth to natural brown shades. We love this one as a winter hair color because it reminds us of a piping mug of spiced apple cider.

Good hair day by @toyomii

Espresso With Neutral Highlights

If you’re not quite ready to give up your espresso brown, this natural and neutral shade has similar violet undertones—with a brush of soft gold through the ends.

Good hair day by @colissanolepro

Dark Chocolate Hair

Picture a dark chocolate bar, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what popular dark brown shade can look like. While the shade is ultra-flattering on those with warm undertones, VanDyke notes that it’s also a great shade for those with fairer, more neutral-leaning skin.

Good hair day by @lauraelenahairartist

Chocolate Brown Highlights

Brighten up ultra-dark brown hair by adding reddish chocolate brown highlights for a reflective pop.

Good hair day by @robbielonker

Dirty Brunette

The dirty brunette hair trend combines dirty blonde with chocolate brown hair. Ask your stylist for dark brown hair with blonde highlights that lean a bit sandy in tone.

Red-Brown Babylights on Chocolate Brown Hair

During the summer, babylights lighten up dark chocolate strands by replicating the naturally occurring highlights you often see in kids’ hair. Opt for reddish babylights to bring out the warmth of your base shade.

Good hair day by @hairbybritny

Cinnamon Sugar Brunette

Bordering on red, cinnamon brown is uniquely versatile since it can skew warm or cool. The right stylist can customize the rich shade to flatter your skin tone.

Good hair day by @ciaracasey_jchair and @justincaseysalon

Red-Brown Balayage on Dark Brown Hair

This brunette balayage is the love child of chocolate brown and red-brown hair and doesn’t require a heavy bleach application to deposit the deep red pigments.

Good hair day by @blakereedevans

Dark Chocolate With Hazelnut

What pairs perfectly with dark chocolate? Hazelnut. Add dimension to your dark brown with a rich, nutty-brown balayage inspired by your favorite late-night snack.

Good hair day by @hairbymeganperez

Warm Walnut

This natural hue gets its depth with super-subtle caramel babylights. One of the (very) few downsides of warmer hair colors is how it can make cooler gray strands appear more pronounced. To camouflage every stray silver, ask your colorist about Redken’s Color Gels Oils collection. The range rejuvenates the look and feel of gray hairs and offers up to 100 percent coverage on every shade offering. Learn more about Color Gels Oils in our explainer, Redken Color Gels for Gray Hair Touch-Ups.

Dark Ash Brown Hair

Dark ash brown is void of gold or red tones, instead skewing violet or blue. Because of its coolness, this shade is a great option if your skin is neutral to ashy with pink undertones. “It’s a good shade for blondes wanting to transition darker,” says VanDyke. “It won’t [wash you] out with all the warm-toned gold, and it looks beautiful with blue eyes.”

Good hair day by @seolahair

Dark Ash Gray

Dark ash gray hair stealthily blends grays into a soft, cool-toned brunette hue. The result is an ashy matte color that’s eye-catching and elegant.

Good hair day by @andrewlovescolor

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brown

Cool-toned brown tiptoes the line of espresso, with ashy highlights to add dimension.

Good hair day by @sam__dupuis

Dark Ash Brown With Chrome Highlights

Add depth and dimension to dark brown hair with blonde highlights in a cool silvery hue. This striking style will require bleach, so you might want to incorporate a weekly hair mask into your haircare routine. For an option that requires no more than five minutes of your time, consider Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate 5-Min Liquid Mask. See how one editor uses it for fuller, healthier-looking hair in our complete 5-Min Liquid Mask review.

Good hair day by @hellocindeee

Slate Brunette Balayage

Embrace gray by opting for an eye-catching balayage with black-brown roots that gradually lighten to reveal pure-platinum ends.

Good hair day by @hairbyatellez

Dark Brown Hair With Brandy Highlights

Straddle the line between cool and warm with this brandy-inspired hue. It features an ashy blue-violet base paired with warm brandy highlights, making for a fun play in contrast.

Good hair day by @studiolioness

Walnut Ash With Butterscotch Highlights

Thanks to a fusion of cool ash base and warm caramel hair color highlights, this sunkissed look is stellar against neutral skin tones. When at the salon, request a walnut ash base or dark brown hair with caramel highlights.

Good hair day by @hairby_gloria

Dark Ash Brown

Choose a dark ash brown with subtle violet undertones for a cooler, moodier take on the classic medium ash brown.

Good hair day by @joyjah Chocolate Cherry Brown Hair

Compared to red-brown, cherry chocolate hair is a cooler red shade with a strong red-violet tone. “Anyone with rich or olive skin tones can really benefit from this color,” says VanDyke, though it can also complement those with fairer skin tones.

Good hair day by @prettylittleombre

Cherry Brown

One opulent shade away from chocolate brown, cherry brown hair features a deep brown base with bold, purple-red tones—a unique shade that pops beautifully against medium to dark skin tones.

Good hair day by @meltedbymadib

True Auburn

With luxurious red and golden tones, auburn hair color adds a touch of refinement to dark brown hues. Red-leaning hues are known to fade faster than other hair dyes, so we recommend cutting down on wash days to help preserve your precious color. If your strands get greasy between washes, reach for a dry shampoo to help refresh and revive your roots. We always have a can of Kérastase’s Fresh Affair Fine Fragrance Dry Shampoo on hand, which absorbs oil and leaves strands lightly scented.

Good hair day by @rachel_redd

Auburn Brown

Boost a black-brown base color by infusing one-dimensional hair with a firey auburn shade. The twists and turns of curls can really draw attention to the color’s tonal variation.

Good hair day by @hanas_salon_inspo

Auburn Highlights

Add glowy auburn highlights to dark brown locks to help transition your winter hue to a more vivid spring hair color. You’ll love how the fine streaks help catch the light for a mirrorlike glint every time you move.

Good hair day by @love_is_in_the_hair_monceau


Mauve just barely counts as brown hair, but the purple-red shade wouldn’t be nearly as lovely without those subtle brunette undertones.

Good hair day by @taylerdoeshair_

Sunny Brown

Level up dark brown hair with a copper and strawberry balayage. The soft gradient satisfies the urge to experiment with a new hair color while preserving your natural brown roots throughout the crown.

Good hair day by @makeupbyfrances

Deep Mahogany Hair

A sister to chocolate cherry brown, mahogany hair is a cool shade of red-brown. It leans toward the violet side of red and looks gorgeous on yellow or olive skin. Just beware, says VanDyke: If you’ve got pink or red in your complexion, this hair color can potentially wash you out and make your skin look ruddy.

Good hair day by @suetyrrellstylist

Mahogany Brown

Mahogany is a deep color that hovers somewhere between brown and red hair color—a vampy, dramatic take on your usual brunette.

Good hair day by @oluchizelda

Dark Brown Hair With Copper Highlights

Copper-colored highlights add warm notes to cool-toned mahogany hair. This is a fantastic look for natural redheads looking to mix it up.

Chili Chocolate

Chili chocolate hair blends rich chocolate color with cool-toned mahogany red accents for a color that embraces the best of both (delicious) worlds.

Good hair day by @michelleoconnorbeauty

Burgundy Ombre

Adding deep violet-hued burgundy ombre to black-brown hair is pure punk rock—especially when paired with unexpected styling, as seen above.

Good hair day by @definedbyliz

Burgundy Highlights

If you’re craving a lower-maintenance look, ask your colorist to paint chunky, vivid burgundy highlights around your head or onto the pieces framing your face.

Good hair day by @glenis_elle

Plum Brown

A jammy, plum-inspired brown straddles the line between dark brown and cherry—sans any copper or orange tones.

Espresso Brown-Black Hair

Jet black hair is striking, but can be difficult to pull off. Instead, try a deep espresso hue. You’ll get all of the impact of black hair, but with the subtlest hint of softness for wearability.

Good hair day by @gabrielleroccuzzo

Coffee Brown

For a wear-anywhere brunette hue, drink in a timeless coffee brown. Amp up the shine-factor of this energizing color by running a dab of hair oil through your strands. Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Hair Oil protects, nourishes, and adds shine without weighing hair down.

Good hair day by @emerson_hair


Espresso is a reflective and mesmerizing deep black-brown that looks particularly gorgeous against very pale skin.

Good hair day by @_domidoeshair

Charcoal Brown

Charcoal brown hair is where gray hair and dark brown meet. It’s smoky, inky, and ashy—but still soft enough for everyday wear.

Good hair day by @hairbyshelbystone

Violet Cream Babylights

Brighten up dark brown hair with pale violet highlights. This unexpected twist on classic blonde highlights complements fair and darker skin alike.

Good hair day by @lamajbackwards

Mocha Brown

Mocha brown hair is the perfect blend of espresso and warm hazel tones. Incredibly versatile, this shade suits all skin tones equally.

Purple-Brown and Burgundy Hair

If you love the idea of cherry chocolate hair but prefer to stick to cooler tones, then purple-brown might be for you. This dark brown hair color has violet as its main tone, and is particularly flattering on olive or yellow-toned skin, says VanDyke.

Good hair day by @i.mattxander

Onyx Espresso

Black…or brown? You’ll constantly have people guessing with this deep, deep shade of brunette.

The Best Fantasy Color Ideas for Dark Brown Hair

Good hair day by @meaghanmastersonhair

Pastel Color Block

Add a playful twist to your dark brunette locks by incorporating pastels into your look via highlights or face-framing color-blocked sections.

Good hair day by @rebeccataylorhair


When you can’t settle on just one pastel color, choose them all. Rainbow pastel highlights give your dark brown hair a punch of whimsy—plus, since pastel shades tend to fade fairly quickly, this look affords you the opportunity to change up your hue as often as you’d like.

Good hair day by @cynthiaglam

Peach-Kissed Ends

“Peach Fuzz” is Pantone’s color of the year for 2024, and it’s easy to see why. This sweet and airy shade bridges the gap between pink and orange and can be taken as muted or vivid as you’d like. It may require a good amount of bleach to achieve this pale hue, but you can keep damage to a minimum by coloring just the ends of your hair.

Good hair day by @lorendoeshair and @lorencltmane

Skunk Stripe

You may not look at a skunk and immediately think, “Slay!” but the furry critter is a major source of hair inspiration. In its purest form, the skunk stripe look features a deeply contrasted combination of jet black and platinum blonde, but there are endless colorways to play with. Check out our article The Skunk Stripe Hair Trend Is Here to Stay to discover some of our favorite variations on the look.

Good hair day by @twyllajane

Oil Slick Effect Highlights

Make metallic rainbow dreams a reality with dark oil slick effect highlights. With a moody blend of black, purple, and blue, the pearlized finish glistens like an iridescent oil slick, especially in the sunlight.

Good hair day by @zaylesbrial

Hair Tinsel

If oil slick highlights seem daunting, you can get a similar effect using hair tinsel. Also known as fairy hair, hair tinsel helps create the illusion of sparkliness and shimmer using a few strands of luminescent extensions—no bleach or dye required.

Good hair day by @hailtothehair

Rose Gold Balayage

Rose gold on brunette hair has taken over social media, and we’re obsessed. Try it as a balayage or dip dye for a fun twist on the trend.

Good hair day by @krazy4hair

Rooted Rose Gold

If you’re interested in trying rose gold hair but want to keep the upkeep to a minimum, try a rooted look. The dark brown roots lend this fantasy color a grungy, carefree vibe (and mean you can go longer between salon visits).

Good hair day by @adlydesign

Green Face Frame

Those rocking short hair can have just as much fun with fantasy colors: it’s all about the placement. Add a pop of green around the perimeter of your haircut to give your mane an edge—sans the upkeep of a total color overhaul.

Good hair day by @makeupbyfrances

Ultra Violet

Ensure your dark brown hair packs a punch with this vivid violet look. Ultra-violet hair is a head-turning shade for those wanting to make a memorable entrance and can pass for brown or black, depending on the lighting.

Good hair day by @clhair__

Chunky Highlights

Hair trends are cyclical, so it was only a matter of time before chunky highlights returned to our social media feeds. Bright, streaky coppers are an unexpected way to make this throwback style work on dark brown hair.

Good hair day by @brock_anthony

Red Face Framing Highlight

If you’ve tried all the blonde face-framing highlights in the book, consider trading blonde for red during your next salon visit. The fiery color is an excellent way to spice up your look without clashing against a darker base.

Good hair day by @hairbyduhsavannah

Sunset Brown

Fantasy colors aren’t seen as often as classic browns, but we’re pro-experimentation when it comes to sunset brown hair. Sunset hair is vivid and fairly high maintenance, so consider how much upkeep you’re willing to work into your routine before taking the plunge.

Good hair day by @heartandsoulhairartistry

Half Brown, Half Blonde

Split dye, half-and-half, Gemini hair—whatever you want to call it, two-toned hair color is here to stay. The trend involves splitting your hair down the middle and dyeing each section in contrasting colors, allowing you to embrace two sides of your personality.

Good hair day @sharon.simplyinsane

Pink Face Frame

No matter the season, you’ll find pink hair living rent-free in our minds. There are so many iterations of the trending hue, but a pink face frame is a unique variation that’ll turn heads for all the right reasons.

Good hair day by @meganrosecolors

Lavender Peekaboo Highlights

Perk up your brunette mane with lavender peekaboo highlights. This technique involves painting color on the bottom layer of your hair, allowing your chosen shade to peek out whenever you run your fingers through your hair or sport an updo.

Next Up: 2024 Hair Trend Forecast: 7 Trends Set to Heat Up in the New Year

Header image credits: @curlsbybebonia and @coloredbyphuong

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